It's at about this time of year that the hardcore moviegoers start wondering why they're being punished. Don't worry, friends! March is coming! Just hold on through weekends filled with tacked-on slasher prequels and Eddie Murphy detritus and we'll soon be discussing movies like 300, Sunshine and ... The Hills Have Eyes Part 2! Until then...

Hannibal Rising -- 15 positive / 79 negative at RottenTomatoes.com

Pro: "Webber directs with a steady hand and consistent tone, whether it's a frenetic battle scene or a slow-building confrontation at a market." -- Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

Con: "Feels as stodgy as a museum case, and it seems so hastily cobbled together one feels vaguely ripped off by the ticket price." -- Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine

Pro: "Harris, who adapted the screenplay, and director Peter Webber are faithful to his book. Strong production values, a lush score and scenic locations work seal the deal." -- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

Con: "Both too familiar in portraying Hannibal as a Dracula-like aristocrat monster, and crud in its exploitation of wartime atrocities." -- Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

Bonus!
"You can spot the characters who will become Lunchables from a mile away, since they have been crudely drawn to rub up against Hannibal's tastes established in earlier films..." -- Ryan Stewart, Cinematical

The Lives of Others -- 54 positive / 5 negative at RT.com

Pro: "The accelerating plot twists are more than just clever surprises; they reverberate with deep and painful ironies..." -- David Ansen, Newsweek

Con: "I, for one, tremble at the thought of what this young director does for an encore." -- Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly

Pro: "The skillfully acted and directed "The Lives of Others" is a timely warning about governments that seek to repress dissent." -- Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Con: "A pair of superb performances from Muhe and Koch are consistently undermined by the unreasonably overlong running time and leaden atmosphere." -- David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

Bonus!
"The performance stands out in a well-crafted film full of solid acting; both Mühe and The Lives of Others are unforgettable." -- Martha Fischer, Cinematical

Norbit -- 8 positive / 73 negative at RT.com

Pro: "Murphy's eyes, his facial expressions as Rasputia, her stare, the way she carries herself -- all of this is hysterically funny, a portrait of someone deluded about herself in every possible way." -- Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Con: "It's a thoughtless, cancerous, viral, irresponsible pollution whose existence speaks ill of the society that produced it and of any society that would endorse or defend it." -- Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

Pro: "There are so many great individual moments that the movie coasts by on its infectious good cheer." -- Jim Hemphill, Reel.com

Con: "A breathtaking display of moronic insensitivity." -- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle

Bonus!
"It's easy to like Norbit the character; it's hard to like Norbit the movie." -- James Rocchi, Cinematical

Next week: Breach, Bridge to Terabithia, Daddy's Little Girls, Ghost Rider and Music and Lyrics