Now in theaters: Mr. 3000, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Head in the Clouds and Wimbledon.
I like Bernie Mac. Everybody likes Bernie Mac. That's a problem with Mr. 3000.
In the beginning of the movie we're supposed to hate him. But we like him so much we forgive him. The bigger problem with Mr. 3000 is that you see Bernie Mac in a baseball uniform and you think the movie is for kids. It isn't. He and Angela Bassett have a sexually charged relationship.
I don't know what's worse for a parent — taking your 8- or 9 year-old to a movie and having them ask questions you don't want to answer, or taking your 11- or 12-year-old and having them not ask questions because they know the answer. Either way, it's not a family film.
As a baseball fan, I was bothered by some of the shortcuts. I'm still waiting for a sports movie that doesn't end in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but I'll forgive Bernie Mac for that as well. But the grown-up back story keeps his film from being a smash hit and, for parents anyway, makes it a close call. Grade: B-
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
The opening sequence looks like Fritz Lang's Metropolis meets those incredible 1940s Superman cartoons. The action is nonstop. I was in awe.
The look is astonishing. Saturday morning serials and sleazy pulp magazine covers come to life. But the reason Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was supposed to be the film of tomorrow was that it's all computer-generated. No one has ever seen anything like this. The only things real are the people and an occasional prop. And, unfortunately, sometimes you're not so sure about the people. The film stars Jude Law, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow — a two-time Oscar nominee and two Oscar winners. But there's so much going on, even they can't keep our attention on the story. And once the novelty of the look wears off, instead of drama and emotion, we get — more to look at. Grade: C.
Head in the Clouds
Stuart Townsend plays a first-year student at Oxford in the 1930s, and he must be majoring in theology because into his life comes the heavenly Charlize Theron, out of her Monster makeup, Oscar in hand.
They go to Paris, just as the Nazis are preparing for war, and they share an apartment with Penélope Cruz, who plays a Spanish refugee. Scenes that are meant to shock us are utterly predictable.
And even though Theron and Townsend are an off-screen item, there's little on-screen chemistry between them, and the problems of these two ordinary people don't amount to a hill of beans in this cliché-ridden film. Grade: C
Something interesting about the promotion of Wimbledon: The studio sent out virtually no clips of the two stars playing tennis. Probably because it looks phony.
If you don't see the star and the action in the same frame, you can bet it's somebody else. That's one reason that as a sports movie, Wimbledon doesn't make the cut.
But as romantic comedy, it's a different story. When it comes to love Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany aren't just playing games. The chemistry between the stars is the reason Wimbledon plays best as romantic comedy. Grade: C+