Ella Enchants, but There’s No Reason to Go Ten Yards

Now in theaters: The Alamo, Ella Enchanted and The Whole Ten Yards.

The Alamo

This is far and away the best, most honest, most real movie ever made about the Alamo. As a spectacle it is spectacular, but that doesn't mean it's a great film.

Two hundred Texans take on 7,000 Mexican soldiers at the Alamo. But the film never succeeds in telling us why. From our 21st-century point of view we know they lost the battle but won the war. We can't imagine Texas not being part of America so there is no drama, nothing at stake.

And no one would ever name a city after Dennis Quaid's mannered, stiff-jawed, odd-speaking Sam Houston.

On the plus side, Jason Patric's Jim Bowie is cutting edge and Billy Bob Thornton's brilliant, man-behind-the-legend Davy Crockett would make a great film all by itself.

Grade: C Ella Enchanted

Think Cinderella. There's the godmother. And the gown. A pumpkin. The stroke of midnight. Glass slippers for sale at the medieval mall. And Prince Charming. In fact, Prince Charming is his real name. (Well, actually, it's Charmont, but that's close enough.)

This is a terrific take on Cinderella with an important 21st-century twist. As her wicked stepsisters soon learn, this Ella has a curse. The curse of obedience. She must do everything anyone commands her to do.

Seasoned with a. little Shrek, a dash of Princess Bride and a whole lot of laughs, Ella Enchanted is one family film that will make the whole family feel happily ever after.

Starring the exquisite Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries), who learns girls can be independent. And smart. And empowered. And still live happily ever after.

Aw … I gave it away.

Grade: B.

The Whole Ten Yards

Here's an intriguing idea: Make a sequel to a bad movie.

The Whole Nine Yards was a bad movie. The Whole Ten Yards is worse.

Here are some basic rules of comedy the filmmakers would do well to learn:

1. Funny hats are not funny.

2. Funny shoes are not funny.

3. Pulling a gun on a Girl Scout is not funny.

They did have a great time making this movie. I say, so what? They got paid.

Pay me to watch it what they got paid to make it, and I'd have a great time, too.

Grade: F.