Now in theaters: "Walk the Line," and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix is Johnny Cash, the man in black, and he'll be dressed in black in a couple of months on the way to the Academy Awards … and he won't be selling popcorn.
Phoenix sings, and if he does an excellent imitation of a music legend, Reese Witherspoon as June Carter is an absolute reincarnation.
The parallels with "Ray" -- the Ray Charles biopic that made Jamie Foxx an Oscar winner last year -- can't be avoided. We see Cash battle the death of a brother, drug addiction and jail time, while creating music that can't be categorized and ultimately changed America.
"Ray" is the better movie. In 'Walk The Line," the performances are better than the film. But they are Oscar-ready performances, even when the stars aren't singing.
"Walk the Line" is just a little too soft in places where it needs an edge. The peripheral characters are not at all believable. Of all the things you wanted to know about Cash, his love affair with June Carter doesn't make the Top 40, and that's what the film is supposed to be about.
Phoenix will be Oscar nominated, and Witherspoon is the best actress in any film I've seen this year. When she walks the line on Oscar Night, it'll be the press line, and she'll be carrying a statue. Grade: B
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The first three "Harry Potter" films have grossed $2.7 billion around the world. Now that's magic. This is the first to be rated PG-13. It's darker than the others, and not for young kids. But I'm wild about this "Harry." It's the best of the bunch.
Harry, Hermione and Ronald (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint) are now 13. We've watched them grow, and this time around we have the Hogwarts equivalent of a junior prom. There's love in the air. Even Hagrid feels it.
At the Triwizard Tournament, Harry must face three death-defying trials. Slaying dragons is easy, Harry learns. Asking a girl out on a date … that's scary. And that's the real-life wizardry.
"Goblet of Fire," also marks the first appearance of a character that's figured big in the series, from the very beginning. He is the one with the name that should never be uttered. But in "Harry Potter" 4 everybody says it: " Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort." Grade: A-