Bee Movie – As strange as this seems, Bee Movie is actually scarier than An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Relax. Its frightfulness will buzz right over the kids’ heads.
While Al Gore’s documentary warns about global warming, Bee Movie has a plot that plays out some of the ramifications of "Colony Collapse Disorder," the name given to the alarming phenomenon where honey bees are inexplicably dying.
Bee Movie is spectacularly colorful; and when the bees soar through the air, the sweeping cinematography makes us feel like we’re along for the ride.
But Jerry Seinfeld’s "acting" is still deplorable, making performances in the Star Wars series look like a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
And despite several laugh-out-loud one-liners and an excellent homage to The Graduate (1967), the disappointing Bee Movie seems like the writers’ strike began 20 minutes into the film: A courtroom drama within a cartoon is always an ominous sign.
American Gangster – Don’t expect The Departed (2006) or Goodfellas (1990) … because Martin Scorsese Ridley Scott ain’t. Even so, American Gangster is admirable, as is Ridley Scott.
Much like The Mexican (2001), this film’s two headliners, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, spend most of the movie apart, which is unfortunate.
Also, Ridley Scott has no qualms with taking his time (not always a bad thing). See Alien (1979). For this reason, this based-on-a-true-story gangster film builds more like a smoldering drama than an action thriller.
But American Gangster convincingly evokes Harlem in the late ’60s and ’70s, telling the involving story of fearsome Frank Lucas’ illicit "business" empire.
Martian Child – Remember the movie K-Pax (2001)? It’s that one where Kevin Spacey’s character eats bananas, peeling and all, and claims to be from another planet.
The strength of K-Pax is how it makes us wonder whether he’s an alien. Martian Child gently raises the same question about an orphaned boy named Dennis (Bobby Coleman).
But the point of Martian Child isn’t whether the kid is from Mars. This movie’s magic comes from its successful illustration of the difference a loving parent can make in the life of a child.
John Cusack’s performance is stellar, even touching, at times. The same cannot be said, however, for his sister, Joan.