This week at the movies, we have galactic monsters (Alien vs Predator: Requiem), ol’ Nessie (The
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep), big talkers (The Great Debaters,
starring Denzel Washington), and preggered pubescents (Juno, starring
and Michael Cera). What do the critics have to say?
The story of a youngster who befriends a mythical beast, The
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep makes for occasionally magical family
entertainment, critics say. Sorta like E.T but with a thicker brogue, The
Water Horse tells the story of Angus (Alex Atel), who stumbles upon a
mysterious egg that contains a creature that grows up to be the Loch Ness
Monster. Pundits say that while it feels familiar and doesn’t stray too from
coming-of-age story conventions, The Water Horse is loaded with charm and
a sense of majesty, carried by strong CGI work. At 71 percent on the Tomatometer, this Water is safe to wade in for the whole family.
Denzel Washington directs and stars in
The Great Debaters, the based-on-truth
account of a group of African American college students from Texas that
challenged the status quo. While the film follows the inspirational drama
formula to a tee, critics were willing to forgive its conservative plot and be
inspired by the rousing performances and Washington’s unobtrusive direction. At
74 percent, Debaters is Great indeed.
Teen pregnancy is not generally a topic that lends itself to hilarity.
However, critics say Juno
is a touching, intelligent, and laugh-out-loud
exception to the rule. Juno stars
Ellen Page as
a smart, headstrong teenager who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand
with her best friend (Michael Cera) and tries to deal with the repercussions. The pundits say Juno
is full of quirk and heart, featuring fine performances from Page, Cera,
Jennifer Garner, and
Jason Bateman, as well as fine direction from
and a precociously smart script from first-time writer
Diablo Cody. At 94
percent on the Tomatometer, Juno is not only Certified Fresh, it’s one of the
best-reviewed films of the year. (Check out our interview with Page
The very presence of Alien vs Predator: Requiem in theaters this week
begs an important question: is there any better way to celebrate the holiday
season than with a cataclysmic throwdown between two of sci fi’s most iconic
monsters? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see, since this one wasn’t shown
to critics prior to release (probably a wise move, since the first
notched a lusty 22 percent on the Tomatometer). AVP:R finds the action has
moved from outer space to Colorado, where Predator and the aliens duke it out.
Kids, take time out from celebrating the fact that you received a Nintendo Wii
and guess that Tomatometer.
Also opening in limited release this week: