Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway in One DayONE DAY

When Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) first meet in director Lone Scherfig's One Day, it's the morning after their 1988 university graduation, and a few minutes before the happily drunken pair tumbles into Emma's bed. They don't wind up consummating their flirtation, but the young Brits - and best-friends-to-be - seem perfectly content to smile and snuggle while the sun rises, and Emma makes the observation that the new day, July 15, is the English near-holiday of St. Swithin's Day. Or, as Scherfig's comedy/drama/romance might cause me to think of it from now on, St. "Well, Isn't That an Astounding Coincidence?" Day.

Clint Eastwood in Gran TorinoGRAN TORINO

As much as I love Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, and Bronco Billy, I'll admit that I've never been a huge Clint Eastwood fan. (Don't remember Bronco Billy? The 12-year-old in me will never forget it.) Gran Torino, however, is something truly special, a simple - though not simple-minded - and straightforward melodrama that succeeds as both a heartfelt meditation on aging and an exhilarating crowd-pleaser, and Clint is so thrillingly, spectacularly Clint in his latest directorial offering that it's likely his performance won't just please fans, but ensnare a batch of new ones. After catching the movie in Chicagoland during the holidays, I saw it again this past weekend both for the sheer enjoyment of the experience and to see if Gran Torino is really as good as I remembered. It is. (I also wanted to hear lines I originally missed through our raucous audience laughter, but no luck - the cackles were just as loud this time around. Maybe on a third viewing.)

Meryl Streep in DoubtDOUBT

Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, writer/director John Patrick Shanley's period drama Doubt - set in 1964, and concerning a nun who suspects a priest of sexual misconduct with an altar boy - isn't much of a movie. Shanley's previous directorial effort was 1990's Joe Versus the Volcano, and it's a shame he wasn't able to get in more practice over the last 18 years; in an attempt to gussy up the visual blandness that accompanies most theatrical adaptations, Shanley opts for a series of high- and low-angle shots and symbolic thunder, lightning, and wind effects that oftentimes make Doubt resemble a satire of a low-budget horror flick. And it's still visually bland.

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn in Four ChristmasesFOUR CHRISTMASES

In the spirit of those magical pre-Thanksgiving treats Fred Claus, Deck the Halls, and Christmas with the Kranks, director Seth Gordon's Four Christmases is Hollywood's annual, star-filled affair that celebrates the joys of the holidays through wisecracks, gaudy colors, pummeling "comic" violence, and occasional projectile vomiting. It differs from its predecessors, though, in one notable regard: It doesn't suck. At least not completely.

Angelina Jolie in ChangelingCHANGELING

Clint Eastwood's Changeling finds John Malkovich giving a thoughtful, restrained performance as a righteous pastor, and Michael Kelly giving an exceptional one as a dogged detective. Oh, and the period design for the film's 1928 Los Angeles setting is quite good. Having gotten that out of the way, the rest of the movie is so awful - so maddeningly phony and contrived - that I wanted to hurl things at the screen.

Josh Brolin in W.W.

I'm not exactly sure what kind of movie Oliver Stone's W. is trying to be, but that just makes it easier to appreciate it for what it is: A terrifically entertaining political comedy (with tragic undertones) that plays a bit like a sequel to Hal Ashby's 1979 Being There, in which a series of borderline-ludicrous circumstances find a friendly, well-meaning simpleton elected commander-in-chief. Now what?

Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of LiesBODY OF LIES

I learned recently that Russell Crowe gained 50 pounds for his role in Ridley Scott's action-thriller Body of Lies. To which I reply: For this role? Seriously?

Seth Rogen and James Franco in Pineapple ExpressPINEAPPLE EXPRESS

As the happily zonked, pot-dealing Saul in Pineapple Express - written by Superbad screenwriters Seth Rogen (who also stars) and Evan Goldberg - James Franco is wonderfully unpredictable. The actor has flashed the occasional grin in previous film roles, but his uncanny resemblance to James Dean finds him so often used for brooding melancholy, most notably in the Spider-Man films, that his emergence as an inventive and quick-witted comedian in this stoner-buddy action farce is cause for celebration. Or rather, it would be, if Franco had a better movie in which to display his gifts.

Will Ferrell in Semi-ProSEMI-PRO

In the '70s-era sports comedy Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one-hit-wonder pop star who becomes the owner of the American Basketball Association's Flint Tropics, a struggling Michigan team for which he also serves as coach, promoter, and star player. And forgive me for asking, but shouldn't any one of these five roles have been enough for Will Ferrell?

Dillon Freasier and Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be BloodTHERE WILL BE BLOOD

As much as I adored Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood - and I adored nearly every second of its 150-minute running length - it's the type of movie that I hate composing a review for, because no matter what I write, I know it won't come close to doing the achievement justice.

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