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.

Spider-Man 3SPIDER-MAN 3

Spider-Man 3 runs nearly 140 minutes, but it would be difficult to argue that it doesn't require that length. In Sam Raimi's third installment of the comic-book franchise, our crime-fighting web-slinger (Tobey Maguire) has not one, not two, but three über-villains to contend with: the hulking, misunderstood Sandman (Thomas Haden Church); the globular space infestation Venom (played, in human form, by Topher Grace); and former best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), son of original Spider-Man nemesis the Green Goblin, who's now eager to take on the family business.

Keanu Reeves in ConstantineCONSTANTINE

At one point in Bryan Singer's original X-Men film, Wolverine stares at the fetishistic black-leather duds he and his teammates are wearing and asks, incredulously, "You actually go outside in these things?" To which Cyclops, in-joking on the character's original Marvel-comic attire, replies, "What, would you prefer yellow Spandex?" God, yes.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Shaun of the DeadSHAUN OF THE DEAD, THE GRUDGE, and SAW

Halloween has come and gone, but three horror flicks are currently in theaters and - surprise! - two of them are actually good.

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2SPIDER-MAN 2

Spider-Man 2 might not be, as many critics have concluded, the greatest comic-book movie ever made, but it's entirely possible that Sam Raimi is the greatest director the genre has ever had.

Kurt Russell in MiracleMIRACLE

Although I'm generally a sucker for triumph-of-the-underdog sports flicks - 1986's Hoosiers remains my favorite - and was all set to have a good sniffle at Miracle, the movie is so cynically programmed to be a lump-in-the-throat audience-pleaser that I found it all too easy to resist.

Bonnie Wright and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter & the Chamber of SecretsHARRY POTTER & THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

Although I didn't care for last year's Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone, I was more than willing to greet the new Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets with an open mind.

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spider-ManSPIDER-MAN

Your enjoyment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man adaptation will, I think, boil down to just how realistic you want your special effects to be. I imagine that even those who haven't yet seen the film - and there must be at least three or four of you out there - will have seen the previews of our hero as he leaps across buildings and whooshes through downtown Manhattan, and they're all most obviously computer-generated effects; I have friends who refuse to see the film because of how bored they already are of CGI in movies.

Helen Mirren and Jack Nicholson in The PledgeTHE PLEDGE

Sean Penn is one of the few dependably downbeat figures in American film, and those who like their dramas moody, atmospheric, and richly detailed will get some initial pleasure with The Pledge, Mr. Penn's third directorial outing.