Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy in Becoming JaneBECOMING JANE

I have friends, most of them equipped with a Y chromosome, who wouldn't be caught dead at an 18th century British period film studded with corsets and bucolic splendor and one of those "That man is so insolent and frustrating I must be in love with him!" storylines.

Jack Black in The School of RockTHE SCHOOL OF ROCK

I've seen Sidney Poitier do it. I've seen Robin Williams do it. I've seen Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Edward James Olmos ... hell, I've seen Dame Maggie Smith do it. But I have never seen an actor playing The Inspirational Teacher connect with his students as believably, and oddly beautifully, as Jack Black does in The School of Rock.

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.

Nia Vardalos and Lainie Kazan in My Big Fat Greek WeddingMY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING

In the first 20 minutes of the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there's a scene so simple it feels revelatory. Our heroine, Toula (Nia Vardalos), is a 30-year-old waitress in a diner owned by her Greek-with-a-vengeance parents, and has always been, as she describes herself, "a frump" - plain, bespectacled, overweight, and sadly single.

Gosford ParkGOSFORD PARK

In Robert Altman's Gosford Park, set in 1932 England, a group of well-to-do guests is invited to a country estate for a shooting party, with their numerous servants in tow, and find their weekend disrupted by the murder of their host.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's StoneHARRY POTTER & THE SORCERER'S STONE

When I sheepishly tell friends that I haven't yet read any of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, their reaction is usually shock - "You're kidding!" - followed by euphoric insistence - "You've got to read them! You'll love them!" When I tell these same friends that I didn't much like the movie version of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone, I get a different response, one that's a combination of mild disgust and serious condescension.