Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame to Kill forSIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

Let's cut to the chase: I don't like Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. But what I especially don't like is knowing that I'll eventually have to watch at least a portion of it again, because the only things I really cared for in this stylized noir were the scenes with Eva Green, and after waking from my brief and unanticipated nap, she was gone from the movie and never returned. What the hell happened to her? And if I was enjoying Green's performance as much as I thought I was, why did I fall asleep in the first place?

Heath Ledger in The Dark KnightTHE DARK KNIGHT

The buzz on Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight may start to wane by the time the late actor is awarded the Oscar for it, but the effects of this performance are likely to be felt for years, if not decades.

Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell in Get SmartGET SMART

I can only imagine the business conversation that led to remaking TV's Get Smart as a big-budget summertime blockbuster. But I'm guessing it went something like this: "Let's remake TV's Get Smart as a big-budget summertime blockbuster!" "Okay! Let's!"

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in The Bucket ListTHE BUCKET LIST

I can't begin to describe how much I was looking forward to making fun of The Bucket List. A Rob Reiner-directed dramedy about two squabbling terminal-cancer patients -Jack Nicholson, cackling and flexing his eyebrows, and Morgan Freeman, providing soothing, pithy bromides and the inevitable voice-over narration - who gradually become friends and live out their final days skydiving and race-car driving and scaling the pyramids ... . Was there any way this wouldn't be a syrupy disaster of epic proportions?

Steve Carell in Evan AlmightyEVAN ALMIGHTY

Thank God for lowered expectations.

I adore Steve Carell, and so I was initially jazzed about Evan Almighty, as director Tom Shadyac's sequel was a vehicle for the comic who handily stole 2003's Bruce Almighty away from hard-working star Jim Carrey. Yet after I saw the trailer, my excitement quickly turned into dread. Not only did the three-minute preview appear to give away every second of the movie - it showed the climactic flood approaching, for Pete's sake! - but the sight of a gray-bearded, robe-attired Carell looking benevolent while surround by all those cu-u-u-ute animals instantly set off my gag reflex; watching brilliant comedians sell out in witless kiddie flicks is to be expected, yet I was praying that it wouldn't happen with Carell. (At least, I was praying that it wouldn't happen again - does anyone else recall the actor's involvement in the 2004 atrocity Sleepover?)

Mandy Moore in American DreamzAMERICAN DREAMZ

American Dreamz is like a middling Saturday Night Live skit that never ends. In writer/director Paul Weitz's conception, the president is a slow-witted dolt being puppeteered by his staff, the participants on an American Idol-type mega-hit are a combination of talentless sweeties and fame-hungry monsters, and the American public happily buys every piece of pop-fueled mediocrity placed before it, especially when it's swathed in the sentimental, jingoistic guise of "patriotism." Wherever did Weisz come up with such fresh objects of ridicule?

Katie Holmes and Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for SmokingTHANK YOU FOR SMOKING

Jason Reitman's Thank You for Smoking, adapted from Christopher Buckley's satiric novel, doesn't have much visual flair, but one recurring image in the film lends it worlds of variety: Aaron Eckhart's smile.

Charlize Theron in Aeon FluxAEON FLUX

By all rights, Aeon Flux should be godawful. (Certainly, Paramount is treating it like it is, as the studio opted against pre-release screenings for fear of lousy advance notices.) Set some 400 years in the future, director Karyn Kusama's film - a big-screen vehicle for MTV's Liquid Television character - takes place after 99% of the earth has been eliminated by a virus, the most humorless 1%, apparently, having been left to roam the earth. Charlize Theron's Aeon leads a Spandex-clad revolt against the government, and the movie is, for the most part, a joke; the effects are particularly shoddy, and as they recite their clunky dialogue, you feel badly for several performers - when they were being feted as Oscar nominees, did Theron, Frances McDormand (in a red fright wig), Sophie Okenedo and Pete Postlethwaite ever think it would come to this? (The film's one impressive performance comes from Marton Csokas, who's like a more rugged version of Kevin Spacey.)

MurderballMURDERBALL

I've seen a lot of sublimely satisfying documentaries this year, but none with the scope and passion of Murderball. Like last year's brilliant Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the film's title and ostensible subject matter - quadriplegic rugby - are probably enough to frighten off the audiences who would love it the most, which I pray won't happen; Murderball, currently playing at the Brew & View Rocket, is, thus far, the most invigorating, fascinating, surprising, and deeply human movie of 2005.

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