Brendan Fraser in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon EmperorTHE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR

Obviously we're not meant to take The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor seriously, as it's a fantasy in which Brendan Fraser kicks the crap out of Jet Li. But honestly, even on this harmlessly dopey franchise's own lowbrow terms, could director Rob Cohen's installment be any more witless?

Selma Blair and Ron Perlman in Hellboy II: The Golden Army[Yes, we're aware that this is the second week in a row in which the movie-review headline is some sort of "Superman" pun. Considering how many superhero movies have already been released this summer, we're impressed that we've kept the tally to merely two.]

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

I found Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army considerably more entertaining than the writer/director's 2004 comic-book adaptation Hellboy, but let's keep in mind that I didn't really care for Hellboy much at all.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince CaspianTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

All things considered, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is pretty good, and on a purely technical level, it's more than pretty impressive. In his second stab at C.S. Lewis, director Andrew Adamson has fashioned a continuation that's both darker and lighter than 2005's The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe - the film is admirably grim for a Disney outing, and unlike its predecessor, it maintains a sense of humor throughout - and most of its visuals are extraordinary. Yet I still can't build up much enthusiasm for it, because like many recent works of its kind (including The Golden Compass and the last two Harry Potters), the movie wows you with everything except personality. Prince Caspian is epically scaled, gorgeous, and hollow - a Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp.

Jena Malone and Laura Ramsey in The RuinsTHE RUINS

I caught The Ruins during a minimally populated Saturday-afternoon screening, so I pray that a larger, rowdier audience laughed like mad when our surgeon-to-be hero (the hilariously stalwart Jonathan Tucker) surmised the deadly situation he and his friends were in and barked, with absolute earnestness, "Four Americans on vacation don't just disappear!"

That poor, dumb kid. Never saw a horror movie.

Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger in National Treasure: Book of SecretsNATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the follow-up to 2004's globe-trotting-archaeologist adventure, could generously be termed "perfunctory"; it gives (family) audiences exactly the formulaic, Indiana Jones-lite action, romance, and humor they adored in the original. It could also, less generously, be described as "crummy," as returning director Jon Turteltaub ensures that every remedially staged sequence has the same bland, going-through-the-motions tone as the one that came before. (At least its predecessor provided a few jokes.)

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter & the Order of the PhoenixHARRY POTTER & THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

I have no idea whether Alan Rickman, who portrays the impenetrable, vaguely sinister wizard Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, realized that the Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix movie would hit screens 10 days before the release of J.K. Rowling's seventh (and purportedly final) Potter book. But Rickman's portrayal seems so shrewdly tied in to readers' hunger for a new installment - and their passionate "Is Snape a villain or isn't he?" debate - that, with very little screen time to do it in, he practically emerges as the film's star.

Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp, and Mackenzie Crook in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END

Roughly 30 minutes into Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow makes an entrance that perhaps only Johnny Depp, being directed by Gore Verbinski, would be permitted to make: All we see is Depp's nose, in enormous close-up, as it hungrily sniffs out a peanut. Eventually we're treated to a full view of the sloshed swashbuckler we've been waiting a half hour to see, yet before Sparrow can pop the peanut in his mouth, he's shot dead. By Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST

I know a bunch of you bought tickets for it this past weekend, so allow me to ask: Did anyone else find Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest a little, you know, incoherent? A degree of senselessness, of course, has to come with the territory, but while I'm positive that I didn't nod off during Gore Verbinski's opus - the booming soundtrack and relentless, CGI-enhanced action won't let you - I'm not sure I ever quite understood it. There seemed to be a whole lot of plot in Dead Man's Chest but none of it meant anything or was revealed with an urgency that might make it mean anything; at some point, I simply gave up trying to figure the damned thing out, and just waited for Davy Jones and the rest of his barnacled baddies to show up again.

Josh Lucas in Glory RoadGLORY ROAD

Is it just a coincidence, or do you think there's an annual meeting wherein Disney shareholders tell the studio's executives, "Bring us this year's feel-good, triumph-of-the-underdog sports flick, and if you can find one that's more formulaic, clichéd, and shameless than last year's, all the better!" A couple of years back, we endured Kurt Russell guiding a bunch of interchangeable skaters to Olympic victory in the hockey drama Miracle, and my head is still reeling from the moribund sentimentality - and beyond-obnoxious miniature caddie - of The Greatest Game Ever Played, which managed to make golf look about five times less exciting than the sport's reputation would suggest.

Naomi Watts and King KongKING KONG

The most telling detail in Peter Jackson's grand, overlong, monstrously enjoyable King Kong remake is, considering the scope of this production, a relatively minor one. Having been captured by the natives of Skull Island, the ingénue Ann (Naomi Watts) is presented - tied and shrieking - as a sacrifice/gift to the enormous ape, who emerges from the jungle, frees Ann from her bindings, and grasps her in his giant paw. (Kong doesn't grace the scene until roughly an hour into the movie, and the moments leading up to his arrival are a miracle of sound design and visual suggestion; Kong's appearance is absolutely worth waiting for.) Like a petulant toddler who doesn't want to share his toy, Kong quickly races back to his jungle retreat with his new plaything in hand, and the force and velocity of the ape's movements make Ann resemble nothing so much as a human rag doll, her body limp and her limbs flailing.

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