If the title of Bad Teacher calls to mind Bad Santa, the resonance is deliberate: Here is a comedy full of inappropriate humor about someone filling a familiar role who couldn't be further from the figure of benevolent authority we expect.
Bill Haney's film, a documentary that looks at the impending flattening of the final mountain in a West Virginia area of Appalachia, is stark in its facts and unapologetic about its viewpoint: Coal is killing the planet.
Everything Must Go is what a filmed short story should be: compact, deep with character but still contained in its action and settings. It's nice to see Ferrell stretching himself. Time for more of that career yoga, Will.
The First Grader will move you, even as it reminds you of the worlds that reading can unlock. It's nice to see a movie that makes education seem like an important thing, given the anti-intellectualism that seems so rampant in the country today.
Watching a movie like Water for Elephants, knowing that it's not only based on a novel but on a best-selling novel that was all the rage for book clubs, makes me wonder about the book -- specifically, how bad is it?
Winner of this year's Oscar as best foreign-language film, In a Better World is an intriguing examination of the ideas of revenge and forgiveness, but it wraps things up too neatly to be truly compelling.