Recent releases

The Break-Up, Cars, The Devil Wears Prada

Page 3 of 5

NACHO LIBRE (PG) There are 15, maybe 20 minutes of certifiable solid gold scattered throughout Nacho Libre, a comedy about a masked Mexican wrestler, and the second outing by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess. The rest of the movie is a pretty big disappointment, though, and you can't quite chalk it up to your typical sophomore slump syndrome (although that's part of the problem). Even though putting a bankable star or two in your new movie is a logical next step for a formerly low-budget indie director, the much-anticipated collaboration between Hess and fat 'n' sassy Jack Black is anything but a dream team-up. Napoleon Dynamite worked precisely because of its sprawling, no-name cast and droll, deadpan attitude — an attitude in direct contrast to Black's outsized and aggressively skewed screen persona. Black is more restrained here than usual, but he's still much too much for Hess' oddly inert, minimalist universe. Screenwriter Mike White, who worked wonders with Black and director Richard Linklater by wedding their indie sensibilities to the mainstream in School of Rock, is at a loss to achieve a similar alchemy here; the movie is just too slight to sustain Black's mass, and there's just not enough else going on in Nacho Libre to hold our interest. Stars Jack Black, Hector Jimenez, Ana de la Reguera, Peter Stormare and Lauro Chartrand. 2.5 stars

THE OMEN (R) A numbingly literal remake of the fair-to-middling 1976 horror flick, The Omen is almost as big an embalming job as Gus Van Sant's utterly unnecessary Psycho. Van Sant's slavishness was at least in the service of something worth genuflection, though; this new version of The Omen is like a cult devoted to drywall. The plot here, a hodgepodge of supernatural elements cobbled together to cash in on the momentum generated back in the day by genuinely good films like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, involves a couple raising a small child they suspect of being the Antichrist. People who get too close to the truth die grisly deaths; there are very few surprises and nothing remotely resembling a character to sink your teeth into (so to speak); and the whole thing is shot through with a pungent whiff of the apocalypse — a scent that never really goes out of fashion but that is more than ever on audience's minds these days (hence the remake). The juiciest bit of casting of all is Rosemary herself, Mia Farrow, who steals the show as the devil-boy's gloriously creepy nanny. If only the movie had the wit to capitalize on Farrow's presence or any of the other elements ripe for play here, The Omen could have been something worth talking about. Stars Liev Schrieber, Julia Stiles, Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon and Mia Farrow. 2.5 stars

OVER THE HEDGE (PG-13) Bruce Willis has his most convincing action hero role in some time, supplying the voice for a wily raccoon on a mission. The raccoon hooks up with a community of woodland creatures, leads them to the promised land of suburbia, introduces them to the glories of junk food, and shows them how to snatch the stuff in a series of daring heists. The catch here is that the raccoon has a hidden agenda — to eventually snag all the food for himself (specifically, for a intimidating bear he owes big time) — but, this being DreamWorks' latest PG-rated animation, the proper life lessons kick in just in time to ensure happy endings all around. Over the Hedge won't change anyone's life — the movie lacks the rafters-raising wit of a Shrek or the emotional richness of Pixar's best stuff — but this is solid, second-tier kiddie fare, and an awful lot of fun. Features the voices of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell and Nick Nolte. 3.5 stars

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.