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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

daily list: 10 of 2008’s hot movies reviewed now

Maxim magazine got itself in a tiny bit of hot water this week when it published a review of the new Black Crowes album without anyone actually having listened to it. Maxim called the review — which gave the album two and a half stars out of five — “an educated guess.” Peter Angelos, the band’s manager, was quoted in a post at the band’s site wondering, “What’s next — Maxim’s concert reviews of shows they never attended, book reviews of books never read and film reviews of films never seen?”

To which I say, Why the hell not? Who needs to waste time actually seeing movies before reviewing them? I’m filing my reviews of 2008’s hottest movies now, and then I plan to take the rest of the year off. Here are choice quotes from 10 of them:
1. 10,000 B.C.: “It’s like Clan of the Cave Bear, Part Deux, or perhaps When Eurotrash Cavemen Roamed the Earth. Still, the mammoths are kinda cool.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

2. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo: “If we can’t keep these two losers locked up, we’re doomed. On the other hand, perhaps human-rights watchers shouldn’t be too concerned about the prison if these idiots could escape.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: “Yawn. More fantastical creatures, more dewily handsome adolescent boys swinging their swords around, more ‘magical’ CGI. Yeah, sure, it’s pretty, and the kids will love it. But why do I find myself wishing for the realm of Narnia to suffer a good old-fashioned decimating dose of the Black Death?” [2.5 stars out of 5]

4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: “Sure, it’s nice that someone dragged the fedora and the bullwhip out again, but Ford is a bit too long in the tooth to do it justice, and LaBeouf is too green.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

5. Get Smart: “Oh, can we please just stop it already with the remakes of old TV shows? If this one, about a dumb-as-a-post secret agent had to be dragged out, couldn’t we at least have gotten some contemporary relevance from it, like maybe a dumb-as-a-post president to send him off on missions?” [2.5 stars out of 5]

6. Wall-E: “Pixar has finally run out of gas — or perhaps high-octane futuristic diesel — with this limp tale of a cute little robot who just wants to be human. Commander Data, call your office.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

7. The Dark Knight: “Again with the bat guy. He’s a psychopath, okay? He’s not a hero. His car is cool, but that’s about the only thing he’s got going for him.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

8. Mamma Mia!: “It’s the feel-good movie of the summer! Actually, it’s kind of icky, everyone singing and dancing and trying to guess which of several losers Mamma slept with became an inadvertant sperm donor. Ugh.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

9. Quantum of Solace: “Funny, isn’t it, how Daniel Craig has worn out his welcome as 007 already? I’ve got one last mission for him, though: Take out whoever came up with that title.” [2.5 stars out of 5]

10. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: “The boy wizard is back for yet another tedious installment of silly incantations and head-butting with Snape. Why won’t this kid just drop out already?” [2.5 stars out of 5]

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