If you want all your friends to think you’re intellectual, you’ll go see one of the Oscar nominees this week, many of which are expanding yet again. (I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of TV ads that scream “NOMINATED FOR X NUMBER OF ACADEMY AWARDS!!!”, as if it’s somehow an accomplishment to make a stodgy period drama and then take out a bunch of servile ads in Variety.) But if you’re not pretentious, you have the following choices:

Taken
Liam Neeson is an ex-spy whose daughter gets kidnapped. Liam Neeson proceeds to kick serious bad guy butt. If that appeals to you, you know who you are. Personally, I’m all for some escapist action this week, and Evan tells me that this one delivers what it promises, so count it as first on my list. Plus, it’s French. So you know it’s sophisticated.

Recommended if you liked The Bourne Identity, Under Siege or Air Force One

The Uninvited
This one’s a remake of (surprise, surprise) an Asian horror flick, which doesn’t speak well for it at all, but all I know is that the TV trailer has one of the coolest special effects ever: someone drops a glass of milk on the floor, and it splatters into a puddle of black liquid (as opposed to milk). Now that is some nifty computer trickery. Aside from that, it looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill ghost story, and while I do prefer the current spook trend over the slasher films of yore, even I have to admit it’s getting old.

Recommended if you liked any of the identical movies to come out of Hollywood in the last ten years

New in Town
Renee Zellweger stars in a romantic comedy with something for everyone: jokes about underwear, jokes about people falling down, and even jokes about how people in Minnesota talk funny! Look, I could give you any number of reasons that this probably isn’t that good, but what I really can’t get over is how much the poster looks like the one for Reese Witherspoon’s 2002 vehicle Sweet Home Alabama. I’m going to guess that that’s a pretty good estimate of the amount of creativity here…right down to the condescending regional stereotypes that we’ve all seen a dozen times before.

Recommended if you wished Fargo was a rom-com.

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