Okay, so... busy time of year for me. Really busy. Too busy to do big on-time relevant reviews, and for some at this point there wouldn't be a point. So, here's some quick-takes:
BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)
It can't touch the genre-defining original, a classic sadly forgotten as the film that "loaded the bases" for "Halloween," by this remake at least gets credit for going all-the-way with the ramped-up tastelessness and secular blasphemy promised by the title and premise. Gore, blood and scantily-clad babeage abound, sure; but the film also piles on psychopathic backstories, child-abuse, seedy love-triangle twists, incest and kills that seem to have been thought up by walking through the Holiday department of a Craft Store and asking "how can we kill someone with that? Or that? Or one of those." Kind of like a glossier, shinier Troma offering.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
What a wonderful, modest, sincere little movie. It'd be so easy to turn the true story of a man who, literally, will-powers his way from homelessness to stockbroker wealth all while keeping his young son safe and secure during the hard times into treacly, over-sentimental Oscar bait... but this film avoids the easy route and trusts it's fate to a mezmerizingly genuine performance by Will Smith, who WILL snag an Academy nomination even without the bait. Happily, the film is entirely self-contained: There's no messageering, no partisan snidery about class and economics one way or the other, it even entirely sidesteps all issues of race. A treat.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
Some movies just happen in the wrong era. "Night at The Musuem" ought to have occured as a Disney vehicle in the early-1960s, and it ought to have been Don Knotts stuck in a magic History Museum who's exhibits come to life at night. Instead, it's 2006 and Ben Stiller is the one taking the pratfalls, but it's cute anyway. Stiller knows enough to hang back, play it cool and let the FX and stuntmen do their work, and what a nice surprise to see Robin Williams opt to underplay it as Teddy Roosevelt. A fairly nifty twist is kept mostly in check, as well, thanks to a canny bit of casting.
I liked it. A nice, slow-burn drama working off beats it's maker knows like the layout of his own bedroom. Stallone gives Rocky as proper sendoff that's uplifting, exciting and moving without being treacly, goofy or preachy.