Not quite as inspiring as Invincible, but slightly more inspiring than We Are Marshall, 2006's third inspirational underdog-team football movie, Gridiron Gang (Sony), is just as forgettable as the other two, but amounts to a decent time-passer for fans of the genre. It's mostly watchable for wrestler-turned-thespian The Rock, who turns in another undeniably charismatic performance as a guard in a juvenile ward with his own ideas about reform. There's something oddly winning about The Rock's confidence; it's as if he's never had a moment of uncertainty in his life
From the Department Of Needless Franchise Extensions comes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (New Line), a prequel to the Michael Bay-produced remake of Tobe Hooper's '70s slasher classic. The setup is ripe: A Vietnam draft-dodger and his friends are menaced by some pro-war cannibals from Texas, but the emphasis is squarely on finding new ways to injure the human body for 89 minutes, with not a whiff of cleverness. Joy!
Stand-up superstar and MySpace favorite Dane Cook makes a rocky transition to leading man in Employee Of The Month (Lions Gate), a limp workplace comedy about the competition between slacker Cook and uptight overachiever Dax Shepard over who'll win Employee Of The Month at a Wal-Mart-like superstore, and hence win the heart of big-eared Jessica Simpson. The filmmakers predictably skip over ample opportunities for smart social satire in favor of crude physical comedy and shots-to-the-crotch gags
The spirit of '80s schlock factory Cannon lives on in The Protector (Weinstein), a deliriously over-the-top B-movie that casts Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior's Tony Jaa as a member of an elite secret society devoted to protecting sacred elephants. When his beloved tusked pals go missing, Jaa single-handedly demolishes half the heavies in Australia while pursing his righteous quest to retrieve his thick-skinned animal companions. Genre movies don't get much crazier than this
In La Moustache (Koch Lorber), written and directed by thriller-novelist Emmanuel Carrère, a man shaves off his moustache, and not only does nobody notice, but his wife and friends all insist that he never had a moustache. And things get creepier from there. La Moustache recalls the "everyday suspense" films of Roman Polanski and the existential woe of Michelangelo Antonioni, but while it isn't as strange or penetrating as the former or as artfully shot as the latter, Carrère does capture the dreadful possibility that we might lose ourselves every time we step up to the sink.