Conventional wisdom held that a NASCAR-themed comedy from the writing/directing/starring team behind Anchorman was a can't-miss proposition, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (Sony) more or less proved conventional wisdom right. Though it falls a bit short of its predecessor's sustained genius, it does put star Will Ferrell up against a mountain lion, and it features Sacha Baron Cohen as his jazz-loving gay French rival who reads Camus mid-race. And that's mostly enough…

Everything that was great about United 93—its you-are-there immediacy, its subtle attention to the day's particulars, its almost heroic restraint in keeping the melodrama and patriotism at bay—is thrown out the window in Oliver Stone's shameless World Trade Center (Paramount), which stumbles into every 9/11 pitfall imaginable. Once a pair of Port Authority cops are pinned beneath the rubble, you can close your eyes, and the film becomes just another hoary trapped-in-a-well scenario. Turns out that a neutered Stone is just as bad as wacky-peyote-fueled-hallucination Stone…

Meryl Streep's icy turn as a vicious fashion-mag editor in The Devil Wears Prada (Fox) has been getting renewed attention lately from Oscar prognosticators, who are touting her for Best Actress consideration. But the movie isn't really about the editor, it's about the whiny intern (played badly here by Anne Hathaway) who absorbed her abuses and wrote a whiny bestseller about it. Note to future interns: Don't come to a job with a sense of entitlement, lest it be quickly disabused…

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In this year's crowded field of lowbrow CGI comedies about talking animals, Barnyard (Paramount) distinguishes itself through totally rad cow-surfing stunts and anatomical incorrectness. (The bulls have udders.) Otherwise, it's a bizarrely misguided, unfunny look at the "party animals" on a farm where nothing is farmed: When the cows die in this movie, they're given proper Christian burials, six feet under…

Reportedly, House Of Sand (Sony) was specifically designed around the wife and mother-in-law of director Andrucha Waddington; both women have multiple plum roles, first as unwilling settlers in a Brazilian desert circa 1910, then as their own descendents. They may get more out of the film than viewers will. House Of Sand is beautifully shot and intermittently moving, but as decades zip by, each generation of stranded women has less to communicate, and the story's momentum crumbles much like the arid, symbolic sandbanks Waddington obsessively documents.