Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

As would-be cult classics go, Snakes On A Plane (New Line) is a special case, because everything happened in reverse: It was a cult movie that lost its cult, having flowered in people's imaginations before it came out and withered the moment they saw it. After coming alive in the blogosphere, the film was reverse-engineered to include new lines and scenes, resulting in an awkward amalgam of an Airport '77-style disaster-movie, a straight-to-video thriller, and an Internet discussion board come to life. It's as poorly made as any major studio movie last year, but Samuel L. Jackson's big line is still oddly exhilarating…

Pity Orlando Bloom, because no matter what role he plays, audiences are always going to see him primarily as an elf or a swashbuckler. (See also: Elizabethtown.) That's bad news for Haven (Fox), a hilariously misguided tropical melodrama that unwisely casts the featherweight dreamboat as a brooding, disfigured island rude-boy who falls for a wealthy African-American teenager, with tragic results…

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Once the go-to guy for extravagantly vulgar Hollywood entertainments like Die Hard 2: Die Harder and The Long Kiss Goodnight, poor Renny Harlin has been on a brutal streak of barely released, widely lambasted films like Exorcist: The Beginning, Mindhunters, and now The Covenant (Sony), which wasn't even screened for critics. Everyone in Harlin's heavy-metal-tinged stab at the teenage-witch genre is easy on the eyes, but the ears and the brain are left woefully malnourished…

Hong Kong director Tsui Hark has proved his meddle in the past with large-scale martial-arts epics like Once Upon A Time In China and Zu: Warrior Of The Magic Mountain, but his latest opus, Seven Swords (Sony), botches the job. The story isn't terribly complicated: Emperor bans martial arts and offers a cash bounty for the heads of those who practice it. Bad guys use this decree to indiscriminately lop the heads off villagers. Seven good guys with special swords fight the bad guys. Sounds simple, right? Then why is it so confusing throughout its tedious two and a half hours? Worse yet, the action sequences are murky and unsatisfying for a filmmaker of Tsui's caliber.

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