No film in 2007 took greater risks than There Will Be Blood (Paramount), from Jonny Greenwood's unconventional, often deliberately abrasive score to Daniel Day Lewis' larger-than-life performance as an unrepentant oil baron to a relentlessly bleak assessment of American capitalism. And suitably, no film offered greater rewards than Paul Thomas Anderson's idiosyncratic take on Upton Sinclair's Oil!, which resonates with an almost primordial power…

Jake Kasdan must feel cursed. Even with Judd Apatow, the King Midas of contemporary comedy, as his producer, he directed two flops last year: the astute show-biz satire The TV Set and the giddily goofy biopic parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Sony). It turns out movie-goers weren't hungering for a Walk The Line spoof after all, but Walk Hard looks primed to pick up a cult following on DVD, thanks to insanely catchy musical pastiches and a hilarious lead performance by John C. Reilly as an overgrown kid who stumbles obliviously through damn near every musical trend of the second half of the 20th century…

The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep (Sony) is pretty passable, surprisingly complicated children's entertainment. Sure, it looks an awful lot like Eragon II: The Underwater Adventure, but it's actually an amalgam of Eragon,Free Willy, Into The West, and Bedknobs And Broomsticks. By condensing all four of these films into one story about a Scottish kid who hatches and protects a magical, legendary creature during World War II, it saves impatient viewers a whole lot of movie-watching time…

Advertisement

Box-office Superman Tom Cruise encountered the commercial Kryptonite of movies about the War On Terror with Lions For Lambs (Fox). The results are downright ugly, not to mention stiff, didactic, and shrill. Robert Redford directs and co-stars in a terminally talky tale that combines the worst of politically charged Off-Broadway theater with the wonky tedium of the opinion page of a small-town newspaper…

Ever wanted to get a headache watching Leonardo DiCaprio be achingly sincere about the many problems plaguing the environment? In The 11th Hour (Warner), he and 50 other talking heads each pop up for a dire sentence or two about erosion, pollution, population growth, and many other modern ills, but the disjointed, superficial group monologue and the super-slick editing are so overbearing that they drown out the message.

Advertisement