Hollywood pundits predicted disaster when the release date for Valkyrie (MGM) was pushed back. Besides, early reports indicated that Tom Cruise’s performance as a one-armed, eyepatch-sporting, incongruously American-accented German general who leads a doomed crusade to kill Hitler was more guffaw-inducing than Oscar-worthy. But the mediocre drama easily exceeded expectations, proving that the combination of a big movie star like Cruise and a Hitler-centric true story remains a potent commercial draw…

Nobody seemed to have terribly high expectations for Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony), a relatively low-budget Happy Madison vehicle that cast corpulent cut-up Kevin James as a sad-sack mall security guard turned hero. Yet audiences inexplicably responded to its unwieldy combination of inoffensive hijinks, maudlin sentiment, and workmanlike action sequences, turning it into the year’s biggest sleeper hit, and establishing James as an unlikely box-office attraction…

The concept of True Blood (HBO) seems relatively foolproof: gothic vampire trash, from the network and creator responsible for Six Feet Under. Yet the first season, while beloved enough by some to warrant a second, botches just about every aspect, from a cast sporting diversely terrible Louisiana accents to the overheated atmosphere to the frequently leaden use of vampires as blood-sucking social metaphors. A few late-season guests briefly brought it to life though, particularly the always-welcome Stephen Root as a new vamp overcome by melancholy…

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As a reboot of a completely forgettable ’70s slasher film, My Bloody Valentine (Lionsgate) couldn’t be more inessential. As a 3D experience, however… Well, it’s hard to deny the guilty pleasure of gruesome pickaxings staged right in front of your nose. Unlike the current wave of 3D movies that are using advancements in the format to enhance cinematic environment, MBV embraces the comin’-at-ya gimmick with shameless élan. The new DVD version comes with 3D glasses and tries to recreate the experience at home, but it’s unlikely to have the same effect…

Fanboys (Genius) became a minor cause when it was taken away from director Kyle Newman and reworked as a standard T&A comedy. The original vision won out, but the film—in which a few hardened Star Wars fans try to steal a print of The Phantom Menace for a dying friend—doesn’t have many laughs or much heart.