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Slate's Summary Judgment: 'Corpse Bride,' 'Roll Bounce,' 'Flightplan'


It's DAY TO DAY. I'm Noah Adams.

Every week, the online magazine Slate compiles a digest of what film critics are saying about the week's major movie releases. Here is Mark Jordan Legan with Summary Judgment.


First up in wide release we have Tim Burton's stop-motion animation comedy "Corpse Bride." The story focuses on a young bridegroom who mistakenly weds a girl from beyond the grave. Hey, you know the rule. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter provide the lead voices.

(Soundbite of "Corpse Bride")

Mr. JOHNNY DEPP: (As Victor Van Dort) You're the other woman.

Ms. HELENA BONHAM CARTER: (As Corpse Bride) No, you're married to me! She's the other woman.

Unidentified Man #1: She's got a point.

Ms. CARTER: (As Corpse Bride) And I thought--I thought this was all going so well.

LEGAN: The critics love this quirky film. The Hollywood Reporter cheers, `A wondrous flight of fancy, a stop-motion animated treat.' Entertainment Weekly pronounces, `As an achievement in macabre visual wizardry, "Corpse Bride" has to be reckoned some sort of marvel.' And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer shouts, `Totally genial and perfectly charming!'

Next up, also in wide release, is "Roll Bounce." This comedy is set in 1978, when roller-skating to disco music was not only done in public, it was encouraged! Seriously, I mean it. There are photos. Bow Wow stars as a young skater who enters a competition at a fancy uptown rink and, well, you can just bet he boogie-oogie-oogies till he just can't boogie no more. Mike Epps and Chi McBride also star.

(Soundbite of "Roll Bounce")

Unidentified Man #2: Who you all supposed to be, the Food Stamp Crew?

Unidentified Man #3: No, no, man. These are the Welfare Rollers.

Unidentified Man #4: I'm gonna tear up this here floor, you dig?

LEGAN: Guess what? The critics pretty much were feeling nostalgic and maybe got hypnotized by that darn mirror ball. Even though LA Weekly's critic found it so familiar he entertained himself trying to guess which disco oldie would come next--"Le Freak" or "Kung Fu Fighting"--the Minneapolis Star Tribune smiles, `This nostalgic roller-skate down memory lane is shored up by a performance by Bow Wow that surprises in its depth.' And The Christian Science Monitor cheers, `This homage to the '70s teen movie is so on-target it might as well be a '70s teen movie.' Wow, so take that, "Roller Boogie"! Uh, that's a 1979 Linda Blair movie also about disco roller-skating, not to be confused with Francois Truffaut's "Roller Boogie."

And we close with the wide-release thriller "Flightplan." Jodie Foster stars as a recent widow who discovers that her six-year-old daughter has vanished midflight from Europe to New York. Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard also star.

(Soundbite of "Flightplan")

Unidentified Woman: We're trying to get to the bottom of this.

Ms. JODIE FOSTER: (As Kyle Pratt) OK. Do you know where my daughter is?

Unidentified Woman: Ms. Pratt, I'm sorry but I don't think that she's here.

Ms. FOSTER: (As Kyle Pratt) Well, what are you talking about?

LEGAN: The nation's critics are split on this one. Some like it, but many have problems with the plausibility factor. Even though the Chicago Sun-Times enjoys the whole flight, saying, `It delivers a frightening thriller with an airtight plot,' the Philadelphia Inquirer compares "Flightplan" to `airline food.' And many agree with the LA Times, which sighs, `The movie loses some of its initial atmospheric tension as paranoid thrills give way to "Rambo" high jinks.' Hmm. Maybe they should lose the kid-vanishing part. It's terrifying enough to just try and fly with a six-year-old. I have a six-year-old! Oh, and the whining, the complaining and the looks from the other passengers. That's the worst part, the judgmental looks. I'm trying as best I can, people! She went through her sticker books even before takeoff!

ADAMS: Mark Jordan Legan's a writer living in Los Angeles.

DAY TO DAY returns in a moment. I'm Noah Adams. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mark Jordan Legan
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