Everyone waits until the year is over to compile their “Best of whatever” movie lists. This has become a mundane practice. Time for a bit of a change, kids.

Now there wasn’t a lot of expectations for last Friday’s releases, but let’s just say upon their arrival…it’s getting crowded at the bottom; and some of these upcoming flicks need to step up their proverbial game. Men in Black 3 went through the motions; Chernobyl Diaries executed a tired game-plan; and Sound of My Voice had a decent scheme, yet couldn’t maintain its level of play the entire way through.

The new releases for the respective week will have a capsule review at the end of the column. An updated list comes out every Monday. Here’s how things are shaking up so far in 2012:

1. Chronicle
2. The Cabin in the Woods
3. The Avengers
4. Red Tails
5. The Grey
6. Game Change
7. The Secret World of Arrietty
8. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
9. Friends with Kids
10. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
11. The Raid: Redemption
12. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
13. Big Miracle
14. Think Like a Man
15. 21 Jump Street
16. Brake
17. Mirror Mirror
18. This Means War
19. The Three Stooges
20. Gone
21. Blue Like Jazz
22. American Reunion
23. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
24. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
25. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
26. The Dictator
27. Safe
28. Searching for Sonny
29. The Hunger Games
30. John Carter
31. Wrath of the Titans
32. Dead Dad
33. Underworld: Awakening
34. The Devil Inside
35. The Five-Year Engagement
36. Downtown Express
37. Sound of My Voice
38. Project X
39. Men in Black 3
40. Dark Shadows
41. The Raven
42. Silent House
43. Darling Companion
44. Bully
45. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
46. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
47. Lockout
48. The Woman in Black
49. The Vow
50. Man on a Ledge
51. The Lucky One
52. Contraband
53. The Samaritan
54. Act of Valor
55. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
56. Safe House
57. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
58. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
59. Kill List
60. Chernobyl Diaries
61. Haywire
62. A Thousand Words
63. Joyful Noise
64. Battleship
65. Wanderlust

Not Screened: One for the Money, Casa De Mi Padre, Chimpanzee, Moonrise Kingdom

Men in Black 3

Problem is the majority of this is boring; visually, meh; and fairly predictable until the final few scenes – ushering in the only emotional element, that ends up being castrated by choppy and flawed storytelling from behind the lens. And sadly, there is no Will Smith accompanying musical single at the end credits. Tear.

Chernobyl Diaries

Alright, so the guy who directed the over-hyped Paranormal Activity (sequels are decent) apparently wanted to co-write a 90 minute screenplay that could have just been titled “The Hills STILL Have Eyes.” Oren Peli, and the other co-writers, where’s your imagination?

Sound of My Voice

For a cult flick, this is delivered in a more engaging manner than others in the genre. It’s not a smooth telling yet it can maintain one’s interest. When enacting the cult premise as a feature, there’s isn’t a whole lot of innovation the filmmaker can do (unless you possess the brains behind Martha Marcy May Marlene). The essentials of showcasing the leader – in this case co-star/co-writer Brit Marling – has to be done in a charismatic way to have the audience care and/or wonder. By using the angle of having two freelance journalists infiltrate a cult centered on Marling’s character – claiming she’s from the future – works for a while. But by the time it wraps, it’s just another tease that sees frustration outweigh the curiosity within the viewer.

Releasing this week: Snow White and the Huntsman, Piranha 3DD, For Greater Glory, Battlefield America

SEE THE 5/21 RANKINGS

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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