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.

While the Madagascar franchise seems to be improving with age, “coach” Ridley Scott’s old game-plan can only take his veteran team (Prometheus) so far in the modern times. Also, a few subtle adjustments have been made as some performances (movies) have held up better than others this year.

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. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
16. Brake
17. Mirror Mirror
18. 21 Jump Street
19. Snow White and the Huntsman
20. This Means War
21. God Bless America
22. The Three Stooges
23. Gone
24. Blue Like Jazz
25. American Reunion
26. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
27. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
28. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
29. Prometheus
30. Hysteria
31. The Dictator
32. Safe
33. Searching for Sonny
34. The Hunger Games
35. John Carter
36. Wrath of the Titans
37. Dead Dad
38. Underworld: Awakening
39. The Devil Inside
40. The Five-Year Engagement
41. Downtown Express
42. Sound of My Voice
43. Project X
44. Men in Black 3
45. Piranha 3DD
46. Dark Shadows
47. The Raven
48. Silent House
49. Darling Companion
50. Bully
51. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
52. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
53. Lockout
54. The Woman in Black
55. The Vow
56. Man on a Ledge
57. The Lucky One
58. Contraband
59. The Samaritan
60. Act of Valor
61. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
62. Safe House
63. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
64. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
65. Kill List
66. Chernobyl Diaries
67. Haywire
68. A Thousand Words
69. Joyful Noise
70. Battleship
71. Wanderlust

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


The storytelling, and other pertinent elements that fill up this 124 minute biblical-like reading, hold their own on some levels, but really fail to live up to the excitement of their surroundings. The story toys with going away from the norm but it never truly breaks free from what its predecessors (both in franchise and genre) have done before. And it’s not that it has to; but for those that have seen their fair share of these Sci-Fi dramas, with small doses of action, the journey will seem familiar all the way down to the stereotypical cast of characters. This should have had the guile to do something monumental…aside from looking visually incredible.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

This sharply dressed 3D flick is a bottle rocket. Having so many characters this time around, there’s a near frantic pace of quick hitting jabs from all angles. It keeps the story lively, especially since all of them come equipped with their own unique accents and personas. And when the filmmakers want to showcase a little heart, the screenplay screeches to a halt (mainly in the middle portion) to allow everyone to catch their breath. Yet this flick’s agenda is nothing more than a pure adrenaline rush for all audiences in the visual department.


Depicting the events surrounding the invention of a woman’s most loyal and trusted friend, the vibrator, the late 19th century period piece chronicles the origins about how that handy piece of equipment came to be. The innuendo laced tale has its moments within the dialogue, and has a subtly amusing tone; which is executed in a playful manner via an exceptionally lively cast. That said, once the “Aha” moment occurs, the uninteresting rom-com subplots fail to fill in the void for multiple areas of enjoyment.

Releasing this week: Rock of Ages, That’s My Boy



Madagascar 3 shows off

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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