Jack Garner, Gannett News Service: Kevin Spacey directs, plays Bobby Darin and sings all of Darin's songs in one of the most ambitious performances of the year. His singing and dancing...

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“Beyond the Sea”


Jack Garner, Gannett News Service: Kevin Spacey directs, plays Bobby Darin and sings all of Darin’s songs in one of the most ambitious performances of the year. His singing and dancing are first-rate.

Christy Lemire, The Associated Press: Spacey is 45 and looks it. His age becomes insurmountable when Darin starts wooing 16-year-old Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth). In real life, Darin was eight years older than Dee. Spacey is 24 years older than Bosworth, which is more than a little creepy and makes their romantic scenes together nearly unbearable to watch, except for the train-wreck factor.

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“The Aviator”


Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel: “The Aviator” is the big, glorious epic Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio promised when they set out to make “Gangs of New York,” all those years ago. That one failed. This one, their second teaming, does not.

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Unfortunately, though it may finally gain an Oscar for director Martin Scorsese, it is not his best work. The movie is disappointingly flat.


“The Life Aquatic

with Steve Zissou”


Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: If there’s anything more tiresome in film today than hip irony, it is forced irony, and here comes a boatload with Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic.” One needs to be an obsessive Bill Murray fan (and there are many out there) or a true believer in the young genius of Anderson (a growing sect) to find this flat cartoon of a sea adventure even tolerable. I haven’t wanted to reach land so badly since “McHale’s Navy.”

Desson Thomson, The Washington Post: Bill Murray is the movie’s best hope, a deadpan, shaggy seadog who watches this oddball world around him with a mixture of world-weariness and detached amusement. But most of the other characters seem to have been implanted arbitrarily — even for a story that’s already about serendipity and arbitrariness.


“Fat Albert”


Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Hollywood has a way of taking one generation’s childhood gold — the Grinch, “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “The Cat in the Hat” — and turning it into another generation’s bombastic, profit-grubbing “family entertainment.” By these admittedly low standards, the live-action “Fat Albert” is a minor treat. Pure of heart, devoid of toilet humor, it sticks close enough to Bill Cosby’s cartoon series to pass muster.

Karen Heller, Knight Ridder Newspapers: Affable Kenan Thompson, of “Saturday Night Live” and Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel,” does the best he can in a fat suit while being forced to say “hey hey hey” a thousand times or so. Alas, this eternally sunny character’s mantra, “I don’t have a problem, I solve problems,” makes for paltry dramatic tension.