If you were busy Sundancing in mid-January, here's your chance to catch up on a few of the year's first releases. ---
The highest-profile option coming to Utah's bargain theaters is The Green Hornet, writer/star Seth Rogen's interpretation of the vintage superhero. Critics smacked it down for its frantic action sequences, and for director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) squelching much of his personal style for a work-for-hire gig. But there's a surprising amount of fun in the way Rogen turns Britt Reid into an immature dilettante, with Jay Chou's Kato doing all the dirty work. It ain't pretty, but it's worth a couple bucks.
No Strings Attached offered similar unevenness in its romantic-comedy premise of a workaholic medical intern (Natalie Portman) and a happy-go-lucky would-be Hollywood writer (Ashton Kutcher) trying to have a purely physical relationship. Unfortunately, its charms -- including a great supporting cast featuring Kevin Kline and Greta Gerwig -- are nudged aside by an excessive eagerness to be edgy and raunchy. It kind of misses the script's main point about giving equal attention to the groin and the heart.
And for supernatural thrills (or at least an attempt at them), here comes The Rite, adapting a non-fiction book about an American priest training in Italy to be an exorcist. If nothing else, it gives Anthony Hopkins another chance to ham it up.