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Movie Nuggets: Winter Passing, Miss Conception, In The Land Of Women, Charlie Bartlett

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For those who just want to know, "Should I see this or not?" without all the fluff and intellectualism (or at least minimal amounts), I present to you these bite-sized movie reviews. If you're in an abnormally large hurry, skip to the last few words of each section, as each is noted with "See it" or "Pass." So without further ado, let's see what's on the slate in this Chick Flicks edition.

Winter Passing
Dysfunctional drug-addicted sex fiend (Zooey Deschanel) goes home to get her father's (Ed Harris) letters to her dead mother to sell to a publisher in New York. On her way, she drowns a kitten. She's just a completely unlikeable bitch, and nothing that happens throughout the movie redeems her. I hated her, and I didn't enjoy a single second of her in the movie (other performances were okay). Pass. And warn others.

Miss Conception
Guys, if your woman makes you watch this, you'll both regret it in the end, but at least you get to see Heather Graham in her skivvies more than a couple times. The whole story fails because the lead is essentially playing herself, a world-renowned hottie, who should have no trouble whatsoever hooking up, but somehow does. She finds out she's got one egg left before early menopause sets in, and sets out to get laid and pregnant just after breaking up with her boyfriend, who apparently doesn't want kids. It plays out exactly as you'd expect, happy ending and all (even though it feels forced and doesn't entirely make sense), and despite a couple of amusing parts (the ever-horny construction worker being probably the best), the rest is stupid boyfriend and miscommunication and other nonsense. If you want to see Miss Graham in the buff, rent Boogie Nights instead, though your girlfriend may not like that as much. Pass on this.

In The Land Of Women
Writer/director Jon Kasdan gives us a guy (Adam Brody) who strikes out routinely with women and in life as a whole, then suddenly winds up in a love triangle with a mother who has cancer (Meg Ryan) and her underage daughter (Kristen Stewart). Talk about unlucky timing and stellar odds. There are some especially touching moments where reality peeks its head in, but all in all, it's reasonable fare. See it, unless you completely hate chick flicks.

Charlie Bartlett
Usually the problem-children have a mean streak or a black heart. Charlie is a good-natured kid just trying to fit in, but ends up going too far to achieve that goal. While charming and/or amusing at times and featuring the adorable Kat Dennings (of Infinite Playlist fame), it ended up being only so-so. It actually follows Pump Up The Volume's plot almost to the letter, including the outraged principal, the way of reaching out to and influencing other kids (bathroom stall in place of ham radio), good kids acting out alongside the bad seeds, and Charlie's eventual arrest for all he's done by the end. There's still more story after that, and it's not terrible. It's just not that great either. I'd say pass on this and see that Christian Slater gem from the '80s instead.

That's it for this edition. I'm sure I'll be back soon with more, as I can't seem to stop renting stuff. Cheers.

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About Mark Buckingham