Friday movie roundup – Dec. 1

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Three wide releases open today, this first weekend in the last month of 2006. (Where does the time go?) One is appropriate for the season, and two are not.

The one that fits is “The Nativity Story,” a faithful and modestly uplifting reenactment of, um, the nativity story. You know, from the Bible and stuff. The 16-year-old star of the film, Keisha Castle-Hughes, got pregnant a few months ago in real life, which I think is a fantastic publicity stunt.

Then there’s “Turistas,” a bad horror movie that would be more at home in October or January (the latter because it’s where lousy movies often get shuffled to). I’m actually surprised they screened this at all, since it’s the type of movie the studios have been hiding from us lately. So kudos to Fox for screening it so we can tell everyone in a timely manner how bad it is.

Finally, “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj” opens today. You can probably stop at “National Lampoon” and know it’s lousy, though if that fails to tip you off, surely “Van Wilder” will do the trick. It screened last night (at the last minute, fittingly), and afterward I had two phone calls to make. Both people I talked to, when I told them what I had just seen, said, “Why?” And for a minute I couldn’t think of a good reason. Why HAD I seen “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj”? Then I remembered: because it’s what I do. I see the bad movies so you don’t have to.

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