Another week, another remake of a hit Japanese movie. Following the tepid Americanization of “Shall We Dance?” this English-language version of “Ju-on: The Grudge” should be more pleasing to purists. Director Takashi Shimizu, who originated the popular film series about a house that’s haunted by the unsettled spirits of its previous inhabitants, stays true to his roots by keeping the action in Tokyo. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as an American exchange student and social worker who stumbles upon the supernatural horrors while helping an elderly, catatonic woman. Shimizu’s film is sufficiently moody and has the requisite quick scares to make you jump, but it’s never deeply frightening. Jason Behr, Clea DuVall and William Mapother co-star. Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images, terror, violence and some sensuality. Rating: 2 out of 4 stars.

– Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer
‘Surviving Christmas’

This atrocious holiday comedy presents Ben Affleck as stilted and awkward as he’s ever been, fumbling along with a dopey grin and way-over-the-top jocularity. The movie is dead from the outset given the artificiality of the premise about a lonely rich guy who hires the folks living in his boyhood home to be his family for the holidays. In the clunky, hurried setup, director Mike Mitchell and his many screenwriters impart no credibility, as if they figured Affleck’s mug, the Christmas tinsel and a few dumb sight gags would carry the day. James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Christina Applegate and Josh Zuckerman co-star as Affleck’s rented family, their talents wasted. Rated; PG-13 for sex, language and a drug reference. Rating: 1 out of 4 stars.

– David Germain, AP Movie Writer
‘Shall We Dance?’

Structurally, this is exceedingly faithful to its source material, a Japanese film of the same name about an accountant who breaks out of his mid-life rut by secretly taking ballroom dance lessons. The setting has been moved to Chicago and Richard Gere plays a lawyer, but otherwise this remake is nearly scene-for-scene identical to the 1996 original, right down to some of the dialogue. Tonally, though, it couldn’t be more different, because it’s utterly devoid of subtlety. While much about this new movie feels over the top, Jennifer Lopez is oddly restrained as a competitive dancer who’s stuck teaching classes at Miss Mitzi’s Studio alongside the El train. Like her or not, you have to admit that the artist formerly known as J.Lo has a certain radiance that makes her magnetic. Here, in her attempt at conveying melancholy, Lopez merely appears constipated. Rated: PG-13 for some sexual references and brief language. Rating: 2 out of 4 stars.

– Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.