The Happening — (3 stars)
While the fifth entry in this list almost went to Ebert’s three-star review for Len Wiseman’s Total Recall remake, it would be absolutely criminal not to spend a few minutes scratching the skin off of the top of our heads in wonder at Ebert thinking that M. Night Shyamalan’s borefest The Happening is not only worth watching, but also “oddly touching.” It’s hard to knock Ebert’s enjoyment of a film that showcases mankind’s extinction in an absence of explosions and global warfare, or for his admission that he suspected he’d “be in the minority in praising this film,” but it’s far easier to stare bewilderingly at his approval of the characters (Mark Wahlberg at his empty-eyed Wahlbergiest) and the pacing, not to mention the plot itself. The only thing more ridiculous than this is that RogerEbert.com critic Matt Zoller Seitz somehow gave Shyamalan’s After Earth a score of 3 1/2 stars. I can’t wait until Mother Nature takes us all away.
Key Quote: “It is no doubt too thoughtful for the summer action season, but I appreciate the quietly realistic way Shyamalan finds to tell a story about the possible death of man.”