This week's premiere

photo: SPI International

Bad Santa (Santa je úchyl) - Comedy by Terry Zwigoff. With one film, 1994's brilliant documentary Crumb, writer-director Terry Zwigoff became a cult hero. Intense anticipation mounted for his fiction debut, Ghost World, which he didn't release until 2001. Though imperfect, it was easily one of that year's best releases, and solidified his reputation as one of American cinema's most unique and talented voices. Bad Santa is a holiday movie - albeit one through a decidedly irreverent filter. Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie T Stoke, an alcoholic con man and thief who, along with his accomplice Marcus (Tony Cox), plans a scam each holiday season. This year Willie and Marcus pose as Santa Claus and his elf, respectively, so they can rob all the stores in a local shopping mall. But the perpetually drunk and vulgar Willie passionately hates children, which makes holding down his Santa gig a bit more difficult than expected. His behaviour arouses the suspicion of the mall's manager (John Ritter, in his last role), who enlists the chief security guard (Bernie Mac) to investigate their new, less-than-jolly St Nicholas.

Other movies playing

photo: SPI International

Jersey Girl (Otcom na plný úväzok) - Comedy by Kevin Smith. Smith, the writer/director of Clerks and Chasing Amy, can't hide behind his immature stoner humour this time around, as he tries to make a grown-up movie about responsibility and love. His attempts at poignancy not only fall flat; they're also painfully sappy. The major players - Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, and Jennifer Lopez - are completely unremarkable. Newcomer Raquel Castro, admittedly, is cute as Ben Affleck's seven-year-old daughter, but she's not enough to alleviate the boredom.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jonesová: S rozumom v koncoch) - Romantic comedy by Beeban

photo: Tatrafilm

Kidron. Renee Zellwegger returns as the eccentric title character in the anxiously awaited sequel to 2001's Bridget Jones' Diary. Picking up four weeks after the first part left off, Bridget finally seems prepared to settle down with her dashing boyfriend Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). But before she has time to let out a sigh of relief, complications arise. While she begins to fear the intentions of Mark's beautiful young assistant, her former love Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) returns and further confuses the easily confused Bridget. Embarrassing events and frantic diary writing ensue. The first part was a surprisingly good time that avoided the many clichés that could so easily have marred it. Let's hope Bridget has as much spunk this time around.

photo: Tatrafilm

Monster (Monštrum) - Drama by Patty Jenkins. Former South African model turned former middling actress Charlize Theron was the talk of Hollywood last year due to this film, in which she plays Aileen Wuornos, the most recent woman to have been executed in the US. Theron won an Oscar for her role as the prostitute turned serial killer, and it's no surprise: Pretty women who play ugly, damaged characters do very well with the Academy - particularly when lesbianism is involved. Having said that, the performance is quite impressive, especially if you've seen any footage of the actual Wuornos. Though it sometimes feels like the Oscar buzz started hovering around the film from its inception, Monster escapes many of the problems that could so easily have plagued it. All in all, worth seeing - if you're in the mood for depressing brutality.

Prepared by Jonathan Knapp

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