'A Good Year'
(Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard, Freddie Highmore, Archie Panjabi, et al / PG-13 / 89 mins / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: London-based investment banker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) plans to sell a small vineyard he inherits from his uncle. But Max encounters a beautiful California woman who also lays claim to the property, and he begins to consider whether or not he can really sell the place.
Verdict: When Hollywood phonies decide to preach about "what really matters" to audiences, they usually like to make sure it's wrapped in swaddling luxury. That way you can pretend you're rich for two hours and get that sense of escape you go to movies for, while still feeling like you always knew the life lessons the main character has to learn in the third act. You also get to feel superior to that character instead of seething with envy over the fancy lifestyle you probably don't have. Meanwhile, they still get your money. It helps pay the property taxes on the director's vineyard in Provence. OK, now that's all said and done, 'A Good Year' is just downright clumsy, contains precious few surprises, and kinda slips away with a negligent sigh.