This week, Elf, Love Actually, and that Matrix flick are inspiring so much discussion that Film Forum will wait until next week to focus on the next potential blockbusters of the Oscar season.

But if you're eager to get the scoop on Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a spectacular and suspenseful high-seas adventure starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany, my full review of the film is posted here, and Michael Elliott's review is up at Movie Parables.

Similarly, for parents curious about whether to take the family to see Looney Toons: Back in Action, Michael Elliott's enthusiastic review is also available.

Christian film critics differ over whether there's enough Jesus inElf

"If you're looking to get in the holiday spirit," writes Cliff Vaughn (Ethics Daily), "check out Elf. [It] hearkens back to classic Christmas films and manages to capture some of that magic. Elf delivers some genuine laughs and is diminutive only in name."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) calls it "a feel good holiday movie with charm to spare. Will Ferrell is perfectly cast as the ever cheerful, overly-excited, human elf. Even if a joke or gag is lacking, Ferrell's consistency in his characterization sells it to us and makes it work. It's a giddy performance. [The movie is] remarkably inoffensive in its content."

Bob Waliszewski (Plugged In) notes that "positive lessons about the importance of the family—especially bonding with a father—are underscored. Still, Elf is not as pure as the driven snow. Some mild language problems, a wink at inebriation and a complete avoidance of the season's Bethlehem roots mix some mud into it."

Apparently some critics really do wish this fantasy world where Santa lives still included the real-world ...

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