Welcome to the first weekend of the new year! You know what that means, dontcha? That's riiiiight: Amazingly crappy movies! Yes indeed, what with all the Oscar-type movies cascading into their platform releases and the studios holding all their high cards until Spring (and Summer) -- it's junk-a-thon time at the local multiplexes. Case in point: The very first weekend of movies: Two certifiable dungpiles and one "inspirational drama" that's getting a few kind words, if only by default.

Code Name: The Cleaner
(2 positive / 42 negative at RottenTomatoes.com)

Pro: "It's always fun to see Liu beat on some bad guys. Check your disbelief at the door and you'll get just what you expect." -- Michael Ordona, The Los Angeles Times

Con: "Wastes so much energy on parsing out a convoluted plot that its stars' brightest moments are saved for the blooper reel in the closing credits." -- Scott Tobias, The Onion AV Club

"It is a slight piece of entertainment that does entertainment on a basic level." --Stefan Halley, Pop Syndicate

Con: "The spectacularly implausible plot is dropped on moviegoers in boulder-size chunks during speed-talking monologues." -- David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Even with low expectations, however, I was disappointed in this movie." -- Jette Kernion, Cinematical

Freedom Writers (45 positive / 25 negative at RT)

Pro: "A simple, straightforward and surprisingly affecting story of one woman who managed to make a difference." -- Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly

Con: "Sometimes art imitates life. And sometimes life goes to Hollywood and disappears completely." -- Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

Pro: "Delivers the expected messages about hope and the ability to change one's destiny, and does it in a manner that it is emotionally and intellectually satisfying." -- James Berardinelli, ReelViews.net

Con: "Hits all the expected marks, with no cliché left behind." -- Robert Keser, Slant Magazine

Bonus! "Swank's passion and personality suck you into the story right from the start, and knowing that the script is based on real stories makes it meaningful and inspirational." -- Kim Voynar, Cinematical

Happily N'Ever After (3 positive / 50 negative at RT)

Pro: "Characters are painted broadly enough for the vocal cast to have a heap of fun, especially Weaver, who clearly relishes the opportunity to play a heartless diva." -- Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

"Not counting derivative, obnoxious, poorly animated, and woefully unfunny, what Happily is most of all is dull." -- David Cornelius, eFilmCritic.com

Pro: "This most recent po-mo take on fairy tale may be "Shrek"-lite, but it is just cute enough." -- Nell Minow, Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Con: "Unhappily unsuccessful as either low-budget, time-filling kiddie fare or satire aimed at adults." -- Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

"The couple of times I laughed during the film, it was in utter disbelief at one awful line or another." -- Kim Voynar, Cinematical

Next weekend: Alpha Dog, Primeval and Stomp the Yard