By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Aug 30, 2006 at 5:17 AM
This summer, I've seen somewhere in the realm of 30 new releases. It's not all the movies that were out at this time, but it was more than enough. There were a few standouts, a few disappointments, and a few just not worth anyone's time. So here's my movie round-up -- from the best and worst to a few more specified categories -- for movies that came out from the end of May until now. Go ahead and use the talkbacks to chime in with your own opinions.

The Best: "Little Miss Sunshine"
"Little Miss Sunshine" happens to be the best movie out in theaters at the moment. I've seen it twice and it hasn't gotten old. The buzz about this Sundance standout got so big that it was taken out of limited distribution and went wide release this week. The story of this dysfunctional family has heart, has humor and just captures its audience's attention. Without a doubt, get to the theater to see this movie.

The Worst: "The Omen"
It was appropriate to release "The Omen" again since 6/6/06 doesn't happen often, but boy was it a waste of time. The production company/movie studio could have saved time and movie by re-releasing the original.

Disappointing Movies: "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
I'm lumping both of these movies into this category because they share similar problems. Both had preceding movies which are a must for DVD collections, but the latest editions don't live up to them.

The first two "X-Men" movies had plenty of character building and a focus, but the third threw that out to focus more on the fighting and the war. Plus, growing up with the "X-Men" cartoons, I have a problem with some of the plot lines like the fact that the Phoenix had something to do with aliens and the movie says she just had this so-called power in her.

As for "Pirates," the first was a great stand-alone film, but for second film there's that cliff-hanger. It becomes a requirement to watch the second film and then the upcoming third film to have a semblance of an ending. It's as if the script-writers just got so into what they were writing, they didn't know where to stop therefore the third movie was needed.

Surprising Flick: "Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift"
I was all set to hate this movie, believe me. But the story of drifting got me. This type of racing is more intriguing than any regular race down a street or on a circular track. Drifting requires a real control of a car and knowledge of the way a car moves in order to be done. Anyone can slam on the gas and go for regular racing.

Best Comedy: "Clerks II"
Kevin Smith happens to be one of the best writer/director/actors out there. "Clerks" was a touch-and-go type of movie that you either loved or hated. The sequel follows in the same vein, but is much funnier than its predecessor, and also a lot dirtier.

Best Drama: "The Illusionist"
This movie has yet to hit Wisconsin theaters, which is a shame (but it's on its way!). It needs to get here soon because it's such an amazing movie. Superb performances were put out by Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. The script has a great flow with a wildly surprising twist. The magic performed by the illusionist will have any viewer stunned.

Best Kids Flick:
It was slim-pickings for children's movies this summer, but Disney's "Cars" pulled ahead of the pack. One rookie race car lets his success go to his head and he then gets taught a lessen. It has a wonderful message for any little one.

Best Superhero Movie: "Superman Returns"
Although most people say the real Superman is dead, this comeback was well-worth a movie ticket. There was a great story and great action, making it a triumphant return for the Man of Steel. Brandon Routh more than lived up to Christopher Reeve. Although, the one downside of the movie was Kate Bosworth, her eyes were a bit freaky (if you don't know she has one blue and one brown eye that seemed to switch).
Runner-up: "My Super-Ex Girlfriend"
What if Supergirl had been allowed to have relationships? Would she be the bitter, controlling heroine that Uma Thurman plays? If so, I'm afraid for all the guys she would have dated.

Best Novel Turned Movie: "The Devil Wears Prada"
Lauren Weisberger's novel was in good hands when Director David Frankel took the project. Without a doubt the movie was true to the book while taking on its own personality. It was a delightful and fun movie worthy of any chick lit fan.

Best Villain: Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) of "The Devil Wears Prada"
Miranda Priestly had ice water running through her veins and Meryl Streep had to as well. I, personally, would be wary of working for a boss like her. I doubt I'd be able to stand being belittled and run around like mad never to be appreciated. But that's what makes Miranda a perfect villain.

Worst Villain:
Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) of "The Omen"
Little Damien looked like he was constipated and needed a spanking -- no where near as evil as people were taking him to be. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was too adorable to be the anti-christ anyway.

Best Performance: Steve Carrell in "Little Miss Sunshine" vs. Paul Giamatti in "Lady in the Water"
I'm conflicted when it comes to best performance between Steve Carrell as Frank in "Little Miss Sunshine" and Paul Giamatti as Cleveland Heep in "Lady in the Water." Both actors put up solid performances, both with a touch of funny and seriousness. "Little Miss Sunshine" obviously is the better movie, but "Lady in the Water" was held up by Giamatti's acting abilities.

Best Song and Dance: "Bad Jokes" performed by John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson in "A Prairie Home Companion"
Every time I hear this song on my iPod (because I had to download it when I came home from the movie), I just laugh. Dirty jokes have that crass humor that people may blush at and putting a few in a song is a great combo.

Best Documentary:
"Once in a Lifetime"
The story of the New York Cosmos comes out on DVD in October, just in case you didn't get to see it during the one-week engagement in Milwaukee. You don't need to be a fan of sports or soccer to like this documentary. Plenty of laughs and interesting gossip.
Runner-up: "Wordplay"
Not many people can finish a New York Times crossword, let alone under five minutes. I'm in awe of how these people can fill in the spaces. And appearances by Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton make the movie that much better.

Best On-Screen Chemistry (Romantic): Keanu Reeves as Alex and Sandra Bullock as Kate in "The Lake House"
To fall in love through letters and time, it's hard to believe that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock can be so perfect as Alex and Kate. The premise of the movie isn't plausible, but any romantic can love these two.

Best On-Screen Chemistry (Non-romantic): Steve Carell as Frank and Paul Dano as Dwayne in "Little Miss Sunshine"
As the suicidal, former Proust scholar Frank, Carell finds his best match in voluntarily mute, Neische-follower Dwayne, played by Paul Dano. The two communicate through speech, gestures and a notepad and play well off one another. Frank also gives one of the best speeches to Dwayne about life sucking, but you need it to in order to become who you are supposed to.
Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.