This week at the movies, we've got good greed (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, starring Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf); heroic owls (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, with voice work by Sam Neill and Geoffrey Rush); and some venomous rivals (You Again, starring Kristen Bell and Jamie Lee Curtis). What do the critics have to say? Few movie characters have personified the zeitgeist like Gordon Gekko; Michael Douglas' masterful portrayal of an unscrupulous corporate raider resonated powerfully when Oliver Stone's Wall Street was released in 1987 -- just weeks after the stock market crashed. Now, with our economy again in turmoil, Stone and Douglas are back with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
This week at the movies, we've got a would-be harlot (Easy A, starring Emma Stone and Stanley Tucci); some Beantown bank robbers (The Town, starring Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm); wandering wolves (Alpha and Omega, with voice work by Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere); and a satanic elevator (Devil, starring Chris Messina & Geoffrey Arend). Critics say Easy A benefits greatly from the presence of Emma Stone, who helps to elevate this John Hughes-esque comedy with her natural comic instincts. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Town is proof (if any were needed) that Affleck is a strong director, and he gets memorable performances out of Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, and others in a strong crime procedural.
This week at the movies brings only one wide release: The fourth installment of the zombie-infested sci-fi/action Resident Evil franchise (Resident Evil: Afterlife, starring Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter). What do the critics have to say? We'd love to give you the lowdown on the latest entry in the venerable Resident Evil franchise, but Afterlife wasn't screened for critics - which, given that the best-reviewed entry in the series is at 34 percent, was probably a wise move. Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, a one-woman zombie-killing force; this time out, she's headed to Los Angeles to stop the latest dastardly deeds by the evil Umbrella Corporation. It's time to play guess the Tomatometer!
This week at the movies, Australian writer-director Stuart Beattie's adaptation of Tomorrow, When the War Began arrives to much anticipation; Drew Barrymore gets goofy alongside on/off beau Justin Long in rom-com Going the Distance; and local audiences finally get a look at one of the year's hit indies, Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right. So, what do the critics have to say?
This week at the movies, we've got one tough Mexican (Machete, starring Danny Trejo and Jessica Alba), long-distance lovers (Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long), and a lonely assassin (The American, starring George Clooney and Thekla Reuten). What do the critics have to say? Machete started as a trailer for a fake movie, then became a real movie. It's a curious route to the multiplex, but critics say this old-school exploitation flick largely delivers -- if you're in the mood some sleazy fun with zero pretense. Also, critics say Going the Distance is light on substance and relies too heavily on the natural charm of its leads.
This week at the movies, we've got demonic possession (The Last Exorcism, starring Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell) and a big score (Takers, starring Matt Dillon and Idris Elba). What do the critics have to say? The Last Exorcism marks an attempt to merge a demonic possession storyline with a mockumentary framing device. How well do these venerable horror movie tropes work together? Better than you'd, expect, say critics, who call The Last Exorcism a stylish, smarter-than-average creepshow. Everyone loves a good heist movie -- the kind in which a motley crew of colorful crooks concoct the perfect plan but are unable to foresee every possible outcome. However, critics say that while the slick Takers features a couple electric action scenes, it's ultimately more stylish that substantial.
This week at the movies, we've got a Twilight spoof (Vampires Suck, starring Jenn Proske and Matt Lanter); a magical childminder (Nanny McPhee Returns, starring Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhaal); bloodthirsty fish (Piranha 3-D, starring Elisabeth Shue and Jerry O'Connell); a baby mixup (The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman); and powerball pratfalls (Lottery Ticket, starring Bow Wow and Ice Cube). What do the critics have to say? The critically-reviled spoof-meisters Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer make Uwe Boll look like Akira Kurosawa; for those keeping score at home, their best-reviewed directorial effort thus far is Date Movie, which scored a robust six percent on the Tomatometer.
This week at the movies, we've got elite mercenaries (The Expendables, starring Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham), a journey of self-discovery (Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem), and a geek-turned-hero (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead). What do the critics have to say? Sly Stallone directs and stars in The Expendables, and he's got a veritable army of your favorite action stars along for the ride, including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, and Terry Crews. Sounds like a rip-roaring good time, right? Well, critics say that while this old-school action flick is jam-packed with star power and explosions, it's sadly short on imagination and decent plotting.
This week at the movies, Will Ferrell reunites with director Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights) to get absurd on the buddy cop comedy (The Other Guys, co-starring Mark Wahlberg); street dancing busts a move into the third dimension (Step Up 3D); and the Internet becomes a haven for porn entrepreneurs (Middle Men). What do the critics have to say? With the exception of Step Brothers (mixed at 55%), the McKay-Ferrell comedies tend to be viewed among the best of the star's movies, and The Other Guys is following suit. Critics say the police comedy, which pairs Ferrell's bookkeeping detective with Wahlberg's hot-tempered cop, is a refreshingly solid comedy in a summer that's been largely devoid of them.
This week at the movies, we've got a dinner party disaster (Dinner for Schmucks, starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd), some after-death bonding (Charlie St. Cloud, starring Zac Efron and Kim Basinger), and a joint canine-feline mission (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, starring Chris O'Donnell and Jack McBrayer). What do the critics have to say? It's not unusual for a remake to lose something in transition, and that's the case with Dinner for Schmucks, an American take on the acid French farce The Dinner Game. Still, critics say even if this isn't the most biting comedy, the inventiveness of Steve Carell and Paul Rudd make it consistently watchable and occasionally hilarious.
This week at the movies, we've got a spy on the run (Salt, starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber) and some feuding sisters (Ramona and Beezus, starring Selena Gomez and John Corbett). What do the critics have to say? Now that the Cold War is long over, they don't make thrillers like they used to. Oh, wait, maybe they do. The pundits say Salt is a solid, meat-and-potatoes spy flick with a standout performance from Angelina Jolie -- and, unfortunately, a completely preposterous plot. Filled with true-to-life vignettes and mischievous humor, the works of Beverly Cleary have long been staples of the pre-teen reading diet. Now, Ramona and Beezus is finally getting the big screen treatment, and the result, say critics, is pleasant but generic.
This week at the movies, we've got a mind-bending dreamworld (Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page) and a modern-day fantasia (The Sorcerer's Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel). What do the critics have to say? Christopher Nolan is on a roll. He took the superhero movie to new heights with The Dark Knight, and now he's back with Inception, which critics are calling an ambitious, dreamy sci-fi heist movie that's quite a mind bender. For those who can't wait for the next Harry Potter installment, The Sorcerer's Apprentice provides plenty of wizards and sorcery. What it lacks, say critics, is originality and inspiration.
This week at the movies, we've got a suburban supervillain (Despicable Me, featuring voice work from Steve Carell and Jason Segel) and mandibled monsters (Predators, starring Adrien Brody and Alice Braga). What do the critics have to say? It's always nice when a non-Pixar CGI feature dispenses with the lowest-common-denominator gags and shows off its smarts. Critics say that's one of the many reasons to love Despicable Me, which they call a witty, delightfully weird film that should appeal to kids and adults. Futuristic, brutal, and counting two future governors among its alumni, Predator was among the most memorable action/horror films of the 1980s. And critics say Predators, the latest installment of the franchise, offers rock-solid, old school thrills and stands alongside the original.
This week at the movies, we've got brooding bloodsuckers (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) and elemental excitement (The Last Airbender, starring Noah Ringer and Dev Patel). What do the critics have to say? Hey, Twihards -- you're probably going to see Eclipse anyway, so feel free to ignore the reviews. However, for the uninitiated who find themselves dragged to the theater, the critics say Eclipse is a big step up from New Moon -- even if it still suffers from slack pacing and portentous dialogue. Goodness, what happened to M. Night Shyamalan? In the decade since The Sixth Sense, his reputation as a wunderkind has taken a steep dive, one that won't be revived with The Last Airbender, which critics are calling an incomprehensible, ugly mess.
This week at the movies, we've got puerile parenting (Grown Ups, starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock), and rogue romance (Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz). What do the critics have to say? On most days, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Kevin James are very funny people. Unfortunately, it seems few of those days coincided with the filming of Grown Ups, which critics say is a juvenile, repetitive, lazy comedy. Say what you will about Tom Cruise's oddball public persona, but the guy has charisma to spare. Critics say his presence goes a long way toward enlivening the action/comedy/romance Knight and Day, which is otherwise short on logic and ultimately favors bombast over charm.
This week at the movies brings the return of Pixar's most iconic heroes (Toy Story 3, with voice work by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) as well as a supernatural bounty hunter (Jonah Hex, starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox). What do the critics have to say? Few (if any) studios can boast a critical and commercial streak that's been as astonishing as Pixar's. Now, with Toy Story 3, the company's creative minds have reprised the characters that have long been their trademark, and the critical response has run from positive to borderline ecstatic. Critics say the stylistically bold but haphazardly structured Jonah Hexis a modest showcase for the talents of Josh Brolin, but fails on nearly every other level.
This week at the movies, we've got a pair of 1980s reboots, one featuring a band of ragtag mercenaries (The A-Team, starring Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper), and another with an aspiring martial artist (The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan). What do the critics have to say? Don't you love it when a plan (or, in this case, a remake) comes together? And since we're asking questions, is there anything wrong with a big dumb action flick every once in a while? The critics would likely answer yes to the former question, but on the later they're largely split.
This week at the movies, we've got rock 'n' roll ribaldry (Get Him to the Greek, starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill); DNA disturbances (Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley); a canine caper (Marmaduke, starring Owen Wilson and William H. Macy); and espionage entanglements (Killers, starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher). What do the critics have to say? It might seem like fun to hang with your favorite rock star -- unless you actually have to do it. The critics say Get Him to the Greek takes this inspired premise and wrings plenty of terrific gags from it, making for a film that has such high energy that its lapses are easy to forgive.
This week at the movies, we've got a royal adventure (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton) and sexy socialites (Sex and the City 2, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall). What do the critics have to say?
This week at the movies, we've got a fairy tale finale (Shrek Forever After, starring the voices of Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz) and a clueless commando (MacGruber, starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig). What do the critics have to say? Everyone's favorite ogre returns this week in the fourth installment of the Shrek franchise, but is there enough fairy tale magic left after Shrek the Third? And while Saturday Night Live has produced some of America's best comedic talents over the past few decades, films based on SNL sketches haven't fared as well. Will MacGruber be one of the few to succeed?