This week at the movies, we've got a runaway train (Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine), chat show intrigue (Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford), and an alien invasion (Skyline, starring Donald Faison and Eric Balfour). What do the critics have to say? Director Tony Scott has taken some knocks in recent years, but give the man credit: he knows how to stage a white-knuckle action scene. And in Unstoppable, the tale of an out-of-control locomotive, critics say he's reeled off a whole string of them, making for one of the most purely enjoyable action flicks of the year.
This week at the movies, we've got a reformed supervillain (Megamind, with voice work from Will Ferrell and Tina Fey); a crazed cross-country trek (Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis); and some pained, poetic women (For Colored Girls, starring Thandie Newton and Janet Jackson). What do the critics have to say? Megamind, a tale of a washed-up superhero and an evil mastermind who sees the error of his ways, shares some cosmetic similarities with a couple of recent animated features - namely, The Incredibles and Despicable Me. Still, critics say Megamind has a strong voice cast, strong visuals, and a loopy sense of humor that help to make up for a slightly stale premise and some pacing problems.
This week at the movies, Jigsaw's comin' at ya in three dimensions in Saw 3D, starring Tobin Bell and Cary Elwes. What do the critics have to say? With the possible exceptions of Elvis and 2Pac, few can rival Jigsaw for posthumous productivity. We'd love to tell you if the critics think the mad, methodical killer is back in top form in Saw 3D, but few of them have seen the movie at press time. This time out, the survivors of Jigsaw's evil schemes seek help from a self help guru - who turns out to have a dark past of his own. Kids, stop playing with that chainsaw and guess that Tomatometer!
This week at the movies, we've got spooky spectres (Paranormal Activity 2, starring Katie Featherston) and supernatural seekers (Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard). What do the critics have to say? Upon its release, Paranormal Activity became something of a cult phenomenon - and the press was almost as intrigued by its budget-to-gross ratio as its lo-fi chills. Now, Paranormal Actrivity 2 is hitting theaters, and though it's barely been screened for critics, those who have seen it say it's a worthy - and very creepy -- follow-up. As a director, Clint Eastwood deserves plenty of credit for refusing to play it safe in his august years. However, that doesn't mean he's always at the top of his game, and unfortunately, critics say the multi-stranded afterlife meditation Hereafter is an intriguing but ultimately murky misfire.
This week at the movies, we've got aging agents (Red, starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman) and gumptious goofballs (Jackass 3-D, starring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O). What do the critics have to say? Only a scant few weeks after The Expendables came and went, along comes another movie about a ragtag bunch of oldsters operating heavy firearms. Happily, the critics say Red makes for a goofy, action-packed good time -- it's witty, high-spirited, and loaded with loose, good-humored performances from a stellar cast. It's hard not to have at least a little grudging affection for the Jackass posse: how many others have risked life and limb in such inventively absurd ways for our entertainment? But if Jackass Number Two represented an advance in terms of (relative) critical respect for the gang, the pundits aren't quite as enthused about 3-D.
This week at the movies, we've got a legendary racehorse (Secretariat, starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich), an unconventional family unit (Life as We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel), and ome unhappy birthdays (My Soul to Take, starring Max Thieriot and John Magaro). What do the critics have to say? Ah, the inspirational sports movie: it's a subgenre we never seem to tire of, no matter what the athletic pursuit or how conventional the script. And critics say Secretariat, a biopic (horsey-pic?) of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is a pretty solid wager, with strong performances and thrilling race sequences largely offsetting the fact that little of the story will come as a surprise -- even if you don't have a sports almanac on your shelf.
This week at the movies, we've got Internet pioneers (The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake), a juvenile vampire (Let Me In, starring Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee), and a cree (Case 39, starring Renée Zellweger and Ian McShane). What do the critics have to say? In only a few short years, Facebook has morphed from a campus-wide phenomenon to revolutionizing the way that we communicate and share information. If The Social Network offers an embellished account of the site's genesis, critics say it's still a remarkable piece of filmmaking -- David Fincher's virtuoso direction and Aaron Sorkin's brisk, intelligent script make the Certified Fresh The Social Network on of the best-reviewed films of the year.
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.