New movies this week
The Lucky One
The gist: A three-tour war vet stalks a woman upon his return from Iraq because he had her photograph while he was in country, despite not even knowing who she was. Instead of calling the VA or the police, she lets him work at her family-run kennel and falls for him. Oh, like that's not how it'll end. PG-13
The cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson and Trey Burvant.
The buzz: Schmaltzy. Sentimental. Overbearing. Just what the ladies want. "In The Lucky One, an occasionally shirtless Zac Efron lifts heavy things, plays the piano, reads Moby Dick, bonds with a small child and fixes a tractor. Puppies lick his face," the Arizona Republic notes.
Think Like a Man
The gist: Based on Steve Harvey's book, four men are sick of fighting the tide of women who actually expect something of them and follow the advice of Steve Harvey's book, which makes this perhaps the biggest-budget book commercial ever made. PG-13
The cast: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, and Taraji P. Henson.
The buzz: It's a lot better than The Lucky One, that's for sure. "You have to give Think Like a Man credit for not only trying to serve as an alternative to Tyler Perry-style date-night fare, but for even going so far as to make fun of those movies for their soapy conventions," the AP says.
To the Arctic
The gist: A 3-D animal adventure about a mother polar bear and her twin cubs that serves as a moral lesson about how terrible it will be when corporations poison this planet so much this majestic race of creatures vanishes from the Earth. Great fun for kids! G
The cast: Narrated by Meryl Streep.
The buzz: Reviews are mixed, but it'll keep your kids occupied for 40 minutes, so who cares?
The gist: A Disney animal adventure about an orphaned chimp and his adopted caretaker that serves as a moral lesson about how terrible it will be when poachers hunt so much that this majestic race of creatures vanishes from the Earth. Great fun for kids! G
The cast: Narrated by Tim Allen and China Anne McClain.
The buzz: Reviews are slightly more favorable for this one, plus it'll keep your kids occupied for 77 minutes, so there's that.
Blue Like Jazz
The gist: A Texan raised in a devout evangelical household escapes his junior college to go to hippie, tree-hugging Reed College in Portland, thereby saving his life and the lives of countless others around him. That's what Hollywood is saying, anyway. PG-13
The cast: Marshall Allman, Claire Holt, Tania Raymonde, Justin Welborn, Jason Marsden and Jenny Littleton.
The buzz: Another mixed bag. "Blue Like Jazz is a pleasant film, as well-intentioned as the character Don himself, but it ducks the thorniest questions of faith and dogma while patting itself on the back for realism," the New York Post says.
Also this weekend
Sunscreen Film Festival
The seventh annual showcase of independent filmmaking continues through the weekend. For more information, turn to Page 31.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org