New movies this week
The gist: At first we thought this sci-fi vehicle about monsters who run out of gas and are stuck in a ghetto on Earth was simply a remake of 1988's Alien Nation, but it sounds like first-time director Neill Blomkamp has really hit the metaphorical nail on the head in a yarn about a guy whose DNA is altered and who becomes hunted by aliens and humans alike. R
Starring: Sharlto Copley, David James, lots of other South African actors and plenty of CGI.
The buzz: "Though compelling throughout, District 9 never becomes outright terrifying, largely because Blomkamp is less interested in exploiting his aliens for cheap scares than in holding up a mirror to our own bloodthirsty, xenophobic species," Entertainment Weekly says. And this is the guy Peter Jackson wanted to make a Halo movie.
The Time Traveler's Wife
The gist: While all the fellas want to go see aliens, the ladies will likely be into this story of two lovers who are affected by the man's pesky habit of shifting in and out of his life's timeline with no control over when it happens. We suggest alternating weekend viewings, or perhaps a double feature. PG-13
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Arliss Howard and Ron Livingston.
The buzz: It's about relationships, so don't expect deep analysis. "May not make a lick of sense, but it does make for fairly irresistible nonsense," Variety says.
The gist: A doc in which the filmmakers undertake a superspy-style mission to prove Japanese fisherman are luring dolphins to shallows, killing the mammals and then selling the meat to school-lunch programs. It's what reality TV wishes it could be. PG-13
Starring: Lots of adventurous do-gooders and fishermen who don't care about marine life.
The buzz: Will definitely keep you from being bored. "The Oceanic Preservation Society doesn't change the world so much as call attention to something so very wrong with it," the Boston Globe says. "And in doing so, The Cove culminates with an image of political agitation that might be one of the most oddly effective public service announcements you'll see."
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
The gist: A fast-talking huckster comes to town and tries to save a local business from bankruptcy by any means necessary. No, he's not from Washington. R
Starring: Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, David Koechner, Kathryn Hahn and Jordana Spiro.
The buzz: Not too many people have reviewed this one, which is saturating the airwaves with a carpet-bombing of advertising, but few screenings. We suspect it will be like any other Piven movie: mildly entertaining and slightly annoying.
The gist: A bunch of kids compete in a battle of the bands they just have to win. Do you think they're gonna? PG
Starring: Alyson Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelen Connell and Lisa Kudrow.
The buzz: Not bad, we hear. "Had Cameron Crowe and the late John Hughes collaborated on a movie populated by Disney Channel superstars, the result might have looked and sounded a lot like Todd Graff's Bandslam. And that's meant as a compliment," the Hollywood Reporter says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org