New movies this week
The Expendables 2
The gist: All your favorite '80s action stars — plus a few new ones — team up once again to show you that steroids, drugs, alcohol and desensitivity to violence are the stuff of legend. Sylvester Stallone fighting Jean-Claude Van Damme? C'mon, y'all, we waited 20 years for this! R
The cast: Stallone, Van Damme, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins and Nan Yu.
The buzz: It's funny how some critics say this movie is awful. Of course it's awful. That's the entire point. "They all take turns playing the clown — and for the most part, it's fun to watch them at it, even if the body count is distressingly high," the Toronto Star says.
The gist: This remake was supposed to be Whitney Houston's movie comeback, in which she plays the mother of three daughters who become singers. We all know how that one turned out. PG-13
The cast: Houston, Jordan Sparks, Derek Luke, Carmen Ejogo, Mike Epps and Tika Sumpter.
The buzz: Whitney was working on this one since 2001, but it doesn't really show. "It's a better movie than what's inspired it, but that fails to explain much," the Boston Globe complains. "It's like preferring the line at the concession stand to the one for the bathroom.''
The gist: The makers of Coraline offer another stop-motion feature, this time about a boy who can speak to the dead, conveniently learning the talent in time to save his town from a zombie outbreak. There are apparently ghosts and witches, too. We don't know if shooting them in the head works as well. PG
The cast: Voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Tucker Albrizzi, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin and Bernard Hill.
The buzz: It shambles along a little bit, but a solid effort from studio Laika. "It delivers a potent, multipronged fable that touches on meaty themes, from bullying to dealing with death. It also delivers an especially resonant message about not succumbing to a cult of fear," the San Jose Mercury News says.
Hit & Run
The gist: A jumbled mess about a couple on the run from a convicted killer, the U.S. Marshals and a band of weirdos. It's a comedy, by the way. R
The cast: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenowith and Beau Bridges.
The buzz: No reviews have been published. That's how you know it's good.
— Joshua Gillin [email protected]