New movies this week
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
The gist: Katie Holmes attempts to resuscitate her film career by starring in a remake of a 1973 TV movie about a haunted house. But since it was written by Guillermo del Toro and features little CGI beasties, that may be a good plan. R
The cast: Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson, Alan Dale and Julia Blake.
The buzz: Well, good idea may be a bit strong, but it's not bad as far as cheesey horror movies go. "This is an above-average horror flick by any measure, nicely directed by del Toro protege Troy Nixey in an atmospheric, unshowy style that recalls cheapo '70s cinema without mimicking it," Salon says.
The gist: Zoe Saldana cements her stature as geek demigoddess in this cross between La Femme Nikita and The Professional, which is convenient, since Luc Besson worked on all of them. PG-13.
The cast: Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Amandla Stenberg, Michael Vartan and Cliff Curtis.
The buzz: Surprisingly engaging for a PG-13 movie about an assassin. "There are guilty pleasures to be had in this frenzied B starring Zoe Saldana, who gives an acrobatic performance that makes the overcooked material watchable," the Hollywood Reporter says.
Our Idiot Brother
The gist: Well-meaning siblings are exasperated by the foolish antics of their loser brother without ever appreciating the fact that hey, their brother is Paul Rudd! R
The cast: Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan and Hugh Dancy.
The buzz: A goofball comedy that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. "It's refreshing, this late in the summer, to find a hot-weather comedy that doesn't hate its characters and embed them in scatology and sexual impossibilities," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says.
The gist: Two bluesmen travel through the South (well, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, at least) in order to find out about themselves. Noteworthy because former Tampa resident Morgan Simpson wrote the script, produced by Plant High grads Charlie Poe and Jeff Balis. PG-13
The cast: Michael Clarke Duncan, Simpson and Tom Skerritt.
The buzz: A competent indie job that had previously been released under the title Black, White and Blues. "A lightly enjoyable road pic about a circuitous road to redemption, Black, White and Blues offers simple, down-home pleasures while spinning an undeniably familiar but emotionally satisfying tale," Variety says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org