New movies this week
The gist: An American who hooks up with a woman in Europe is swept into a web of intrigue and inevitable action and violence. Popcorn movie or parable of the two world wars? You decide. PG-13
The cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff and Rufus Sewell.
The buzz: Even with these two leads, it's a pretty awful movie. "The script piles the preposterous on top of the absurd and the film's thin charms dissipate, revealing the creaking movie star contraption underneath," the Orlando Sentinel bemoans.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The gist: The third (and likely final) adaptation of the C.S. Lewis series. The kids have grown up a bit and, bored with the peaceful Narnia, take a cruise to go find more trouble to get into. PG
The cast: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Liam Neeson's voice and Simon Pegg.
The buzz: It's better than Prince Caspian, but that's not saying much. "This f/x-heavy third adaptation of the Christian-themed fantasy series feels routine and risk-averse in every respect, as if investment anxiety had fatally hobbled its sense of wonder," Variety cautions.
The gist: An adaptation of a modern-day comic-book take on Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, a former ugly duckling gets plastic surgery, then has to navigate English social circles in her hometown. When will they add the zombies? R
The cast: Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Bill Camp, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans and Tamsin Greig.
The buzz: A fairly engaging take on an old story. "Tamara Drewe is one of those British comedies in which, one way or another, we envy all of the characters — even, briefly, the one run over by stampeding cows," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org