New movies this week
The gist: A crazy ballerina may or may not be imagining the sultry rival she's staring down for the lead in Swan Lake. How do you explain the girl-on-girl sex scenes, then? R
The cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel and Benjamin Millepied.
The buzz: People are talking Oscar for Portman, even though the movie can be hit or miss at times. "For all its ham-fistedness, it captures something about the tyranny of the ballet world and, by extension, the neurotic imprisonment of female body image," the San Francisco Chronicle says.
The gist: Mark Wahlberg decides he needs to make one more movie in which he spends most of his time shirtless before he gets too old, playing boxer "Irish" Micky Ward as he tries to go pro.
The cast: Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee and Mickey O'Keefe.
The buzz: Actually, it's pretty darn decent for a cliched boxing story. "Acting for the silver screen doesn't get more raw, moving or accomplished than what you see in The Fighter, that rare film in which every performer in it leaves the viewer in awe," the Orlando Sentinel says.
The gist: A sequel no one wanted for an '80s movie no one understood targeted at an audience that may or may not exist, following Kevin Flynn's son back into cyberspace to do something or other in a neon bodysuit. PG
The cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen and James Frain.
The buzz: Nerds who "got" the 1982 original and its somewhat prescient (albeit mixed) allegories about computer networking and religious worship will probably dig the heck out of it, but even fanboys may think it's a little too glossed-out and Matrix-like for its own good. "There's such a hollowness and lack of conviction within this new film's veneer of a story that it's impossible not to find your distracted thoughts bouncing around chaotically," the Seattle Times chides.
How Do You Know
The gist: An all-star cast talks and talks and talks its way through a yawner rom-com about Paul Rudd being in a love triangle. Oh, that storyline in Friends when Phoebe had to choose between him and Hank Azaria was so bittersweet! PG-13
The cast: Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn and Mark Linn-Baker.
The buzz: You'd think with this group, they could do better. They don't. "How do you know when the spark is gone? When your latest romantic comedy looks like TV, feels like greeting-card poetry and sounds like a self-help manual," Variety laments.
The gist: Oh, come on, really? Save yourself the trouble and watch the YouTube video of Boo Boo blowing away Yogi with a double-barrelled shotgun and save $9.50. PG
The cast: The voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake, plus Anna Farris, Tom Cavanagh, T.J. Miller and Nathan Corddry.
The buzz: "An aggressively awful movie that's much, much dumber than the average kiddie flick," the Sarasota Herald-Tribune says. Wow, dumber than Alvin and the Chipmunks?
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org