The gist: Will Smith plays an IRS agent who embarks on a mission to change the lives of seven people, for some reason that's supposed to be a surprise. The surprise would be if the reason made sense. PG-13
Starring: Smith, Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper and Woody Harrelson.
The buzz: The story doesn't make the most sense, infuriating some critics, but others are much more charitable. "Gripping but gap-filled Seven Pounds will have half your brain asking 'How could this be?' and the other half saying, 'Shut up and go along for the ride!' Listen to the latter voice," the Charlotte Observer says.
The gist: Jim Carrey plays a guy who listens to a self-help ideal that tells him to say "yes" to everything. That wouldn't go over to well if he's asked if he's looking for trouble or wants to get his ass kicked. PG-13
Starring: Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgins, Danny Masterson and Terence Stamp.
The buzz: Since the rubber face returns, this is classic Carrey. But is that what you want to see? "This is basically a nerd-loosening-his-tie romantic comedy done in the manic-compulsive mode of Liar Liar," Entertainment Weekly says.
The Tale of Despereaux
The gist: Hey, that last movie about a Euro rat did so well, let's make another! G
Starring: Voices of Matthew Broderick, Robbie Coltrane, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Ciaran Hinds, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline and Frank Langella.
The buzz: "This graphically well-rendered kidpic is less crass and mouthy than many recent feature-length toons, but also more sluggish and ungainly as it tries to approximate (author Kate) DiCamillo's singularly delicate tone," Variety scoffs. So you're saying there's not enough chase scenes?
The gist: A young man from a Mumbai slum competing for the big prize on India's Who Wants to be a Millionaire is arrested on suspicion of cheating and recounts his life — and how he knows the answers. R
Starring: Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan.
The buzz: Forget the rest of the uneven fare. "It doesn't happen often, but when it does, look out: a movie that rocks and rolls, that transports, startles, delights, shocks, seduces," the Philadelphia Inquirer gushes. "A movie that is, quite simply, great."
— Joshua Gillin, firstname.lastname@example.org