New movies this week
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
The gist: After heading to the center of the Earth, you'd think some ho-hum island would be dull by comparison. But hey, everything's so much more fun when The Rock comes along. PG
The cast: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman and Kristin Davis.
The buzz: A stupid, goofy family movie that is fairly enjoyable if you don't think about it. "It isn't a 'good' movie in the usual sense (or most senses), but it is jolly and good-natured, and Michael Caine and Dwayne Johnson are among the most likable of actors," the Chicago Sun-Times reasons.
The gist: A good CIA agent and a bad CIA agent — guess which is which — have to team up when mercenaries in South Africa want to do them in. Lots of 'splosions and gunplay, we hear. R
The cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga and Robert Patrick.
The buzz: Both these guys are just logging time on their macho time sheets, but that's not all bad. "The movie, as if on an action time clock, punches in the standard set pieces: bloody fights, clattering shoot-outs, an escape through a packed soccer stadium. Some of this stuff is well-done, and some of it has been done a lot better," Entertainment Weekly says.
The gist: A romantic drama in which Rachel McAdams is in an accident and forgets she's married to Channing Tatum. Yeah, forgets. That's it. PG-13
The cast: McAdams, Tatum, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange and Jessica McNamee.
The buzz: Schmaltzy and earnest, if not all that good. "The Vow serves as a series of precise if obvious moments and emotional cues we must endure en route to the inevitable reconciliation, complete with an intrusively heart-tugging score and too much explanatory voiceover from Tatum," the AP says.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3-D
The gist: Long, long ago, in a movie far, far away, the Star Wars saga was milked for all it's worth by being digitally converted into three dimensions and repackaged as a movie you had to see. It'll rake in millions from idiots who don't remember how awful this one was. PG
The cast: Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Liam Neeson, and Oscar nominees Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson. So what went wrong?
The buzz: If you're going to fork over yet more cash to George Lucas, at least wait for Episodes IV through VI.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org