New movies this week
The gist: Tampa's favorite ex-stripper (and Tampa Catholic grad) ventures into the hinterlands north of Hadrian's Wall as a former Roman soldier to find a golden crest taken from his father. Expect this to be about as historically accurate as Gladiator, but without the decent acting. PG-13
The cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, Denis O'Hare, Tahar Rahim and Dakin Matthews.
The buzz: It's really kind of terrible, especially considering the lead, but it's not bad if you can check your brain at the ticket window. "Nothing in The Eagle can be taken seriously, starting with its Wikipedia-ready intro explaining everything complex occurring before the simple-minded flick you're going to see. Funny that a movie for folks who hate subtitles makes them read so much," the St. Pete Times reasons.
Just Go With It
The gist: A plastic surgeon fakes a failing marriage with his assistant in order to woo a younger woman and take them all to Hawaii, mostly to give Brooklyn Decker an excuse to put on a bikini. PG-13
The cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Decker, Nicole Kidman, Bailee Madison and Nick Swardson.
The buzz: About as brainless as you'd expect a romantic comedy about two idiots to be. "Frankly, it's depressing to watch two likable talents pushing such a blatantly empty experience," the New York Daily News chides.
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
The gist: A documentary about a little Canadian kid with a decent voice and a terrible haircut making it big by singing on YouTube. You don't care about it, but your 11-year-old daughter probably does. G
The cast: Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Sean Kingston, Ludacris, Jaden Smith and the guys from Boyz II Men.
The buzz: This movie's preaching to the converted, but what did you expect? "Though anyone who needs convincing won't touch this one with a 10-foot pole, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never makes a persuasive case for its titular star as a far more talented-than-usual teen idol," Variety says.
Gnomeo & Juliet
The gist: Lawn ornaments play Shakespeare, with a soundtrack by Elton John. Did everything just get all fuzzy and weird in here or is it just us? G
The cast: The voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham and Matt Lucas.
The buzz: We're not talking the Globe Theatre here, but it achieves its goals well enough. "Tolerable but forgettable, Gnomeo & Juliet is a halfway clever idea executed with minimal effort and ingenuity," the Sarasota Herald-Tribune says. "It continuously reaches for the lowest-hanging fruit — in its jokes, in its animation style and its brazen, narrow appeal to tykes." What else is a kiddie flick s'posed to do?
The gist: A 1950s magician devotes himself to a girl who is enchanted by his tricks, even as the world changes around them. It's not at all as creepy as it sounds. PG
The cast: The voices of Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin, Duncan MacNeil and Raymond Mearns.
The buzz: The fact that it's set in the '50s and uses hand-drawn animation should tip you off that it isn't intended expressly for children, but it still has way more heart than Gnomeo & Juliet. "A quiet declaration of love — for the urban vistas of the 1950s, for sleight-of-hand enchantment, for pen-and-ink animation and for a legendary French filmmaker who exited the stage before telling his daughter the magic word," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch raves.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org