New movies this week
The gist: Every actor in Hollywood gets together for a mega-ensemble piece to give your girlfriend or wife something to ask you to take them to this weekend, in case they aren't into werewolves. We're betting The Wolfman wins the box office, though. PG-13
Starring: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Taylor Swift and Julia Roberts.
The buzz: When you get this many people in one movie, you know what that means: No cogent story, whatsoever. "In sum it plays like 12 landlocked episodes of The Love Boat rammed together, though without the same rate of intercourse," the Chicago Tribune says.
The gist: Benicio Del Toro stars in the Lon Chaney, Jr. role in this remake of the 1941 original about some poor sap who gets bitten by a werewolf and turns into a hairy, snarling beast. Luckily, that's not much of a stretch for Del Toro. R
Starring: Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Art Malik.
The buzz: Critics aren't falling in love with this one, but they seem to dig the werewolf legend. "If you're going to pick the werewolf as your favorite monster, there's a lot to appreciate in the shaggy, imperfect but still fun new version of The Wolfman," the New York Daily News says.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The gist: Teenagers find out they're demigods with superpowers, which comes in handy when the gods of Olympus show up and start a turf war. PG
Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman and Ray Winstone.
The buzz: A little uneven, but good effects and decent buildup. "Action movies of this scale often start off strong and wind down to forgettable finales, but Percy Jackson is the opposite, overcoming a clunky setup to deliver nearly all its thrills in the last half-hour," Variety says. Uma Thurman as Medusa, though? Well, Medusa used to be beautiful, the story goes ...
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
The gist: A woman who lives a seemingly perfect life has to face facts when her husband, who is 30 years her senior, goes to a retirement home. Is this movie about Hugh Hefner? R
Starring: Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Blake Lively, Maria Bello, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder.
The buzz: Another split-decision: "It almost works. We almost care about her. A whopper of a plot twist late in the game explains Pippa's transformation as some kind of self-flagellatory penance, but by that point it feels like an afterthought," the San Francisco Chronicle says
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org