New movies this week
I Am Number Four
The gist: A young man with some sort of mystical ability is constantly on the move after three people like him have been killed. Wait, what was your name again? PG-13
The cast: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron, Kevin Durand and Callan McAuliffe.
The buzz: An unknown cast, late-night TV blitz and lots of action sequences? An obvious Oscar contender, for sure. Or not. "A high-school movie with a sci-fi twist ultimately fumbles away a golden opportunity to give youth conflicts an added dimension," the Hollywood Reporter says.
The gist: In a macabre meta moment, Liam Neeson, whose wife Natasha Richardson died after hitting her head, plays a man who hits his head in a car accident and wakes up to find his onscreen wife doesn't remember him. We just can't get over that. PG-13
The cast: Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella.
The buzz: It seems a bit aimless, to say the least. "There are a couple of intriguing ideas floating around here and there, but that's all they do — float around, unmoored by any sense of reality and, thus, suspense," the Arizona Republic muses.
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
The gist: Somewhere between 2006 and now, Martin Lawrence got a teenage son, so of course the first thing he does as a devoted father is to dress him in drag. PG-13
The cast: Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Faizon Love, Ana Ortiz and Michelle Ang.
The buzz: We haven't seen a positive review yet, so that means this one is winning the weekend box office. The best one we've seen is from across the pond at the Birmingham (England) Post: "The movie is at least 20 minutes too long. Actually, it's 107 minutes too long."
The gist: An alcoholic TV producer reflects on cigar trivia, hockey, three failed marriages and the onset of Alzheimer's in another Paul Giamatti character study, based on the Mordecai Richler novel. R
The cast: Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre and Scott Speedman.
The buzz: Somehow Paul always makes the louts in his movies seem almost likeable. "The biggest shock of recognition comes from looking at Giamatti's deeply flawed Barney and spotting a bit of ourselves gazing back," the Minneapolis Star Tribune says. Oh, that's how he does it.
India International Film Festival
Channelside Cinemas in Tampa showcases two-dozen features, shorts and documentaries from the subcontinent Friday through Sunday. Individual tickets are $10; all-day passes are $25. A gala reception Friday costs $50, and an all-access festival pass is available for $75. iifftampa.com
Eckerd College Environmental Film Festival
One film featuring environmental themes is scheduled daily from Friday through Feb. 26 at the Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium on the college's campus in St. Petersburg. Screenings are free. eckerd.edu/eff
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org