New movies this week
The gist: Kevin Smith decides to play cops and robbers by directing a fading action star and an overrated comedian in one of those comic-caper-wannabe movies. It'll still make off with the box office. R
Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Guillermo Diaz, Seann William Scott, Jason Lee and Ana de la Reguera.
The buzz: Maybe Kev should stick with small-time pictures. "There's precious little of that tension to be found between co-leads Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, but more than enough between director Kevin Smith and the shoddy script he's elected to take on, and neither seems willing to budge," Variety whines.
The Last Station
The gist: An all-star cast chews the scenery to hash out a publishing-rights triangle among Leo Tolstoy, his wife and the writer's disciple. Hmm … should we see this or The Crazies? R
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti and Anne-Marie Duff.
The buzz: Quite the show, if you're into such literary stuff. "This production, directed by Michael Hoffman, is like a great night at the theatre — the two performing demons go at each other full tilt and produce scenes of Shakespearean affection, chagrin, and rage," the New Yorker raves.
The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
The gist: Tennessee Williams' old screenplay gets played on the screen, this time about a Memphis belle who ends up falling for the son of her father's caretaker. Needless to say (but we'll say it), this is frowned upon in the 1920s South. PG-13
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Ellen Burstyn, Mamie Gummer, Ann-Margaret and Jessica Collins.
The buzz: Reviews are split, probably because the haters don't remember this story is from 1957. "The script is half-a-fortune at best, and visually the picture is staid," the Chicago Tribune points out. "But you stick with it, because it's Williams and because certainly no one since Williams has written this sort of embroidered dialogue."
The gist: Hollywood decided to remake an old George A. Romero flick from the '70s, this time about a virus that turns people into murderous savages. While the original was meant as a metaphor for the Vietnam war, this one is more about people getting stabbed with pitchforks. Sounds about right for this day and age. R
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker and Joe Anderson.
The buzz: You need a little pitchforkin' once in awhile. Besides, anything that illustrates the downfall of modern society is a green light for us. "Part zombie movie, part apocalyptic bioterror, part military conspiracy thriller, the refit hybrid doesn't stint on the visceral kicks demanded by contemporary audiences while remaining reasonably true to those Romero roots," the Hollywood Reporter says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org