New movies this week
The gist: A comedy inspired by the true story of Seth Rogen's pal Will Reiser, about a guy who is diagnosed with a spinal tumor and could die from it, and how his one true pal helps him cope with it. R
The cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer.
The buzz: You wouldn't think a comedy about cancer would be both poignant and funny, but it is. "This nervy film avoids being blatantly 'life-affirming' or 'feel-good,' helping it earn its tears and laughs," the New York Daily News lauds. "The premise covers the first of those. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen merge it with the second."
The gist: Don't you hate it when a real-life celebrity couple play a fictional couple who move into a haunted house in the country in which a husband and father murdered his whole family? So do we. PG-13
The cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Elias Koteas, Marton Csokas and Taylor Geare.
The buzz: There are no reviews from reputable critics yet, but we really hate it when the trailer divulges a major plot point (you know the one we mean). What the hell is wrong with Hollywood?
What's Your Number?
The gist: A sweet-as-pie girl who has managed to maintain her sweetness despite sleeping with 19 guys suddenly is worried that bedding No. 20 will make her a harlot, so she tries out her all-star cast of ex-boyfriends to see if one of them wasn't Mr. Right after all. We're betting it's the guy who played Captain America. R
The cast: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Zachary Quinto and Anthony Mackie.
The buzz: Faris is supposed to be so great, but she keeps picking loser movies. "What's Your Number? is not much dumber than the average romantic comedy, but there is something sad and infuriating about it — like running into a high school friend who seemed destined for greatness and walking away realizing she just picked your pocket," Time magazine says.
The gist: Up in the Air's Vera Farmiga directs her first picture, about a Christian woman in a tight-knit religious community questioning her faith. This is a serious one, so don't expect any comic relief. R
The cast: Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Michael Chernus, Norbert Leo Butz, McKenzie Turner and Donna Murphy.
The buzz: Staid and restrained, it's an honest portrait, even with its few missteps. "Higher Ground insists on the deep normality of true believers, but it also portrays their belief as a choice that seeps into mundane moments of existence," Entertainment Weekly says.
The gist: While Vera questions her faith, four cops who are too focused on work and not family vow to do better after tragedy strikes. Considering this is made by the Baptist ministry behind Facing the Giants and Fireproof, that trying harder includes going to church more, of course. PG-13
The cast: Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Rusty Martin Jr., Kevin Downes, Ben Davies, Rusty Martin Sr., Renee Jewell, Eleanor Brown, Robert Amaya and Angelita Nelson.
The buzz: While Sherwood Pictures spends a ton on marketing, it didn't screen this one for many critics. It's benign, faith-based family drama time, however, so its absent screenings probably have more to do with money than quality.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org