New movies this week
The Promised Land
The gist: A couple of closers go to a rural town to convince everyone to sell them drilling rights so they can poison the groundwater and destroy the social fabric of an already shaky community. But look at all the money they'll get! R
The cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook.
The buzz: The movie really does try to stay neutral on this issue, which is a problem. "Promised Land feels divided against itself, not quite sure how to reconcile its polemical intentions with its storytelling impulses, and thus finally unable to fulfill its own promise," the New York Times says.
The gist: A couple and their three sons go to Thailand for a winter vacation, but turns out they were there on Dec. 26, 2004, the same day a tsunami killed a quarter-million people. PG-13
The cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast.
The buzz: Good special effects and a decent story, too. "The most harrowing disaster movie in many a moon, The Impossible marries a tremendous feat of physical filmmaking to an emotional true story of family survival," Variety says.
Hyde Park on Hudson
The gist: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt host the King and Queen of England at their New York estate over the weekend, but wouldn't you know it? The visitors are looking for support against the Nazis at the onset of World War II. Houseguests can be so demanding. R
The cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel and Olivia Williams.
The buzz: Most critics aren't warming up to this FDR. "Roosevelt was one of the towering figures of the 20th century, but he and his accomplishments scarcely register in this amorphous, bafflingly aimless movie," the New York Times laments.
Not Fade Away
The gist: A David Chase soap opera about a band growing up in the 1960s. No cliches here. Nope. None at all. R.
The cast: John Magaro, Will Brill, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, James Gandolfini and Molly Price.
The buzz: But aging movie critics who liked The Sopranos dig cliches. "Despite the nostalgia-drenched idealism coursing through it — and a cinematic familiarity to the subject matter — this is not a story that's neatly told or safely predictable," the L.A. Times says.
Texas Chainsaw 3D
The gist: Chainsaws, pop-up style, with the massacre implied. What else would you do with a chainsaw? R
The cast: People you've never heard of, except perhaps Trey Songz.
The buzz: No reviews, but there just may be some gore and nudity. Perhaps. We think.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org