The gist: The Titanic couple reunite to show what it would have been like if Jack and Rose survived and bought a house in 1950s suburbia, courtesy of this adaptation of the Richard Yates novel. Surprise: The good ol' days weren't as good as people want to think. R
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour and Kathy Bates.
The buzz: Some love it, some really hate it (probably the inverse opinion of those who love or hate the suburbs). "It's a textbook example of a well-crafted movie, beautifully shot, impeccably acted, and structured like an elegant three-act play," Slate says. "So why does the movie feel as pleasantly deadening as the midcentury Connecticut suburb where it takes place?"
The gist: Clint Eastwood chews scenery as a retired auto worker who hates all his Hmong immigrant neighbors until he's forced into working with a teen who tries to steal the titular Gran Torino, changing both their perceptions and giving us one last flick to watch the legend squint through all the drama. R
Starring: Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, and Christopher Carley
The buzz: The critics seem to think this swan song is more about Eastwood than anything else, but that's likely a good thing. "If you can survive the F-bombs and the near-constant ethnic invective, Gran Torino is not to be missed, if only as the gutsy, thoroughly unexpected valedictory of an icon fully willing to spend every bit of his considerable capital," the Washington Post says.
The gist: Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson compete for the title of most overexposed starlet not living up to their potential by starring in a stupid comedy. Kate's been winning this race for a while now. PG
Starring: Hathaway, Hudson, Candice Bergen, Kristen Johnston, Bryan Greenberg, Steve Howey, Chris Pratt and Michael Arden.
The buzz: “Bride Wars pretends to be a satire of wedding mania, but since there's virtually nothing else to the movie, the satire comes depressingly close to endorsement," Entertainment Weekly says. Have they never watched the Style network?
The gist: If this movie is half as scary as the trailers that keep running right before bedtime at our house, we recommend a change of undershorts. But then, how much can you expect with this rating? PG-13
Starring: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Carla Gugino, Jane Alexander, Idris Elba and Rhys Coiro.
The buzz: Apparently it's so scary, no critics have previewed it yet. Take what you will from that.
Not Easily Broken
The gist: A former basketball player is tempted to cheat on his previously oblivious wife after she's seriously injured in a car accident. We predict some arguments coming in the ride home from the theater. PG-13
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Maeve Quinlan, Kevin Hart, Wood Harris and Jenifer Lewis.
The buzz: Nobody has previewed this one, either, although it's certainly got a better chance of being scary for young newlyweds.
After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For
Get ready for a one-week showcase of movies with titles like Slaughter and Autopsy. The first part of January seems like an odd time for this, but hey, check out the schedule at horrorfestonline.com. The R-rated flicks require separate tickets, and will be shown at Muvico's Centro Ybor 20 in Ybor City and Starlight 20, in New Tampa.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org