New movies this week
The gist: A world-class supervillain's icy heart is thawed by three orphan girls who treat him like their dad. If this were an anime movie, lead antagonist Gru would have been the one who killed their parents. Oh, the tragedy! PG
Starring: Voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove, Jack McBrayer, Mindy Kaling, Jemaine Clement and Julie Andrews.
The buzz: Pixar has spoiled people's expectation for cartoons these days, but this one holds its own. "The film is funny, energetic, teeth-gnashingly venomous and animated with an eye to exploiting the 3D process with such sure-fire techniques as a visit to an amusement park," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says. "The sad thing, I am forced to report, is that the 3D process produces a picture more dim than it should be." Man, he's gotten cranky.
The gist: Wait, is this Robert Rodriguez-produced effort a sequel or a reboot? Eh, who cares; It's 1987 all over again in yet another bloodbath, sans Arnie. R
Starring: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and Louiz Ozawa.
The buzz: Critics are lambasting this one, but what do they expect? "Little happens that you don't see coming, down to which cast members will get picked off and in what order. It's a dumb action movie in a summer full of dumb movies, and yet it's always entertaining," the Miami Herald says. "And you won't really miss Arnold at all." Well, that's all we're asking for.
The gist: A woman commits suicide to bring her family together in a decent dramedy that will make you think a whole lot more than Predators. How cheerful! No MPAA rating
Starring: Enrique Arreola, Ari Brickman, Juan Carlos Colombo and Marina de Tavira.
The buzz: Bittersweet and well made. "Nora's Will isn't a downer, despite the circumstances," the St. Pete Times says. "(Director Mariana) Chenillo squeezes in a few broad jokes ... but mostly her film is a modestly underplayed comedy of antisocial errors."
The gist: A 17-year-old girl takes on the criminal underworld in the Ozarks to track down her father, who has put up the family homestead to pay his bail. Wait until she finds out the "criminal underworld" is actually Bank of America. R
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Kevin Breznaha, Isaiah Stone, Shelley Waggener, Ashlee Thompson and William White.
The buzz: Sundance was right; this thriller is being almost universally praised as taut and suspenseful. "Every so often a film gets under our skin with its haunting authenticity, reinforcing our faith in the wonderfully transporting power of cinematic storytelling. Winter's Bone is unquestionably that film," USA Today lauds.
— Joshua Gillin email@example.com