New movies this week
The gist: A girl-power animated adventure from Pixar for all those moms and dads who hate that the only role models Disney sells their daughters are princesses who are very nice and very pretty and really don't do all that much. So here's this Scottish girl who uses a bow and arrow and defends her homeland while saving her family. NOW YOU BUY TOYS! PG
The cast: Voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson.
The buzz: Everybody seems to think if Pixar doesn't create the perfect movie these days, they are unholy failures. These movies are made for 7-year-olds, people. "Turns out to be much less about the qualities that mark a heroine built to interest a 21st-century audience of girls, boys and accompanying adults, and much more about the complexities of mother-daughter relations," Entertainment Weekly says.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The gist: An asteroid is going to hit the Earth, so society is crumbling, but somehow not so bad that Steve Carell and Keira Knightley can't hook up — platonically, anyway. Wait, what? Why bother? You won't live to regret anything. R
The cast: Carell, Knightley (of course), Martin Sheen, William Petersen, Melinda Dillon, Patton Oswalt and Rob Corddry.
The buzz: This is a split decision among the critics. "Seeking is a movie you have to give time to work," the Orlando Sentinel says. "It was written and directed by the woman who wrote Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, so you owe it that much."
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The gist: The title pretty much says it all, doesn't it? It doesn't? Well, it's Abe as a killer of the undead. How's that description? R
The cast: Benjamin Walker, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Martin Csokas.
The buzz: What, exactly, are you expecting to get out of this? "The problem with movies based on a single joke is that a single joke is rarely funny enough to sustain the running time of a feature-length film. And with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the whole joke is in the title," the Arizona Republic says. Hey, that's what we were implying.
The gist: An indie about some put-upon modern woman who is dumped by her fiance three weeks before her wedding — AND OMG YOU GUYS IS TURNING 30!!1!!!11! Which is worse? Try watching it. R
The cast: Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman and Debra Winger.
The buzz: It turns out to be about as engaging as you'd think. "A well-intentioned indie that tries to be a 'real' version of a Hollywood romantic comedy and ends up feeling more ersatz than ever," the Boston Globe says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org