New movies this week
The gist: Another attempt by a big movie studio to turn a 30-page story into a 90-minute animated feature, to varying degrees of success. This one is about a tiny mustachioed monster who can help a boy get a girl to notice him, just the thing kids in the single digits care about! PG
The cast: Voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White and Rob Riggle.
The buzz: Not a bad job, actually, as long as you can stand all the crass commercialism. "Even adults are likely to walk out wondering how our own society has strayed so far from any sensible path … before hopping into their Lorax-approved Mazda and heading to IHOP for some Truffula Chip pancakes," the New York Daily News says.
The gist: Madonna's directorial debut, a convoluted yarn about two people obsessed with King Edward VIII's romance with Wallis Simpson, follows all the characters through years and years and years, just so the audience can identify with interminable waits while watching this tripe. R
The cast: Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac, James D'Arcy, Richard Coyle and Natalie Dormer.
The buzz: It wouldn't be so bad if Madonna could decide what she wanted instead of making a boring movie. "Instead of a film about a love that conquered a king and nearly undid a kingdom, Madonna has come up with a female friendship movie, which would be fine if she weren't busy trying to prove her art-film bona fides," the New York Times says.
The gist: Something about teenagers going to house parties and whatever. At least it's not a remake of Matthew Broderick's movie about chimps being exposed to radiation. Or is it? R
The cast: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Brown, Dax Flame, Miles Teller and Kirby Bliss Blanton.
The buzz: Since when are teen comedies any good? "Project X is Animal House for the YouTube generation — that is, if Animal House actually was about torturing animals while innocent bystanders got Tased, all without ever being, you know, funny," the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says.
The gist: The Oscar winner from Iran about a woman who wants to leave the country with her husband and daughter, but deals with ever-more-complicated problems when he chooses to stay home to care for his Alzheimer's-stricken father. PG-13
The cast: Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, Leila Hatami, Babak Karimi, Merila Zarei and Peyman Moadi.
The buzz: When you win the first-ever Oscar for an Iranian film, there's probably a pretty good reason. "The film involves its audience in an unusually direct way, because although we can see the logic of everyone's position, our emotions often disagree," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org