The gist: Director Zack Snyder's (almost) relentlessly adherent adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal comic book miniseries posits that superhero-wannabes in an alternate 1985 are being bumped off or discredited. Will people besides fanboys care? For more, see Pages 24-25. R
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie and Matt Frewer.
The buzz: Reviews are all over the map, and split between rabid praise and dogged disdain. Entertainment Weekly sums it up nicely: "Even Watchmen fanatics may be doomed to a disappointment that results from trying to stay THIS faithful to a comic book." We're betting a big dropoff after a huge opening weekend, but isn't that how most comic book movies go?
The gist: Speaking of which, this is an oft-delayed project about a bunch of Star Wars geeks who try to break into Skywalker Ranch in 1998 to watch Episode I before it's released. Like we really need to see how this one ends. PG-13
Starring: Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Carrie Fisher, Christopher McDonald and William Shatner.
The buzz: Lots of critics say the premise and shenanigans are tired, reminiscent of countless other movies. We say that's the point. Otherwise: "Fanboys is an uneven and largely predictable adventure, but it has its moments," USA Today offers.
The gist: Joaquin mumbles it up in his supposed final role as a troubled young man trying to decide between the exotic shiksa next door or the girl his folks want to set him up with. R
Starring: Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, Elias Koteas and Moni Moshonov.
The buzz: The movie is decent, but the real story is that it's a shame Phoenix is apparently done acting. "Although Paltrow is radiant (and she nails the character's ditzy sense of entitlement), it's Phoenix's movie," New York Magazine says. "He is, once again, stupendous, and stupendous in a way he has never been before."
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org