New movies this week
The gist: Same story, different tights. A troubled soldier arrives in a village with an imbalanced revenue-sharing plan, so he recruits several known felons and terrorizes the townsfolk with the aid of the local matriarch. Doesn't sound so romantic now, huh? PG-13
Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Lea Seydoux and Max von Sydow.
The buzz: It's a sign of the deadly serious times. Don't go expecting to have any fun. "Impressively made and serious-minded to a fault, this physically imposing picture brings abundant political-historical dimensions to its epic canvas, yet often seems devoted to stifling whatever pleasure audiences may have derived from the popular legend," Variety says.
The gist: A sports trainer falls for the pro basketball player she's rehabbing while fighting off her best friend, who's also got the hots for the guy. Someone is going to be disappointed here (probably the audience). PG
Starring: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Pam Grier, James Pickens Jr., Mehcad Brooks and Michael Landes.
The buzz: This one doesn't even get past the tip-off. "The essential problem with this bland Queen Latifah romantic comedy is that it's content to keep it simple," the Hollywood Reporter presses. "There's nothing in the strictly by-the-numbers plotting, ho-hum pacing or stock characterizations that would allow it to ever truly come to life."
Letters to Juliet
The gist: If Lost in Translation and Mamma Mia! had a baby, it would be this schmaltz about a woman in Verona answering a 50-year-old love letter and inspiring a woman of a certain age to come looking for her old boyfriend. PG
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero.
The buzz: Safe, stereotypical and really kinda dull. "It has humor and a touch of charm, but plainly needed more love, more passion, more Shakespeare," the Orlando Sentinel says.
The Secret in Their Eyes
The gist: A retired criminal-court investigator decides to write a novel about an unresolved rape case from 25 years ago. We reckon that means he'll go to great lengths to solve it. R
Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella, José Luis Gioia, Carla Quevedo, Bárbara Palladino and Rudy Romano.
The buzz: Avast? Do we spy an original story, well done and worth money? "An attractive, messy drama riddled with violence and edged with comedy that comes with a hint of Grand Guignol, a suggestion of politics and three resonant, deeply appealing performances," the New York Times raves.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org