New movies this week
The gist: A veteran engineer and his rookie pal must guide a runaway train full of toxic chemicals from derailing and ruining the Midwest. More than the recession already has, that is. PG-13
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn and Kevin Corrigan.
The buzz: If you're looking for a fairly mindless action flick starring a Hero Emeritus and the new kid on the action block, you've found a winner. The Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert luurrrves it: "The movie is as relentless as the train, slowly gathering momentum before a relentless final hour of continuous suspense. In terms of sheer craftsmanship, this is a superb film."
The gist: Imagine if Anne Hathaway's character from The Devil Wears Prada focused on producing TV shows, then hired a veteran reporter to costar on a morning show with a former beauty queen, all the while having an office romance that — gosh, darn it — always seems to misfire, and you have an idea what a syrupy mess this movie is. PG-13
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum.
The buzz: When it comes to rom-coms, how revolutionary do you have to be in order for people to think it's a great movie? More than this one, apparently. "Morning Glory is ultimately something of a morning news show version of a morning news show — perky, jerky, chit-chatty and polished," the Detroit News says. "And eminently, pointedly, forgettable."
The gist: Hollywood remakes Independence Day by casting it as Cloverfield without the handheld cameras, as aliens shine lights that draw people outside and up into oblivion. They must be showing people the next season of Jersey Shore. PG-13
Starring: Donald Fasion, Eric Balfour, David Zayas, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed and a bunch of CGI.
The buzz: It's pretty safe to say Universal Studios spent more on the special effects than on the cast. They sure didn't spend a penny on preview screenings.
The gist: A documentary that comprehensively examines the global financial crisis of 2008, explaining how corrupt politicians, regulators, bankers and even educational systems led the world on a $20 trillion roller-coaster ride that ended in a brick wall. Eh, it's easier to just blame Obama. PG-13
Starring: The voice of Matt Damon, a bunch of journalists, corporate types, academics and so-called smart people who didn't realize real estate couldn't appreciate indefinitely, for some reason.
The buzz: The critics love it, but really, if you haven't gleaned how screwed the system is by now, then you obviously haven't been paying attention to anything for the past decade. "There's such a thing as smart angry, and such a thing as stupid angry, and after seeing Inside Job, audiences will be smart angry," the San Francisco Chronicle says. Does that mean we won't be able to simply blame Obama?
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org