New movies this week
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
The gist: We could try to explain this latest and final installment of the boy wizard's saga, but you know more about it than we do. It's tricky how Warner Bros. has fooled you into paying twice for the last chapter. PG-13
The cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Robbie Coltrane.
The buzz: It's getting good reviews, but everyone says the second act was dull and unnecessary. "The film depends more on mood and character than many of the others, and key actions seem to be alarmingly taking place off-screen," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert warns. See what we mean about tricking you into paying for two movies?
The gist: A biopic about how the Bush administration ruined the lives of CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, after he dared to write in the New York Times that the White House made up the whole WMD argument. And this is how they treated their friends. PG-13
The cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Bruce McGill, Michael Kelly, Ty Burrell and Noah Emmerich.
The buzz: Well-made with a good cast, but gets a little preachy. "It starts with thriller clichés and ends in sanctimonious preaching, but in between there are a couple of true things: a portrait of a marriage under stress, and a depiction of the arrogance of power that leaves a sharp after-burn," Toronto's Globe and Mail says.
The Next Three Days
The gist: A professor decides to break his wife out of prison after she's convicted of a crime she says she didn't commit. If there's one thing we can understand, it's wanting to break out of Pittsburgh (just kidding, Steelers fans). PG-13
The cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde and Lennie James.
The buzz: It's only mildly engaging, and inferior to the French original, Anything for Her. Yes, another remake. "What was briskly diverting in the original has been rather laboriously overworked, and the film's attempt to draw out the moral stakes never addresses the material's basic, surface-level implausibility," Variety chides.
The gist: Controversial author Bjorn Lomborg makes a companion piece to his book by traveling the world and scaring the hell out of you when discussing global warming. Wait, we're supposed to call it climate change these days, just to stay PC about the end of the world. PG
The cast: Eggheads who say if you don't want to spend the cash on solutions, buy a kayak and a shotgun now.
The buzz: If you believe there's a crisis, you'll believe more; if you don't, you'll just be wasting money on a ticket. "It's soothing when a film suggests that there are neat, simple solutions to vastly complex problems. But it's probably wrong," Minneapolis Star Tribune warns.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org