New movies this week
Here Comes the Boom
The gist: A biology teacher moonlights as an MMA fighter to win loser purses and pay for the school band's budget when the program is cut. But what will he do next school year? PG
The cast: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten and Joe Rogan.
The buzz: Even with a shopworn formula under the movie's belt, it's tough for James to be a funny fat guy when he has to be a funny fit guy. "Here Comes the Boom is all banality, though it delivers some goodwill even as it pulls a muscle trying to get its premise going," the New York Daily News says.
The gist: A thriller retelling the story of the six U.S. embassy employees who escaped Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis by posing as a film crew under the direction of the CIA. And it's directed by Ben Affleck. It sounds impossible, but it's a true story. Both the plot and the director part, we mean. R
The cast: Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and Clea DuVall.
The buzz: Affleck continues to impress, in front of and behind the camera. "Argo is never less than wildly entertaining, but a major part of its power is that it so ominously captures the kickoff to the world we're in now," Entertainment Weekly says.
The gist: A movie somewhat lampooning, somewhat aping violent Hollywood gangster flicks. It tries really hard to not be about anything, although there's stuff about dognapping and selling scripts in between all the gunshots. R
The cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Long Nguyen, Abbie Cornish, Harry Dean Stanton and Olga Kurylenko.
The buzz: Whatever it's trying to do, it does it fairly well. "(Writer-director Michael) McDonagh's characters may be awful, or simply lost, but they're all addicted to the art of the tall tale and the dark allure of the nightmarish bedtime story," the Chicago Tribune says.
The gist: A true-crime novelist moves his family into a new house, then finds home movies in the attic showing horrible things happening in the past on the property he just bought. Look at the bright side: It could make for a great new bestseller. R
The cast: Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson, Nicholas T. King and Clare Foley.
The buzz: Not so bad, as gore-soaked horror shows go. "Enjoyably edgy fright flick meshes serial-killer and haunted house ingredients," the Hollywood Reporter says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org