New movies this week
The Big Year
The gist: Three big-name comic actors take a year off to pursue their dreams. Well, they aren't comic actors in the movie, but you get the idea. They're trying to not be losers, is what we're saying. PG
The cast: Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston and Rashida Jones.
The buzz: It's uneven and kind of warmed-over territory, but it benefits from three star veterans. "The characters are just as two-dimensional as they sound, but damned if Wilson, Martin and Black don't make those dimensions pop," Entertainment Weekly says.
The gist: Instead of remaking John Carpenter's 1982 classic (which itself was a gory remake of the 1951 original), Hollywood decided to make a prequel showing what happened at the Norwegian camp before the start of the first movie. Well, we know what happened. Duh. But points for finding a clever way to recast what is essentially another remake. R
The cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Paul Braunstein.
The buzz: It's not easy to top what we think is Carpenter's best film. "The new Thing, helmed by first-timer Matthijs van Heijningen, nods deferentially to John Carpenter's still-scary cult film while displaying little comprehension of what made it work," Variety chides.
The gist: Speaking of remakes, here's a do-over of the awful but beloved Kevin Bacon vehicle about a young man who teaches a town to live again by dancing in jeans that are too tight to allow such range of motion. PG-13
The cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller and Spencer Liff.
The buzz: You know, the original wasn't that great when you think about it. "It's pretty much the same movie, minus some of the more egregious '80s fashions," the Seattle Times says.
Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
The 22nd annual festival continues through Sunday. For details, turn to Page 43.
— Joshua Gillin email@example.com