New movies this week
Where the Wild Things Are
The gist: Spike Jonze somehow expands a beloved children's book that was a mere 10 sentences long and makes an entire movie full of heavy-handed allegory. Maurice Sendak apparently thought it was okay. PG
Starring: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Forest Whitaker.
The buzz: Some really like it, some really hate it; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch runs middle of the road: "To their credit, the creative team has retained the handmade look and unruly spirit of Maurice Sendak's bedtime fable; to their discredit, they haven't added enough narrative or emotional dimension to make it an effective movie."
Law Abiding Citizen
The gist: It really is the '70s all over again, because here we have a vigilante movie where a guy takes revenge on the justice system that let a guy who killed his family go free. Who wouldn't like to make a lawyer's life miserable? R
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Bruce McGill, Colm Meaney, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Regina Hall and Viola Davis.
The buzz: Not too many good reviews, but we dig a good dose of vengeance. "One of those movies you like more at the time than in retrospect," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert hedges.
The Boys Are Back
The gist: A sometimes cloying yarn about a poor guy whose wife is tragically killed off by scriptwriters looking to give Clive Owen range by making him raise two kids on his own. PG-13
Starring: Owen, Nicholas McAnulty, George MacKay, Laura Fraser and Emma Booth.
The buzz: The flick is about as exciting as it sounds, but you might dig it if you're into growth and togetherness. "The Boys Are Back is a bit like the parenting it portrays — at times there is pain, mistakes will be made, but if you can get beyond that, there is pleasure to be found," the L.A. Times says.
The gist: A teenager comes home from military school to find out his mom is shacking up with some boyfriend he doesn't trust. And really, what reason would he have for that (besides the murderous rampages)? PG-13
Starring: Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley, Sherry Stringfield, Jon Tenney, Paige Turco and Amber Heard.
The buzz: No previews, because from the trailer everyone already surmised the boyfriend is really a homicidal maniac who gets all stabby when junior comes home.
The 20th Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival continues through Sunday. For more information, turn to Page 36.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org