The gist: Josh Brolin plays the commander-in-chief everyone loves to hate in a biopic so necessary, he hasn't even left office yet. PG-13
Starring: Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfuss, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Scott Glenn and Ioan Gruffudd.
The buzz: Surprisingly balanced, it still has flaws. "It's a gutsy movie but not necessarily a good one," The Hollywood Reporter says. "Its greatest strength is that it wants to talk about what's on our minds right now and not wait for historians." Yeah, you wouldn't want to capture that visceral "right nowness" of the whole thing.
The gist: Marky Mark stars as the brutish video-game cop in a flick that will stink because they cut 13 minutes out to get its rating down from an R. Weak. PG-13
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Olga Kurylenko.
The buzz: Another one of those that's so good, there's few if any advance screenings. Wahlberg didn't even know it was based on a video game originally, so it has to be great. Right?
The Secret Life of Bees
The gist: A white girl and a black woman hit the road together in the 1960s Deep South to learn what life's all about. Bees, apparently, among other things like sex, racism, maturity and crying a lot. PG-13
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Nate Parker Tristan Wilds, and Paul Bettany.
The buzz: Some like it, some don't. Entertainment Weekly says: "The Secret Life of Bees is a lesson — or, rather, a whole series of them — we no longer need to learn. Of course, it's also a divine-sisterhood-defeats-all chick flick, and on that score there's no denying that its clichés are rousingly up to date." That sounds a little too rough, so we'll add that the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says, "Above all, it contains characters I care for, played by actors I admire."
The gist: Another goofy teenage road trip, this time about a dork trying to hook up with some girl he met on the Internet. This one has the guts to keep its rating, though. R
Starring: James Marsden, Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, Katrina Bowden, Seth Green and Clark Duke.
The buzz: "Since the new pic contains little that's genuinely amusing or minimally original, it likely will fail on its own merits," Variety says. Somehow we doubt it'll fail.
Battle in Seattle: Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson dramatize the 1999 WTO protests.
When Did You last See Your Father: Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth are an estranged father and son.
Chris & Don: A Love Story: A doc about the relationship between author Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org