New movies this week
The gist: An epic, three-hour mishmash of the same actors playing different characters over the course of centuries and how their actions affect future generations. This is either the inspired work of artistic genius or the biggest waste of time and money since Lost. R
The cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Susan Sarandon, Xun Zhou, Doona Bae and James D'Arcy.
The buzz: It's brought to you in part by The Matrix people, so opinions vary wildly from superb to megaflop. "If you're interested in the sheer craft of filmmaking, Cloud Atlas is required viewing — a rare example of a movie getting by entirely on technique and creative bravado," the Miami Herald hedges.
The gist: A kid wants to surf some killer waves, but needs the help of an old pro to help him survive it. It's a kung fu movie with board shorts, with lots of shirtlessness and bikinis. PG
The cast: Johnny Weston, Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer and Taylor Handley.
The buzz: And who says surfer movies can't be okay? Let's stress okay, though. "Chasing Mavericks manages to sufficiently overcome the obstacles with admittedly affecting results," the Hollywood Reporter says.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
The gist: This is a direct sequel to the original, which came out in 2006 and actually was a pretty good translation of what the games were about. That's not necessarily a good thing, mind you, but at least the principal actors from the first one are back again. R
The cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Kit Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Malcolm McDowell and Adelaide Clemens.
The buzz: No reviews yet, which is never a good sign, but now we'll get the original's goofy ending somehow explained, whether we want it or not.
The gist: A light-hearted Nickelodeon flick about a high-schooler who wants to go to a Halloween party but loses her younger party, who wants to go trick-or-treating for some reasons. Siblings can be such a pain! PG-13
The cast: Victoria Justice, Thomas Mann, Chelsea Handler, Riki Lindhome and Jane Levy.
The buzz: It's not getting the best reviews, but what do you think a teen comedy with no nudity or bad swearing would be like? "A hydra-headed attempt to dirty up the Nickelodeon brand while simultaneously scrubbing raunchy high-school hookup tropes into family-friendly shape," Variety chastises.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org