The gist: People go blind, beat and rape each other and society crumbles before their, uh ... R
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Gael Garcia Bernal, Sandra Oh and Danny Glover.
The buzz: "Blindness is no barrel of laughs," the Philadelphia Inquirer admonishes. "But it IS a barrel of pretentious metaphorical musings."
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
The gist: Aimless teens are ravaged by a night in the big city but find solace in each other's wide-eyed optimism about life. This could be pretty much half the teen movies ever made. PG-13
Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Graynor, Jay Baruchel, Rafi Gavron and Aaron Yoo.
The buzz: "A bright little screwball comedy that speaks for the vitality of new movies," the Wall Street Journal praises.
The gist: Yay, a Western! This time hired guns come in to clean up a mining town. R
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Renée Zellweger, Jeremy Irons and Lance Henriksen.
The buzz: "Despite a few flashes of the darker tone percolating under the surface, the movie remains too well-mannered to truly pull us in," the New York Daily News says.
Flash of Genius
The gist: True-ish story about a little guy who fought the automobile industry, giving hope that we can actually make a difference. PG-13
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda and Jake Abel.
The buzz: "Moderately inspiring in the way such true-life stories of 'the indomitable human spirit' are always constructed to be," Variety muses.
An American Carol
The gist: See? Conservatives can churn out propaganda, too!
Starring: Kelsey Grammer, Kevin Farley, Jon Voight, Leslie Nielsen and Dennis Hopper.
The buzz: Creator David Zucker apparently isn't letting anyone preview this, likely because we're all part of the media elite.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
The gist: Anthropomorphism is hilarious! PG
Starring: Voices of Piper Perabo, Manolo Cardona, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eugenio Derbez, Placido Domingo, George Lopez and Edward James Olmos.
The buzz: "It's very slick and small children will enjoy it, but it has little of its model's special magic," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer laments.
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
The gist: Based on Toby Young's book, some crazy Brit starts working for a New York magazine and torques everyone off. R
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson, Megan Fox, Max Minghella and Jeff Bridges.
The buzz: "Gets muddled in slapstick and crude humor," USA Today says.
The gist: Bill Maher decides now is the time to skewer everyone's belief that there's an invisible man who made everything and watches everyone. R
Starring: Maher, Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, Steve Berg and Andrew Newberg.
The buzz: "It's a fairly entertaining bash," the Chicago Tribune writes. "… It's also smug as all hell."
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org