New movies this week
The gist: Let's not kid ourselves: This is a movie about Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Believe anything else, and you're just fooling yourself. But look! Giant fighting robots!
The cast: Hugh Jackman, Anthony Mackie, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis.
The buzz: If you're looking for a schmaltzy action flick for older kids, it sorta works. "Demonstrates the way CGI-driven bot cinema can fruitfully coexist with father-and-son bonding cinema to create charming entertainment — part warm hugs and part cold clang," Entertainment Weekly reasons.
The Ides of March
The gist: A campaign press secretary learns a secret that may ruin his candidate's shot at the presidency. The secret is that his candidate is a measured and reasonable person who can manage to bring all sides together in a compromise, yet still manage to lead in a fashion that benefits the common good. There's no way he'll be elected if that gets out. R
The cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymor Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.
The buzz: It feels like a good movie, mostly because it comes across as accurate. "A knowing look at the machinations of a political campaign, with its established and somewhat bizarre rituals, and the compromises and betrayals that often accompany getting someone elected," the Arizona Republic says.
Machine Gun Preacher
The gist: A nominally true action biopic about a preacher building an orphanage in Africa, then taking up arms to single-handedly rescue an entire tribe's worth of defenseless kids. Hell, yes, America! R
The cast: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Michael Shannon, Ryann Campos and Souleymane Sy Savane.
The buzz: You'd think a story about a gun-toting preacher would come off better, but no. "Machine Gun Preacher is a combination of uplift and gritty violence, and the parts don't fit," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says.
The gist: An emotional cripple and a woman dying of a brain tumor meet at a funeral and fall in love. How will that turn out, we wonder? PG-13
The cast: Henry Hopper, Mia Wasikowska, Ryo Kase, Schuyler Fisk, Jane Adams and Lusia Strus.
The buzz: An odd tale that is interesting but doesn't quite deliver. "In its episodic bits of quirk and whimsy, and its romantic morbidity, it's a project that smacks of film school," the Philadelphia Inquirer mourns.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org