New movies this week
The World's End
The gist: A 40-year-old slacker persuades his friends to go on a bar crawl in their hometown about the same time that alien invaders begin to destroy the planet. At least they won't have to settle the tab. R
The cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.
The buzz: Another winner from the Brit crew wrangled by Edgar Wright. "This is a tighter, smarter film than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and buried beneath all the blue-goo aliens and terrible punning is a heartfelt meditation on the perils and pleasures of nostalgia," Time Out says.
The gist: Woody Allen paints a portrait of a largely unlikable woman who loses her largely unlikable husband, then finds out living in a world where people are unlikable when you're unlikable is pretty, well, you know. You might like this one if you're a Woody Allen fan. PG-13
The cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Alden Ehrenreich, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Louis C.K., Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay.
The buzz: This is Allen's 44th movie, so you get the feeling he knows what he's doing. "Just when it seemed like Allen was going to settle for cranking out a comic bauble every year for the rest of his career, he comes up with a vital and vibrant knockout of a movie," the Miami Herald says.
The gist: Killers in cutesy masks stalk the members of a family reunion until one woman decides to put her survivalist training to good use. That sounds way better than another show hosted by Bear Grylls. R
The cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz and Rob Moran.
The buzz: It's a standard splatter flick with good pacing and a sense of humor. "The surprisingly adept mixture of tones … is offbeat enough to keep even hardened connoisseurs of body-count entertainment on their toes," the L.A. Times says.
The Spectacular Now
The gist: A love story about a teenage alcoholic who falls for the brainy girl, except without all the tropes and stereotypes these kinds of movies tend to employ. Yes, believe it or not, youthful romances tend to be somewhat complex. R
The cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, Andre Royo, Dayo Okeniyi and Bob Odenkirk.
The buzz: It's nice to see a movie in which the teenagers are allowed to act their age. "The Spectacular Now captures the exhilaration and confusion, longing and dread of young romance with raw honesty and insight. Nothing rings false, nothing feels 'cute,' " the Philadelphia Inquirer says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org