New movies this week
The gist: Giant robots called Jaegers battle giant monsters called Kaiju in the Pacific Ocean. It has characters named Mako Mori and (you ready for this?) Stacker Pentecost! It's like every anime cartoon ever made come to life, courtesy of Guillermo del Toro. PG-13
The cast: Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff, Yancy Becket, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Willem Dafoe and Ron Perlman.
The buzz: Even discounting that some of the critics are mecha fanboys, this one is getting surprisingly great reviews, because the awesome special effects don't overwhelm some decent plot devices. "In a field rife with impostors and poseurs, Del Toro, like his mentors, is the real deal. It's good to have him working his magic again," the L.A. Times says.
Grown Ups 2
The gist: A murderer's row of some of the best comic actors get together to make a sequel to one of the worst comic movies ever. Because you bought tickets to it. And if you didn't do that, you bought the DVD. Didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!? PG-13
The cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek Pinault, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swardson, Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Jon Lovitz, Rob Schneider and Shaquille O'Neal.
The buzz: This one wasn't screened in advance, which means it's terrible. But at least it's not yet another Judd Apatow movie.
Twenty Feet From Stardom
The gist: A documentary about the unsung (so to speak) backup singers for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Finally, they each get a portion of a 90-minute movie to recognize their lives' work. PG-13
The cast: Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Sting and a bunch of people you don't know because, well, the movie's about how you don't know them.
The buzz: The harmonious thing here is the near-universal acclaim. "In a film that's often sad but not without its triumphs, director Morgan Neville smartly explores the complex role that ego and self-promotion play in this profession," the New York Post says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org