New movies this week
The gist: The oldster spies come back to commit more carnage on summertime moviegoers. And here you were hoping it was a movie about Wedge from Star Wars. PG-13
The cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee, Jong Kun Lee and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The buzz: Like a typical sequel, it's not nearly as good as the original. "An obligatory sequel that can't quite recapture the sly, laid-back pleasures of its cheerfully ridiculous predecessor," Variety says.
The gist: Imagine if the guys from Men in Black did their super-powered cop thing, but chased dead people instead of aliens. Yeah, seems pretty thin to us, too. PG-13
The cast: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong and Marisa Miller.
The buzz: Seems pretty thin to Universal Pictures, too; they haven't screened it for critics.
The gist: A surprisingly effective haunted-house story about a family that buys a farm only to find out some unpleasant features were included in the sale. Then they call the ghostbusters. R
The cast: Vera Farmiga. Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King and Mackenzie Foy.
The buzz: Finally, a horror movie that lives up to the genre. "James Wan's haunted-house saga is well-crafted, convincingly acted, surprisingly restrained and scary as hell," the Seattle Times lauds.
Girl Most Likely
The gist: A failed playwright gets dumped by her boyfriend and has to move back to the Jersey shore with her gambling-addict mother, then pray a cute love interest can set her straight. Sounds a lot like the plot of Bridesmaids, except without the friend getting married. PG-13
The cast: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Darren Criss, Matt Dillon and Christopher Fitzgerald.
The buzz: Doesn't anyone make lighthearted comedies anymore? "Wiig is tailor-made for this sort of insecurity-based comedy, but both the dull script and the bland direction let her down," the Oregonian writes.
The gist: As opposed to this yarn, in which found footage details the demise of a busload of idiots at an abandoned gas station. The scariest thing is that a star of HBO's True Blood is involved. No MPAA rating
The cast: Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stasey, Harry J. Lennix, Stephen Moyer and Radha Mitchell.
The buzz: It's only opening at the Veterans 24, if that provides any clues. "The film isn't as smart as it thinks it is, and its characters are painfully generic," the Village Voice laments.
The Way, Way Back
The gist: A 14-year-old hates his mother and her boyfriend, so he spends their entire summer vacation hanging out with a guy at a water park. No, it's a comedy. Kind of. PG-13
The cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Zoe Levin, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and Amanda Peet.
The buzz: And it's a pretty good comedy. Kind of. "The comedy dial does occasionally creep past 11. But the over-the-top Janney is still often hilarious, and Rockwell is a string of firecrackers," the Newark Star-Ledger says.
The gist: A cartoon snail falls in some nitrous and becomes fast enough to compete in the Indy 500. It came out Wednesday, but what can we say? We're slow. PG
The cast: Voices of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Samuel L. Jackson Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and Snoop Dogg.
The buzz: It's July. It's hot. Your kids will pipe down for 90 minutes. Be happy. "A derivative but nevertheless good-hearted movie that's peppered with enough clever touches to engage adults as well as moviegoers of the smaller, squirmier variety," the Washington Post reasons.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org