New movies this week
The gist: We thought this would be a light-hearted, consequence-free yarn about some college coeds played by Disney refugees hitting the beach for some harmless fun. Throw in James Franco as a cornrowed rapper named Alien and some illegal activity, though, and you'll see how wrong we were. R
The cast: Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, Ashley Benson and Gucci Mane.
The buzz: Critics are kinda split about this locally shot freakshow, but plenty give it points for being more entertaining than expected. "(Director Harmony Korine) turns his exploration into such a gonzo, outrageously funny party that it takes a while to appreciate that this is more of a horror film than a comedy," the New York Times says.
Olympus Has Fallen
The gist: The White House is taken over by terrorists and a disgraced former presidential bodyguard must prove he's eleventy billion times better than the Navy SEALs, Secret Service, Marine Corps Force Recon, Green Berets and the Expendables combined to save the day. R
The cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune.
The buzz: It's an action movie about the president being held hostage. You expect art? "Directed by Antoine Fuqua with his usual slam-bang, cutthroat aggression but with almost nothing in the way of surprise or genuine, organic suspense," Entertainment Weekly says. Yeah, but stuff blows up real good!
The gist: A caveman clan's home is destroyed, so they have to wander through prehistoric CGI to find somewhere else to live. We're betting there's one or two allegories about being open to new ideas here! PG
The cast: Voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke.
The buzz: Okay, DreamWorks seems to know what it's doing again. "Further back on the evolutionary chain than the Flintstones, and also lagging in the comedy stakes, this sweet Stone Age clan nonetheless will captivate the youngsters," the Hollywood Reporter says.
The gist: A college admissions officer has an epiphany about her career — nay! her very life! — when she has to leave the office for a recruiting trip right when she should be lobbying for a promotion. Oh, it's hard having people judge you when they don't really know you, isn't it? PG-13
The cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn and Gloria Reuben.
The buzz: Unfortunately, it's an uneven effort from a pretty solid cast. "What appears on paper to be an ideal three-dimensional, morally complex role for the quick-witted comedienne backfires in practice, relying on Fey to be funny in a movie that works better serious," Variety says.
The gist: Director Park Chan-wook uses his English directorial debut to tell the tale about a woman who becomes fascinated with an uncle who comes to stay with her and her mother after her father dies. And not fascinated in a wholesome way. R
The cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver and Lucas Till.
The buzz: Weird, but not in a disappointing way. "Stoker's ultimate wispiness makes Park's achievement all the more impressive: He's the magician pulling a deft sleight of hand, waiting until the very last moment to reveal that all is illusion," NPR says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org