New movies this week
The gist: The Orson Scott Card's sci-fi epic gets the big-screen treatment, following the exploits of a boy being trained to lead Earth's armies against an alien race. If you aren't boycotting the movie because of Card's controversial comments on gay marriage or angered by the way the trailer basically gives away what happens, you may dig things going pew-pew-pew. PG-13
The cast: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis.
The buzz: Don't go expecting the deeply explored moral implications of the book, but the overall feel is there. "Against considerable odds, this risky-sounding Orson Scott Card adaptation actually works, as director Gavin Hood pulls off the sort of teen-targeted franchise starter Summit was hoping for," Variety says.
All Is Lost
The gist: Robert Redford stars as a man trapped on a sinking sailboat in the Indian Ocean, learning valuable life lessons — mostly that life is worth living. Basically, Life of Pi without the CGI tiger. For more, see Page 43. PG-13
The cast: Um, pretty much just Robert Redford.
The buzz: It's a good thing that Robert Redford is being so Robert Redford in a movie mostly showing a wordless Robert Redford. "There is incredible tension in this ordeal, this effort to survive, to find rescue, and Redford — an icon of the American film experience for more than half a century now — makes that tension deeply palpable," the Philadelphia Inquirer says.
The gist: It's your typical bachelor party in Las Vegas, except all the A-list principals are in their 60s now. That means all the actresses involved will be in their 30s. Wait, no, Mary Steenburgen is 60. PG-13
The cast: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Steenburgen.
The buzz: How much fun can a PG-13 movie starring old men in strip clubs be? "A thoroughly contrived and artificial bonbon that gives four screen legends of a certain age the opportunity to chase skirts and punch out guys a third of their age," TheWrap.com says.
The gist: Another celebrity-voiced hack-job cartoon about two turkeys traveling back in time to get the fowl removed from Thanksgiving menus. Oh, so they were the co-conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, then. PG
The cast: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Dan Fogler, Colm Meaney and Keith David.
The buzz: A cheapo effort that takes more shortcuts than Stove Top stuffing. "Often, you can point to a middling animated film's visuals as its saving grace. But this colonial world, which should feel like an expansive autumnal panorama, feels oddly inert and two-dimensional," Entertainment Weekly says.
Man of Tai Chi
The gist: Keanu Reeves is back in the martial-arts game, warming up with this effort (which he also directs) following some guy in Beijing underground fight clubs. Next up, he travels to Japan for 47 Ronin. R
The cast: Reeves, Tiger Chen, Iko Uwais, Karen Mok and Tiger Hu Chen.
The buzz: Eh, it's not so bad. Kinda weird, though. "An adequate and ambitious effort from a first-time director who could have enhanced his on-screen philosophical arguments with a bit more depth and done with a touch less of the admittedly riveting man-to-man melee," The Hollywood Reporter says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org