New movies this week
The Fifth Estate
The gist: A dramatization of Julian Assange's mission to create WikiLeaks and then use it to run afoul of the U.S. government, with Assange played by the guy who is voicing a cartoon dragon in the next installment of The Hobbit. The factual parts of the movie are probably at least 30-percent believable. R
The cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander, Daniel Brühl, Carice van Houten, Laura Linney and Anthony Mackie.
The buzz: It's hard to portray someone as a legend of modern media when you also imply they're a dangerous threat to society. "Both the kindest and most damning thing you can say about The Fifth Estate is that it primarily hobbles itself by trying to cram in more context-needy material than any single drama should have to bear," Variety says.
The gist: A largely superfluous remake of the 1976 Brian de Palma adaptation of Stephen King's first novel, about a social outcast who decides to use her head to get revenge on her entire high school. Judging from the trailer, she ends up trashing half the town in this version. R
The cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Tommy Ross, Alex Russell and Judy Greer.
The buzz: It could be a lot worse, but why make it at all? "More effective and less overblown than many unnecessary horror remakes, but it can't compare with the original," The Hollywood Reporter says.
The gist: A security expert conveniently ends up wrongfully imprisoned in an inescapable lockup he helped design, then spends the entire movie searching for a way to distract people from the fact that he's 67 years old. R
The cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio and Amy Ryan.
The buzz: Sly really should focus his energy on finding a way to escape the 1980s. "For two guys who have both fought their way out of tougher, stupider, higher-concept ideas than this one and looked better while doing it, Escape Plan suggests they may be trapped more by the past than any sort of tangible prison," TheWrap.com says.
The gist: Continuing with the modern theme that all so-called "comedies" must deal with some sort of emotional stunting or familial upheaval, a guy finds out he was part of a child study when his parents divorced. That somehow has ruined his life, of course, resulting in a lot of jokes that aren't really jokes. R
The cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Har, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke and Jessica Alba.
The buzz: It is indeed a dismal sort of comedy, but the cast saves it. "The movie's messy, predictable, occasionally sitcom-shallow, but it's blessed with a cast of pro farceurs — including Amy Poehler and Jane Lynch — who put a spin on almost everything they do," the Boston Globe says.
The gist: Diablo Cody's latest yarn (this time she's directing as well as writing) about overly self-aware young people, this time about a 21-year-old who uses an insurance payout from an almost fatal car accident to go to Vegas and do … something. Because you have to have a 21-year-old's mindset to think Las Vegas is the epicenter of anything besides washed-up pop stars and all-you-can-eat buffets. PG-13
The cast: Desiree Kameka, Markeem Middleton, Chen Tang, Rose Sima, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Octavia L. Spencer, Holly Hunter and Nick Offerman.
The buzz: A middling attempt by this generation's John Hughes. "Neither train wreck nor triumph, it's proof that the author of Juno, Jennifer's Body and Young Adult retains an ear for pungently funny turns of phrase and intriguing blends of rage and forgiveness," the Chicago Tribune says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org