New movies this week
The gist: Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy combine their considerable talents to make an utterly confusing picture about a lawyer haunted by an illegal deal he made. Or something. We have no idea what's going on by watching the trailer, that's for sure. R
The cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Dean Norris.
The buzz: Nobody seems to like the movie, even with this cast. "Cormac McCarthy's first original script is nearly all dialogue, but it's a lousy story, ineptly constructed and rendered far too difficult to follow," Variety says.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The gist: Johnny Knoxville returns as Irving Zisman, taking his "grandson" around and doing embarrassing and childish things that make us laugh in spite of ourselves. At least the plot is easier to understand than The Counselor. R
The cast: Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Spike Jonze and a whole bunch of unwitting victims.
The buzz: A lot of critics caught themselves laughing at it, too. "Though at times it grows predictable and more inane than outrageous, Bad Grandpa gets more than its share of cheap laughs," the Boston Globe admits.
The gist: Female writer director Haifaa Al-Mansour breaks all kinds of barriers by being the first female Saudi Arabian moviemaker with a feature film, which happens to be the first movie shot entirely in Saudi Arabia (which doesn't have movie theaters), about a girl who wants to buy a bike where bicycles are seen as poor form for women, who are not allowed to drive or vote. You should probably go see it, to support the project. PG
The cast: Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd and Sultan Al Assaf.
The buzz: Almost universal acclaim from every corner. "Wadjda captures Saudi life on the cusp of serious change, but it's by no means a solemn drama. Al-Mansour writes and directs with a light touch and hopeful aspect," the Toronto Star says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org