Director: Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate ParkerThe Story: A U.S. Air Marshall on an intercontinental flight must go into action after receiving text messages threatening to kill the passengers on board if demands aren't met. The Lowdown: With a plot that can’t stand up to any real scrutiny, this mindless thriller is nothing more than silly entertainment.
Genre: Biblical Drama
Director: Christopher Spencer
Starring: Diogo Morgado, Sebastian Knapp, Darwin Shaw, Roma Downey, Greg HicksThe Story: The story of the life of Jesus Christ, from his birth, to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Lowdown: An overly sincere, bombastic, dramatically inert and melodramatic film that adds nothing to the story of Jesus’ life.
Genre: Espionage Action
Director: McG (This Means War)
Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Tómas LemarquisThe Story: A CIA agent’s dying wish to reconnect with his estranged family is derailed when he’s offered a miracle cure for his disease — but only if he kills an especially nefarious target. The Lowdown: A disjointed, aimless and occasionally ugly action picture with zero spark.
Genre: Animated Biographical Fantasy
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: (Voices) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley TucciThe Story: Fantasticated biopic of the man who designed the Japanese fighter plane, the Zero. The Lowdown: For his (supposed) final film Hayao Miyazaki has created a long, very romanticized, biographical work. It is a thing of great beauty and delicacy, but the central story may prove troubling to some viewers.
Genre: Thriller Drama
Director: Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now)
Starring: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani, Samer Bisharat, Waleed ZuaiterThe Story: Three young Palestinian men who fancy themselves as "freedom fighters" manage to kill an Israeli soldier — with disastrous results. The Lowdown: Compelling and riveting entertainment that's as good as any action thriller out there (and better than most) but with dark and deeply disturbing undercurrents.
Genre: Sword-and-Sandal Nonsense
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil)
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kiefer Sutherland, Jared HarrisThe Story: Cheesy melodrama plays out against the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The Lowdown: It's a dumb disaster picture — with OK CGI disaster effects — made that much worse by lackluster leads and a bad script.
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Director: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle HaleyThe Story: After nearly being killed, Detroit cop Alex Murphy is resurrected in a mechanical body to fight crime as RoboCop. The Lowdown: A dull, uninspired remake traipsing around as high-minded social commentary, but really saying very little.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Starring: Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonaldThe Story: The ups and downs of two disparate couples over the course of a year. The Lowdown: A none-too-original romantic comedy that is nevertheless likable, often amusing and refreshingly adult.
Genre: Fact-based War Drama with Comedic Touches
Director: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh BonnevilleThe Story: Fact-based story of the men who rescued stolen art treasures from the Nazis in WWII. The Lowdown: Yes, it should have been great and it's only pretty good, but it's not the disaster many have painted. It's solidly made and individual sequences are excellent, even if the whole doesn't work so well.
Genre: Animated Adventure
Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street)
Starring: (Voices) Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam NeesonThe Story: An uninteresting Lego figure — living in a Lego world — is chosen to fulfill a prophecy that will free his people. The Lowdown: A fun, often cute (and eventually sappy) movie that’s enjoyable but disposable.
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