Genre: Comic Book Sci-Fi Action
Director: Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch)
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Laurence FishburneThe Story: A reworking of the Superman origin story. The Lowdown: A mixed bag of a movie that holds its own for about 90 minutes before turning into 45 minutes of noisy, repetitive action. It is not, however, without merit.
Genre: Apocalyptic Comedy
Director: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig RobinsonThe Story: A group of actors — playing exaggerated versions of their real-life selves — are trapped in a house during the Apocalypse. The Lowdown: A generally one-note, incredibly uneven, crass comedy that meanders and is far too in love with itself.
Genre: Fact-Based Drama
Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie MannThe Story: Fact-based story about a group of well-to-do teenagers who stole more than $3 million in clothes, jewelry and drugs from the homes of rich celebrities. The Lowdown: Slick and sometimes witty takedown of the subject, but I'm not sure if the film is any deeper than the characters — and celebrities — it depicts.
Director: Shawn Levy (Real Steel)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Josh BrenerThe Story: Two washed-up, unemployed salesmen try to sneak their way into a job at Google via a competitive internship. The Lowdown: A generally harmless, horribly contrived comedy that’s not very funny.
Director: James DeMonaco (Little New York)
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin HodgeThe Story: In the near future, all crime — including murder — is legal for 12 hours one night of the year. The Lowdown: An intriguing — if screwy and not clearly thought-out — premise can't sustain this movie, which basically turns into every home-invasion thriller you've ever seen. It's better than some, worse than others, but largely indistinct.
Director: Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Bee Season)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgård, Joanna Vanderham, Onata AprileThe Story: A little girl becomes the object of a bitter custody battle between her divorcing parents. The Lowdown: Solid modernized version of the Henry James novel, What Maisie Knew is undeniably well made and acted, but it's a hard film to like.
Genre: Heist Flick
Director: Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie LaurentThe Story: Four stage magicians perform an improbable heist live on a Vegas stage, and it’s up to a nay-saying detective and a professional debunker to thwart their next moves. The Lowdown: Convoluted and never as clever as it thinks it is. But as simple, pure entertainment, it’s none too shabby.
Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure
Director: M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender)
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoë KravitzThe Story: In the distant future, a father and son crash their spacecraft onto Earth, which has now become a dangerous, uninhabitable planet for humans. The Lowdown: Despite some ambition and a surprisingly grim tone, the film suffers from its simplistic nature, silly acting and too much goofy sci-fi nonsense.
Genre: Animated Fantasy
Director: Chris Wedge (Ice Age)
Starring: (Voices) Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Beyoncé KnowlesThe Story: A shrunken teenage girl joins in to save a woodland society of tiny people — and assorted creatures — from destruction. The Lowdown: Nice to look at and skillfully executed with good voice acting, but overall average in the story department.
Genre: Physics-Defying Action Nonsense
Director: Justin Lin (Fast Five)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke EvansThe Story: Vin Diesel and company get brought in to catch a criminal mastermind and rescue the surprisingly resurrected Michelle Rodriguez. The Lowdown: Lots of mayhem, lots of bulked-up stars, lots of fast cars, lots of fiery explosions — and barely a brain cell in sight.
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