This week at the movies, we’ve got a vengeful assassin (Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana and Jordi Molla), a haunted mansion (Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes), and a senseless sibling (Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks). What do the critics have to say?
Ain’t nothing wrong with babes brandishing weapons and dispensing justice, right? Well, if you’re in the mood for an over-the-top explosion-fest, critics say Colombiana might be the picture for you, if you’re willing to look past the non-existent plotting and unintentional hilarity. As a young girl, Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) witnesses the brutal murder of her parents by a mobster. She spends the rest of her formative years training to be a stone-cold killer in order to enact revenge. The pundits say Colombiana won’t win any points for subtlety or narrative cohesiveness, but if you’re in the mood for some high-octane thrills, you could do much worse than this stylish thriller.
He’s the director of Pan’s Labyrinth and the producer of The Orphanage, so it’s safe to assume Guillermo del Toro loves creepy old houses. But while critics say his latest production, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (directed by newcomer Troy Nixey), has plenty of spooky atmosphere, its scares are too intermittent to be fully satisfying. Guy Pearce stars as an architect who’s fixing up an old mansion, giving his daughter (Bailee Madison) an opportunity to explore the house’s dark corners. What she finds, unfortunately, is the portal to a nightmarish underworld. The pundits say Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is well crafted and should appeal to fans of old-school haunted house flicks, but its characters are never fully fleshed out, and the movie runs out of steam as it goes along. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Pearce’s best-reviewed movies.)
Paul Rudd has played confused characters before, but never someone as blissfully oblivious as the protagonist in Our Idiot Brother. And critics say he and his charming co-stars enliven this uneven but undeniably sweet and breezily amusing comedy. Paul Rudd stars as Ned, an utterly guileless organic famer who moves in with his three sisters (played by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer) after his girlfriend gives him the boot. Soon, however, Ned’s eternal optimism and unfailing honesty is wreaking havoc on his siblings’ personal lives. The pundits say My Idiot Brother is pleasant and gently funny, and the ensemble cast helps to make the most of a simple premise.
Tales from the Golden Age, a comedy about the propaganda machine in the waning days of Romanian communism, is at 92 percent.
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, a documentary about a pair of guys whose discreet recordings of their neighbors’ unhinged arguments developed a cult following, is at 83 percent.
Higher Ground, directed by and starring Vera Farmiga in a drama about an evangelical woman who struggles with her faith, is at 81 percent.
Circumstance, a drama about a love affair between two teenage girls in conservative Tehran, is at 69 percent.
Chasing Madoff, a doc about the team of investigators that brought down the fugitive financier, is at 57 percent.
Brighton Rock, starring Sam Riley and Helen Mirren in a crime drama about a low-level hood who’s trying to make a name for himself, is at 48 percent.
Special Treatment, starring Isabelle Huppert in a drama about a high priced call girl who teams up with a psychotherapist, is at 33 percent.
The Family Tree, starring Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis in a dramedy about a dysfunctional suburban family that gets a new lease on life with the help of amnesia, is at 20 percent.
Swinging With The Finkels, starring Mandy Moore and Martin Freeman as young marrieds who try to shake things up by swapping partners with another couple, is at zero percent.