Oz the Great and Powerful
One sentence plot: When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 99
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 58
"Oz the Great and Powerful" isn't a masterpiece for the ages, but an agreeable family film that pleasantly reminds us of something greater - of a land that we heard of, once in a lullaby." Seattle Times Full Review
"The 3-D effects are plentiful - hats, lions, and baboons jump off the screen and into your lap - but the characters rarely lodge in the moviegoer's heart." Time Magazine Full Review
"Though Oz has some of the same narrative issues and effects-heavy bloat as that highly personal fantasy film, every frame is infused with a deep-rooted, impassioned understanding of the cinema's magical power to captivate and inspire." Time Out New York Full Review
21 And Over
One sentence plot: A straitlaced college student cuts loose on the night before a crucial medical-school interview when his two best friends convince him to celebrate his 21st birthday in style.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 70
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 31
"These guys get into more trouble in one night than members of this film's target audience will encounter in their entire college lives." New York Times Full Review
"Everything is done to excess with the needle on the gross-out meter buried in the red." Toronto Star Full Review
"Lucas and Moore don't bother to come up with a single funny joke. Instead they apparently hope that combining racist and sexist insults with unfocused mayhem will be diversion enough." New York Daily News Full Review
The Last Exorcism Part II
One sentence plot: Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 67
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 15
"The Last Exorcism Part II is an effectively unnerving, slow-burn supernatural horror tale." Los Angeles Times Full Review
"Without spoiling anything, I will say that The Last Exorcism Part II ends on an open note that teases a legitimately engaging setup for a potential third movie. But really, the producers of this series should quit while they're behind." Washington Post Full Review
"An actress who suggests religious piety, carnal fire and satanic aggression with equal dexterity, Ms. Bell provides a pulse an audience can connect with amid the standard-issue atmospheric accouterments." New York Times Full Review
One sentence plot: Ed Harris plays the captain of a Cold War Soviet missile submarine who has recently been suffering from seizures that alter his perception of reality.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 83
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 20
"To sustain tension, you need the kind of claustrophobic camera movement, high-strung talk and gritty character development that are badly needed in any submarine movie and are sadly missing in Phantom." New York Observer Full Review
"The potential for screw-tightening suspense gets lost amid the ineffectual dramatics in Phantom." Variety Full Review
"There's a lot to like about Phantom, but the movie, like the rust-bucket old submarine in which most of it takes place, would be better off dry-docked." The Wrap Full Review
Jack the Giant Slayer
One sentence plot: 'Jack the Giant Slayer' tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 95
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 62
"It's stuck in a big-budget-movie middle ground - not quite thrilling enough to be an action movie, not quite funny enough for a comedy - and, once you've pondered the impressive size of the beanstalk, there's not much else there." Seattle Times Full Review
"The action is a little too intense for very young children. But for everyone else, including cynical grown-up critics who didn't think they'd ever give a Fee, a Fi, a Fo or a Fum about this movie, it's a terrific adventure." Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
"By the time the giants have descended the beanstalk and laid siege to the king's castle, and the boiling oil comes out with the flaming arrows and the flying flaming trees, it's like: Enough already." Chicago Tribune Full Review
Escape from Planet Earth
One sentence plot: The 3D animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 62
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 26
"Colorful as the 3-D aliens-among-us comedy is to look at, though, Corddry is handed a role that's beige as can be, and so are his castmates." Boston Globe Full Review
"Just like its hero and his grounded starship, Escape From Planet Earth is, for much of the film, a decidedly earthbound adventure." Washington Post Full Review
"A lightweight, warp-speed, brightly colored trifle that should delight small children and sporadically amuse their parents." Variety Full Review
One sentence plot: A woman starts a new life in a small town in North Carolina and finds herself reluctantly attracted to a man who helps her confront her past in this Nicholas Sparks adaptation from Dear John director Lasse Hallström.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 71
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 13
"Plods along with dialogue just above the level of crayon scribblings, and the direction by the usually reliable Lasse Hallström is dismayingly sluggish." New York Observer Full Review
"It's as though the filmmakers lacked the confidence to stick with the basic story, which served every element needed in a Sparks-infused guilty pleasure." Dallas Morning News Full Review
"On its own merits, Safe Haven is about as satisfying and filling as a Valentine's Day conversation heart, with far less to say." MSN Movies Full Review
One sentence plot: From the producers of 'Paranormal Activity', 'Insidious', and 'Sinister' comes 'Dark Skies': a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 43
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 30
"It's not that Dark Skies is so awful you need to be warned away from it. It's just that it's so bland you might as well find something better to do." New York Daily News Full Review
"Dark Skies is sort of supernatural, but it's really more super natural....[it's] about the fragility of family, a muted meditation on how precious it is." Film.com Full Review
"Dark Skies is a bore that even the most forgiving genre buffs will find difficult to defend or endure." Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
Silver Linings Playbook
One sentence plot: Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything and finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 88
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92
"Silver Linings Playbook tells us that happily-ever-after may depend on finding people who coexist with our lunacy, not ones who can lead us out of it. In any case, it's crazy good." Minneapolis Star Tribune Full Review
"A crazy beaut of a comedy that brims with generosity and manages to circumvent predictability at every turn." Entertainment Weekly Full Review
"This meaningful film keeps the laughs, giddy anxiousness and warm butterflies from the trailer and sustains it all through two full hours of a love story." Denver Post Full Review
One sentence plot: In the fast-paced action thriller 'Snitch', Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 96
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67
"'Snitch' is more of a dramatic thriller than an action movie, and director Ric Roman Waugh fills it with close-ups, dark interiors and tense faces." Seattle Times Full Review
"This movie executes two missions: A) to entertain us; and B) to put some big exclamation points on a couple of messages about certain drug laws in this country in need of a thorough re-examination." Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
"Unusual for this sort of thing, Snitch is a film for which you remember the characters and actors more than the big action moments." Hollywood Reporter Full Review
A Good Day to Die Hard
One sentence plot: John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to Russia in this fifth installment of the Die Hard film series. Skip Woods (The A-Team) provides the script, with Max Payne's John Moore directing. Jai Courtney co-stars as Willis' son.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 82
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 13
"Few fans of the series would disagree that this sclerotic fifth installment should probably be the last." Slate Full Review
"This is the Magpie School of action filmmaking: Anytime things start to make so little sense that you might lose the audience, just throw something shiny up on screen to distract." NPR Full Review
"A Good Day To Die Hard is a movie for people who like blowin' stuff up, evidently a favorite pastime of director John Moore, whose action scenes make about as much sense as his script, which was likely written on a cocktail napkin." Boston Phoenix Full Review
One sentence plot: Steven Soderbergh reteams with his Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns for this psychological thriller starring Rooney Mara as a woman who turns to drugs in order to deal with her husband (Channing Tatum) being released from jail.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 97
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 84
"Ultimately, think of the movie as a puzzle box in which all the pieces fit together wonderfully well. Once you step back and take a look at how it’s all put together, you have to marvel at how cleverly constructed the whole thing is." Arizona Republic. Full Review
"Like Magic Mike, Side Effects is enlivened by Soderbergh's jazzy style and laidback moralism, bringing to mind the work of another connoisseur of genre, Robert Altman." Slant Magazine Full Review
"Side Effects is mostly a good Saturday-night movie, but by the end, it's caused a few unintended side effects of its own: a bit of head-scratching, and a giggle or two of disbelief." Entertainment Weekly. Full Review
One sentence plot: Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy lead the cast of 'Identity Thief', an all-star comedy in which a regular guy is forced to extreme measures to clear his name.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 97
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 29
"The only thing Identity Thief steals is your time and your expectation of inventive comedy. The concept may be high, but the yield (in terms of laughs) is depressingly low." Huffington Post. Full review
"Gordon is lost, and his style of shooting - telescopic close-ups, which never give us enough space to appreciate the performers - feels wrong for comedy." Chicago Tribune. Full Review
"Of the many qualities I adore about Melissa McCarthy as a comedian and as a dramatic actor, the best is how fully she gives herself to every character she plays." Entertainment Weekly. Full Review
One sentence plot: A funny new twist on a classic love story, 'Warm Bodies' is a poignant tale about the power of human connection.
Rotten Tomatoes viewer score: 83
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 77
"Hoult's genuinely awkward charm and Palmer's tomboyish wholesomeness disarm an audience overfamiliar with this story. The two ably communicate the primitive and irrational feelings of falling in love." New York Daily News Full review
"In doing a little genre bending of romantic schmaltz and horror cheese--some fundamental zombie mythology is turned on its head--the film breathes amusing new life into both." Los Angeles TimesFull review
Zero Dark Thirty
One sentence plot: The filmmaking duo behind The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal) takes on the hunt for -- and the killing of -- Osama bin Laden in this Annapurna Pictures production that tracks SEAL Team Six, the special-ops team who eventually brought down the terrorist leader.
Moviefone viewer score: 63
Moviefone critic score: 95
“Telling a nearly three-hour story with an ending everyone knows, Bigelow and Boal have managed to craft one of the most intense and intellectually challenging films of the year.” The Guardian Full Review.
“Like the fictional Clarice Starling in ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ Maya is a consummate professional who brilliantly performs her job in an often hostile work environment.” New York Post Full Review.
“A monumental achievement that documents a coordinated and complicated response to a monumental tragedy.” Philadelphia Enquirer Full Review.
One sentence plot: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave who forms an unlikely partnership with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz.
Moviefone viewer score: 73
Moviefone critic score: 80
"A sharp shock of a film in an Awards season very full of movies so noble they become immobile. It's wildly unlikely to get much love from the Academy, and that's fine-bluntly, it's too good for them. With its bloody stew of history and hysteria, action taken from movies and atrocities taken from fact, Django isn't just a movie only America could make-it's also a movie only America needs to." Boxoffice Magazine Full Review.
"Exactly what you might expect from the fearless, controversial director of "Pulp Fiction" - it's overlong, raunchy, shocking, grim, exaggerated, self-indulgently over-the-top and so politically incorrect it demands a new definition of the term. It is also bold, original, mesmerizing, stylish and one hell of a piece of entertainment." New York Observer Full Review.
"Django Unchained also has the pure, almost meaningless excitement which I found sorely lacking in Tarantino's previous film, Inglourious Basterds, with its misfiring spaghetti-Nazi trope and boring plot. I can only say Django delivers, wholesale, that particular narcotic and delirious pleasure that Tarantino still knows how to confect in the cinema, something to do with the manipulation of surfaces. It's as unwholesome, deplorable and delicious as a forbidden cigarette." The Guardian Full Review.
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