It’s kind of a weird weekend at the movies, with no major release except for shirtless, hunky Gerard Butler learning about love, life and soccer or something in “Playing For Keeps.” Meanwhile, arthouses get the fading Oscar chances of “Hyde Park On Hudson” starring the always awesome Bill Murray. Check out your options below and tell us where your hard-earned dollars going this weekend.
“Playing For Keeps.” Directed by Gabriele Muccino. Starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. This predictable rom-com is unfocused and syrupy sweet. Metacritic: 30 Rotten Tomatoes: 0%
“Hyde Park On Hudson.” Directed by Roger Michell. Starring Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West, and Olivia Coleman. Our review: “A bonafide feel-good crowd-pleaser, ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’ should strike a chord with lenient and undiscerning audiences, but with little substance or heft, the picture is a mildly pleasurable but a forgettable and toothless look at a little corner where history, politics and romance met.” MC: 56 RT: 42% The Playlist: C
“Deadfall.” Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. Starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson, Kate Mara, and Treat Williams. Our review: ” ‘Deadfall’ is an arctic mess, a disjointed screenplay which hinges almost entirely on coincidence and iffy plot contrivances, filled out with wafer-thin characterization, and atonal dialogue. Given the option, freezing to death might be the more desirable choice.” MC: 52 RT: 34% PL: D
“Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.” Directed by Donald Rice. Starring Felicity Jones, Luke Treadaway, James Norton, and Elizabeth McGovern. Our review: “For most of its running time, ‘Cheerful Weather for the Wedding’ is a pleasant but forgettable tale of star-crossed lovers, but at about the hour mark it becomes apparent that it’s more than overstayed its welcome.” MC: 49 RT: 50% PL: C-
“Lay the Favorite.” Directed by Stephen Frears. Starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Joshua Jackson. Our review: ” ‘Lay The Favorite’ places a bet but comes up empty with a comedy that won’t make you smirk, with a gaggle of characters and actors who bounce and riff with very little rhyme or reason.” MC: 38 RT: 21% PL: D
“In Our Nature.” Directed by Brian Savelson. Starring John Slattery,Zack Gilford, Jena Malone, andGabrielle Union. Our review: “To watch a story where we simply understand these characters without seeing them truly evolve, or move towards an evolution, proves to be slightly disappointing, if perhaps more realistic to real life. In which case, ‘In Our Nature’ is as prophetic as it is provocative, exploring dysfunction, in a recognizable but no less satisfying way.” MC: 48 RT: 50% PL: B
“The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.” Directed by and starring Edward Burns. Also starring Kerry Bishé and Connie Britton. The plot is pretty routine, but a talented cast saves the film from total disaster. MC: 57 RT: 61%
“Delhi Safari.” Directed by Nikhil Advani. Starring Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Jane Lynch, and Vanessa Williams. Touted as India’s first foray into 3D animation, this kid’s cartoon will be reminiscent (or an unfortunate recycling) for audiences familiar with “The Lion King” or “Madagascar.” So pretty much everyone. MC: 37 RT: 9%.
“Only the Young” Directed by Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet. Our review: “There is no doubt that Tippet and Mims got it right. ‘Only The Young’ captures the spirit of the moments that create memories that last a lifetime.” MC: 72 RT: no score yet PL: B+
“Waiting for Lightning.” Directed by Jacob Rosenberg. This skateboarding doc offers little beyond cool shots of awesome tricks. MC: 45 RT: 44%
“The Art of Flight 3D.” Directed by Curt Morgan. Another extreme sports documentary — but this time with snow and in 3D! — that manages to be extremely boring. MC: no score yet RT: no score yet
“Tchoupitoulas.” Directed by Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross. This nighttime depiction of New Orleans is soulful, alluring, and visually striking. MC: 78 RT: 89%
“Wagner & Me.” Directed by Patrick McGrady. The complications inherent in Jewish actor Stephen Fry‘s unadulterated passion for the music of the notoriously anti-Semetic composer Richard Wagner offers an intriguing and personal perspective to the otherwise lackluster documentary. MC: 57 RT: 83%
“Heleno.” Directed by José Henrique Fonseca. Starring Rodrigo Santoro, Aline Moraes, Angie Cepeda, and Erom Codeiro. Our review: “There is no doubt that ‘Heleno’ is ambitious and even spirited, but it’s also these qualities that get in the way of the movie as well. The movie is basically The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Mad Man, but don’t be shocked if you find yourself asking just what art he was practicing in the first place.” MC: 57 RT: 44% PL: C
“The Sheik and I.” Directed by Caveh Zahedi. Our review: “The film moves quickly and is remarkably structured to reference itself when necessary, fattening its own ideas with its unfiltered logic. It resolves satisfactorily, even if it never really overcome the obstacles it directly identifies. The dissection and consideration are enough.” MC: no score yet RT: no score yet PL: A-