Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see. Simple enough, right? This week we have a team of curious interstellar earthlings, time-traveling social outcasts, a quasi-heartbroken hipster, a hippie grandma and a besotted loser.


Synopsis: At this point, if you’ve ignored the risk of spoilers and read about Ridley Scott’s grand return to sci-fi, you know that it has something to do with his masterpiece ALIEN…or does it? We’ll be happy if the new film is just in the same general universe as Ripley and company.

Most typical critique: Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic:

You’re more likely to enjoy the film if you go in thinking less about ALIEN and more about Scott, with his emphasis on images, tone and atmosphere over — sometimes at the expense of — plot and story.

The quote not to miss: Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times:

Scott briskly blends the high-minded stuff with impressive boo-and-goo sequences, ratcheting tension in tight spots and dark caverns. One set piece should become a new milestone in horror, as John Hurt’s tummy trouble did in ALIEN.

Should you go see it?

Do you even need to ask? Even if this was unilaterally bad (which it most certainly is not), Ridley Scott is the man who made BLADE RUNNER. In other words, he is reason enough. At 75% on Rotten Tomatoes at press time, only time will tell as to whether this film will be as much of a conversation-changer as some of his previous work.


Synopsis: This lil’ Sundance fave is finally out. After winning the screenwriting award at this year’s fest, the latest from the producers of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE tells the story of a guy (HUMPDAY’s Mark Duplass) posting a rather peculiar classified in the paper.

Most typical critique: Christy Lemire, Associated Press:

You have to admire the fact that, rather than turning to the safety of snark, this little movie sticks to its big idea: All you gotta do is believe.

The quote not to miss: Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:

From LARS AND THE REAL GIRL to HARVEY, there’s a noble tradition in movies of folks who are gently off their rockers….So it is with Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a supermarket worker in the Pacific Northwest who plans to travel back in time.

Should you go see it?

This is a yes. Practically across the board, all reviews mention the substantial feel-good potential of this flick, and after all, who doesn’t wanna feel good?


Synopsis: A New York rom-com positively drenched in hipsterdom, LOLA VERSUS stars Greta Gerwig as a happy-go-lucky city gal faced with a breakup weeks before her wedding and the ensuing year or highs and lows. What’s a gal to do?

Most typical critique: David Germain, Associated Press:

Greta Gerwig is fighting for love, struggling for happiness, striving for harmony in LOLA VERSUS. What she’s really up against, though, are the contrivances piled on by the filmmakers of this aggravating indie romance.

The quote not to miss: Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:

This is the kind of cutely alienated indie relationship comedy that Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls has made irrelevant.

Should you go see it?

Blah…as long as you’re not fooled by the very urbane trappings. At the end of the day, this romantic comedy does absolutely nothing new, and fails to ever communicate even the slightest bit of risk, conflict or true heartbreak for our little damsel in distress, Lola.


Synopsis: Jane Fonda as Catherine Keener’s hippie mother? That seems like a tall order in this family comedy, with Keener as an uptight city lawyer who takes her kids (one being the busy Elizabeth Olsen) to pot-smoking, chicken-farming grandma’s house.

Most typical critique: Christy Lemire, Associated Press:

Squanders the abilities of these usually fearless, formidable actresses with material that’s entirely predictable and a high sap factor that belongs in a made-for-cable production.

The quote not to miss: Melissa Anderson, Village Voice:

An incompetently structured film that pits hippies against squares with the usual wearying results.

Should you go see it?

Go for the ensemble, not the plot. The women in this film all rock, and they’re worth watching, but the film itself leaves a lot to be desired.


Synopsis: In the new film from Todd Solondz (HAPPINESS), Selma Blair is back as the object of affection, targeted by a sort of shlubby guy named Abe. More importantly, the trailer features Christopher Walken in a toupee.

Most typical critique: Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York:

Solondz still has an ear and an eye for a specific hell in the real world.

The quote not to miss: Edward Douglas,

Solondz’s most upbeat film since WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE that doesn’t make you feel like you need to take a long shower to clean off…afterwards.

Should you go see it?

Really up to you. If you’re the kind of person who gets into Solondz’s movies, you’re probably planning on catching this one.