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Now Playing: Looper, Hotel Transylvania, Won’t Back Down and More

This weekend has been circled on sci-fi geeks' calendars for months and months. Rian Johnson's highly-anticipated Looper hits theaters alongside an animated monster movie (Hotel Transylvania) and a drama about public schools (Won't Back Down). Here's your weekly rundown:



Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Theater Count: 2,992

What's It About? In the future, time travel is possible, but the mob controls who travels and when and how they do it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a mob hitman in the past who kills the men his employers send back to him. For his last job, he's sent his future self (Bruce Willis) to kill. He flinches, and thus begins a mindbending chase to figure out this riddle.

Early Reaction: It premiered on opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival to tremendous fanfare. Fanboys and the internet crowd love Johnson, but this one promises to be his biggest mainstream hit.

Metacritic: 85/100
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

What to Watch for: How well will Johnson explain the mechanics of time travel? And has the makeup team done a good enough job making JGL look like Bruce Willis?


Hotel Transylvania

Written by Peter Baynham, Robert Smigel
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Theater Count: 3,349

What's It About? This incarnation of Count Dracula features the vamp as a B&B operator, though his place is only open to ghouls, demons, and other creatures of the night. When a human boy stumbles across it accidentally, Dracula attempts to send him away immediately. But the boy falls instantly for Dracula's daughter, making him quite difficult to shake.

Early Reaction: This film also premiered at Toronto, though no one had anything really great to say about it. Most are in the camp that it's a harmless family film with only a few critics being truly appalled by the horrible Adam Sandler-ness of it all.

Metacritic: 49/100
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

What to Watch for: Is Sandler's presence, even if it's only his voice, as unbearable as it has been in his few most recent "comedies?"

Won't Back Down

Written by Daniel Barnz, Brin Hill
Directed by Daniel Barnz
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Theater Count: 2,515

What's It About? A woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is utterly dissatisfied with her child's inner city public school education. She teams up with another frustrated mother (Viola Davis), also a teacher, to confront the insane bureaucracy that's threatening their children's futures.

Early Reaction: Boy, no one seems to like this film. It's been the subject of a pretty high-profile boycott from some members of teachers unions and their supporters. Critics aren't calling for a boycott, but they've been less than impressed thus far.

Metacritic: 43/100
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%

What to Watch for: Viola Davis gives her first performance of any heft since her shocking Best Actress loss at the Oscars.


Pitch Perfect — Anna Kendrick and up-and-comer Rebel Wilson star in this seemingly Glee-inspired a capella comedy. Pitch Perfect is slated for a wide release next weekend. (Metacritic: 62/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 74%) — Universal Studios

Solomon Kane — This period action flick sounds out there (a man meets the devil and finds the inspiration he needs to take down a group of Raiders destroying England), and it must be, for there's no good reason a Lord of the Rings ripoff with actual name talent should get such a small, underpromoted rollout. (Metacritic: 47/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 64%) — Radius-TWC

Headshot — This Thai crime noir tells a familiar story in a familiar way, but many reviewers are praising the film's manic energy. (Metacritic: 58/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 56%) — Kino Lorber

The Other Dream Team — Lithuania has always had an oddly solid presence on the international basketball scene, but the nation's 1992 squad remains a national treasure. The team (including future NBA star Arvydas Sabonis) overcame symbols of the country's struggle for independence from Soviet rule. (Metacritic: 67/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 88%) — The Film Arcade

Bringing Up Bobby — Famke Janssen (of Goldeneye and X-Men fame) directs this family comedy about a single mother and petty criminal trying to keep her son out of the same trouble she's found herself in. Milla Jovovich and Bill Pullman star. (Metacritic: 36/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 13%) — Monterey Media


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