New films from two longtime masters are drawing strong reviews from critics in their debut weekends.
"Into the Abyss," the latest documentary from Werner Herzog, examines the death penalty by revisiting a triple homicide in Texas. AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire gave it three and a half stars out of four, saying: "Regardless of your own stance on the death penalty, it's impossible not to be shaken by the senseless loss depicted in "Into the Abyss,' the overwhelming sadness, but also the possibility of spiritual redemption."
Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" explores the nature of depression by following two sisters (Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg) through a lavish but disastrous wedding and the impending arrival of a planet that's headed toward Earth. Lemire also gave this film three and a half stars out of four, calling it von Trier's "strongest work in a while, a devastatingly beautiful, operatic mixture of all his signature themes and visual schemes."
Clint Eastwood's new film, "J. Edgar," starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, is earning mixed reviews. AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle gave it three stars, calling it "a riveting, noble attempt by Eastwood, now 81, to wrestle with big American questions, many of which have obvious relevance to today's politics."
Not faring nearly so well is the latest Adam Sandler comedy, "Jack and Jill." Sandler plays opposite himself as an advertising executive and his twin sister who's come to visit. Coyle wrote: "Sandler plays Jill as he might have for a "Saturday Night Live' sketch, and Jill is less a real character than a walking punch line." He gave the movie one and a half stars out of four.
Here's a look at how these movies and others fared on the top review websites as of Friday afternoon. Each score is the percentage of positive reviews for the film:
- "Into the Abyss": Metacritic, 78; Movie Review Intelligence, 80.1; Rotten Tomatoes, 88. Average: 82.
- "Melancholia": Metacritic, 82; Movie Review Intelligence, 81.7; Rotten Tomatoes, 79. Average: 80.9.
- "J. Edgar": Metacritic, 59; Movie Review Intelligence, 60.6; Rotten Tomatoes, 41. Average: 53.5.
- "Immortals": Metacritic, 43; Movie Review Intelligence, 39.6; Rotten Tomatoes, 39. Average: 40.5.
- "Jack and Jill": Metacritic, 24; Movie Review Intelligence, 19.3; Rotten Tomatoes, 2. Average: 15.1.