The Verdict on This Weekend's Movies: "Valentine's Day," "Wolfman" and More

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  • Publish Date: February 11, 2010

Our weekly roundup looks at this week's new film releases. For reviews of these and many more films, visit Metacritic Movies. [Scores updated Feb. 13.]

This Week's Major Releases, Head to Head
Movie Release Date Rating Genre Metascore Critic Grades Users
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief NEW PG Teen Fantasy 48 7,17,3 6.8
Valentine's Day NEW PG-13 Comedy/Romance 34 4,13,15 4.5
The Wolfman NEW R Horror/Thriller 45 9,16,7 4.2
Compare to the "best" from recent weeks:
Dear John 2/5 PG-13 Romance 43 4,24,5 6.9
Edge of Darkness 1/29 R Thriller 55 17,14,3 6.9
Extraordinary Measures 1/22 PG Drama 45 6,24,3 7.2

The Wolfman 45

This delayed, problem-plagued production -- a remake of 1941's werewolf thriller The Wolf Man set in the late 19th century -- stars Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. The director is Joe Johnston, and considering that his past efforts include such "classics" as Jumanji 39 and Jurassic Park III 42, The Wolfman qualifies as one of his better films.

Critics seem to be arriving at the consensus that the film is rather pedestrian, offering too little in the way of scares, thrills, or originality. Some critics enjoyed enough of Wolfman to give it a positive review; the Boston Globe's Ty Burr found it "surprisingly enjoyable," while the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips admired the film's pacing and "meticulous" period re-creation. Other reviewers were a bit less positive. Rolling Stone (and others) complained that the movie wasn't scary; the Miami Herald found Wolfman irrelevant; the Philadelphia Inquirer noted a lack of "narrative rhythm"; the LA Weekly deemed it "bafflingly inert"; and the Austin Chronicle felt that the film also lacked emotion. Del Toro and Hopkins proved to be another disappointment for some critics, with the Hollywood Reporter calling their performances "oddly disaffected" and more than one review noting how Hopkins looks "bored" on screen.

Valentine's Day 34

Here's one way to tell if your Valentine's date is going poorly: Look around you. If you notice that you are in a movie theater watching Valentine's Day, the date is probably a failure. Critics are finding little to love about Garry Marshall's romantic comedy, which combines a dozen stories set in Los Angeles over the course of a single Valentine's Day. Despite a strong ensemble cast (featuring everyone from Julia Roberts to Ashton Kutcher), reviewers have identified two key components that appear to be missing: romance and comedy.

You would think that with 12 stories to choose from, critics would find at least a few enjoyable, but the Boston Globe's Wesly Morris seemed to speak for many reviewers when he wrote, "This is many lousy movies for the price of one." The film isn't completely lacking in every department; some critics found plenty of cliches, and Slate's Dana Stevens noted, "What it lacks in charm, humor, and intelligence, it makes up for in sheer volume." Even Roger Ebert warned, "If your date likes it, do NOT date that person again."

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief 48

On a weekend when most people will be watching actual Olympians compete in Vancouver, fans of Rick Riordan's book series may be heading to theaters to see Chris Columbus' fantasy adaptation about the teenage son of the Greek god Poseidon, who must recover Zeus' stolen lightning bolt in modern-day America. Unfortunately, any fans of the books who do head to theaters may be disappointed with the results, as many critics were.

Reviewers had a hard time avoiding Harry Potter comparisons (especially since Columbus also directed two of those movies), and you can guess how those went: Percy Jackson easily failed to live up to the standards set by that one-of-a-kind franchise. Even on its own merits, the movie failed to impress some reviewers. The New York Times noted the film's "flat and mechanical" dialogue, Time Out New York labeled it "mirthless," and Slate's David Plotz -- who even tested the movie out on his daughter, a fan of the books -- declared it to be "really unfun." Still, while no critic called the movie great, a handful enjoyed it as modestly entertaining.

Next week in Metacritic

Opening next Friday, February 19th, are Martin Scorsese's highly anticipated thriller Shutter Island, and (in limited release) Roman Polanski's thriller The Ghost Writer. Here are the trailers:

Full Movie Release Calendar

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