Buyer beware this weekend at the box office. There's a little something targeted for everybody out there, but every film comes with some major red flags.


2012
The Story: As per Mayan predictions, the world ends a few years from now and John Cusack leads a band of survivors who try to figure out just what to do with that. From veteran world-destroying director Roland Emmerich.
The Pitch: Independence Day meets An Inconvenient Truth
Who It's For: People who's need to see stuff get exploded is so strong they are willing to put up with having a bit a little left-wing messaging in the process (e.g. The White House gets destroyed by one of its own aircraft carriers, get it?)
Cause for Hope: The city destroying effects seem to have risen to the challenging; this won't be your grandfather's apocalypse.
Cause for Concern: The dialogue might not be bad enough to be funny, might level out at merely bad.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 5


THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX
The Story: A fox (voiced by George Clooney) turned away from a life of crime to respectability yearns for the thrill of the chase.
The Pitch: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer meets The Darjeeling Limited
Who It's For: Hoodie Nation
Cause for Hope: Extremely lively fun-to-look at stop motion animation; the non-reality of the medium reduces the perpetual Wes Anderson problem of every character existing in its own self-contained emotional Universe where they can preen for the camera.
Cause for Concern: Despite being little statuettes of animals, every character in the film still manages to come off as a smug, self-absorbed Wes Anderson character; Jarvis Crocker makes perhaps the most irritating cameo in recent cinema in a pure pander to the Hoodie base.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 6

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PIRATE RADIO
The Story: When rock and roll is outlawed on the British airwaves in the 1960's a group of renegade DJ's (led by Philip Seymour Hoffman) set sail and broadcast from a floating station.
The Pitch: Pump Up The Volume meets Almost Famous
Who It's For: Aging rockers, and aging rockers-to-be.
Cause for Hope: Immensely watchable cast led by Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Kenneth Branagh
Cause for Concern: Creaky familiar story of bad boys standing up to the uptight morality police.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 6


THE MESSENGER
The Story: The life of an army officer (Ben Foster) responsible notifying war deads' next of kin becomes complicated when he becomes romantically involved with a fallen soldier's widow.
The Pitch: The Hurt Locker meets The Great Santini
Who It's For: Serious drama with contemporary issues fans.
Cause for Hope: Strong festival buzz, intense looking performance by Woody Harrelson in army uniform; Samantha Morton always impresses.
Cause for Concern: Heavy downer of a subject in these downer times.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 7


DARE
The Story: Three high school seniors (Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer) on the cusp of diving into the world get involved in a complicated relationship.
The Pitch: Cruel Intentions meets Reckless
Who It's For: People who like very serious looks at high school kids sex lives.
Cause for Hope: Looks more thoughtful and interesting than typical high school film; happy return to the screen of Sandra Bernhard.
Cause for Concern: Seems to lean heavily on the shock value of threesomes and bisexuality.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 6


WOMEN IN TROUBLE
The Story: Ten wacky urban women make a mess of their personal lives.
The Pitch: Sex and the City meets Wedding Crashers
Who It's For: Girls night out, preferably post a few dozen mojitos.
Cause for Hope: Men get plenty of annoying, immature, shoddily built buddy comedies so why shouldn't women.
Cause for Concern: It would take an extreme level of commitment to the principle of female bonding not to find this ensemble deeply annoying.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 3