MADELEINE BRAND, host.
And there are some new movies in the theaters this weekend: dogs who think they're superheroes, comic-book nerds who think they're superheroes, teenage girls who think their boyfriends are vampires. To tell us what the nation's critics have to say about all these new releases, here is Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.
MARK JORDAN LEGAN: For some family fun at the movies, Walt Disney Animation presents "Bolt," a comedy about a dog who stars on a TV show and thinks all his super powers are real and not just part of the scripts. Well, he's in for a rude awakening when he gets lost in New York City. John Travolta provides the voice of Bolt.
(Soundbite of movie "Bolt")
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As Bolt) Tell the green-eyed man that I will not sleep, I will not rest, until my penny is safe from these evil clutches. You tell the green-eyed man that...
Unidentified Man #1: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Way too many words. I was like, what? And then I was like, huh? And then I got a little bored and - something about clutches?
Mr. LEGAN: Overall, the critics say, who's a good movie? You're a good movie. Yes, you are. The New York Time slobbers, "'Bolt' is full of ineffective exuberance and a genuine sense of fun;" the Philadelphia Inquirer barks, "a frisky, fun charmer;" and the Austin Chronicles shouts, "one of the most witty and often hilarious Disney outings in years."
In limited release is Michael Rapaport starring in the drama "Special." Rapaport plays a nerdy parking cop who loves comic books. And after he signs up to be part of a new drug experiment, he thinks he now has superpowers. Does he or doesn't he? Maybe only the pharmaceutical company knows for sure.
(Soundbite of movie "Special")
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. MICHAEL RAPAPORT: (As Les Franken) I have superpowers. Amazing, isn't it?
Unidentified Man #2: It's quite unusual.
Mr. RAPAPORT: (As Les Franken) And not only do I have powers, but they're developing like gangbusters.
(Soundbite of hit)
Mr. LEGAN: Gangbusters is the last thing that critics will call "Special." Even though the Onion finds it "a minor key 'Donnie Darko,'" the Guardian dismisses it as an "unsatisfying muddle," and Entertainment Weekly sighs, "struggles against heavy-handed plotting and awkward humor."
And now folks, hold on to your teenage daughters, because here's the wide release of "Twilight." Based on the hugely successful series of novels by Stephenie Meyer, "Twilight" tells the story of a young girl who moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest and meets the dreamy and mysterious Edward, a boy unlike any she's ever met. And that's because he's a vegan. No, he's not. He's just a vampire.
(Soundbite of movie "Twilight")
Ms. KRISTEN STEWART: (As Isabella Swan) You know, your mood swings are kind of giving me whiplash.
Mr. ROBERT PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) I only said it'd be better if weren't friends, not that I didn't want to be.
Ms. STEWART: (As Isabella Swan) What does that mean?
Mr. PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) It means if you were smart, you'd stay away from me.
Mr. LEGAN: Most industry insiders say this movie is going to have a big opening weekend no matter what the critics say, but there were just as many good reviews as there are bad ones. The Hollywood Reporter complains, "It is long on camp, but short on emotional insight;" the Washington Post cheers, "The films works as both a love story and a vampire story;" and the Chicago Sun Times promises "'Twilight' will mesmerize its target audience." So, wow. "Twilight" is a bit like a vampire "Romeo and Juliet," with vampirism as a metaphor for teen lust, which totally works because, come on, we all know that even back when Count Dracula first uttered those immortal words - I vahnt(ph) to drink your blahd(ph) - what he is really saying was, uh, if you're not doing anything next weekend, uh, will you go to the prom with me?
(Soundbite of laughter)
BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan channeling his younger self. He's a writer who lives in Los Angeles.