Friday Flicks: Should We All Scream for Scream 4?

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Dimension Films-The Weinstein Company

Grab the popcorn! NewsFeed’s Glen Levy brings you the must-see — and must-avoid — movies in theaters this weekend.

Scream 4

Tagline: New Decade. New Rules.

Scream gave the horror genre a much needed fright 15 years ago by cannily being all self-referential and post-modern: here was a movie that winked at the camera and told the audience that it was in on the joke as characters effortlessly dropped lines of dialogue like “Never say ‘who’s there?’ Don’t you watch scary movies? It’s a death wish.” You see what they did there?

Naturally, the franchise (literally) outlived its welcome, gradually got worse with each subsequent sequel while spawning similar success stories that took the same grisly path (Final Destination, Scary Movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer). But now the main players are back from the dead (well, in a Hollywood sense) to get a second life (a new trilogy has been mooted) and that means a return for director Wes Craven, writer Kevin Williamson and stars Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers-Riley) and real-life, separated husband David Arquette (awk-ward!) who plays her fictional on-screen husband, Sheriff Dewey Riley (con-fusing!).

The plot is essentially redundant – for the record, Sidney is an author, and the last stop on her book tour takes her back to her home town of Woodsboro, which is the McGuffin needed to reintroduce the various characters, as well as bad guy Ghostface – and the over/under on how many times you’ll scream is – yes! – four.

(More on TIME.com: See what scares the people who scare us)

Rio

Tagline: From the creators of Ice Age

Would you look what Ice Age director Carlos Saldanha has managed to pull off? He’s only got Mark Zuckerberg to hook up with the interested-looking one from this year’s Oscars! *Checks notes* Oh, he has Jesse Eisenberg voicing Blu, and Anne Hathaway to lend her vocal cords to Jewel, for a macaw mating session (they’re the final male and female of their species) in Rio, which is where Saldanha comes from.

(More on TIME.com: See the TIME review of Rio)

We don’t mean to damn Rio with faint praise (after all, this might be one of the only kids’ flicks to feature poaching as a plot point) but it’s mostly memorable for the rich use of 3-D and the favelas and Sugarloaf Mountain being beautifully realized. Contains – ahem – chirpy contributions from Lesley Mann, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch and Jamie Foxx. But disappointingly, the soundtrack contains neither the Duran Duran song nor anything by the director’s near namesake, Carlos Santana.

The Conspirator

Tagline: One Bullet Killed The President. But Not One Man.

Compared to Robert Redford’s last directorial outing, Lions for Lambs, The Conspirator is a veritable Citizen Kane. Actually, it recounts the story of one citizen in particular, Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), who ran the boardinghouse used by the men who plotted to kill Abraham Lincoln. Surratt is arrested after the assassination (her son John was implicated in the murder), and is harshly dealt with by a military tribunal only interested in finding people guilty, irrespective of the facts.

TIME’s Richard Corliss delivered his own verdict, and while not being entirely convinced by the modern day parallels with 9/11 or Iraq, nevertheless admits that, “this retelling of a crucial, poorly-remembered chapter of American law and war has enough atmosphere, stalwart acting and suspense to appeal to the mass of moviegoers.”

(More on TIME.com: Watch TIME’s 10 questions with Robert Redford)

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Guilty as charged: the only film we’re willing to send you to this weekend is Redford’s The Conspirator.

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