Friday Flicks: Is The Master a Masterpiece?

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Tagline: 12 hours. $10 million. 1 Kidnapped daughter.

There’s a fun game to be played with recent Nicolas Cage movie titles, and it goes a little something like this: the more declarative the title, the more you know it simply has to star him. Because if the likes of Drive Angry, Justice, Trespass and now Stolen don’t sound like serious statements of intent, you’re still living in a world where Cage would make art-house fare like Leaving Las Vegas and walking away with an Oscar for Best Actor. (Yes, dear reader, the guy who plays Ghost Rider has an Oscar.)

In Stolen, Cage plays Will Montgomery, a man who was sent to prison for eight years after being double-crossed in a heist that, inevitably, went wrong. Upon being released, all Will wants to do is patch things up with his (inevitably, again) estranged daughter. But the pesky FBI, to say nothing of his former associates, think he’s the only one who knows what happened to the money from the infamous heist. From there, we’re into the faithful realms of kidnapping and ransom, to say nothing of the beautiful Riley (Malin Akerman) who, rather implausibly, was Will’s partner in crime.

Once again, we only have one review to play with and it won’t make for entirely welcome reading for Cage. The A.V. Club understands the raison d’être of Stolen all too well, noting that Cage “seems to have given up on making art long ago; these days, all he wants to do is entertain, and with Stolen, he succeeds, albeit only on the guilty-pleasure level. Like seemingly the sum of late-period Cage, Stolen is unashamedly cheese, but at least it’s cheese of a pungent, flavorful vintage.”

LIST: Trespass in TIME’s Top 10 Worst Movies of 2011

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: A masterpiece or not, The Master only need be passable to win the week.

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