Friday Flicks: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Stars in ‘Snitch’

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

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Tagline: How far would you go to save your son?

Inspired by a true story, Snitch finds Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing John Matthews, a father who must dive into the drug underworld in order to save his son, Jason (Rafi Gavron).

Jason is wrongly accused of being involved in a drug distribution crime and is set to receive a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. But Matthews cuts a deal with the U.S. attorney to go in as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel in order to save his son and the day.

It certainly sounds diverting enough and critics are backing up that view. “Unusual for this sort of thing, Snitch is a film after which you remember the characters and actors more than the big action moments,” writes The Hollywood Reporter. “Never removing his shirt, Johnson behaves within a narrow range but is engagingly distressed and stalwart in equal measure, conveying sufficient feeling and subtext to suggest the actor could be entrusted with greater dramatic challenges in the future.” Variety calls the film “strangely compelling,” although it notes the film “plays less to auds’ hearts than to their craving for testosterone.” But Screen Daily isn’t in the tank, pointing out that “the film’s first half is weighed down by clichéd dialogue and clunky drama.” Perhaps so, but it’s still some leap from The Tooth Fairy.

MORE: Did The Rock Really Hear About bin Laden’s Death from His Navy Seal Cousin?

Dark Skies

Tagline: Once you’ve been chosen, you belong to them.

Considering that the producer of Dark Skies is also responsible for Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister, it’s hardly surprising that Dark Skies is a supernatural thriller.

A young family in the suburbs, Daniel and Lacey Barret (Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell) keep noticing odd events involving their family. Could they possibly be targeted by something or someone not of this world? We shall simply leave the question hanging.

And we’ll pretty much have to leave it hanging because the distinct lack of reviews cannot be considered a positive sign for Dark Skies. The only two notices aren’t exactly encouraging. “Instead of a slow build, Dark Skies is more of a slow leak,” zings And Movie Nation, which conceding that Dark Skies is “a passably chilling bit of nonsense that builds on the past, the tropes of the genre,” nevertheless concludes that “what’s missing is the empathy, the sense of parents terrified for their kids, a terror that the viewer should and would share, if only we’d been given more reason to care or a surer sense that they do.”

MORE: Why Paranormal Activity Is A Horror Phenomenon

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Even if we had a better steer as regards critical opinion, Dark Skies would have had to have garnered some pretty positive feedback to knock Snitch from our choice of this week’s new releases.

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