Friday Flicks: Will You Be Stoked by Stoker?

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

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Ahn Young-joon / AP

Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, left, and South Korean director Park Chan-wook wave for photographers during a press conference to promote their latest film "Stoker" in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Tagline: Something giant is coming.

A British-centric cast (Nicholas Hoult, Eddie Marsan, Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner) dominate director Bryan Singer’s first major movie since 2008’s Valkyrie. But Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t concerned with a relatively recent war such as World War II but an ancient one suddenly reignited when a farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway to a race of giants. Hoult takes the lead as the eponymous Jack, who must fight for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a princess.

If you think it sounds like good old-fashioned hokum, then you’re in luck because most of the reviews concur. “Simply in terms of efficient storytelling, clear logistics and consistent viewer engagement, Jack is markedly superior to the recent Hobbit”, points out the Hollywood Reporter. The Village Voice makes a comparison to an even older movie, noting that “Singer evokes another era of fantasy filmmaking when the illusions before our eyes were created in an artist’s studio rather than a computer lab. It’s more Jason and the Argonauts than Shia and the Transformers.” But Variety is considerably less impressed, beginning its review with the withering putdown, “Fee-fi-fo-fum, this fairy-tale retread is pretty dumb.”

TIME: An Interview with Nicholas Hoult

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: One of the better weeks at the theater in recent memory. Both Stoker and Jack the Giant Slayer seem like worthy choices although Phantom may end up sinking without trace.

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