"Chronicle" is working its mind-bending powers on critics, earning some of the best reviews in a crowded weekend of new releases.
The sci-fi thriller follows three teenagers who find they've acquired telekinetic abilities after an encounter with a strange object in the forest. AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire gave it three stars out of four, saying: "It owes a great debt to the found-footage conceit of 'The Blair Witch Project,' has some of the aesthetic and tonal touches of 'Cloverfield' and probes the same sorts of philosophical notions about the burden of power that serve as the basis for the 'X-Men' series. And yet, 'Chronicle' still has enough energy and ingenuity to serve as thrilling entertainment all its own."
Also opening this weekend is "Big Miracle," based on the true story of a trio of whales who were trapped beneath the Arctic ice in 1988. Lemire gave it two and a half stars out of four, writing: "If a movie is cheesy and knows it's cheesy — if it embraces the soft, gooey texture and pungent aroma of its own fromage — does that make it any more palatable as a meal? That is the question to ponder while watching this rousing, feel-good, family-friendly animal adventure."
On the other end of the spectrum, Madonna's "W.E." is getting savaged. The pop star directed and co-wrote this tale that intertwines the scandalous love affair of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) with the fascination of a present-day neglected wife (Abbie Cornish). AP Movie Writer David Germain said: "It's poorly conceived, awkwardly orchestrated, drearily paced and bizarrely assembled. The images have the sheen of a really grand music video or perfume commercial, and the movie has about as much insight." He gave the film just one and a half stars out of four.
Here's a look at how these movies and others fared on the top review websites as of Friday afternoon. Each score is the percentage of positive reviews for the film:
— "Chronicle": Metacritic, 70; Movie Review Intelligence, 70.1; Rotten Tomatoes, 86. Average: 75.4.
— "Kill List": Metacritic, 66; Movie Review Intelligence, 72; Rotten Tomatoes, 75. Average: 71.
— "The Innkeepers": Metacritic, 64; Movie Review Intelligence, 69.4; Rotten Tomatoes, 72. Average: 68.5.
— "Big Miracle": Metacritic, 64; Movie Review Intelligence, 63; Rotten Tomatoes, 68. Average: 65.
— "The Woman in Black": Metacritic, 62; Movie Review Intelligence, 65.9; Rotten Tomatoes, 62. Average: 63.3.
— "W.E.": Metacritic, 33; Movie Review Intelligence, 31.8; Rotten Tomatoes, 17. Average: 27.3.