Mark Wahlberg plays a master smuggler in "Contraband," but he couldn't steal great reviews from the nation's critics this week.
The action thriller is opening to a lukewarm response. AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire was on the generous side, saying: "This is a solid genre picture that knows exactly what it is, has no delusions of grandeur and carries out its task in entertaining and occasionally even suspenseful fashion." She gave the movie two and a half stars out of four.
Faring even worse was "Joyful Noise," starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton as rivals fighting for creative control of a small-town church choir. Lemire gave the film one and a half stars out of four, writing: "If some incarnation of 'Glee' were to be developed for the Christian Broadcasting Network, it would probably look a lot like 'Joyful Noise.'"
Two other movies which opened in limited release at the end of 2011 to qualify for awards consideration expand this week: "We Need to Talk About Kevin," starring Tilda Swinton as the shaken mother of a violent teenage son; and "The Iron Lady," starring Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Here's a look at how these movies fared on the top review websites as of Friday afternoon. Each score is the percentage of positive reviews for the film:
— "We Need to Talk About Kevin": Metacritic, 71; Movie Review Intelligence, 76.2; Rotten Tomatoes, 83. Average: 76.7.
— "The Iron Lady": Metacritic, 54; Movie Review Intelligence: 58.9; Rotten Tomatoes, 54. Average: 55.6.
— "Contraband": Metacritic, 52; Movie Review Intelligence: 55.6; Rotten Tomatoes, 46. Average: 51.2.
— "Joyful Noise": Metacritic, 44; Movie Review Intelligence: 51.1; Rotten Tomatoes, 39. Average: 44.7.