That Awkward Moment The term “first-time writer-director” usually denotes quite the crapshoot, but at least That Awkward Moment’s Tom Gormican has another entry on his resume to let us know what to expect: He was a co-producer of last year’s historically reviled Movie 43. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gormican’s goal as a freshman filmmaker was to create a romantic comedy from a male perspective, which sounds like the kind of snake-swallowing-its-own-weewee crusade that could make the ghost of George Cukor cry “Doh!” Throw in a starring role for Zac Efron, and the Razzie prospects are already looking strong on this one … and that’s before you even get to the trailer and ads, which portend something akin to an episode of New Girl without Jess. (Careful what you wish for, America.) The trio of scatologically befuddled single guys is rounded out by The Spectacular Now’s Miles Teller and – get this – Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan. See, that only goes to show you what’s wrong with movies these days: Everybody gets a beatdown for the wrong thing. (R) – Steve Schneider
The Invisible Woman – For his sophomore directorial effort, Ralph Fiennes has brought to the screen the scandalous but mostly secret relationship between literary legend Charles Dickens (whom he plays), and his young mistress, Ellen “Nelly” Ternan. It’s a beautiful and melancholy tale told in a deliberate, intelligent style but, regrettably, lacking in urgency and passion thanks to writing and performances that often keep us at arm’s length. The ambience, historical tidbits and performances are realistic enough to hold your attention, but that’s as strong a compliment as the movie deserves; the revelation of the hearts and minds of Dickens and Ternan seems just out of reach of Fiennes’ film. Focusing more on her than him proves a refreshing choice at times, yet by avoiding a more predictable story arc, the film too often leaves us in the dark on details, exposition and motivations. The result is a movie that lives in the shadows, more haunted than haunting, and never fully present. (R) – Cameron Meier
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