Adam Markovitz
November 07, 2008 AT 06:30 PM EST

Monsters vs. Aliens

Plot: A ragtag group of monsters team up to protect Earth from an alien invasion.

Looks like: The Incredibles meets Monsters Inc.

Verdict: With such obvious debts to two of Pixar’s biggest hits, this save-the-world adventure feels a little stale. Maybe seeing it in 3-D will add another dimension?

The Reader

Plot: A young man (David Kross) in postwar Germany discovers the horrible truth about the woman he loves (Kate Winslet).

Looks like: The most depressing movie ever. In a good way.

Verdict: The story looks riveting, Winslet looks fantastic, and that German boy is giving me weird Michael York flashbacks.  I’ll definitely be at this one opening night — I just might mix some antidepressants in with my Junior Mints.

Cadillac Records

Plot:The true story of the 1950’s Chicago-based record label run by LeonardChess (Adrien Brody), featuring legends like Muddy Waters (JeffreyWright), Chuck Berry (Mos Def), and Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles).

Looks like: Dreamgirls II

Verdict: Beyoncé — who executive produced the movie — looksand sounds pitch-perfect as Etta James. If the drama is as passionateas the music, Cadillac could drive all the way to the Oscars.

The Tale of Despereaux

Plot: A misfit mouse gets in trouble for befriending a human princess.

Looks like: Ratatouille meets Shrek. What’s with all the copycat ‘toons?

Verdict: Despereaux’s source book is a Newberry Medal winner, but this mouse-centric movie looks a little…cheesy.

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