4 p.m., Dec. 11
Director Guillermo Del Toro goes for the gold, offering up a robots-punch-monsters movie tailor-made for the international market: modeled after Japanese anime, set largely in Hong Kong, featuring Chinese, Russian, and Australian heroes operating giant robots named with a German word, and offering a Brit (Idris Elba) as its emotional core. There's a thrilling drama with a darkly satirical finish that serves as the film's prologue, but once that's out of the way, we slide into anime's more digestible mix of overheated emotions, baleful glares, and battle poses. Plus robots punching monsters. Del Toro clearly loves big, dumb monster movies, and he's served up a rustedly handsome example here, complete with on-the-nose dialogue, battles on land and sea and in the air, shattered cities, crying children, and a motormouth scientist with a crazy theory. Fun, but not much more than that. With Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi. 2013.
— Matthew Lickona