New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
If you ignore the occasional bit of gravelly voiceover and the "How did I get here?" flashback, the first half-hour or so of Riddick is downright promising in its economy of both word and scale. A man (the muscly Vin Diesel) wakes up, alone and badly injured, in a barren (and very yellow) landscape. Consciousness brings with it the consciousness of being hunted and the need for sanctuary. A place to lick one's wounds, regroup, and plan. The pacing is patient, the struggle is palpable, and there's even some visual flair to the proceedings. Even after the plot kicks in, there is reason to hope that this sci-fi Western will make good: the fugitive Riddick wants to get off-world, so he lures a team of bounty hunters to come after him in hopes of commandeering their ship. The bait works almost too well: two teams arrive, though their goals are not the same. Unfortunately, our hero's general omnipotence, worldly genius, and irresistible sexuality take over from there. 2013.