A rainy forecast makes for ideal moviegoing weather this weekend. Unfortunately, the forecast at the cineplex calls for mediocrity, with a few glimmers of sunlight in the form of a Romanian drama, a documentary and a passable comedy starring Steve Carell.

(The average star rating for this weekend's new releases is .)


With Steve Buscemi, left, Olivia Wilde and Steve Carell as Las Vegas performers, you’d think there would be plenty to watch. Think again. (Photo by Ben Glass)

 "Beyond the Hills" (NR): The best film opening in Washington this weekend is Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's "austere but subtly textured retelling of a 2005 news story in which a young woman died during an exorcism." -- Ann Hornaday

"Harvest of Empire" (NR): The documentary based on the book by journalist Juan Gonzalez asks, "If America is responsible for destabilizing a country, what is our role when the country’s citizens suffer as a result?" -- Stephanie Merry

★★ "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" (PG-13): Timing helps the latest mainstream comedy from Steve Carell. "Opening as it does on March 15, this half-baked, over-processed shrug feels like a veritable breath of spring, clearing away the cobwebs of dreary Die Hards, slack Giant Slayers and grating and pitiful Ozes." -- Ann Hornaday

"The Call" (R): Why oh why do they make Halle Berry wear such an unflattering wig? "For a good hour or so, this classic girl-in-jeopardy ticktock obeys all of the fundamentals of the genre, with convincing atmospherics, taut pacing, visceral action and a solid lead performance from Berry (bad hair day notwithstanding)." -- Ann Hornaday

"Upside Down" (PG-13): Presented without context: "This is how Adam [Jim Sturgess] meets Eden (Kirsten Dunst), whom he discovers hanging upside down one day, like a pretty blond bat, from a rocky outcropping on her world." -- Michael O'Sullivan

1/2 "Stoker" (R): Cult Korean director Park Chan-wook's first English-language film plays like a Kabuki "Macbeth," with "gallons of style slathered on a story you already know by heart." -- Michael O'Sullivan

1/2 "Let My People Go" (NR): That thing when you're a mailman and a recipient on your route drops dead, leaving you with an envelope fat with cash and a moral dilemma on your hands. Anyway, that's what happens in Mikael Buch's directorial debut, which is ultimately "a hot, noisy mess, and not especially funny." -- Michael O'Sullivan

1/2 "John Dies at the End" (R): “I stopped taking notes when the woman disintegrated into a ball of writhing snakes." -- Michael O'Sullivan