Five wide releases this weekend, and perhaps the final frame in which we're offered little but studio holdovers and lost causes. Dig into a haunted house story, a historical drama about abolitionists, a family-friendly inspirational piece, a Jim Carrey psycho-thriller and the big-screen debut of some very silly police officers. (And don't forget about the Oscars tonight!)

The Abandoned
-- 3 positive / 8 negative at

Pro: "Rallies in the end and has a satisfying, fittingly unsettling conclusion." -- Staci Layne Wilson,

Con: "A punishing dose of zombie Chekhov for lifetime Fangoria subscribers." -- Jim Ridley, L.A. Weekly

Pro: "It's the pervasive sense of fatalism and decay that saves Cerda's debut feature from being yet another poky haunted-house chiller." -- Ken Fox, TV Guide

Con: "Reflects a filmmaker so lost in the details of his creation, he's neglected his obligation to forward momentum." -- Brian Orndorf,

Bonus! "A fairly uninteresting story told in exceedingly spotty fashion." -- Scott Weinberg, Cinematical

Amazing Grace -- 52 positive / 23 negative at

Pro: "This biopic of abolitionist crusader William Wilberforce gains much of its own force from the supporting characters." -- Josh Larsen, Sun-Times

Con: "A movie about the slave trade with hardly an African face in sight." -- Michael Booth, Denver Post

Pro: "As a portrait of political engagement, the movie is substantial and absorbing." -- Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News

Con: "It's hardly compelling viewing." -- Desson Thomson, Washington Post

The Astronaut Farmer
-- 61 positive / 40 negative at

Pro: "Shows just how much you can accomplish with $12 million and more imagination than most big-studio releases can muster these days." -- Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Con: "Should be grounded for the twisted lesson it tries to impart." -- Claudia Puig, USA Today

Pro: "Works precisely because it's bereft of modern cinema's cynicism." -- Robert Wilonsky, Village Voice

Con: "It's one of those movies that yearns for a time that never really existed and ends up a chilly museum exhibit." -- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

Bonus! "What makes the movie special are the personal touches." -- Jeffrey M. Anderson, Cinematical
categories Reviews, Cinematical