How much of Catfish (Universal) should be trusted? Plenty of ink has been spilled—and a lawsuit drafted—over this subject, but Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s documentary about a young Brooklynite and his Facebook-fueled online relationship with a painting prodigy and her extended family made for a great conversation-starter. It’s best to experience the film without any knowledge of what happens in it; barring that, it’s still an ideal companion to The Social Network…

Robert Rodriguez’s Machete (Fox) began life as one of an entertaining series of fake trailers on Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s retro-exploitation double feature Grindhouse, and in the feature-length version, a trailer it remains. Rodriguez piles on all the exciting gunplay and T&A a juvenile (or inner juvenile) could ever want, but slacks on the pacing, plotting, character development, and other elements that make a satisfying movie…

The original French film The Dinner Game was atrocious, a mean-spirited, mechanically orchestrated farce about a gathering where wealthy yuppies bring along the biggest idiots they can find. In the works for nearly a decade, the American remake, Dinner For Schmucks (DreamWorks), isn’t much better, but it tones down the contempt and features several actors who are too good for the material, including Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis…

The horror genre doesn’t really need another low-budget, virally promoted Blair Witch knockoff, but The Last Exorcism (Lionsgate) does well with the template, especially in its witty, largely shock-free first half, when it follows an oily Louisiana preacher (Patrick Fabian) who cons people into believing he’s a real exorcist. When he brings a documentary crew along on his latest scam, the demons are real—and terrifying…

James Franco got a lot of (deserved) attention for his performance as a climber in trouble in 127 Hours, but he was equally good as Allen Ginsberg in Howl (Oscilloscope), a multi-faceted look at the poet and his most famous work. Avoiding the pitfalls of more straightforward biopics, the film examines Ginsberg from different angles at once, including faux-documentary talking-heads, a staging of the obscenity trial that arose from “Howl”’s publication, and an animated reading of the poem itself.