7 December 2012 10:27 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Focus Features has done a swell job promoting Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," but two of their small-scale year-end features aren't getting the kind of response any awards-contender needs, "Promised Land," and "Hyde Park on Hudson." Which leads me to ask what benefit these films get from being scrutinized inside the awards window. Why not give them a chance in a less competitive frame? "Hyde Park on Hudson," the second presidential portrait of the season, hits theaters today, starring Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The film, which follows the 32nd president's hosting of Brit royals at his country estate and his affair with Margaret Suckley (Laura Linney), is generally too bland and insipid for the critics -- "terribly underwritten," "tacky" and "nothing tremendously effective." Following after "The King's Speech," which also features King George VI, "Hyde Park" »

- Anne Thompson

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