Critics Consensus: Surrogates Is A Passable Thriller
Plus, Fame isn't so glamorous, and Pandorum passes on screenings.
This week at the movies, we've got robot clones (Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell), artistic-minded freshmen (Fame, starring Kelsey Grammer and Megan Mullally), and scared spacemen (Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster). What do the critics have to say?
Surrogates was barely screened for critics prior to its release, which is usually a bad sign. However, those who have seen the film say it's a decent dystopian sci-fi flick, filled with enough fast-paced action to distract audiences from its cliches. Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell star as FBI agents who, in the course of solving a murder, stumble upon a vast clone-manufacturing operation. The pundits say Surrogates is visually sleek and exciting, as long as you don't think too hard about the leaps in logic. (And don't forget to check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Bruce Willis' best-reviewed films.)
Given the massive popularity of the High School Musical franchise, it was probably inevitable that Fame would get dusted off and remade. However, critics mostly wish it could be reworked with more passion and inspiration than this tepid, chaste treatment. As with the original, Fame follows the trials and tribulations of students at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. Lessons are learned, self-doubts are faced, songs are sung. The pundits say that while the original attempted to deal with important social issues while delivering show-stopping numbers, this new version is far less ambitious, featuring tepid set pieces and skin-deep characterization.
It appears that the folks behind Pandorum feared that allowing the critics to see their film would open a Pandora's box, since it wasn't screened prior to release. Pandorum is the story of two astronauts who find themselves stranded on a spacecraft -- and they've got some sinister company. Kids, forestall watching 2001 for the 50th time and guess that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release:
- The Providence Effect, a documentary about a high-performing parochial school in Chicago, is at 100 percent.
- In Search of Beethoven, a doc about the life and times of the great composer that features a wealth of musical performances, is at 90 percent.
- Paranormal Activity, an indie horror flick about a young couple searching for specters in their new home, is at 89 percent.
- The Boys Are Back, starring Clive Owen as a single dad with unconventional parenting methods, is at 77 percent.
- Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, a muckraking examination of the recent financial crisis, is at 73 percent.
- Coco Before Chanel, starring Audrey Tatou as the famed fashion designer in her early years, is at 67 percent.
- Blind Date, starring Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as a grieving couple who come up with a novel way to deal with their feelings, is at 42 percent.
- Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace's short story collection, is at 36 percent.
- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, based upon the decadent adventures of Tucker Max, is at 25 percent.