Critics Consensus: Pelham 1 2 3 Doesn't Quite Take

Plus, Imagine That could use a little more imagination.

This week at the movies, we've got a railway heist (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta) and some magical financial advice (Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi). What do the critics have to say?


51%
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Rotten

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, from 1974, was a stylish mix of comedy and thrills that, despite its reputation, is just dated enough to warrant a remake. However, critics say that Tony Scott's take, while slick and hyperkinetic, lacks the grit and cool of the original. John Travolta stars as Ryder, who takes control of a New York City subway car and its passengers, demanding a hefty ransom. Meanwhile, subway dispatcher Garber (Denzel Washington) tries to thwart Ryder's plot. The pundits say the film is well-acted but has little sense of economy or patience; it's a well-made but empty exercise. (See our feature "A Hundred Years of Heist Films," in which we break down the caper genre by decade.)


40%
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Rotten

Imagine That

Imagine That has an intriguing premise, especially in these economically tumultuous times: what if a child's fantasy world could predict the ebb and flow of the stock market? Unfortunately, critics say Imagine That does little with its setup, despite solid work from Eddie Murphy and newcomer Yara Shahidi. Murphy stars as Evan Danielson, a financial advisor who spends little time with his daughter. That changes when he discovers that her drawings and imaginary friends appear to have a preternatural understanding of the investment world. But will Evan learn to become a better dad? The pundits say Murphy is admirably restrained, and Shahidi is a natural, but the film around them is only sporadically amusing; it's also overly gimmicky and predictable. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Murphy's best-reviewed films.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love, a documentary about the great Senegalese singer and his attempt to bridge the musical divide between the sacred and the secular, is at 100 percent.
  • Food Inc., a doc about corporate control (and the lack of governmental oversight) over the food industry, is at 95 percent.
  • Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey in a dark thriller about corporate skullduggery on the lunar surface, is at 90 percent.
  • Sex Positive, a doc about the complex life and times of gay health activist Richard Berkowitz, is at 67 percent.
  • Blast!, a doc about a team of tenacious scientists and their search for the origins of life on Earth, is at 60 percent.
  • Francis Ford Coppola's latest, Tetro, starring Vincent Gallo as a man living in Buenos Aires and haunted by his past, is at 50 percent.

Comments

Jpeffer

Jake Peffer

Despite the reviews I'll be seeing Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 this weekend. But Eddie Murphy needs to pick some better movies soon if he still wants to have a career.

Jun 11 - 04:45 PM

thisguyjones

Chris Jones

"Wants" a career? Shouldn't it be over at this point?

"Meet Dave"
"Norbit"
"The Haunted Mansion"
"The Adventures of Pluto Nash"

All major bombs.

I guess he is getting a fair amount of grace from the Shreks, Daddy
Day Cares and Dr.Dolittles.

Jun 11 - 06:03 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 screamed of underwhelming remake since the first time I saw the trailer. Does Denzel Washington really think he can fill Walter Malthau's shoes!??!?!?

If they really had an interesting take on the heist movie they wouldn't need to do a remake.

Jun 11 - 06:05 PM

lamont j.

lamont johnson

Denzel can fill anybody's shoes!...have you actually watched any of his movies?

Jun 11 - 07:48 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

@lamont j.
Denzel can fill anybody's shoes?

I mean don't get me wrong, I think Denzel Washington is a solid actor but to make a statement you just said is clearly overhasty & injudicious let alone untenable. I'm sorry to say Denzel Washington didn't out do Frank Sinatra in "The Manchurian Candidate" remake (So, he didn't fill those shoes even though the story had differences) & he isn't like the one-of-a-kind Walter Matthau. Denzel is a great actor but sorry to say Denzel can not fill just anybody's shoes. Denzel Washington is the modern day Sidney Poitier even though Sidney Poitier is overall superior. But again, Denzel Washington is great actor & usually consistant but your statement is a blinkered short-sighted & ill-judged comment.

Jun 12 - 12:13 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

IMAGINE THAT, the family film with Eddie Murphy, is using a cover of Billy Idol's song about masterbation, "Dancing with myself." as its theme/during commercials. HA!

I'm still not going to see it!

Rather watch HANGOVER again! Can repeat the funny lines to the screen.

Jun 11 - 06:40 PM

Chris B.

Chris Bellew

wow tomwaitsjr i guess it must be nice to know that kind of information. i wish i could go see pelham BUT i'm and currently broke and i'd rather save my money and go see transformers in a couple weeks. i'll prolly wait for the dvd.

Jun 11 - 07:35 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

hey! It's a great song, off Rebel yell if I remember right.

Lots of people get screwed up meanings from songs. BORN IN THE USA and PINK HOUSES were both anti-Republican, but the Republicans wanted to use them for election.

That said, I still say the best choice is to see THE HANGOVER again.

Jun 11 - 08:39 PM

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Mr. Bo Ziffer

If Eddie Murphy keeps picking these movies, pretty soon Charlie Murphy will have a better movie track record. THAT'S DEPRESSING! Also, as much as I like Tony Scott, he has been making the same movie over and over again since Enemy Of The State. I do like him paired up with Denzel Washington, but they need a real script to work with, not something Scott made ten years ago, or what someone else made thirty-five years ago.

Jun 11 - 07:38 PM

TheCriticAlex

Stanley Beans

Even though Pelham 123 looks like a good old fashion thriller with good actors like denzel and travolta it looks kind of predicable and forgettable so i think i'll wait til it comes on dvd. An im not even gonna bother seeing Eddie Murphy's movie not even when it come out on dvd cause it looks so bad. Eddie must think just because he has kids playing with with him in a movie he gonna do well at the boxoffice which it doesn't at all.

Jun 11 - 07:47 PM

lamont j.

lamont johnson

Denzel can fill anybody's shoes!...have you actually watched any of his movies?

Jun 11 - 07:48 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

@lamont j.
Denzel can fill anybody's shoes?

I mean don't get me wrong, I think Denzel Washington is a solid actor but to make a statement you just said is clearly overhasty & injudicious let alone untenable. I'm sorry to say Denzel Washington didn't out do Frank Sinatra in "The Manchurian Candidate" remake (So, he didn't fill those shoes even though the story had differences) & he isn't like the one-of-a-kind Walter Matthau. Denzel is a great actor but sorry to say Denzel can not fill just anybody's shoes. Denzel Washington is the modern day Sidney Poitier even though Sidney Poitier is overall superior. But again, Denzel Washington is great actor & usually consistant but your statement is a blinkered short-sighted & ill-judged comment.

Jun 12 - 12:13 AM

Hans M.

Hans Morgenstern

The wide releases this week never sounded interesting to me form the beginning, no matter what the critics say. I'm glad to see Moon get good reviews. I had high hopes for that. His first short film ("Whistle") showed great promise.

Jun 11 - 07:59 PM

fullmetal_medji

John Reese

I want to see Pelham 123 because it looks somewhat interesting. I like washington and Travolta anyway. Imagine That isn't as bad as Murphy's kid film, but that's not saying a lot. Murphy needs to go back to what he does best: standup comedy. Coppola has a new movie out it's rotten. I don't think Coppola has had a good movie since Godfather 3. Hell that movie wasn't very good either. :(

Jun 11 - 08:34 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

hey! It's a great song, off Rebel yell if I remember right.

Lots of people get screwed up meanings from songs. BORN IN THE USA and PINK HOUSES were both anti-Republican, but the Republicans wanted to use them for election.

That said, I still say the best choice is to see THE HANGOVER again.

Jun 11 - 08:39 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Eddie Murphy should be in "1 2 3", in dual roles! Relax, it's a joke.

Jun 11 - 09:30 PM

Scott Love

Luke Simpson

ha ha ha%u2026careful, man - they might do it.

Jun 12 - 12:20 AM

halinwlf

Geoffrey Burton

It amazes me that people actually pay to watch Eddie Murphy any more,48 hours, Trading Places and Coming to America are the only decent films he has made in his entire career and that is ancient history.Surrounding himself with cute kids doesn`t make him cute or funny.

Jun 11 - 10:23 PM

TheCaptain of TeamLoyalty

John Webb

Born in the USA is not anti republican, it is anti war and anti greed.

Jun 11 - 10:59 PM

wastelandrider

Donald Cho

Exactly.

Jun 11 - 11:17 PM

wastelandrider

Donald Cho

Exactly.

Jun 11 - 11:18 PM

wastelandrider

Donald Cho

Exactly.

Jun 11 - 11:17 PM

wastelandrider

Donald Cho

Exactly.

Jun 11 - 11:18 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

@lamont j.
Denzel can fill anybody's shoes?

I mean don't get me wrong, I think Denzel Washington is a solid actor but to make a statement you just said is clearly overhasty & injudicious let alone untenable. I'm sorry to say Denzel Washington didn't out do Frank Sinatra in "The Manchurian Candidate" remake (So, he didn't fill those shoes even though the story had differences) & he isn't like the one-of-a-kind Walter Matthau. Denzel is a great actor but sorry to say Denzel can not fill just anybody's shoes. Denzel Washington is the modern day Sidney Poitier even though Sidney Poitier is overall superior. But again, Denzel Washington is great actor & usually consistant but your statement is a blinkered short-sighted & ill-judged comment.

Jun 12 - 12:13 AM

Scott Love

Luke Simpson

Are you guys planning on doing any more of the video weekly review reviews? Those were great. I always laughed a lot at the subtle humor of which clips you would put before the "Rotten" or "Fresh" labels at the end of the reviews.

Jun 12 - 12:18 AM

Scott Love

Luke Simpson

ha ha ha%u2026careful, man - they might do it.

Jun 12 - 12:20 AM

NTROST

Anthony W.

On another note, the Tony Scott's remake of "The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3" just doesn't out do the 1974 Joseph Sargent's original "The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three".

This is one of those remakes that just doesn't out do the original by any margin.

Jun 12 - 12:21 AM

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