Critics Consensus: Kick-Ass Is Certified Fresh
Plus, Death at a Funeral never quite comes alive.
Given the recent glut of superheroes on the big screen, it was inevitable that we'd get a film that both relishes and satirizes the genre (sorry, Superhero Movie, you don't count). Critics say Matthew Vaughn's hotly-anticipated Kick-Ass largely lives up to its name, even if some find its ambitious approach a bit scattershot. Aaron Johnson stars as the title character, a blundering would-be crime-fighter who finds himself outmatched by the bad guys. Soon, however, he joins forces with the likes of Hit Girl (a scene-stealing Chloe Moretz) and her pop Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) in a war against some violent mobsters. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Kick-Ass has its share of questionable elements -- including excessive violence and blue language from the mouths of babes -- but it's also an audacious blend of action, oddball comedy, and subversion.
Three years ago, Frank Oz had a modest hit with Death at a Funeral, which revolved around a series of wacky misadventures in the wake of a Brit family patriarch's death. Now Neil LaBute tries his hand at the same story with a mostly African American cast, and critics say the result is generally uninspired, despite the best efforts of a talented cast. Chris Rock stars as the eldest son of the recently deceased, and attempts to keep things together while crazy revelations threaten to turn the funeral upside down. The pundits say this Funeral cranks the energy to 11, but the material ultimately stymies its talented ensemble. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Rock's best-reviewed movies.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
- Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary that doubles as a profile of street artist Bansky and an examination of the art world, is at 100 percent.
- Have You Heard from Johannesburg?, a doc about the fight against apartheid, is at 100 percent.
- No One Knows About Persian Cats, a drama about a group of indie rockers in Tehran and their scrapes with the Iranian authorities, is at 96 percent.
- NoBody's Perfect, a doc about a group of Germans affected by Thalidomide, is at 80 percent.
- The Secret In Their Eyes, a thriller about an unsolved crime that was this year's Best Foreign Film Oscar winner, is at 75 percent.
- Handsome Harry, a drama about an upstanding citizen with a dark secret, is at 71 percent.
- The Cartel, a doc that advocates for charter schools, is at 67 percent.
- The Perfect Game, starring Clifton Collins Jr. and Cheech Marin in a drama about a group of Mexican ballplayers and their dreams of playing in the Little League World Series, is at 58 percent.
- The City of Your Final Destination, starring Anthony Hopkins and Laura Linney in the tale of a prospective biographer who meets a famous author's extended clan, is at 55 percent.
- The Joneses, starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny in a satire of consumer culture, is at 49 percent.
Finally, mad props to the evocatively-named Easter In The Batcave, who came the closeset to guessing Letters to God's 14 percent Tomatometer.