Critics Consensus: Lone Survivor is Visceral and Harrowing

Plus, Her is Certified Fresh, and The Legend of Hercules wasn't screened for critics.

This week at the movies, we've got a band of brothers (Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch), an unconventional couple (Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson), and a mythical strongman (The Legend of Hercules, starring Kellan Lutz and Gaia Weiss). What do the critics have to say?

Lone Survivor

75%

War movies often traffic in epic, grandiose heroics, but Lone Survivor tells a more intimate story -- that of dedicated soldiers at work. Critics say that perspective is refreshing, and the result is a film that's visceral, immediate, and suspenseful -- even if it's a little short on character development. Based on a true story, the film chronicles an ill-fated mission by a group of Navy SEALs to track down a high-value Taliban target through a mountainous region in Afghanistan -- a mission that turns deadly after the soldiers decide against firing on a group of civilians. The pundits say this well-crafted war film may not say much about the broader context of modern warfare, but such objectivity makes for an intense, ultimately thought-provoking experience. (Click through this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of stars in uniform, and watch our video interview with Wahlberg and the other stars of Lone Survivor.)

Her

94%

With Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Spike Jonze established himself as one of Hollywood's most original filmmakers. And critics say he's outdone himself with Her, taking a bizarre premise and turning it into a film that's unique, funny, and deeply moving. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombly, a lovelorn writer who falls in love with OS1, his computer's highly intelligent operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). What follows is one of the strangest love stories in recent cinema. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Her is a one-of-a-kind experience: sometimes hilarious, sometimes somber, often thoughtful, and, finally, deeply resonant.

The Legend of Hercules

3%

It appears the folks behind The Legend of Hercules are concerned that the film is less than mighty, since it wasn't screened for critics prior to its release. Kellan Lutz stars as the fabled hero, who must overcome exile, enslavement, and scary monsters before claiming the throne atop Mount Olympus. Time to guess the Tomatometer! (And check out this week's total recall, in which we count down director Renny Harlin's best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Rocket, a coming-of-age-drama about a resourceful boy determined to prove his worth to his family, is at 100 percent.
  • In Bloom, a drama about two teenage best friends growing up in post-Soviet Georgia, is at 90 percent.
  • The Banshee Chapter, a thriller about a journalist who discovers a secret government research program involving human subjects, is at 91 percent.
  • Divorce Corp., a documentary about the financial and emotional tolls caused by dissolving marriages, is at 80 percent.
  • If You Build It, a documentary about a group of high school students who work on an innovative year-long building project, is at 67 percent.
  • Loves Her Gun, a drama about a woman who flees New York after becoming the victim of street violence, is at 60 percent.
  • Return to Nuke 'Em High, the latest in Troma's absurdist B-movie franchise, is at 50 percent.
  • Cold Comes The Night, starring Bryan Cranston and Alice Eve in a thriller about a criminal who takes a hotel owner hostage in order to recover his stolen loot, is at 48 percent.
  • The Truth About Emanuel, starring Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel in a drama about a teenager who makes a startling discovery while babysitting for her neighbor, is at 41 percent.
  • Raze, starring Zoe Bell and Rachel Nichols in an action thriller about a fighting competition in a women's prison, is at 44 percent.
  • Free Ride, a drama starring Anna Paquin as a woman caught up in the drug trade, is at 20 percent.

Finally, props to Garner Montgomery for coming the closest to guessing Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' 42 percent Tomatometer.

Comments

Vits

Vicente Torres

15% for HERCULES.

Jan 9 - 05:13 PM

Gary Devenport

Gary Devenport

WOW! That's generous.

Jan 10 - 12:27 PM

Justin D.

Justin D.

Very generous it would seem lol

Jan 10 - 04:30 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Legends of Hercules is such a joke. I've never seen a movie trailer that looked so incredibly unappealing before this garbage showed up. I'm guessing 12%.

Jan 9 - 05:21 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

I,Frankenstein?

Jan 10 - 02:47 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

At least the effects for that looked mildly realistic. And there is no worse battle cry than "Tonight, we fight for our lives!"

Jan 11 - 10:08 AM

Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

I'll go with the classic unlucky number of 13%.

Jan 9 - 05:32 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Don't get Hollywoods obsession with dumbing down Greek Mythology. I'm a huge mythology buff, but I would struggle to identify any of the characters Hollywood has done in recent years.

Jan 9 - 05:46 PM

Vincent

Jay Cutler

Lone Soldier seems like another Act of Valor.

Jan 9 - 06:15 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Trolly Trolly Trolly

Jan 9 - 07:19 PM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

Except with real actors, and an experienced director..

Jan 10 - 04:11 AM

Branden M.

Branden Mata

Hmm, I wouldnt say that. Act of Valor trailer made me not wanna see the movie at all. At least Lone Surivor makes me wanna see it cause it looks like it wont only have great action, but also emotion and possibly great acting.

Jan 11 - 12:02 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Trolly Trolly Trolly

Jan 9 - 07:19 PM

Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes

So who's just going to see Frozen again?

Jan 9 - 07:19 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Not me, I might wait till it's out on video. It's good and has a big heart, but the fact that it's yet ANOTHER Disney animated film to fall just the tiniest bit short of the unachievably-high (let's face it, it's been 20 years) bar set by "Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast" puts a damper on the experience for me, like a reminder that Disney is past their peak era. I do need to see "Saving Mr. Banks", so I'll hopefully catch that one before it leaves my local theater.

Jan 11 - 04:53 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

FYI, Navy SEALS are Sailors, not Soldiers.

Jan 9 - 07:20 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

I was very worried about 'Hercules' right from the start
January isn't the best month for cinema and rarely do all films work

'The Marked Ones' thankfully wasn't the case, it didn't suck
I am looking forward to seeing 'Her'

skipping 'Lone Survivor' though, sorry doesn't spark any interest with me

Jan 9 - 09:13 PM

Daniel Felesina

Daniel Felesina

0% for Legend of Hercules. It's sad when out of two Hercules movies coming out in the same year, the one directed by Brett Ratner looks better.

Jan 9 - 10:00 PM

L

L .

I've been waiting for Her to come out in theaters around here for weeks. Can't wait to finally watch it. It's gotta be one of the best this year!

Lone Survivor's rating surprises me. I'm down to check it out later.

1% for Hercules.

Jan 9 - 10:23 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's all about HER this week. Not interested in Lone Soldier, it's still a Peter Berg action film, lest people forget. Plus, I'm even more cynical after seeing the excerpts of Robert Gates' book. The only tragedy is that none of it ever mattered in the first place.

Jan 10 - 02:36 AM

Garner Montgomery

Garner Montgomery

Winner!! I am guessing 4% for Hercules.

Jan 10 - 04:01 AM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

Except with real actors, and an experienced director..

Jan 10 - 04:11 AM

Brendan Nicholls

Brendan Nicholls

8% looks really bad. how Renny Harlin is still directing movies is the real joke. He peaked with Cliffhanger give up already

Jan 10 - 04:16 AM

Adam G.

Adam Gajlewicz

Lone Survivor was a nice surprise, definitely more than I had expected. A great war movie.... Harrowing? I wouldn't call it that.. Well, it depends on what you find harrowing or visceral for that matter.....

Jan 10 - 08:37 AM

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