Critics Consensus: The Lego Movie Is Certified Fresh

Plus, The Monuments Men is well-meaning but uneven, and Vampire Academy wasn't screened -- guess the Tomatometer!

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This week at the movies, we've got little plastic people (The Lego Movie, with voice performances from Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks), art adventurers (The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon), and fanged teenagers (Vampire Academy, starring Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry). What do the critics have to say?

The Lego Movie


We wouldn't blame you for being skeptical of The Lego Movie. After all, aren't all films based on toys and games simply feature length commercials? Well, not always, and certainly not in this case; the critics say The Lego Movie is a wonderful film -- visually dazzling, puckishly inventive, and absurdly clever. Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is an average guy who's mistaken for a messiah-like savior; soon, our hero is on a quest to save the Lego universe from the evil tyrant President Business (Will Ferrell). The pundits say the Certified Fresh Lego Movie works in just about every way -- as an inspirational adventure, as a wry satire of pop culture, and as the rare film that the whole family can enjoy unreservedly. (Check out our video interview with the cast of the film, as well as our gallery of real toys in the movies.)

The Monuments Men


How could The Monuments Men possibly miss? It's based on an incredible true story, it stars a staggering array of A-listers, and it's directed by the typically sure-handed George Clooney. But miss it does, say critics, who find the film to be a well-intentioned but surprisingly listless and tonally inconsistent heist caper. It's the story of a ragtag unit of art experts tasked with venturing behind enemy lines in order to find and secure the priceless art and artifacts that have been looted by the Nazis. The pundits say the cast -- which includes Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, and Jean Dujardin -- keeps things watchable, but The Monuments Men can never decide if it's an action film, a caper comedy, or a reverent historical dramatization. (Check out our video interviews with Damon and Murray, as well as this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Blanchett's best-reviewed films.)

Vampire Academy


The only grade we can give Vampire Academy is an incomplete, since it wasn't screened prior to its release in theaters. Based upon the bestselling young adult novels, it's the story of a half human/half vampire girl and her mortal vampire best friend, who discover their boarding school is overrun with malevolent bloodsuckers. Once again, it's time to guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Paraguayan import 7 Boxes, a thriller about a kid who's wanted by the police and the underworld after he agrees to transport some mysterious cargo, is at 100 percent.
  • The Last of the Unjust a documentary about a rabbi who fought tirelessly to save Jews imprisoned in a Czech concentration camp, is at 100 percent.
  • Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, a documentary about the legendary ballerina, is at 100 percent.
  • A Field in England, a drama about a group of men searching for treasure during the English Civil War, is Certified Fresh at 88 percent (check out director Ben Wheatley's Five Favorite Films here).
  • Vic+Flo Saw a Bear, a drama about two ex-cons who are trying to get their lives in order, is at 90 percent.
  • Nurse 3D, starring Paz de la Huerta in a thriller about a woman who acts as an avenging angel while dressed as a nurse, is at 80 percent.
  • After the Dark, starring James D'Arcy and Bonnie Wright in a sci-fi thriller about a group of philosophy students whose conversations take on greater import after an apocalyptic disaster, is at 80 percent.
  • Love & Air Sex, a romantic comedy about a couple that splits up just before the Air Sex World Championships competition, is at 64 percent.
  • The Pretty One, a coming-of-age drama starring Zoe Kazan as a pair of twin sisters with very different personalities, is at 45 percent.
  • A Fantastic Fear of Everything, starring Simon Pegg in a comedy about a crime novelist who's deathly afraid of being killed, is at 38 percent.
  • Welcome to the Jungle, starring Adam Brody and Jean-Claude Van Damme in a comedy about an ill-advised office retreat to a remote desert island, is at 20 percent.
  • Cavemen, a romantic comedy about a single guy with commitment issues, is at 13 percent.
  • The Outsider, starring Jason Patric and James Caan in an action movie about a British mercenary searching for his missing daughter, is at 11 percent.