Critics Consensus: Contraband (Sort Of) Delivers

Plus, Joyful NoiseBeauty and the Beast is back in 3D.

This week at the movies, we've got a reluctant smuggler (Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale), a musical showdown (Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton), and a Disney classic (Beauty and the Beast In 3D, with voice work from Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson). What do the critics have to say?

Contraband

51%

Mark Wahlberg made a big score in The Italian Job; now he's trying to pull off another with Contraband, and while the critics find it to be a competent heist thriller, they also say its plot is both convoluted and recycled. Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) is a cleaned-up ex-hood who's forced out of retirement when his brother in law flubs a drug deal and is on the hook for several million dollars. To settle the debt, Chris hatches a plot to smuggle money out of Panama, but things don't quite go according to plan. The pundits say Contraband is a well-crafted genre piece with a fine performance from Wahlberg, but it's pretty standard stuff with few surprises. (Check out our feature on Certified Fresh crime thrillers.)

Joyful Noise

33%

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton team up in an attempt to make beautiful music together, but unfortunately, critics say Joyful Noise is mostly the same old song -- it's got some decent tunes, but it's ultimately done in by an overabundance of clichés. Latifah stars as Vi Rose Hill, the new head of a small-town gospel choir with a by-the-book approach to the group's songbook. However, the previous choir director's widow G.G. Sparrow (Parton) wants the group to updtate its sound. Will they resolve their differences in time for nationals? The pundits say Joyful Noise is proudly old-fashioned, and some of the numbers are stirring, but its plot is corny and mostly tension-free. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we run down some memorable movies in which the gang gets together to put on a big show.)

Beauty and the Beast (In 3D)

93%

The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, Disney's Beauty and the Beast gets a 3D rerelease this week -- in other words, if you (or your kids) have never seen this modern classic, this is your chance. Based upon the timeless fairy tale, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is the story of Belle, a headstrong young woman who's imprisoned by a cursed prince in a castle full of singing table settings and household instruments. Will they eventually fall in love? No spoilers here; suffice it to say the Certified Fresh Beauty and the Beast enchanted the critics when it was released in 1991, and it remains a highlight of Disney's animated cannon.

Also opening this week in limited release:

And finally, mad props to Alica L. and Brad and Netflix for correctly guessing The Devil Inside's six percent Tomatometer.

Comments

David Tanny

David Tanny

Too bad about Michael Biehn's new thriller. I hope he get's to have another kick-ass role in some really cool sci-fi action movie.
This looks to be a pretty disposable week.

Jan 12 - 05:22 PM

Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown

My friend just met a cutest girl on---onenightcupid.com--. It's where for charming woman and handsome man seeking No Strings Attached relationshipï¼?safe and private!
It's a nice place for people who wanna find gorgeous intimate encounters....no bounds or extremes in front of true love.

Jan 15 - 07:07 PM

Facebook User

Facebook User

If winter comes, can spring be far away?
My friend just met a cutest girl on -- casualloving. c'0m--. It's where for men and women looking for intimate encounters.
It's a nice place for people who wanna start a short-term relationship....no bounds or extremes in front of true love.

Jan 15 - 08:51 PM

Facebook User

Facebook User

I gotta say that I never expected Contraband to get the rating it did. I expected it to be in the 35% range.

Jan 12 - 05:39 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

Same here. It was fresh for a while.

Jan 12 - 05:45 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

Same here. It was fresh for a while.

Jan 12 - 05:45 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

We are now in the moviesuck black hole that is January.

That makes 52% look pretty good.

Jan 12 - 06:03 PM

redrooster0

Charlie Voelker

Agreed, the only good part about this time of year is the limited releases expanding wide. Sometimes January randomly has good movies though, like Haywire next weekend.

Jan 12 - 07:20 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

The worst part is that the "January effect" expands to many months sometimes.
It had been a while since I saw a batch of so many rotten.

Jan 13 - 11:32 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Nothing for me this week. Next week, we have four wide releases: Underworld 4, Red Tails, Haywire, and the wide expansion of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I hope Red Tails gets good reviews but it'll probably have a hard time at the box office due to the competition. Extremely Loud looks pretty good as well. Haywire looks this year's Hanna and I can pass on Underworld despite my crush on Kate Beckinsale. She is a fox. I think Beauty and the Beast will be this weekend's champion and families want to go out do to the MLK Holiday.

Jan 12 - 06:20 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

I have high hopes for Haywire!

Jan 12 - 06:21 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I might watch "Underworld" for the innovative action bits regardless of the heavy CGI they've used in the movie and Haywire! As a matter of fact I may prefer to see Underworld on rental since the previews could be the only action scenes or had shown most of it anyway!

Jan 13 - 12:44 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Contraband got a much better score than I thought it would. I might catch it when it comes to BD. Divide is a major disappointment - I was amped for it from the trailers and interviews with Biehn

Jan 12 - 06:20 PM

David Tanny

David Tanny

I have high hopes for Haywire!

Jan 12 - 06:21 PM

redrooster0

Charlie Voelker

Agreed, the only good part about this time of year is the limited releases expanding wide. Sometimes January randomly has good movies though, like Haywire next weekend.

Jan 12 - 07:20 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

Wow, I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast in theaters when I was at the tender age of 5 ^_^

Too bad Disney had to milk it and put 3D on it to get more money, but I guess after the success of the Lion King re-release why not? Beauty and the Beast should definitely win the weekend: The Devil Inside should barely make the top 10 in it's second week after audiences expressed hatred of it. Contraband will do ok but not great, same thing for Joyful Noise. I wont predict if one or the other will be number 2 or 3, but I bet Mission Impossible and Sherlock Holmes will drop as those movies have been out for 3 weeks already. Tinker and Dragon should hold very well appealing to adult audiences.

Jan 12 - 10:18 PM

Mov Head

Mov Head

MI4 AGAIN!

Jan 13 - 03:47 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

Sigh, here we go, January's here. I'll pass on Contraband. It'll be something I'll catch on TV and watch in the background. The only January releases that interest me at are is Haywire, that looks awesome, and The Grey, which I've heard great things about so I'll be waiting for those. Finally seeing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tomorrow now that I'm done with exams. Can't wait. That movies was easily my most anticipated film of 2011, and from what I've heard, I'll love it. The Harriet resolution sounds better than it was in the book.

Jan 13 - 03:53 AM

That Random Albino Kid

Dominic Dold

say hi to your mother for me... k?

Jan 13 - 04:34 AM

Cheif Murray

Will Johansen

Contraband looks like a typical Friday nite rental so I'll pass on that. Will save my money and go see Red Tails next week.

Jan 13 - 05:55 AM

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