Critical Consensus: Enchanted Bewitches, Hitman Misses, No Country is Certified Fresh

Plus: The Mist shines through, August Rush hits a sweet note, and This Christmas is a gift.

Every year, movie studios get a jump start on turkey Thursday and black Friday by giving audiences a taste of the good stuff two days earlier than usual. This week, we've got real-life fairy tales (Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey), a deadly fog (The Mist, starring Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden), loads of gunplay (Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant), musical families (August Rush, starring Freddie Highmore and Keri Russell), yuletide conflict (This Christmas, starring Delroy Lindo), and the latest from the Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, starring Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin). What do the critics have to say?

Sort of a Wizard of Oz in reverse, Enchanted is the story of Giselle (Amy Adams), a princess in an animated magical kingdom who's transported to the streets of Manhattan by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon). There, she meets a kindly lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) and attempts to negotiate the line between fantasy and reality. The pundits say Enchanted lives up to its title, featuring sharp gags, excellent animation, and a smart re-imagining of fairy-tale tropes. But they hold out the highest praise for Adams, a sharp scene stealer who makes the most of her top billing here. At 89 percent on the Tomatometer, Enchanted is bewitching.


James Marsden challenges Dempsey for Sexiest Man Alive Runner-Up title.

The Mist springs forth from the collective minds of author Stephen King and director Frank Darabont, the winning combination that's previously brought us The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. But in their latest collaboration the two take a decidedly horrific bent: A small town is terrorized by a group of deadly creatures lurking in a particularly thick fog. Could a top-secret experiment at a nearby military base have anything to do with it? Critics are less ecstatic with The Mist than previous King/Darabont joints: they say the chills and thrills are there, and Darabont valiantly attempts for a psychological depth rarely seen in horror, but he frequently comes off as didactic and heavy-handed. At 69 percent Tomatometer, the gold shines through in The Mist. (Read our interview with the Mist cast and crew here.)


"That's no moon, that's a giant bug monster with pseudo-Biblical overtones."

Hitman stars Timothy Olyphant as an accomplished assassin named 47 who stumbles into the midst of some political intrigue and goes on the run. Considering the well-publicized news of Hitman's reshoots and its origin as a video game, it's no surprise that the movie isn't sitting well with the critics. They call it vulgar, gratuitously violent, too reliant on CG to propel the action, and just an overall dizzying blur of explosions and bullets -- the usual barbs critics reserve for video game adaptations, and exactly the stuff that gets gamers off the couch and into the theaters. At 14 percent on the Tomatometer, looks like it's game over, Hitman.


"Don't worry. I did the Konami Code before this mission."

In August Rush, an orphan (Freddie Highmore) runs away to New York, where an overseer of young musicians (Robin Williams) recognizes his guitar skills. As it turns out, the orphan was the product of a one-night stand between a cellist (Keri Russell) and a singer-songwriter (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), whom he now hopes to reunite. It's a fairly absurd premise but the performers give it their all, and goes a long way to overcome Kristen Sheridan's sentimental and cloying direction. At 58 percent on the Tomatometer, August Rush hits a sickly sweet note. (Read our interview with Freddie Highmore here.)


"It's agreed. No 'Stairway.'"

It's time for another Christmas movie in which each member of a dysfunctional family brings plenty of baggage with them to the yuletide festivities. Bah, humbug, right? Not so fast. Critics say This Christmas is a delightful surprise, a solid dramedy that, in lesser hands, could have been chaotic and mawkish. In Christmas the members of the Whitfield clan returns home, setting off a maelstrom of unresolved tensions and revelations. The pundits say director Preston A. Whitmore II takes a variety of contrived plotines and deftly weaves them together with wit and finesse, and the cast, which features such excellent thespians as Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Idris Elba, and Mekhi Phifer, is never less than stellar. At 65 percent on the Tomatometer, This Christmas is a pleasant gift.


"I hope it's the Little Golden Book adaptation of Bioshock."

With No Country for Old Men, the Coen Brothers return to the moral ambiguity, black humor, and horrifying violence that reverberated throughout some of their best work, movies like Blood Simple and Fargo. And critics say that's a very, very good thing. Javier Bardem stars as a psychopathic killer on the trail of an average Joe (Josh Brolin) who stumbles across a huge sum of money. The pundits say No Country is a triumph: grim, suspenseful, frightening, and loaded with pitch-perfect performances. At 96 percent on the No Country for Old Men is not only Certified Fresh, it's one of the best-reviewed films of the year and trails only Blood Simple within the brothers' filmography. (Check out our Total Recall feature on the Coens' filmography here.)


"You don't want to know what I'll do if that Tomatometer drops below 90."

Also opening this week in limited release: The Red Balloon, Albert Lamorisse's French children's classic, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; Starting Out in the Evening, about a relationship between a solitary novelist and a grad student starring Frank Langella and Lauren Ambrose, is at 93 percent; Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, an unconventional biopic of Bob Dylan starring Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Richard Gere, is at 76 percent; Everything's Cool, a personal documentary about global warming, is at 60 percent; and Nina's Heavenly Delights, a culture-clash rom-com, is at zero percent.


"I also think Robbe-Grillet is vastly overrated. Want to make out?"


Recent Timothy Olyphant Movies:
---------------------------------------
22% -- Catch and Release (2007)
80% -- Live Free or Die Hard (2006)
74% -- Coastlines (2006)
41% -- The Girl Next Door (2006)
23% -- Dreamcatcher (2006)

Comments

Rock_The_Luau

Alex Vazquez

Definitely was not expecting such a great rating for Enchanted.

But I am going to see No Country the second I get the chance tomorrow!

Nov 20 - 09:56 PM

Bardego

Robert Hamer

No Country for Old Men looks like the ****! The Coens are back, BABY! I'm kinda surprised Enchanted is getting good reviews, though. That looked stupid, but then I guess you can't judge a book by its cover.

Nov 20 - 10:19 PM

~*Admiral Snowstorm*~

Dominique Amsterdam

Color me surprised on Enchanted as well. I did like the premise, but I expected the execution to be lousy. The trailers didn't make it look very good. However, I guess it really is good after all. Cool.

Also, surprise surprise on This Christmas. I am everyone else with a modicum of sanity is sick of Christmas comedy failures, but this one is apparently decent, if not genuinely good. Perhaps I'll see it this holiday break.

Nov 21 - 03:49 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

Enchanted, The mist and This christmas get good reviews? are you freakin kidding me? what kind of corruption is this? who bribes these critics? surprise, surprise, the politics of Hollywood.

Nov 21 - 09:37 AM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

So you've seen all three of these movies, Wordweaver, and know without a doubt that they don't deserve their good reviews. Please, do tell more.

Nov 23 - 11:07 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

Tyler perry's Why did I get Married get bad reviews but This Christmas gets good reviews? Elizabeth: The Golden Age get EXTREMELY bad reviews and Enchanted is praised by critics? are you kidding me? The Mist gets good reviews while other respectable action thrillers like Smokin' Aces are battered by the critics? what the hell? do you see my point? critics make up their mind about a movie before they even watch it. There is no fair game in Hollywood anymore and Rottentomatoes can kiss my motherf******.

Nov 23 - 05:15 PM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Well, the only one I can speak to is Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and it got bad reviews because it was a bad movie. Yeah, it looked pretty, but soap operas had nothing on its hackneyed plot.

And I noticed you conveniently didn't answer my question. And why are taking it so personally that these movies are getting good reviews? It's not like the critics killed your dog.

Nov 24 - 08:57 AM

theunrulyone

Ian W

Yeah, this is all kinds of fishy. I'm not surprised about Enchanted, though: it's a family movie released during the holidays so its bound to make money, and the concept is probably just neat enough to make most critics appreciate that they are seeing something at least a little different than just the typical droll family holiday film.

Nov 21 - 06:28 PM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

No Country For Old Men was disappointing 'cause of the "ending".
Might hit up Hitman just to check it out and The Mist too since Shawshank is one of my top 3 movies all time. That earns Darabont the benefit of the doubt in my book.

Nov 21 - 09:22 PM

lestatthevampire

Tyler D

Does anyone else think Enchanted has the "feel" of Roger Rabbit? OK, I said the "feel." Not the coolness factor or the "magic." well, maybe the magic. Shut up, go watch No Country.

Nov 22 - 07:02 AM

TrisTan2007

Tris A

Watched "No Country..." the other day. It has everything going good in the movie until the last 20 minutes to the end the directors decide to f*** up. And boy, do they f*** up good? Some argued the ending doesn't have to be "hollywoodish". I agree, but it should end with a proper note. The whole movie falls flat because of the ending, and there ain't none.

"Hitman" on the other hand turned out to be way better than I had anticipated. I am not a "Himan" video game fan, but he sure looked one helluva bada$$ and the movie is one great treat for an action movie lovers. Baldhead Bourne meets XXX?

Nov 23 - 08:03 AM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

So you've seen all three of these movies, Wordweaver, and know without a doubt that they don't deserve their good reviews. Please, do tell more.

Nov 23 - 11:07 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

Tyler perry's Why did I get Married get bad reviews but This Christmas gets good reviews? Elizabeth: The Golden Age get EXTREMELY bad reviews and Enchanted is praised by critics? are you kidding me? The Mist gets good reviews while other respectable action thrillers like Smokin' Aces are battered by the critics? what the hell? do you see my point? critics make up their mind about a movie before they even watch it. There is no fair game in Hollywood anymore and Rottentomatoes can kiss my motherf******.

Nov 23 - 05:15 PM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Well, the only one I can speak to is Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and it got bad reviews because it was a bad movie. Yeah, it looked pretty, but soap operas had nothing on its hackneyed plot.

And I noticed you conveniently didn't answer my question. And why are taking it so personally that these movies are getting good reviews? It's not like the critics killed your dog.

Nov 24 - 08:57 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

Tyler perry's Why did I get Married get bad reviews but This Christmas gets good reviews? Elizabeth: The Golden Age get EXTREMELY bad reviews and Enchanted is praised by critics? are you kidding me? The Mist gets good reviews while other respectable action thrillers like Smokin' Aces are battered by the critics? what the hell? do you see my point? critics make up their mind about a movie before they even watch it. There is no fair game in Hollywood anymore and Rottentomatoes can kiss my motherf******.

Nov 23 - 05:15 PM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Well, the only one I can speak to is Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and it got bad reviews because it was a bad movie. Yeah, it looked pretty, but soap operas had nothing on its hackneyed plot.

And I noticed you conveniently didn't answer my question. And why are taking it so personally that these movies are getting good reviews? It's not like the critics killed your dog.

Nov 24 - 08:57 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

sorry for the grammatical mistakes...I was pissed when typing the response

Nov 23 - 09:14 PM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

Well, the only one I can speak to is Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and it got bad reviews because it was a bad movie. Yeah, it looked pretty, but soap operas had nothing on its hackneyed plot.

And I noticed you conveniently didn't answer my question. And why are taking it so personally that these movies are getting good reviews? It's not like the critics killed your dog.

Nov 24 - 08:57 AM

wordweaver

Naturo Wetawashi

MR/MRS. ASHRON, I HAVE CONVENIENTLY WATCHED ALL THE AFOREMENTIONED MOVIES OK? AND I AM ELATED TO SAY THAT THE CRITICS DIDN'T KILL MY DOG. JUST WAIT TILL YOU MAJOR IN FILM STUDIES AND GET TO STUDY THE UNDERPINNINGS OF PLOT-BUILDING, DIRECTING AND ACTING, THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY I AM INFURIATED. I CAN CONVENIENTLY SAY THAT YOU STILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN AND YOU CAN CONVENIENTLY TAKE UPON YOURSELF TO STUDY MORE ABOUT FILM, AND THE POLITICS OF HOLLYWOOD. I WILL CONVENIENTLY END HERE.

Nov 24 - 12:34 PM

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