Critics Consensus: Moneyball is Certified Fresh

Plus, Dolphin Tale inspires, Killer Elite wanders, and Abduction sags.

This week at the movies, we've got baseball nerds (Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill), aquatic rehab (Dolphin Tale, starring Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman), an assassin-dodging teen (Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins), and a tough-guy showdown (Killer Elite, starring Jason Statham and Clive Owen). What do the critics have to say?

Moneyball

94%

Do you love The Natural, but wish the movie had found time to take a closer look at Roy Hobbs's OPS and weighted on base average? Well then, Moneyball is the movie for you, and critics say it's a moving, witty underdog tale that somehow manages to find drama in baseball stat geekdom. Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is tasked with fielding a competitive team on a small-market budget. His solution is to ignore traditional scouting methods and focus almost exclusively on obscure statistics that measure players' abilities in ways that have been overlooked by other teams. Will Beane's feather-ruffling approach be accepted in the staid world of Major League Baseball -- and more importantly, will it yield results on the field? The pundits say the Certified Fresh Moneyball is a smart dramedy with excellent performances and a razor-sharp script that is likely to appeal to folks who don't know the first thing about our national pastime. (Check out our countdown of the best baseball movies here.)

Dolphin Tale

82%

In these cynical times, we could use some good old fashioned inspirational family entertainment at the multiplex. And critics say the pleasant, uplifting Dolphin Tale fits the bill, thanks to solid acting and a script that manages to avoid schmaltz and still jerk tears. Based upon a true story, Dolphin Tale is the story of an injured seafaring mammal who damages her tail in a crab trap. A team of specialists and a lonely youngster band together to help our aquatic heroine -- now sporting a prosthetic tail -- to swim again. The pundits say Dolphin Tale deftly avoids the corniness that could have weighed it down, and the result is a heartwarming film that will please both kids and adults.

Abduction

4%

Given his high-profile gig in the Twilight franchise, it was inevitable that Taylor Lautner would get his own starring vehicle. Unfortunately, critics say he could have chosen a better one than Abduction, a predictable, mediocre thriller that never slows down long enough to make sense. Launter plays Nathan Harper, who learns that the family he's living with is not his own. Soon, he's on the run from an elite group of assassins, and he tries to piece together his mysterious past while staying one step ahead of his pursuers. The pundits say Abduction is Bourne-lite, with unintentionally funny dialogue and an absurdly complicated plot that strands a talented cast. (Check out Lautner's Five Favorite Films here.)

Killer Elite

25%

Killer Elite is a globe-trotting action flick with a top-notch cast and more on its mind than your typical thriller. Unfortunately, critics say those intriguing pieces don't add up to a satisfying whole, and Killer Elite is ultimately a formulaic adrenaline-fest with a plot that wanders all over the place. Jason Statham plays Danny Bryce, a hired gun on the edge of retirement who's lured back into action when his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) is taken hostage. Our hero must finish the job Hunter was contracted to do, but soon he's run afoul with a rogue group of soldiers lead by Spike (Clive Owen), who's now gunning for Danny. The pundits say Killer Elite has macho attitude to spare, but its execution is off, and the result is an overlong and confusing film that raises interesting moral questions without answering them. (Check this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Statham's best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Weekend, a romantic drama about two men who meet and share their lives over the course of 48 hours, is at 100 percent.
  • Thunder Soul, a documentary about Houston's astonishingly funky Kashmere High School Stage Band, is at 100 percent.
  • Pearl Jam Twenty, Cameron Crowe's documentary portrait of the grunge superstars, is at 71 percent.
  • Limelight, a doc about the rise and fall of New York nightclub impresario Peter Gatien, is at 71 percent.
  • The Whale, a doc about a killer whale who befriends some residents of Vancouver Island after being separated from his family, is at 67 percent.
  • Puncture, starring Chris Evans in a drama about a drug addicted lawyer who investigates a health care and pharmaceutical industry conspiracy, is at 57 percent.
  • Archie's Final Project, dramedy about a high school filmmaker who announces he's going to kill himself on camera, is at 40 percent.
  • Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler in a drama about a former biker and born-again Christian who goes to Sudan to save as many children as he can, is at 29 percent.

Comments

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

WOW this is a neat week. Moneyball turned out to be a certified fresh film (just as I expected) so its definitely worth a viewing. Dolphin Tale is a major surprise in my opinion because I thought it would be corny, but if Freeman is in a film than it is usually a good one so I guess I should have withheld my judgement. I don't even know what else to make of it. The funniest is Abduction. Glad it has a 0%, and I bet it'd be a funny movie to see. Does that make it a comedy though? Maybe.

Sep 22 - 04:42 PM

BLBnow

Brad Barfoot

I love baseball and cant wait to see Moneyball.

Sep 23 - 10:33 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I'm more of an American Football fan myself but I enjoy watching the As and the San Fran Giants play. :)

Sep 24 - 09:38 PM

BLBnow

Brad Barfoot

Chicago Cubs fan here. I hope the Cubs sign Billy Beane as there GM. That would be too cool.

Sep 24 - 11:56 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Moneyball looks like it could be one of the years best. I'm definitely seeing it, even though I'm not a big baseball fan. I think it's a lock for a screenplay Oscar nom, with Sorkin's post Social network momentum. I'm not sure it has much of a chance in the other categories though. Their is nothing to be said about abduction, looks like shit. Dolphin Tale looks like a nice little movie, but more like what you might show kids at a church camp or something then something to go out and see at theaters. Also, I was looking at Morgan freeman's filmography recently and apparently he narrated Conan the Barbian, according to wikipedia. Is this true, or just someone who put that their as a joke? Killer Elite looks like a average action movie, not worth watching. Extreamly disappointed in machine gun preacher. Looks like it won't be playing anywhere near me. Now, my box office predictions. Honestly, I'm sensing a minor B.O disappointment in Moneyball. Not sure why, just my gut feeling. We'll see if I had good reason for it this weekend:
1 lion king 17 million
2 moneyball 13 Million
3 Abduction 12 million
4 Dolphin Tale 9 Million
5 Killer elite 8.5 Million
1 Lion King 17 Million

Sep 22 - 04:54 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Oops, put lion king twice for some reason. But I guess it's good enough to be worthy of being mention twice.

Sep 22 - 04:56 PM

doomzdavo

Doomz Davo

Money ball is at 93%. Which is the same amount of body fat that Jonah Hill had until he started doing lines of coke off of Seth Rogen's dick.

Sep 22 - 06:49 PM

George C.

George Clooney

WTF? Also hahahahaha at OP's "more like what you might show kids at a church camp or something"

Sep 22 - 07:31 PM

BLBnow

Brad Barfoot

Yeah, he is defenetly on drugs. I scene him on Conan and he kinda dodged the weight loss question.

Sep 25 - 02:10 AM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Oops, put lion king twice for some reason. But I guess it's good enough to be worthy of being mention twice.

Sep 22 - 04:56 PM

Andrew M.

Andrew McGregor

YEs more Latuner!!!! He's sooooo hooooooooooot and drooly.

Sep 22 - 04:57 PM

Opposite Girl

Kortaka West

wtf bro...

Sep 22 - 05:12 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Sarcasm comes in all shapes and forms that at times hard to recognize!

Sep 22 - 05:20 PM

Opposite Girl

Kortaka West

Oh no, I recognized it. That's why I commented what I did.

Sep 22 - 08:38 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Haha I love sarcasm. :)

Sep 22 - 10:10 PM

Andrew C.

Andrew C

Indeed...

Sep 23 - 02:13 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Oh gosh, how I absolutely hate sarcasm!!

Sep 24 - 07:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Is "Abduction" the worst movie ever made, worst than "Trolls 2", which I could never have seen coming or even predicted!

Sep 22 - 05:12 PM

George C.

George Clooney

Having not seen it, I think it'll actually creep up to about 5% or so. Having said that, it's still looks like an awful movie, unsurprisingly. F*ck Taylor Lautner! Worst actor ever.

Sep 22 - 07:33 PM

Dave J

Dave J

And "Troll 2" is still at zero and thought that by this time someone would've liked that film by now, considering the exposure it's been getting!

Sep 23 - 12:48 PM

jomo999

Joe Morris

Give it time my friend, and Troll 2 will be the 90's answer to Plan 9 from Outer Space. But it's just not been long enough for the 'critics' yet ;) As for Abduction, sounds like a ho-hum thriller that is not a poorly made labour of love like Troll 2, but a cynical, half-assed cash grab, with a lead actor who can't act and yet still seems too good for the material.

Sep 23 - 02:52 PM

Opposite Girl

Kortaka West

wtf bro...

Sep 22 - 05:12 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Sarcasm comes in all shapes and forms that at times hard to recognize!

Sep 22 - 05:20 PM

Opposite Girl

Kortaka West

Oh no, I recognized it. That's why I commented what I did.

Sep 22 - 08:38 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Awesome that Moneyball turned out good. I'm a little broke at the moment, so I will not be able to catch it at the theater.

Nice that Dolphin Tale got good reviews, too, but it is really not my cup of tea, eventhough it is pretty cool true story.

I would have went and seen Killer Elite as a guy's night out feature some time in the near future, but the action scenes are edited down to absolute shit, and I hate that in my action films.

I'm soooooo glad Abduction is bombing hard. Hopefully it does not do well at the box-office, either.

Sad that Machine Gun Preacher is getting bad-mediocre reviews. Butler looked good in it, and the whole story is pretty amazing.

Sep 22 - 05:17 PM

George C.

George Clooney

Really? I think the story seems ludicrous the point of being unintentionally hilarious. "A former biker and born-again Christian who goes to Sudan to save as many children as he can"? Plus the poster has Gerard Butler holding an AK-47 (I think?) and with small, presumably Sudanese child standing just behind his left leg, looking cute and scared. It looks absolutely ridiculous. What the f*ck is a former biker and born-again Christian gonna do in Sudan? Gun down all of the rebels who forcibly create child soldiers with his AK-47? Reminds me of like a Steven Seagal flick.

Sep 22 - 07:37 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I said it was amazing because it is a true story, dude. Sam Childers really was a former biker and drug addict who found God (I'm agnostic, by the way, so the religious aspect is not why I think it is all amazing) and cleaned his life up, and then decided to make a difference in the world and built an orphanage in Sudan. When the rebels tried to to intimidate him and attack the orphanage, he did not bend over and take it, he fought back. The guy is still alive and working in Sudan to this day.

Sep 22 - 09:43 PM

George C.

George Clooney

Hey, I'll take your word for it man, that sounds cool, good for the real life version of that story. But I stand by my statement that the movie poster (and even the title) of Machine Gun Preacher are ridiculous

Sep 23 - 05:00 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Yep the poster is indeed really awful. And it seems they didn't handle the story well, because the actual story is pretty interesting in a sort of crazy action movie in real life way.

Sep 23 - 09:43 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I agree with you guys the movie looks like it would be loaded with cheese and the poster is crappy, but I was really hoping it would be a solid movie because the real life story is amazing. And I admit that I love the ridiculousness of the title!

Sep 23 - 11:13 AM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

I smell a Razzie or two (Maybe three) for Abduction.

Sep 22 - 05:20 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Not gonna happen, bub!

Sep 22 - 07:15 PM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

A nomination at the very least. From the looks of it, it will defiantly get a nomination.

Sep 22 - 08:33 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Seriously, it's too little too late for a nomination. So get over it!

Sep 22 - 09:58 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Too late? Tell that to All About Steve and New Moon, which where released in september and november respectively, and still gathered razzies. On the contrary, the closer the film is to the razzie awards season, the more it'll be in their minds, thus the bigger chance of nominations.

Sep 24 - 06:54 AM

Sean Y.

Sean Y.

The Razzies love to jump on hate-wagons. There is no stronger hate-wagon in cinema than that for Twilight and its stars.

Sep 22 - 09:03 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I smell it too. It reeks.

Sep 22 - 10:13 PM

GREENMANAQ

Jere Hunter

I smelled a Razzie just from the trialer. My first thot was "he needs more acting experiance to make those lines work (not as easy playing a person with no clue as to whats going on as you think :D ), my second thot was, 'The director should have known better'

Sep 24 - 10:01 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Sarcasm comes in all shapes and forms that at times hard to recognize!

Sep 22 - 05:20 PM

Opposite Girl

Kortaka West

Oh no, I recognized it. That's why I commented what I did.

Sep 22 - 08:38 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

What was that other recent movie that had a Zero Percent?

I think my mind's telling me not to remember, but I want to know anyway. :)

Sep 22 - 05:26 PM

Mr. Hulot

Thierry Cervantes

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Sep 22 - 05:34 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Bucky Larson.

Sep 22 - 05:35 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

oh god, why did I ask!! :P

That's right, it was good ol' Bucky Larson.

About Abduction, it's really pathetic that Taylor Lautner is THE young action guy that Hollywood's trying to sell to the masses. I mean, come on, he's going to be in the Expendables sequel as well? Why?

As if anyone needed any more proof that Hollywood casting is rarely a true, honest process. It's all about whom the suit and ties in Hollywood want to promote. They don't care if that person's talented, can act or is even in good movies. They just want to show him/her down our throats.

I'm still waiting for a trainwreck of a movie starring Taylor Lautner and Vanessa Hudgens. Maybe they could star in Gigli 2.

Sep 22 - 10:03 PM

scifimark

scifi mark

haha bucky larson. Ill at least rent most comedies because sometimes there are diamonds in the rough even if not reviewed but man does that look hideous

Sep 26 - 06:29 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Spy Kids 4

Sep 22 - 05:39 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I don't think Spy Kids 4" have a zero percent. It's lower in the 20's.

Sep 22 - 07:14 PM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

We all wanna just pretend that Spy Kids 4 has a 0% :P

Sep 22 - 08:33 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

I might check out Moneyball. That looked good from the trailers. I knew Dolphin Tale would get good reviews but I didn't expect it to be as high as is. I could care less about Abduction and Killer Elite. If anyone who was a main character in the Twilight series is in it(except Harry Potter 4) then I'm not interested. Jason Statham is a cool action movie guy, but he's the same in every single one of his movies. He's this generation's John Wayne only Jason's movies are usually bad to mediocre at best

Sep 22 - 05:34 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Panic Room, Zathura, and Adventure Land anybody?

Sep 22 - 05:52 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

and these movies were brought up because...?

Sep 23 - 09:27 AM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

They are all good movies with a twilight star in a major role.

Sep 23 - 01:02 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

I didn't really care too much for Zathura. Panic Room was WAY before Twilight but I'll give you Adventure Land even though that was technically before Twilight also.

Sep 23 - 03:06 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

sorry, I just realized that Adventureland was AFTER Twilight. that last comment probably made me look really stupid

Sep 24 - 10:15 AM

Bradley T. Johnson

Bradley J

Wow a decent week might go see Moneyball and Dolphin Tale thanks to the positive feedback. Though I'm not seeing Abduction nor do I even like Taylor Lautner, but people really don't have to be on his case all the time. He is not a great actor, but you don't have to wish and want badly that his movies fail just because he is in it. Okay I'm done now.

Sep 22 - 05:34 PM

George C.

George Clooney

Yes, you do have to wish and want badly that his movies fail because he was in Twilight. Such is his eternal penance for such an atrocious sin.

Sep 22 - 07:39 PM

Bradley T. Johnson

Bradley J

Well ok then but that isn't very fair just because he chose to be in it and I agree that he is a sucky actor though.

Sep 23 - 04:43 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I think the real focus here is wanting Abduction to fail because of how awful Abduction is. Taylor being a reason why its Awful. Awful movies failing is good news because it theoretically prevents more awful movies from being produced.

Sep 23 - 12:09 PM

Bradley T. Johnson

Bradley J

Yes I agree.

Sep 23 - 12:11 PM

Mr. Hulot

Thierry Cervantes

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Sep 22 - 05:34 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Bucky Larson.

Sep 22 - 05:35 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

oh god, why did I ask!! :P

That's right, it was good ol' Bucky Larson.

About Abduction, it's really pathetic that Taylor Lautner is THE young action guy that Hollywood's trying to sell to the masses. I mean, come on, he's going to be in the Expendables sequel as well? Why?

As if anyone needed any more proof that Hollywood casting is rarely a true, honest process. It's all about whom the suit and ties in Hollywood want to promote. They don't care if that person's talented, can act or is even in good movies. They just want to show him/her down our throats.

I'm still waiting for a trainwreck of a movie starring Taylor Lautner and Vanessa Hudgens. Maybe they could star in Gigli 2.

Sep 22 - 10:03 PM

scifimark

scifi mark

haha bucky larson. Ill at least rent most comedies because sometimes there are diamonds in the rough even if not reviewed but man does that look hideous

Sep 26 - 06:29 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Spy Kids 4

Sep 22 - 05:39 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I don't think Spy Kids 4" have a zero percent. It's lower in the 20's.

Sep 22 - 07:14 PM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

We all wanna just pretend that Spy Kids 4 has a 0% :P

Sep 22 - 08:33 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Killer Elite . . . despite the low ratings it still looks appealing; I'm much more in to seeing Horror Movies in the theaters than Action-Movies.

---
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES still continues to play here in Ithaca, New York (at least 5 showings a day too). . . must be a good movie . . . of course it is: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a Science-Fiction Classic!

--------

I'm excited to see THE THING in October and . . .

'Ghostbusters' Returning to Theaters for Limited Run

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/ghostbusters-returning-theaters-limited-run-31233

aaaaawwwwweeeesssssooomme!!!!

Who You Gonna Call . . .GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

---so, save all your money for October's releases.

GHOSTBUSTERS, they promise, will be released in 2k Digital and 5.1

basically a Bluray disc of Ghostbusters will be screened.

----

Lion King will lose first place is my prediction.

Sep 22 - 05:52 PM

George C.

George Clooney

Wow, this comment was spaced so weirdly I almost passed over it cause I thought it was spam. You know Killer Elite is an action movie and not a horror movie, right? I hope The Thing remake is awesome, but I feel like I have to temper my expectations because remakes are usually worse than the original.

Sep 22 - 07:41 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Panic Room, Zathura, and Adventure Land anybody?

Sep 22 - 05:52 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

and these movies were brought up because...?

Sep 23 - 09:27 AM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

They are all good movies with a twilight star in a major role.

Sep 23 - 01:02 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

I didn't really care too much for Zathura. Panic Room was WAY before Twilight but I'll give you Adventure Land even though that was technically before Twilight also.

Sep 23 - 03:06 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

sorry, I just realized that Adventureland was AFTER Twilight. that last comment probably made me look really stupid

Sep 24 - 10:15 AM

redrooster0

Charlie Voelker

"Suddenly everyone around me is dying"-Probably the greatest/worst line in my life time. It brought me to tears the first time I watched the Abduction trailer, so it's no shock to me that this is getting shitty reviews.

Sep 22 - 06:10 PM

Sean N.

Sean Nasuti

Figured Abduction would get bad reviews, but 0%? Damn. Wonder if will it will follow the path of Bucky Larson and stay at 0.
Anyway, Moneyball looks really great and I wasn't sure about Dolphin Tale but because it's getting nice reviews, I don't know.

Sep 22 - 06:11 PM

Kyle N.

Kyle Nuss

even though I think Abduction looks bad I didnt think it looked 0% bad. I was thinking around 15%.

Sep 22 - 06:13 PM

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