Critics Consensus: Rush and Don Jon Certified Fresh

Plus, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is silly fun, and Baggage Claim isn't worth the trip.

This week at the movies, we've got racing rivals (Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl); ravenous food (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, with voice performances from Bill Hader and Anna Faris); a lovestruck lothario (Don Jon, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson); and a desperate flight attendant (Baggage Claim, starring Paula Patton and Djimon Hounsou). What do the critics have to say?

Rush

89%

The best sports movies are about more than winning or losing -- they're about the inner workings of the people that play the games. Critics say director Ron Howard's Rush excels both on and off the track -- the racing scenes are incredibly tense, but it's the human drama and outstanding performances that push this film into the winner's circle. James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) are rival drivers with markedly different personalities and a shared history. As they battle it out for the 1976 Formula One championship, both drivers deal with personal traumas -- and find a measure of mutual respect. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Rush is full of visual fireworks, but its nuanced portrait of two fierce competitors is what ultimately resonates. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Howard's best-reviewed films.)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

70%

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a funny, exuberant surprise, so Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 was probably inevitable. Still, the critics say that while this sequel lacks the freshness of the original, it's an energetic, visually inventive family movie. After dealing with torrents of raining food in the first film, the residents of Swallow Falls now have a mess of leftovers to clean up. But Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), and the rest of the town have bigger concerns than spoilage when a veritable army of food/animal hybrids start wreaking havoc. The pundits say Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 should please the little ones, and their parents will be reasonably satisfied as well. (Watch our video interviews with the cast, and click through our gallery of the worst movie meals.)

Don Jon

81%

It's an old adage that what every actor really wants to do is direct. However, critics say that few thespians have the natural talent behind the camera that Joseph Gordon-Levitt displays in Don Jon, a funny, insightful romantic comedy that handles tricky material with aplomb. Gordon-Levitt stars as Jon, a skilled pickup artist who falls head over heels for Barbara, a beautiful woman with more traditional views on romance. Soon, however, Jon's porn addiction threatens to derail his real-life relationship. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Don Jon is a strong debut for Gordon-Levitt -- his film is witty, visually stylish, and well acted.

Baggage Claim

14%

Some material is so flimsy that even the most experienced actors prove unable to bring it to life. Unfortunately, critics say that's the case with Baggage Claim, a romantic comedy that's too contrived and clichéd to make much of an impression. Paula Patton stars as a flight attendant who wants to find Mr. Right before her sister ties the knot, so she hatches a plan to use her job to meet up with her exes and determine if they're marriage material. The pundits say Baggage Claim hits the same notes as a number of successful romantic comedies without establishing much personality of its own.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • On the Job, a thriller about a pair of prison inmates who are enlisted to commit contract killings in exchange for reduced sentences, is at 100 percent.
  • Muscle Shoals, a rockumentary about the legendary Alabama recording studio, is at 100 percent.
  • Inequality For All, a documentary about the gap in income between the rich and poor, is at 96 percent.
  • Metallica Through the Never, starring Dane DeHaan in a thriller about a young roadie who encounters a variety of strange situations and people while on a mission for the band, is at 90 percent.
  • We Are What We Are, a horror film about a family with a controlling patriarch and a dark secret, is at 88 percent.
  • Shepard & Dark, a doc about the friendship between playwright Sam Shepard and bohemian Johnny Dark, is at 71 percent.
  • Out in the Dark, a drama about a love affair between a Palestinian student and an Israeli lawyer, is at 69 percent.
  • Dark Touch, a horror film about an 11-year-old outcast with telekinetic powers, is at 60 percent.
  • Morning, starring Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn in a drama about a couple who have just experienced the death of their child, is at 50 percent.
  • As I Lay Dying, starring James Franco and Danny McBride in an adaptation of William Faulkner's novel about a family traveling through Mississippi to bury its recently deceased matriarch, is at 42 percent.

Comments

Typhon

Typhon Q

Just waiting for Gravity next week.

Sep 26 - 04:50 PM

David Hurlburt

David Hurlburt

Same here.

Sep 26 - 05:04 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Isn't everyone?
Rush does look good though, so......

Sep 26 - 06:00 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

GRAVITY! I think I would like to see Rush. I love movies based on Rivals. Warrior was the last good one. Hell I can't even remember the last god Racing movie. Remember how disappointing Driven was? Did anyone else but me see Driven?

Sep 26 - 06:13 PM

ram b.

ram bond

driven was fun only because i like SLY movies, that's it.but it was cheesy as hell.

Sep 26 - 11:51 PM

Patrick Barrett

Patrick Barrett

I saw it when I was 11 and loved it because I was such a racing nut (still am) but when I wised up, I realized just how horrendous Driven was. I still watch it annually form laughs, but also to remind myself how NOT to make a movie.

Sep 27 - 06:02 PM

ram b.

ram bond

gravity promises to be very good film.

Sep 26 - 11:51 PM

Ryan Bowling

Ryan Bowling

Don't get the grav love. Apollo 13 2.0. Feautiring Clooney and Bullock... then again, I never understood Clooney or Bullock's appeal. I mean Clooney, I understand him being the ultimate pretty guy. Bullock, just rubs me wrong...

Sep 27 - 08:33 PM

Robert Lowe

Robert Lowe

The movie is nothing like Apollo 13, and people are excited because of the director, not Clooney or Bullock.

Sep 28 - 11:11 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Oh yea I forgot that all movies that take place in space are Apollo 13..

Sep 28 - 05:25 PM

David Hurlburt

David Hurlburt

Same here.

Sep 26 - 05:04 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Isn't everyone?
Rush does look good though, so......

Sep 26 - 06:00 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

GRAVITY! I think I would like to see Rush. I love movies based on Rivals. Warrior was the last good one. Hell I can't even remember the last god Racing movie. Remember how disappointing Driven was? Did anyone else but me see Driven?

Sep 26 - 06:13 PM

ram b.

ram bond

driven was fun only because i like SLY movies, that's it.but it was cheesy as hell.

Sep 26 - 11:51 PM

Patrick Barrett

Patrick Barrett

I saw it when I was 11 and loved it because I was such a racing nut (still am) but when I wised up, I realized just how horrendous Driven was. I still watch it annually form laughs, but also to remind myself how NOT to make a movie.

Sep 27 - 06:02 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

seeing 'Cloudy 2' and 'Don Jon'
sucks about 'Baggage Claim'

Sep 26 - 09:27 PM

Tom White

Tom White

This description for Rush makes it sound exactly like Days of Thunder( or even Talladega Nights, take your pick). Though it does look good.

Sep 26 - 10:18 PM

Ash J. Gilmore

Ash J. Gilmore

Definitely need to check out Don Jon.

Sep 26 - 10:29 PM

RoHiT

Good Looking RoHiT

Rush looks good.

Sep 26 - 10:46 PM

ram b.

ram bond

driven was fun only because i like SLY movies, that's it.but it was cheesy as hell.

Sep 26 - 11:51 PM

ram b.

ram bond

gravity promises to be very good film.

Sep 26 - 11:51 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Wouldn't Through the Never be a wide release? Or at least mentioned more than "It's at 90 percent."?

Sep 27 - 04:08 AM

Ian Martin

Ian Martin

It is released just in IMAX this week and then goes wide next Friday

Sep 27 - 08:49 AM

Ian Martin

Ian Martin

It is released just in IMAX this week and then goes wide next Friday

Sep 27 - 08:49 AM

redsoxman1551

Joe Wallace

Saw Don Jon last night. Thought it was great!

Sep 27 - 09:02 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Maybe it's the season, but the two horror films (We Are What We Are, Dark Touch) are the only films that look interesting in addition to the Sam Shepard and Muscle Shoals docs.

Sep 27 - 10:45 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Not a fan of Ron Howard?

Sep 27 - 02:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Why should I be?

Sep 27 - 06:03 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Like" is the key word, isn't it? Howard is a perfectly "likable" director of mildly pleasing but professional work. His early comedies were his best, but most of his films are faceless imitations of his superiors like Spielberg (Cocoon), Zemeckis (Apollo 13), Richard Donner (Ransom), or, worse, Frank Darabont (Beautiful Mind). I preferred him when he was merely imitating John Landis.

Sep 29 - 10:23 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Saw Rush last week, and enjoyed it immensely. Some great acting and directing, as well as cinematography. Wouldn't be surprised if it got nominated next year in any of those categories. I'll have to wait a while for Gravity, though Prisoners is opening this weekend here, so that's promising.

Sep 27 - 11:01 AM

Dave J

Dave J

As of right now, "Dark Touch" is at 67% - not 60% as RT said above! Anyways, "Rush", "On The Job", "We Are What We Are" and "Dark Touch" look interesting movies to watch!

Sep 27 - 12:53 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Not a fan of Ron Howard?

Sep 27 - 02:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Why should I be?

Sep 27 - 06:03 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Like" is the key word, isn't it? Howard is a perfectly "likable" director of mildly pleasing but professional work. His early comedies were his best, but most of his films are faceless imitations of his superiors like Spielberg (Cocoon), Zemeckis (Apollo 13), Richard Donner (Ransom), or, worse, Frank Darabont (Beautiful Mind). I preferred him when he was merely imitating John Landis.

Sep 29 - 10:23 PM

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