Critics Consensus: Side Effects is Certified Fresh

Plus, Identity Thief is criminally short on laughs.

This week at the movies, we've got a woman on the edge (Side Effects, starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum); a shameless fraudster (Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman), and some hotshot pilots (Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer). What do the critics have to say?

Side Effects

83%

Steven Soderbergh claims that Side Effects will be the last theatrical film he directs. Critics say that if that's the case, he's crafted a heck of a swan song in this sleek, mysterious thriller. Rooney Mara stars as a young woman suffering from depression after her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison. She turns to a psychiatrist (Jude Law) who prescribes her an antidepressant that he's being paid to pitch, but soon she's reeling from the drug's adverse effects. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Side Effects is twisty, elegantly shot, and suspenseful, one that offers further proof of Soderbergh's ability to elevate genre material to new heights. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Law's best-reviewed movies.)

Identity Thief

19%

Melissa McCarthy has established herself as a scene-stealing supporting player, and critics say in Identity Thief she proves she has the goods to be a leading lady. Unfortunately, they also say she and co-star Jason Bateman can't save the film from its rambling, aimless script. McCarthy stars as an identity thief whose posh lifestyle is being financed by a financial services drone (Bateman), who tracks her down but soon finds himself in over his head. The pundits say Identity Thief's laughs are attributable to McCarthy and Bateman, who labor mightily to create a framework for the movie's undisciplined plotline. (Check out this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of impostors and identity thieves.)

Top Gun: An IMAX 3D Experience

55%

Upon its release in 1986, Top Gun was a massive success, one that made Tom Cruise a superstar, spawned a hit soundtrack, and inspired an uptick in enlistments into the Navy. It's getting an IMAX 3D rerelease this week, so a new generation can see what all the fuss was about. Suffice to say, the critics were largely split, with many praising the film's aerial footage while finding its characters to be pretty one-dimensional.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Comments

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Critics are bitches, by nature.

That's why the best films this week are way down at the bottom of the page. I'm glad that "Charles Swan III" is pissing off such lazy intellects. Mary Pols: "Sitting through The Mind of Charles Swan III does not lead to a deeper understanding of Charlie Sheen. It does, however, demonstrate his compulsion for poor judgment and bad choices." Clearly, she has no sense of humor. And, like most of its critics, she is confusing the film as some kind of statement on Charlie Sheen himself.

I also have very little respect for the culturally ignorant reviews behind "Sorcerer and the White Snake". Director Ching Siu-tung (who RT seems to have some confusion on either spelling his name or including virtually any reviews from his films) is an acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker of many years, including the brilliant "An Empress and the Warriors". What the reviews show is typical back-handed spite for fantasy and martial arts.

But, yes, I'm looking forward to Soderbergh's last (until his Liberace film airs on HBO), and seemingly intriguing film. It reminds me of the recent Intermezzo drug ads on TV, with warnings of somnambulistic suicides and such. And I'm also excited for the Taviani doc and Ruiz's follow-up to "Mysteries of Lisbon", but I'll have to wait for video for both of those.

Feb 7 - 04:54 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Yeah, critics hate martial arts films. I mean just look at those reviews for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

Feb 7 - 11:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Wow. That's like, three whole movies. There's been a renaissance of Asian historical epics in recent years, and beyond the traditional Tokyo/Hong Kong markets. These films, numbering several dozen, have been routinely ignored by the American critical press. Even the reviews for "Socerer and the White Snake", you see only 12 reviews, most not by major critics. Even well reviewed films are neglected. "Ip Man" only has 5 "top critic" reviews, "Bodyguards and Assassins" only 3 reviews total.

Feb 8 - 02:32 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Isn't that the fault of the guys behind these films for not screening them for critics? Critics review what's given to them. Even major movies can arrive with only a handful of reviews. I think these martial arts epics are in a similair case to Bollywood films. They appeal to a select group of audience stateside that will show up to see them no matter what, while they'll have little appeal outside that audience (unless they're the level of quality of the film's I previously mentioned), so they figure there's no point in screening them for critics.

Feb 8 - 10:56 PM

Balathustrius

Daniel Cole

Blah blah blah, my opinion is the only one that matters, blah blah everyone else that likes things I don't or doesn't like things I do can suck my balls, blah blah. Blah.

Janson Jinnistan is a bitch, by nature.

Feb 8 - 05:47 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Honestly, your mouth is a little too small for me.

Feb 8 - 06:05 PM

Balathustrius

Daniel Cole

Good one! That's a good girl, yes, just so good! Yes, yes you are! Who's a good girl? Who's a good girl?

Like I said, a bitch by nature.

Feb 8 - 06:13 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm not the one with my britches open trying to get attention.

Feb 8 - 06:30 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Cutler? Is..that..you? Noooooooo!

Feb 8 - 08:22 PM

Balathustrius

Daniel Cole

"I'm not the one with my britches open trying to get attention."

I'd say your original post fits that description fairly well.

Feb 9 - 03:59 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Keep shaking that ass.

Feb 9 - 04:57 PM

Ezra Hsieh

Ezra Hsieh

Sorcerer and the White Snake is also poorly reviewed in China and Hong Kong, so you are the ignorant one, not the critics.

Feb 9 - 05:35 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I've read positive reviews from Asian critics, as well as mediocre reviews. It was well recieved at the Venice Film Festival.

Feb 10 - 04:05 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I highly doubt Soderbergh is going to call it quits.

Feb 7 - 05:49 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

He did say he was quitting movies, so there's still TV. If he is really quitting, maybe it's because he's just tired of the Hollywood studio system when it comes to films.

Feb 7 - 08:32 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I still doubt it. A hiatus, maybe but gone for good? No way. He's just burnt out because he makes a movie EVERY GODDAMN 3 MONTHS.

Feb 7 - 09:29 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree it's just going to be a short hiatus, until producers call him back to direct the sequel to "Magic Mike"!

Feb 8 - 01:20 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

He did say he was quitting movies, so there's still TV. If he is really quitting, maybe it's because he's just tired of the Hollywood studio system when it comes to films.

Feb 7 - 08:32 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I still doubt it. A hiatus, maybe but gone for good? No way. He's just burnt out because he makes a movie EVERY GODDAMN 3 MONTHS.

Feb 7 - 09:29 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree it's just going to be a short hiatus, until producers call him back to direct the sequel to "Magic Mike"!

Feb 8 - 01:20 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I still doubt it. A hiatus, maybe but gone for good? No way. He's just burnt out because he makes a movie EVERY GODDAMN 3 MONTHS.

Feb 7 - 09:29 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree it's just going to be a short hiatus, until producers call him back to direct the sequel to "Magic Mike"!

Feb 8 - 01:20 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Personally, I always thought the aerial footage in TOP GUN played like a cheap '80s video game. TOP GUN is really nothing more than AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN with studio and military support; hell, even the leads share the same first 2 letters in their last name: Mayo and Maverick. The scripts are so alike that even the best friend dies in both film...uh oh, SPOILERS!

Feb 7 - 09:41 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Yeah, critics hate martial arts films. I mean just look at those reviews for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

Feb 7 - 11:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Wow. That's like, three whole movies. There's been a renaissance of Asian historical epics in recent years, and beyond the traditional Tokyo/Hong Kong markets. These films, numbering several dozen, have been routinely ignored by the American critical press. Even the reviews for "Socerer and the White Snake", you see only 12 reviews, most not by major critics. Even well reviewed films are neglected. "Ip Man" only has 5 "top critic" reviews, "Bodyguards and Assassins" only 3 reviews total.

Feb 8 - 02:32 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Isn't that the fault of the guys behind these films for not screening them for critics? Critics review what's given to them. Even major movies can arrive with only a handful of reviews. I think these martial arts epics are in a similair case to Bollywood films. They appeal to a select group of audience stateside that will show up to see them no matter what, while they'll have little appeal outside that audience (unless they're the level of quality of the film's I previously mentioned), so they figure there's no point in screening them for critics.

Feb 8 - 10:56 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every Steven Soderbergh film for the past few years was claimed to be his last. Well, if this time it's for real than I'm glad he went out on a high note.

I thought there was something wrong when the trailers debuted for Identity Thief and they just weren't funny, and since the best jokes are usually in the trailer I can't imagine how the rest of the film is going to be. It's too bad, as if given the chance Melissa McCarthy can be very funny (she was the best thing about Bridesmaids. The laughs always went down a notch whenever she wasn't in the scene).

A 3D re-release for Top Gun? Seriously out of all the films that have been re-released or planned to get re-released in 3D this has got to be the worst of them all (yes, that includes Independance Day and the first two Star Wars prequels). That film is really a product of its time, the kind of film where you watch it now and wonder how on earth did it make so much money.

Feb 7 - 11:41 PM

James B.

James Bradford

I had thought the Top Gun re-release was being done to then follow it up next year with the sequel, which has since been scrapped following the death of Tony Scott. Now, with no sequel on the horizon, I agree the re-release is silly. If anything, they should have just moved it up 3 years for the 30th anniversary.

Feb 8 - 06:02 AM

James B.

James Bradford

I had thought the Top Gun re-release was being done to then follow it up next year with the sequel, which has since been scrapped following the death of Tony Scott. Now, with no sequel on the horizon, I agree the re-release is silly. If anything, they should have just moved it up 3 years for the 30th anniversary.

Feb 8 - 06:02 AM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

listened to the Spill.com review of Identity Thief.......take their advice people and stay away from it

Feb 8 - 08:13 AM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

Hey brother. Spill sucks

Feb 8 - 12:30 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Hey Hulk Hogan, so does "Identity Thief".

Feb 8 - 02:33 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Personally I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes, Spill.com, and David Chen of /Film.com

Feb 8 - 05:13 PM

Omar Kooliyat

Omar Kooliyat

Have you ever heard of an OPINION?
Pretty Ironic considering you have the same name as one of the reviewers do in real life.

Feb 9 - 03:56 PM

Omar Kooliyat

Omar Kooliyat

Well this is a serious rarity.

Feb 9 - 03:55 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

I might still see the movie if it has John Watson, Lisbeth Salander and Magic Mike together, teehee.

Feb 8 - 11:02 AM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

Hey brother. Spill sucks

Feb 8 - 12:30 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Hey Hulk Hogan, so does "Identity Thief".

Feb 8 - 02:33 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Personally I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes, Spill.com, and David Chen of /Film.com

Feb 8 - 05:13 PM

Omar Kooliyat

Omar Kooliyat

Have you ever heard of an OPINION?
Pretty Ironic considering you have the same name as one of the reviewers do in real life.

Feb 9 - 03:56 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree it's just going to be a short hiatus, until producers call him back to direct the sequel to "Magic Mike"!

Feb 8 - 01:20 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Haven't seen Top Gun before. Maybe I'll catch it in imax.

Feb 8 - 02:29 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

Seeing Side Effects. Not a huge fan of the director, but hey... what else is there to see?

Feb 8 - 02:31 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

we're in for 2 more years of Zombie Films when Warm Bodies takes top BOX office and Walk Dead takes top television Premiere this Sunday.

Feb 8 - 05:15 PM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

ARE YOU SERIOUS? STEVEN IS A GENIUS. YOU'RE A DIRTBAG

Feb 9 - 02:20 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

Well, you know, that is just, like, your opinion, man.

Feb 11 - 12:30 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Wow. That's like, three whole movies. There's been a renaissance of Asian historical epics in recent years, and beyond the traditional Tokyo/Hong Kong markets. These films, numbering several dozen, have been routinely ignored by the American critical press. Even the reviews for "Socerer and the White Snake", you see only 12 reviews, most not by major critics. Even well reviewed films are neglected. "Ip Man" only has 5 "top critic" reviews, "Bodyguards and Assassins" only 3 reviews total.

Feb 8 - 02:32 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Isn't that the fault of the guys behind these films for not screening them for critics? Critics review what's given to them. Even major movies can arrive with only a handful of reviews. I think these martial arts epics are in a similair case to Bollywood films. They appeal to a select group of audience stateside that will show up to see them no matter what, while they'll have little appeal outside that audience (unless they're the level of quality of the film's I previously mentioned), so they figure there's no point in screening them for critics.

Feb 8 - 10:56 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Hey Hulk Hogan, so does "Identity Thief".

Feb 8 - 02:33 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Personally I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes, Spill.com, and David Chen of /Film.com

Feb 8 - 05:13 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I love how Rooney Mara the person can't get over her Lisbeth Salander character. We get it, you were Lisbeth Salander...Move...On! Then again, anything to make people forget about that Dreadful Nightmare on Elmstreet Remake, right?

Feb 8 - 05:13 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Personally I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes, Spill.com, and David Chen of /Film.com

Feb 8 - 05:13 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

we're in for 2 more years of Zombie Films when Warm Bodies takes top BOX office and Walk Dead takes top television Premiere this Sunday.

Feb 8 - 05:15 PM

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