Critics Consensus: Avatar Is Certified Fresh
Plus, Did You Hear about the Morgans? should go into hiding, and Crazy Heart is red hot.
Avatar is one of the most hotly anticipated films in years, for a number of reasons: it marks James Cameron's return to fiction filmmaking after a long layoff; its motion capture techniques were the subject of intense pre-release press; and it's the most expensive movie ever made. And now, the verdict is in: critics say Avatar is indeed a visionary picture, a movie of such sensorial power and majesty that you won't mind too much that the plotting and characters aren't quite as state-of-the-art. Sam Worthington stars as an ex-Marine who has replaced his twin brother as an Avatar driver in the alien world of Pandora; he soon finds his loyalties divided between the military and the Na'vi, the indigenous species on this strange planet. The pundits are wowed by Cameron's phantasmagorical visuals, which many agree mark a giant leap forward in the realm of special effects, and for that reason alone, you should probably see the Certified Fresh Avatar. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we take a closer look at Cameron's career, as well as our video interview with Worthington. In addition, watch this episode of Unscripted on Moviefone., in which Worthington and Saldana interview each other.)
Fish-out-of-water comedies are so prevalent at this point that any new entries in the genre need to bring something fresh to the table. Unfortunately, critics say the appeal of Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker is not enough to elevate Did You Hear About the Morgans? above its middling script. Grant and Parker star as a big-city married couple on the rocks; upon witnessing a murder, the Witness Protection Program relocates them to Wyoming, where they relearn to love each other. The pundits say Morgans is utterly generic, with shopworn stereotypes about small town folk, and little chemistry between its two leads; worse, it's almost laugh-free.
Also opening this week in limited release:
- Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges as a down-on-his-luck country singer looking for a last shot at love, is Certified Fresh at 96 percent.
- A Town Called Panic, a surreal, wacky, and brightly-colored stop-motion animated film, is at 80 percent.
- The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt as the woman who would be queen in the midst of a power struggle for the throne, is at 69 percent.
- The French import Ricky, a comedy about an oddly gifted infant, is at 43 percent.
- Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz in an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, itself a take on Fellini's 8 ½, is at 34 percent.