Critics Consensus

Thursday, Nov. 17 2011, 04:17 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a vampire wedding (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson), and dancing penguins (Happy Feet Two, with voice work by Elijah Wood and Robin Williams). What do the critics have to say? As the Twilight Saga comes into the home stretch, it looks to go out with a whimper rather than a bang, say critics, who find Breaking Dawn Part 1 to be full of limp pacing and unintentional laughs. Those jovial aquatic birds are back with Happy Feet Two, though critics say the sequel lacks the easy charm of Happy Feet.

Thursday, Nov. 10 2011, 04:07 PM

Adam Sandler's got a winning formula -- lowbrow yuks plus sentimentality equals box office gold -- but critics say Jack and Jill may test the patience of even the most loyal of Sandman acolytes. Tarsem Singh certainly has a knack for eye-popping images, but critics say the problem with Immortals is that its attention to blood-soaked visual detail always trumps character development and storytelling. J. Edgar purports to explore the professional and personal life of influential (many would say too influential) FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, but critics say Clint Eastwood's admittedly handsome biopic is ultimately too vague a portrait of its controversial subject.

Friday, Nov. 04 2011, 02:01 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a crime caper (Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy) and yuletide merriment (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, starring John Cho and Kal Penn). What do the critics have to say? If you're in the market for a solid, escapist escapade, critics say Tower Heist should do the trick -- just don't expect much more from this all-star action comedy. Christmas may more than a month away, but your old buddies Harold and Kumar are ready to spread some holiday cheer -- and critics say A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is delightfully outrageous and occasionally heartfelt.

Friday, Oct. 28 2011, 01:50 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a swashbuckling feline (Puss in Boots, with voice work from Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek), a gonzo journalist (The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart), and monetary mortality (In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried). What do the critics have to say? The Shrek franchise keeps rolling along, this time ogre-free, with Puss in Boots, which critics find to be a witty, action-packed romp in its own right. Johnny Depp steps back into Hunter S. Thompson's shoes for The Rum Diary, but critics say that, like its predecessor Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, its sporadic moments of colorful madness are undercut by an uneven script.

Thursday, Oct. 20 2011, 02:00 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a vengeful spirit (Paranormal Activity 3, starring Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden), a trio of swashbucklers (The Three Musketeers, starring Logan Lerman and Milla Jovovich), a silly spy (Johnny English Reborn, starring Rowan Atkinson and Gillian Anderson), and some holy hoopsters (The Mighty Macs, starring Carla Gugino and David Boreanaz). What do the critics have to say? You probably know what to expect with the Paranormal Activity franchise at this point, but that doesn't mean that part 3 doesn't have a few tricks up its sleeve. All for one and one for all? Well, the critics certainly don't have a feeling of esprit de corps when it comes to The Three Musketeers.

Friday, Oct. 14 2011, 12:12 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Sunday shoes removal (Footloose, starring Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough), an Antarctic abomination (The Thing, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton), and a bird watching competition (The Big Year, starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson). What do the critics have to say? Did the world really need a new Footloose? Apparently yes, say critics, who find this update of the 1984 musical smash an energetic, toe-tapping good time. Remake fever has spread to even the most desolate corners of the globe; unfortunately, critics say the all-new The Thing ODs on CGI mayhem, eschewing the chilling atmospherics that made its 1951 and 1982 predecessors so memorable.

Friday, Oct. 07 2011, 10:37 AM

This week at the movies, we've got boxing robots (Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman and Anthony Mackie) and a political scandal (The Ides of March, starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney). What do the critics have to say? You wanna see giant robots punching each other? Then by all means go see Real Steel, which critics say is essentially robo-Rocky, but be prepared for some schmaltz. The Ides of March's message isn't particularly novel -- politics is a rough, cynical business -- but critics say George Clooney's latest directorial effort is still a smart tale of political intrigue with a terrific cast.

Thursday, Sep. 29 2011, 04:38 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a survivor story (50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen), ex excitement (What's Your Number?, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans), a demonic dwelling (Dream House, starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz), and some conflicted cops (Courageous, starring Alex Kendrick and Ken Bevel). What do the critics have to say? In a comedy, no subject is completely off limits if the jokes make us laugh -- and have the ring of truth. Such is the case with 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man whose cancer diagnosis forces him to reevaluate his life.

Friday, Sep. 23 2011, 02:24 PM

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? 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.

Thursday, Sep. 15 2011, 04:07 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a lonely stuntman (Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan), home invaders (Straw Dogs, starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth), and a hard-working mom (I Don't Know How She Does It, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan). What do the critics have to say? On paper, Drive sounds like a pretty standard action flick. However, it all comes down to execution, and critics say Drive is an artful, tense genre picture with outstanding performances and a moody tone that's all its own. Ryan Gosling stars as a stuntman who moonlights as a criminal getaway driver.

Thursday, Sep. 08 2011, 04:20 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a deadly virus (Contagion, starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow), MMA misfortune (Warrior, starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte), and a would-be thespian (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, starring Nick Swardson and Christina Ricci). What do the critics have to say? Steven Soderbergh has certainly proven himself to be a director who can handle movies with lots of big stars and multiple storylines - after all, he's the guy behind both Traffic and the Ocean's movies. And critics say his latest, Contagion, is another winner, a briskly paced, harrowing thriller with plenty on its mind.

Thursday, Sep. 01 2011, 04:33 PM

This week at the movies, we've got lunar scares (Apollo 18, starring Lloyd Owen and Warren Christie), marine mayhem (Shark Night 3D, starring Sara Paxton and Sinqua Walls), and spy suspense (The Debt, starring Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington). What do the critics have to say? The Debt promises a return to the twisty, morally ambiguous intrigue of Cold War-era spy movies. And critics say it mostly delivers; the film boasts an outstanding cast and scenes of white-knuckle tension that help to alleviate its occasional lapses. It appears the folks behind Apollo 18 were afraid that critics wouldn?t be over the moon for their film, and so it heads to theaters without being screened.

Thursday, Aug. 25 2011, 04:50 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a vengeful assassin (Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana and Jordi Molla), a haunted mansion (Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes), and a senseless sibling (Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks). What do the critics have to say? Ain't nothing wrong with babes brandishing weapons and dispensing justice, right? Well, if you're in the mood for an over-the-top explosion-fest, critics say Colombiana might be the picture for you, if you're willing to look past the non-existent plotting and unintentional hilarity. He's the director of Pan's Labyrinth and the producer of The Orphanage, so it's safe to assume Guillermo del Toro loves creepy old houses.

Friday, Aug. 19 2011, 07:11 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a heroic strongman (Conan the Barbarian, starring Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols), pint-sized agents (Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, starring Jessica Alba and Joel McHale), scary neighbors (Fright Night, starring Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell), and part-time lovers (One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess). What do the critics have to say? The 1982 Conan the Barbarian became a seminal entry in the sword-and-sorcery subgenre, maiking Arnold Schwarzenegger a star in the process. And although critics say Jason Momoa does his best with the title role, this new Conan the Barbarian eschews pulpy swashbuckling for non-stop action.

Thursday, Aug. 11 2011, 04:35 PM

This week at the movies, we've got deadly premonitions (Final Destination 5, starring Nicholas D'Agosto and Emma Bell); a wacky bank heist (30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride); societal change (The Help, starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone); and Gleek mania ( Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, starring Lea Michele and Chris Colfer). What do the critics have to say? Listen up, Final Destination fans: we've got good news, and we've got bad news. The good news first: the critics say Final Destination 5 is probably the best entry in the series, with tense, well-crafted set pieces that provide some welcome freshness to the franchise's signature Rube Goldberg-esque kills. The bad news: "critical success" is a relative term here.

Thursday, Aug. 04 2011, 05:30 PM

This week at the movies, we've got intelligent primates (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco and Freida Pinto) and a body swap (The Change-Up, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman). What do the critics have to say? It seems we will never exhaust our collective need for Planet of the Apes movies. The 1968 sci-fi classic spawned four sequels (of wildly varying quality), a remake, and, now, a prequel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And guess what? The critics say Rise is one of the best of the bunch, with dazzling effects, thought-provoking ideas, and plenty of action.

Friday, Jul. 29 2011, 09:39 AM

This week at the movies, we've got bronco-busters and extraterrestrials (Cowboys and Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford), little blue people (The Smurfs, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Katy Perry), and modern romance (Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling). What do the critics have to say? What is Cowboys and Aliens? Is it a Western? A sci-fi thriller? An homage? A parody? Well, say critics, it's all those things and more, though it's not quite as seamless -- or as fun -- as one might have hoped, given the talents involved (and the B-movie promise of its undeniably awesome title). Daniel Craig stars as a mysterious man with no memory of his past who stumbles into a rough-and-tumble town called Absolution.

Thursday, Jul. 21 2011, 04:35 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a shield-wielding superhero (Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell) and a commitment-free couple (Friends With Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis). What do the critics have to say? Good ol' Captain America. He's one of Marvel's oldest heroes. But how does he fare in the 21st Century? Not badly at all, say critics; if Captain America is a cut below Marvel's other 2011 blockbusters (Thor and X-Men: First Class, both Certified Fresh), it's still a rousing, proudly old-fashioned superhero flick with tons of visual flash and an exceptional lead performance from Chris Evans.

Thursday, Jul. 14 2011, 04:52 PM

This week at the movies, we've got the conclusion to one of the most popular cinematic franchises ever (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson), and we revisit Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh, with voice work from Jim Cummings and Craig Ferguson). What do the critics have to say? How do you conclude one of cinema's most beloved franchises? With a bang. Critics say Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II is the perfect send-off to a series that's enchanted millions: it's viscerally thrilling, visually majestic, and poignantly acted -- especially so because we've watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint grow up on the big screen.

Thursday, Jul. 07 2011, 06:05 PM

This week at the movies, we've got scheming employees (Horrible Bosses, starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston) and talking animals (Zookeeper, starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson). What do the critics have to say? Plenty of folks slog through dead-end jobs with contempt for their employers. Fortunately, few of us would ever entertain the possibility of murdering our boss, but that's the setup for Horrible Bosses, which critics are calling a gleeful, cheerfully silly and dirty comedy that's perfect for our troubled economic times. Remember Dr. Doolittle? Charlotte's Web? Babe? There are plenty of solid family movies that feature talking animals. Unfortunately, critics say Zookeeper is unlikely to join that group, since it does so little with its premise and instead relies on shopworn physical humor and bland plotting.


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