Critics Consensus

Thursday, Jan. 12 2012, 04:20 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a reluctant smuggler (Contraband, starring Mark Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale), a musical showdown (Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton), and a Disney classic (Beauty and the Beast In 3D, with voice work from Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson). What do the critics have to say about this week's cinematic offerings? Mark Wahlberg made a big score in The Italian Job; now he's trying to pull off another caper with Contraband, and while the critics find it to be a competent heist thriller, they also say its plot is both convoluted and recycled.

Friday, Jan. 06 2012, 02:50 PM

Happy New Year! This week at the movies, we've got just one new wide release -- The Devil Inside, a tale of demonic possession starring Fernanda Andrade and Simon Quarterman. What do the critics have to say? It appears the folks behind The Devil Inside feared their film would be exorcised by those mean old film critics, since it wasn't screened prior to release. It's the tale of a young woman who brings a film crew to Rome, hoping to rescue her mother from demonic possession -- and avoid the same fate herself. Kids, put down those pitchforks and guess the Tomatometer!

Thursday, Dec. 29 2011, 01:48 PM

Happy Holidays! This week at the movies brings no new wide releases, but we've got one hotly anticipated limited -- The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. What do the critics have to say? Meryl Streep's playing Margaret Thatcher - sounds like The Iron Lady is bound for awards season glory, right? Well, the critics say Streep does a great job with the role - it's the movie around her that doesn't quite know what it wants to say. The Iron Lady delves into the personal and political life of the pioneering and polarizing British prime minister on the eve of the 1982 Falklands War.

Thursday, Dec. 22 2011, 04:43 PM

Happy Holidays! This week at the movies, we've got a junior adventurer (The Adventures of Tintin, starring Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis); a punk hacker (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara); an animal house (We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson); a trusted steed (War Horse, starring Jeremy Irvine and Emily Watson); and an alien invasion (The Darkest Hour, starring Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby).Plus, we've got Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Pina, and The Land of Blood and Honey. And don't forget -- the Certified FreshMission: Impossible Ghost Protocol expands into wide release this weekend. What do critics have to say?

Thursday, Dec. 15 2011, 04:35 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a brilliant detective (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), secret agents (Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, starring Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg), singing rodents (Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, starring Jason Lee and David Cross), and a prodigal daughter (Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt). What do the critics have to say? Purists griped about the first Sherlock Holmes, but audiences didn't seem to mind the famously logical detective in full on action mode. Critics say you'll get more of the same with A Game of Shadows.

Thursday, Dec. 08 2011, 04:00 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a star-studded celebration (New Year's Eve, starring Hilary Swank and Halle Berry) and adventures in babysitting (The Sitter, starring Jonah Hill and Ari Graynor). What do the critics have to say? Director Garry Marshall certainly has a yen for celebrity-populated, holiday-centric comedies, but critics say his latest, New Year's Eve, is even weaker than the thematically similar (and critically panned) Valentine's Day, stranding a terrific cast in a thinly plotted, schmaltzy confection. In theory, an irresponsible babysitter and his bratty charges embarking on a precarious journey through the big city could be a recipe for hilarity, but critics say The Sitter only occasionally lives up to its promise.

Friday, Dec. 02 2011, 12:12 PM

This week at the movies brings no new wide releases, but we've still got some strong limiteds, including Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and Takeshi Kitano's Outrage. What do the critics have to say? Critics say Shame is an intense, beautifully crafted portrait of a profoundly damaged soul, often painful but powerfully acted. Shame stars Michael Fassbender as a sex addict whose inner demons threaten to spiral out of control when his troubled younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment, bringing her resentments with her. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Shame isn't always easy to watch, but it's visually stunning and features terrific performances from its leads.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 2011, 04:25 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a Muppet caper (The Muppets, starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams), a special delivery (Arthur Christmas, with voice work from James McAvoy and Hugh Laurie), and a cinematic fantasia (Hugo, starring Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz). It's been more than a decade since the Muppets were in multiplexes, but critics say it was worth the wait: they find The Muppets to be a joyous musical comedy. The good folks at Aardman have made plenty of delightfully offbeat animated films, and critics say the trend continues with Arthur Christmas. Martin Scorsese made a family movie? In 3D? Yes, he did, and critics say Hugo is a dazzling affair.

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.


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