Critics Consensus

Friday, Jan. 28 2011, 07:48 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a vengeful assassin (The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster) and an exorcism education (The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins and Rutger Hauer). What do the critics have to say? If you're looking for an action star that can simultaneously seem both tough-as-nails and emotionally vulnerable, Jason Statham is your man. Critics say the star brings a level of emotional heft and gritty brawn to The Mechanic, which is otherwise a so-so action flick with some decent thrills but little originality. Given the number of horror flicks who turn demonic possession into schlock, The Rite gets points for taking the battle between good and evil seriously. However, critics say there's a difference between being serious and being dull.

Friday, Jan. 21 2011, 03:58 AM

This week at the movies, we've got friends with benefits (No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) and a great escape (The Way Back, starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell). What do the critics have to say? Once in a while a romantic comedy will come along and represent the messiness of the contemporary dating scene. Most of the time, however, we get movies with a little bit of insight and a lot of contrivance. Critics say No Strings Attached falls into the latter category, with moments of warmth and sweetness that are spoiled by a predictable narrative and a dirty mind.

Friday, Jan. 14 2011, 05:40 AM

This week at the movies, we've got an unlikely crime fighter (The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou) and some shaky relationships (The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James). What do the critics have to say? The Green Hornet, who began life as the star of a 1930s radio serial, is a little late to the gritty superhero reboot club. And the critics say despite the direction of the oft-whimsical Michel Gondry and the presence of likeable everyman Seth Rogen in the title role, The Green Hornet doesn't quite succeed as a superhero flick or as a subversive send-up of the genre.

Friday, Jan. 07 2011, 03:51 AM

This week at the movies, we?ve got courageous Crusaders (Season of the Witch, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman) and a country comeback (Country Strong, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw). What do the critics have to say? Say what you will about Nicolas Cage, but give the man credit: at a time when too many movie stars studiously protect their images, he's unafraid to look ridiculous. Sometimes, his devil-may-care attitude pays off (see Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), and sometimes, well, we get stuff like Season of the Witch, a Medieval action flick that critics say is too dull to qualify as so-bad-it's-good kitsch.

Thursday, Dec. 23 2010, 05:03 AM

Happy holidays from RT! This week at the movies, we've got frontier justice (True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld), family awkwardness (Little Fockers, starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro), and a fantastic voyage (Gulliver's Travels, starring Jack Black and Amanda Peet). What do the critics have to say? It takes guts to try to fill John Wayne's shoes. But if anyone can substitute for the Duke, well, why not the Dude? The critics say the Coen Brothers' (relatively) straightforward remake of True Grit is a rewarding movie in its own right -- it's tough, sly, and filled with marvelous performances.

Friday, Dec. 17 2010, 03:53 AM

This week at the movies, we?ve got a combative computer (Tron Legacy, starring Jeff Bridges and Garrett Hedlund), buffoonish bears (Yogi Bear, starring Dan Akroyd and Justin Timberlake), a rollicking romance (How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd), a promising pugilist (The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale), and brooding ballerinas (Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis). What do the critics have to say? Upon its release in 1982, TRON was hailed as a technical marvel; its status as one of the first films to rely prominently on computer-generated images helped to cover the fact that the plot was a little goofy. Now, the long gestating and heavily-anticipated sequel Tron Legacy is here, and critics say it has the opposite problem.

Friday, Dec. 10 2010, 05:29 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a spiritual journey (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, starring Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) and some European intrigue (The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie). What do the critics have to say?

Friday, Dec. 10 2010, 05:28 AM

How things change. When Disney released TRON back in 1982, the science fiction adventure -- set against an alternate reality inside a machine and using groundbreaking computer animation -- was met with an indifferent response by mainstream audiences and critics, grossing a middling $33 million at the US box office and drawing mixed reviews (as RT's 68 per cent reflects). "Does any one remember that movie TRON?" went the joke on The Simpsons; and not so long ago. But plenty of kids who saw the movie at the time -- and on video since -- were enthralled by the digital world of the Grid, and like that year's similarly underperforming Blade Runner, TRON went on to become a cult classic that has been revalued over the years for its seminal effects work. And so, 28 years later, we arrive at the sequel that many would not have expected: TRON: Legacy. Disney have been building their $200 million-dollar holiday tentpole up for some time now, with a huge marketing campaign, a buzzed about soundtrack, and numerous teasers of the new 3D visual world the filmmakers have strived to create. But how will the critics respond? Will the sequel become the unofficial victory lap the first film never received, or will it meet the same fate as its predecessor? It's too early to call at this stage, and while the film's leaning to the above-average end of the Tomatometer, the game could change as reviews start to flood in over the next week.

Friday, Dec. 03 2010, 08:57 AM

This week at the movies brings just one wide release: the martial arts/Western/fantasy mashup The Warrior's Way, starring Dong-gun Jang and Kate Bosworth. What do the critics have to say? We'd love to give you the critical lowdown on The Warrior's Way, but unfortunately it appears that the film wasn't screened prior to release. Dong-gun Jang stars as a swordsman who flees to America after refusing a mission from his warrior clan; when his former compatriots come looking for him, he must protect his new friends from danger. Kids, take a break from playing Way of the Samurai and guess that Tomatometer!

Wednesday, Nov. 24 2010, 04:59 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a hairy situation (Tangled, with voice work from Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi); cabaret dreams (Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher); a revenge rampage (Faster starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton); and amour pharma (Love & Other Drugs, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal). What do the critics have to say? Disney has always had a knack for taking classic fairy tales and making them fresh. And while the critics say Tangled, a reimagining of Rapunzel, may not have the depth of the studio's animated classics, it's a visually stunning, emotionally resonant piece of family entertainment.

Friday, Nov. 19 2010, 03:35 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Hogwarts horrors (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson) and a prison break (The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks). What do the critics have to say? Pottermaniacs, the wait is finally over - sort of. The first installment of the series' two part finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is here, and the critics say that despite occasional lags in pacing and a (perhaps necessarily) abrupt conclusion, the movie mostly delivers, thanks in large part to the now-full-grown trio of lead actors.

Friday, Nov. 12 2010, 11:07 AM

Another year, another Harry Potter movie -- and it's not over yet, with Warner Bros.' cleverly halving the final installment of the series to ensure audiences will be back to do it all again come next summer. But for now we have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, which marks the seventh film of J.K. Rowling's publishing phenomenon, and the beginning of the end of one of history's most successful movie franchises.

Friday, Nov. 12 2010, 04:30 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a runaway train (Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine), chat show intrigue (Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford), and an alien invasion (Skyline, starring Donald Faison and Eric Balfour). What do the critics have to say? Director Tony Scott has taken some knocks in recent years, but give the man credit: he knows how to stage a white-knuckle action scene. And in Unstoppable, the tale of an out-of-control locomotive, critics say he's reeled off a whole string of them, making for one of the most purely enjoyable action flicks of the year.

Friday, Nov. 05 2010, 05:04 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a reformed supervillain (Megamind, with voice work from Will Ferrell and Tina Fey); a crazed cross-country trek (Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis); and some pained, poetic women (For Colored Girls, starring Thandie Newton and Janet Jackson). What do the critics have to say? Megamind, a tale of a washed-up superhero and an evil mastermind who sees the error of his ways, shares some cosmetic similarities with a couple of recent animated features - namely, The Incredibles and Despicable Me. Still, critics say Megamind has a strong voice cast, strong visuals, and a loopy sense of humor that help to make up for a slightly stale premise and some pacing problems.

Friday, Oct. 29 2010, 03:12 PM

This week at the movies, Jigsaw's comin' at ya in three dimensions in Saw 3D, starring Tobin Bell and Cary Elwes. What do the critics have to say? With the possible exceptions of Elvis and 2Pac, few can rival Jigsaw for posthumous productivity. We'd love to tell you if the critics think the mad, methodical killer is back in top form in Saw 3D, but few of them have seen the movie at press time. This time out, the survivors of Jigsaw's evil schemes seek help from a self help guru - who turns out to have a dark past of his own. Kids, stop playing with that chainsaw and guess that Tomatometer!

Friday, Oct. 22 2010, 05:02 AM

This week at the movies, we've got spooky spectres (Paranormal Activity 2, starring Katie Featherston) and supernatural seekers (Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard). What do the critics have to say? Upon its release, Paranormal Activity became something of a cult phenomenon - and the press was almost as intrigued by its budget-to-gross ratio as its lo-fi chills. Now, Paranormal Actrivity 2 is hitting theaters, and though it's barely been screened for critics, those who have seen it say it's a worthy - and very creepy -- follow-up. As a director, Clint Eastwood deserves plenty of credit for refusing to play it safe in his august years. However, that doesn't mean he's always at the top of his game, and unfortunately, critics say the multi-stranded afterlife meditation Hereafter is an intriguing but ultimately murky misfire.

Friday, Oct. 15 2010, 05:25 AM

This week at the movies, we've got aging agents (Red, starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman) and gumptious goofballs (Jackass 3-D, starring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O). What do the critics have to say? Only a scant few weeks after The Expendables came and went, along comes another movie about a ragtag bunch of oldsters operating heavy firearms. Happily, the critics say Red makes for a goofy, action-packed good time -- it's witty, high-spirited, and loaded with loose, good-humored performances from a stellar cast. It's hard not to have at least a little grudging affection for the Jackass posse: how many others have risked life and limb in such inventively absurd ways for our entertainment? But if Jackass Number Two represented an advance in terms of (relative) critical respect for the gang, the pundits aren't quite as enthused about 3-D.

Friday, Oct. 08 2010, 02:54 AM

This week at the movies, we've got a legendary racehorse (Secretariat, starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich), an unconventional family unit (Life as We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel), and ome unhappy birthdays (My Soul to Take, starring Max Thieriot and John Magaro). What do the critics have to say? Ah, the inspirational sports movie: it's a subgenre we never seem to tire of, no matter what the athletic pursuit or how conventional the script. And critics say Secretariat, a biopic (horsey-pic?) of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is a pretty solid wager, with strong performances and thrilling race sequences largely offsetting the fact that little of the story will come as a surprise -- even if you don't have a sports almanac on your shelf.

Friday, Oct. 01 2010, 04:22 AM

This week at the movies, we've got Internet pioneers (The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake), a juvenile vampire (Let Me In, starring Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee), and a cree (Case 39, starring Renée Zellweger and Ian McShane). What do the critics have to say? In only a few short years, Facebook has morphed from a campus-wide phenomenon to revolutionizing the way that we communicate and share information. If The Social Network offers an embellished account of the site's genesis, critics say it's still a remarkable piece of filmmaking -- David Fincher's virtuoso direction and Aaron Sorkin's brisk, intelligent script make the Certified Fresh The Social Network on of the best-reviewed films of the year.

Friday, Sep. 24 2010, 05:38 AM

This week at the movies, we've got good greed (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, starring Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf); heroic owls (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, with voice work by Sam Neill and Geoffrey Rush); and some venomous rivals (You Again, starring Kristen Bell and Jamie Lee Curtis). What do the critics have to say? Few movie characters have personified the zeitgeist like Gordon Gekko; Michael Douglas' masterful portrayal of an unscrupulous corporate raider resonated powerfully when Oliver Stone's Wall Street was released in 1987 -- just weeks after the stock market crashed. Now, with our economy again in turmoil, Stone and Douglas are back with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.


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