Critics Consensus

Thursday, Nov. 05 2009, 04:03 PM

This week at the movies, we've got some modern-day Dickens (Disney's A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman); a button-pushing thriller (The Box, starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden); vanishing Alaskans (The Fourth Kind, starring Milla Jovovich and Elias Koteas); and some psychic soldiers (The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney and Jeff Bridges). What do the critics have to say? Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of literature's most haunting morality tales - and one of the most adapted. Critics are largely split on two key aspects of Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture version starring Jim Carrey: whether it honors the, ahem, spirit of Dickens' classic, and whether the motion-capture technology is aesthetically appealing.

Thursday, Oct. 29 2009, 04:01 PM

This week at the movies brings only one wide release: the hotly-anticipated performance documentary Michael Jackson's This Is It, which captures the King of Pop in rehearsals for what was to be a comeback tour. What do the critics have to say? Before its release, it was difficult to escape the notion that Michael Jackson's This Is It was little more than a cynical cash-grab -- an attempt to strike at the wallets of the great star's fans after his death precluded a potentially lucrative concert tour. Such concerns may have been unwarranted, however; now that the film's actually here, the critics say it's an intriguing portrait of the artist at work, and a reminder of Jackson's protean talents, as well as a farewell gift to fans.

Thursday, Oct. 22 2009, 03:59 PM

This week at the movies, we've got an anime hero (Astro Boy, with voice work from Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage); a vampire war ( Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, starring Chris Massoglia and John C. Reilly); an aviation pioneer (Amelia, starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere); and gore galore (Saw VI, starring Costas Mandylor and Mark Rolston). What do the critics have to say? Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy is one of anime's most iconic and venerable characters. Now he's getting the big-screen CGI treatment, and the result, critics say, is an energetic but derivative affair. In the film, Astro Boy is a young robot with super powers who learns, slowly but surely, what it means to be human; he also must protect his new-found friends from danger.

Thursday, Oct. 15 2009, 04:30 PM

This week, we've got a wild rumpus (Where the Wild Things Are, starring Max Records and Catherine Keener), a legal skirmish (Law Abiding Citizen, starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler), and some unconventional parenting (The Stepfather, starring Dylan Walsh and Sela Ward). What do the critics have to say? Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is one of the most beloved classics of modern children's literature, but the brief text doesn't necessarily lend itself to feature-length cinematic treatment. Critics have largely praised Spike Jonze for maintain the spirit of the book while adding some visually daring touches to bring it to life; however, some feel the narrative is a little thin.

Thursday, Oct. 08 2009, 04:15 PM

This week at the movies brings only one wide release: Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell in a comedy about a group of friends in marriage counseling in a tropical locale. What do the critics have to say? Couples Retreat contains some of the funniest actors in the business, and is set in a lush island paradise. Sounds like the recipe for a good time, right? Unfortunately, the critics say Couples Retreat is essentially a series of gags sorely in need of some over-arching comic discipline. Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell star as a couple whose relationship is in trouble, so they invite a group of married friends (including Vince Vaughn, Jon Farveau, Kristen Davis, and Malin Ackerman) to a resort for their counseling sessions -- and it turns out the whole gang is required to undergo treatment as well.

Thursday, Oct. 01 2009, 04:01 PM

This week at the movies, we've got zombie zaniness (Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg); derby dolls (Whip it, starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page); funny falsehoods (The Invention of Lying, starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner); financial follies (Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story); and a pair of Pixar classics (Toy Story and Toy Story 2, both in 3-D). What do the critics have to say? For those who think there's nothing left on the carcass of the zombie subgenre to pick over, guess again. Critics say Zombieland is a hilarious send-up of films about the undead - with enough blood and guts to satisfy the gorehound set. With Whip It, Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with a girl-empowerment sports comedy.

Thursday, Sep. 24 2009, 04:12 PM

This week at the movies, we've got robot clones (Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell), artistic-minded freshmen (Fame, starring Kelsey Grammer and Megan Mullally), and scared spacemen (Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster). What do the critics have to say? Unfortunately, only one of this week's opening wide releases was screened for critics, so it's currently the only film with a Tomatometer. Does this spell bad news for the other two? It's still too early to tell, so continue checking back with us here at Rotten Tomatoes for the latest updates on what critics are saying about all three of them, not to mention the films in limited release.

Thursday, Sep. 17 2009, 04:24 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a possessed student body (Jennifer's Body, starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried); an oddball snitch (The Informant!, starring Matt Damon and Scott Bakula); food from the heavens (Cloudy, with voice work by Bill Hader and Anna Faris); and unlikely love (Love Happens, starring Jennifer Anniston and Aaron Eckhart). What do the critics have to say? Megan Fox is the "it" actress of the moment, and Diablo Cody (Juno) is one of Hollywood's hottest writers. Unfortunately, critics say their combined efforts can't elevate Jennifer's Body above typical teen horror fare. Steven Soderbergh is one of mainstream cinema's most enigmatic, unpredictable directors. It's a good thing, too, because his latest, The Informant!, is about an enigmatic, unpredictable guy, and the result, critics say, is odd but offbeat and entertaining.

Thursday, Sep. 10 2009, 04:51 PM

This week at the movies, we've got post-apocalyptic conflict (9, with voice work by Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly); Antarctic intrigue (Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht); campus killings (Sorority Row, starring Briana Evigan and Rumer Willis), and an unconventional family (I Can Do Bad All By Myself, starring Taraji P. Henson and Tyler Perry). What do the critics have to say? Visual splendor does not a movie make. The critics say 9 looks unlike anything you've seen before, but the story's mired in cliché. The film follows 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), who's an anthropomorphic hodgepodge of mechanics and cloth. Occupying a vast apocalyptic wasteland ruled by machines, 9 and his numerically-monikered compatriots team up to save the world from robot-kind.

Thursday, Sep. 03 2009, 05:26 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a wacky workplace (Extract, starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck), crazy love (All About Steve, starring Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper), and video game violence (Gamer, starring Gerard Butler and Ludacris). While Gamer and All About Steve have not been widely screened for critics, All About Steve still has amassed just under 20 reviews, and if the current trend continues, it may be the worst reviewed movie of the year so far. Extract, Mike Judge's latest directorial effort, has also been less than impressive, but read on for the full story.

Thursday, Aug. 27 2009, 04:18 PM

This week at the movies, we've got the return of Michael Myers (Halloween 2, starring Malcolm McDowell and Scout Taylor-Compton), three dimensional fatalities (The Final Destination, starring Shantel VanSanten and Bobby Campo), and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (Taking Woodstock, starring Demetri Martin and Emile Hirsch). What do the critics have to say? Rob Zombie is back with a new chapter in the rebooted Halloween franchise. However, we don't yet know for sure if Michael Myers' latest adventure is a trick or a treat, since it wasn't screened for critics. It appears we'll have to wait to see what fate has in store for the young protagonists of The Final Destination, as it was not screened for critics prior to release. Depending on who you ask, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair was either a beautiful, generation-defining cultural touchstone or an overrated, muddy bummer - or perhaps a bit of both.

Thursday, Aug. 20 2009, 03:53 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Nazi killers (Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt), a magic rock (Shorts, starring William H. Macy and Leslie Mann), unemployment blues (Post Grad, starring Alexis Bledel and Michael Keaton), and extreme sports (X Games 3D: The Movie. After less than auspicious buzz followed the Cannes premiere of Basterds, it has managed to march its way to Certified Fresh status, but Shorts, Post Grad, and X-Games 3D: The Movie, haven't been quite as lucky. Read on to find out exactly what critics have been saying about all four movies opening this weekend, and chime in with your thoughts.

Thursday, Aug. 13 2009, 04:33 PM

This week at the movies, we've got an alien nation (District 9, starring Jason Cope and Sharlto Copley); a high school musical (Bandslam, starring Gaelan Connell and Vanessa Hudgens); a goldfish/human hybrid (Ponyo, with voice work by Cate Blanchett and Noah Cyrus); an ill-timed love affair (The Time Traveler's Wife, starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana), and some renegade salesmen (The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, starring Jeremy Piven and Ving Rhames). A few of the films this week are rated Fresh, with one already Certified Fresh and another on its way, while two of them have been rated Rotten so far. What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Aug. 06 2009, 05:13 PM

This week at the movies, we got real American heroes (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, starring Dennis Quaid and Sienna Miller); kitchen chronicles (Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams); and honeymoon horror (A Perfect Getaway, starring Timothy Olyphant and Milla Jovovich). What do the critics have to say? Knowing may be half the battle, but in the case of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the war is far from over, as the film was not widely screened for critics prior to release. Critics say Julie & Julia is riveting when Streep is onscreen, but formulaic when she's not. Lastly, critics say A Perfect Getaway, though well-crafted and tense is a little too heavily plotted for its own good.

Thursday, Jul. 30 2009, 05:01 PM

This week at the movies, we've got the tears of a clown (Funny People, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen), extra-terrestrial visitors upstairs (Aliens in the Attic, starring Kevin Nealon and Tim Meadows), and a robbery gone wrong (The Collector, starring Josh Stewart and Madeline Zima). What do the critics have to say? With Funny People, Judd Apatow is attempting to walk a fine line: keep 'em laughing while documenting the trials of a famous comedian staring death in the face. Critics say the results are uneven: the film is stellar (and hilarious) for much of its running time, but stumbles in its long third act. Adam Sandler stars as George Simmons, a famous (but lonely) funnyman who's been diagnosed with a terminal disease.

Thursday, Jul. 23 2009, 04:27 PM

This week at the movies, we've got an evil adoptee (Orphan, starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), a battle of the sexes (The Ugly Truth, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler), and some powerful guinea pigs (G-Force, with voice work by Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz). It's been a while since we've had a little-kid-is-pure-evil horror flick. And the pundits say that Orphan, while derivative an overly dependent on false scares, is better-crafted and smarter than average. News flash: Women are looking for deep, meaningful relationships, while men are cretinous pigs. That's the premise of The Ugly Truth, which critics say is labored, clichéd, and overly raunchy. G-Force is the tale of four super-intelligent special agents who have been tasked with saving the world. Oh, and they happen to be guinea pigs.

Thursday, Jul. 16 2009, 04:07 PM

This week at the movies marks the return of the young wizards of Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. How does the latest installment stack up with the critics? The Harry Potter franchise has maintained a level of quality nearly unmatched in recent times. And critics say the latest, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is no exception. This time out, Hogwarts has become a gloomy place, with suspicions running high and hormones running wild; in addition, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is steeling himself for a big showdown against the forces of evil. Half-Blood Prince isn't the best reviewed in the series -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban holds that honor - but it's still Certified Fresh.

Thursday, Jul. 09 2009, 04:10 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Austrian audacity (Bruno, starring Sacha Baron Cohen) and graduation gratification (I Love You, Beth Cooper, starring Hayden Panettiere and Paul Rust). What do the critics have to say? Sacha Baron Cohen has become one of cinema's most daring provocateurs - and astute social critics. Critics say his latest vehicle, Bruno, is at once laugh-out-loud funny, teeth-grittingly awkward, and disarmingly intelligent - though it's a few notches below his last gonzo doc, Borat. I Love You, Beth Cooper attempts the same high-wire act as many wild teen comedies - it promises raunchy laughs, but also tries to something to say about the teenage condition. Unfortunately, the pundits say Beth Cooper fails on both levels.

Tuesday, Jun. 30 2009, 03:24 PM

This week at the movies, we've got crime and punishment (Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale) and prehistoric domesticity (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, with voice work from Ray Romano and Queen Latifah). What do the critics have to say? Public Enemies hits theaters with an impressive pedigree -- it's directed by Michael Mann and stars two of contemporary cinema's biggest names in Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. And although critics say the picture offers plenty to admire, it's strangely muted overall. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third film in a series that saw its critical fortunes dwindle from the first movie to the second. And the scribes say that this one's not much better.

Thursday, Jun. 25 2009, 04:37 PM

This week at the movies, we've got robots in disguise (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, starring Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf) and a family in disrepair (My Sister's Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin). What do the critics have to say? Most folks like their blockbusters big, loud, and loaded with spectacle. However, the masses also tend to enjoy good characters and some semblance of a plot, two things the pundits say are sorely missing from Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. A lot of movies walk a fine line between being emotionally involving and seeming merely manipulative, and critics are essentially split on which side My Sister's Keeper falls.


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