Critics Consensus

Thursday, Jun. 18 2009, 03:24 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Biblical bloopers (Year One, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera) and an engagement of convenience (The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds). What do the critics have to say? On paper, Year One sounds so promising; it's an Old Testament goof starring Jack Black and Michael Cera (as well as an embarrassment of other top comedic talent) directed by Harold Ramis. Unfortunately, critics say the film's jokes are nearly as ancient and musty as its protagonists. No one attends a romantic comedy expecting a reinvention of the wheel; what they want is a fresh take on the familiar. So while some critics find The Proposal sweet and charming, others say it's formulaic to the point of tedium.

Thursday, Jun. 11 2009, 04:27 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a railway heist (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta) and some magical financial advice (Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi). What do the critics have to say? The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, from 1974, was a stylish mix of comedy and thrills that, despite its reputation, is just dated enough to warrant. However, critics say that Tony Scott's take, while slick and hyperkinetic, lacks the grit and cool of the original. Imagine That has an intriguing premise, especially in these economically tumultuous times: what if a child's fantasy world could predict the ebb and flow of the stock market? Unfortunately, critics say Imagine That does little with its setup, despite solid work from Eddie Murphy and newcomer Yara Shahidi.

Thursday, Jun. 04 2009, 04:36 PM

This week at the movies, we've got bachelor party mayhem (The Hangover, starring Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms), space-time continuum wackiness (Land of the Lost, starring Will Ferrell and Danny McBride), and travel travails (My Life in Ruins, starring Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss). What do the critics have to say? There's nothing wrong with frat house comedy when it's done right. And critics say The Hangover is one of the best in recent years, a wild ride of debauchery and tastelessness that delivers laughs at a frightening clip. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis star as three dudes who just wanted to have a killer bachelor party.

Thursday, May. 28 2009, 03:51 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a high-flying house (Up, with voice work by Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer) and a demonic curse (Drag Me to Hell, starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long). What do the critics have to say? At this point, raving about Pixar is almost cliché. Every one of the company's features is Certified Fresh, and all but one is about 90 percent on the Tomatometer. But there's a reason for such critical adulation: Pixar continues to expand the boundaries of the animation medium, and the critics say Up is yet another winner. Plus, Sam Raimi started out making perversely entertaining horror fare like the Evil Dead movies before helming blockbusters like Spider-Man. With Drag Me to Hell, the pundits say he's back and in outstanding B-movie form.

Thursday, May. 21 2009, 04:18 PM

This week at the movies, we've got deadly machines (Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington); historical hysterics (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, starring Ben Stiller and Amy Adams); and dance fever (Dance Flick, starring Damon and Craig Wayans). What do the critics have to say? With Terminator Salvation, director McG has brought the venerable sci-fi/action series back to the screen, with plenty of chases, explosions, and yes, machines. But critics say he's forgotten the key ingredient that made the originals so compelling -- the human factor. Christian Bale is John Connor, leading the human resistance against Skynet, which has conquered our dystopian planet with its armies of Terminators.

Thursday, May. 14 2009, 04:30 PM

This week at the movies, Robert Langdon is back on the case, investigating shadowy machinations around the Catholic Church in Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor. What do the critics have to say? The Da Vinci Code was a worldwide phenomenon; adapted from Dan Brown's bestseller, it raked in box office receipts despite widespread critical derision (and the threat of boycotts from Catholic groups). The good news is that critics find the follow-up, Angels & Demons, to be tighter and more exciting; the bad news is that their reaction is still pretty tepid. This time out, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) isn't challenging Catholic orthodoxy; he's trying to protect church officials from attacks by the mysterious Illuminati, with help from Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer).

Thursday, May. 07 2009, 05:07 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a brand new Enterprise (Star Trek, starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) and a failed delivery (Next Day Air, starring Donald Faison and Mike Epps). What do the critics have to say? It boldly goes where no Trek has gone before. This new Trek will live long and prosper. No matter what clichés they may use, there's no getting around the critics' main point: JJ Abrams' Star Trek is stirring mainstream entertainment, and breathes new life into the moribund franchise. It's an origin story, one that tells the tale of how Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) became, well, Kirk and Spock. The pundits say Abrams' action-packed, visually remarkable take on such venerable material will reward both fans and newcomers alike.

Thursday, Apr. 30 2009, 03:16 PM

This week at the movies, we've got everyone's favorite mutant (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman and Liev Schriber), a rake's progress (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner), and interstellar conflict (Battle for Terra, featuring voice work by Evan Rachel Wood and Luke Wilson). What do the critics have to say? Forced to choose, most X fans would select Wolverine as their favorite. Well, he's got his very own feature film, and unfortunately, the critics say it's a few cuts below the previous X-Men movies. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has a mildly intriguing premise: what if an unrepentant rake was shown the consequences of his philandering, no-strings-attached ways?

Thursday, Apr. 23 2009, 03:35 PM

This week at the movies, weve got bare-knuckle bouts (Fighting, starring Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard), the wonders of nature (Earth, narrated by James Earl Jones), a musical friendship (The Soloist, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx), and some office intrigue (Obsessed, starring Idris Elba and Beyonce Knowles). What do the critics have to say? Look, you pretty much know what youre getting into with a movie called Fighting: lots of tough-as-nails dudes beating the stuffing out of each other. And the pundits say that while director Dito Montiel does his best to infuse interesting characterization and a sense of place, Fighting is still a shopworn underdog sports movie.

Thursday, Apr. 16 2009, 04:30 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a high school do-over (17 Again, starring Zac Efron and Leslie Mann), some journalistic thrills (State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams), and cardiovascular action (Crank High Voltage, starring Jason Statham and Bai Ling). Plus, we've got Every Little Step, a documentary about A Chorus Line; Lemon Tree, about a conflict over a lemon grove on the Israeli/Palestinian border in the West Bank; American Violet, a drama about a single mother who must battle accusations of drug dealing; Is Anybody There?, which stars Michael Caine in the tale of a boy who meets a free-spirited occupant of his parents' old folks home; The Golden Boys, starring David Carradine and Mariel Hemingway in a comedy about three retired sea captains who could use a woman's touch in their drab Cape Cod house; and The Sleep Dealer, an indie sci-fi drama about exploited third-world workers in a futuristic dystopia. What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Apr. 09 2009, 04:25 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a pop songbird (Hannah Montana the Movie, starring Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus), a mall cop (Observe and Report, starring Seth Rogen and Anna Farris), and plenty of dragon balls (Dragonball Evolution, starring Justin Chatwin and Chow Yun-Fat). What do the critics have to say? Ok, lets get this out of the way upfront: if you fall within the target demographic of tween girls, youre unlikely to be swayed by what the critics have to say about Hanna Montana the Movie. Still, the pundits say the film is unlikely to draw many converts or parents into Hannah Montanas orbit.

Thursday, Apr. 02 2009, 04:30 PM

This week at the movies, we've got speedy cars (Fast & Furious, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) and a languid summer (Adventureland, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart). Plus, we've got Tulpan, a visually remarkable tale of unrequited love on a Kazakh steppe; The Song of Sparrows, about a runaway ostrich; Sugar, a drama about a Dominican pitcher determined to make it to the big leagues; Forbidden Lie$, a documentary about the fallout from a fabricated memoir; The Escapist, a British prison break thriller starring Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes; Paris 36, a period piece about some neighborhood friends who attempt to mount a musical; Bart Got a Room, a comedy about a nerdy high schooler seeking a prom date; Gigantic, starring Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel in an indie comedy about the strange relationship between two wayward twentysomethings; Enlighten Up!, a documentary by a devoted yoga practitioner who attempts to use the ancient art to transform her skeptical subject; and Alien Trespass, an homage/parody of 1950s sci-fi flicks. What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Mar. 26 2009, 04:29 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a war of the worlds (Monsters vs. Aliens, with voice work by Reese Witherspoon and Seth Rogan), a demonic abode (The Haunting in Connecticut, starring Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan), and a royal rumble (12 Rounds, starring John Cena). Plus, we've got Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo, about the strange relationship between a Senagalese cab driver and a gruff old southerner; Shall We Kiss?, a Woody Allen-esque French romantic comedy about the implications of a single kiss on a multitude of characters; Fred Durst's The Education of Charlie Banks, starring Jesse Eisenberg in a tale of coming of age in 1970s New York; and Spinning into Butter, a drama about racial tensions at an elite Vermont college starring Sarah Jessica Parker. What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Mar. 19 2009, 04:20 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a bromantic comedy (I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel), ominous numerology (Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne), and corporate mischief (Duplicity, starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen). We've also got a thriller about immigration from Central America (Sin Nombre), a showbiz dramedy (The Great Buck Howard, starring John Malkovich and Emily Blunt), a doc about an Italian fashion icon (Valentino: the Last Emperor), an indie crime caper comedy (Skills Like This), and a cinematic essay about artist/filmmaker Michel Auder (The Feature). What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Mar. 12 2009, 04:08 PM

This week at the movies, we've got a supernatural quest (Race to Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and AnnaSophia Robb), a vengeance thriller (Last House on the Left, starring Sara Paxton and Garret Dillahunt), and playmate pratfalls (Miss March starring Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore). What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Mar. 05 2009, 04:16 PM

This week at the movies, we've got Watchmen, the long-awaited adaptation of Alan Moore's classic graphic novel directed by Zack Snyder and starring Billy Crudup and Carla Gugino. So, is it worth watching? The answer, say critics, is a qualified yes. The film is set in a dystopian 1985, in which Richard Nixon is still president and the future looks bleak. A group of retired superheroes is forced back into action when one of their colleagues is murdered and suspicions of an anti-hero conspiracy arise. A number of critics find Watchmen to be excessively reverent to Moore's book, as well as overlong and dark bordering on dour. However, others say this ambitious, sprawling superhero epic is emotionally weighty and visually stunning.

Thursday, Feb. 26 2009, 04:10 PM

This week at the movies, we've got teenybop pop (Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience, starring Jonas Brothers) and a video game adaptation (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (starring Kristin Kreuk and Michael Clarke Duncan). Plus, we've got an offbeat take on the tale of the Three Wise Men (Birdsong), a death penalty doc (Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead), some philosophical discussions (Examined Life, featuring Cornel West and Slavoj Zizek), and indie relationship comedy (The Trouble with Romance) a coming-of-age conspiracy flick (An American Affair, starring Gretchen Mol), and an immigration drama (Crossing Over, starring Harrison Ford and Ashley Judd). What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Feb. 19 2009, 04:25 PM

This week at the movies, we've got spirited scoundrels who join a cheerleading squad to meet girls (Fired Up!, starring Nicholas D'Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen) and a septuagenarian scofflaw who brings her brand of no-nonsense candor to the slammer (Madea Goes to Jail, starring Tyler Perry and Derek Luke). And that's just what's going wide. In the world of limited releases, we've got a powerful documentary about family dysfunction (Must Read After My Death), a Polish World War II drama (Andrzej Wajda's Katyn), and a documentary about Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll (Eleven Minutes). What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Feb. 12 2009, 04:20 PM

This week at the movies, we've got creepy campers (Friday the 13th, starring Jared Padalecki and Danielle Panabaker), conspicuous consumption (Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy ), and corporate criminality (The International, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts). What do the critics have to say?

Thursday, Feb. 05 2009, 04:18 PM

This week at the movies, we've got dark whimsy (Coraline, with voice work by Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher); love mishaps (He's Just Not That Into You, starring Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson); a bumbling detective (The Pink Panther 2, starring The Pink Panther 2 and Aishwarya Rai) and some paranormal antagonists (Push, starring Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou). What do the critics have to say?


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