Critics Consensus: Conan the Barbarian is a Bloody Mess

Plus, Fright Night scares up some laughs and chills, but Spy Kids and One Day strike out.

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?

Conan the Barbarian

24%

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, and the result is a numbing barrage of blood, guts, and noise. The titular warrior is out for vengeance against the warlord who killed his family. On the trail of his foe, he encounters the beautiful Tamara (Rachel Nichols), and together, they leave a mountain of dead bodies strewn about the countryside. The pundits say Conan the Barbarian has a decent look and some thrills, but it's mostly just a brutal, hyperactively-edited gore-fest that barely pauses to develop the characters or the plot. (Check out co-star Rose McGowan's Five Favorite Films here.)

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

22%

Throughout his career, director Robert Rodriguez has led a seemingly incongruous double life: when he's not making stylistically bold neo-grindhouse films, he's helming impish adventure tales for the kiddies. Unfortunately, critics say the fourth installment of his venerable Spy Kids franchise, All the Time in the World in 4D, is tired, juvenile stuff that isn't improved by gimmicky 3D and scratch 'n' sniff cards. Jessica Alba stars as retired spy who's lured back into action when a maniacal super villain threatens the free world. She's joined in her mission by some newly recruited spy kids. The pundits say Spy Kids 4 is almost entirely bereft of the charm and excitement of the series' first two entries, with mediocre special effects and an overabundance of sophomoric humor. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Rodriguez's best-reviewed movies.)

Fright Night

72%

On paper, a remake of Fright Night sounds like an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the current vampire craze -- especially since the original, a minor genre classic that deftly (and self-referentially) mixed laughs and scares, still holds up pretty well. However, critics say this new Fright Night is surprisingly effective, thanks to some terrific performances and a solid script that captures -- and occasionally expands upon -- what worked the first time around. Anton Yelchin stars as Charley, a too-cool-for-school teen who notices that something's not quite right about Jerry (Colin Farrell), the guy who moved in next door. As it turns out, Jerry's a vampire who's preying on the neighborhood, and it's up to Charley to stop him. The pundits say that while Fright Night doesn't always match the mischievous appeal of its source material, the script is sharp and clever, and the cast -- particularly Farrell, who oozes sly menace -- is uniformly excellent.

One Day

36%

The premise of One Day is undeniably intriguing: it's a romantic dramedy featuring two mismatched would-be lovers whose tentative relationship stretches for decades. Unfortunately, critics say the execution is a bit off; we're never quite convinced our heroes are meant to be together, and the annual check-in conceit alluded to in the title seems contrived after a while. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are the couple, who meet at the end of college and are attracted to one another despite class and personality differences. Every subsequent June 15, we get glimpses of their lives, loves, and careers, as the pair maintains a friendship that might someday become something more. The pundits say One Day deserves credit for attempting to upend the traditional structure of the movie romance, and the stars' repartee is fitfully amusing, but the characters are too ill-defined to make much of an impression.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Summer Pasture, a documentary about the harsh lives of Tibetan nomads, is at 100 percent.
  • The Last Circus, a dramedy about a clown whose life is upended by the rise of Fascism in Spain, is at 92 percent.
  • The Hedgehog, a drama about a morose 12-year-old who befriends the grumpy concierge in her apartment building, is at 83 percent.
  • Mozart's Sister, a historical drama about the great composer's talented older sibling, is at 80 percent.
  • Griff the Invisible, a comedy/romance about a shy working stiff who moonlights as a superhero, is at 78 percent.
  • Atrocious, a lo-fi horror film about a family that films its investigation into a terrifying urban legend, is at 67 percent.
  • The Journals Of Musan, a drama about a North Korean defector awkwardly adjusting to his new life in South Korea, is at 60 percent.
  • John Sayles's Amigo, a drama about a village torn apart by the Philippine-American War, is at 59 percent.
  • 5 Days Of War, starring Rupert Friend and Emmanuelle Chriqui in a drama about an American reporter caught in the crossfire of the 2008 Georgian conflict with Russia, is at 55 percent.
  • A Horrible Way to Die, an indie thriller about an escaped serial killer who's looking for his ex-girlfriend, is at 40 percent.
  • Flypaper, starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd in a crime comedy about a would-be bank robber who develops a bond with a teller, is at 22 percent.
  • Programming The Nation?, a documentary about subliminal messages in politics and advertising, is at 14 percent.

Comments

dyl p.

dyl perron

Wasn't 4-D used in The Wild Thornberries movie, and Fright Night looks cool!

Aug 18 - 05:24 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Show of hands: Who thinks all of these films/movies will flop at the box office?

Aug 18 - 05:35 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

I hope they will all crash and burn.

Aug 18 - 05:39 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Only one that won't be a huge disappointment will be Fright Night I think. And Conan is gonna have a major opening night, but word of mouth could ruin it.

Aug 18 - 06:35 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

I don't know, is there any buzz or hype for Conan? seems to me like no ones cares and considers the summer movie season over.

Aug 24 - 08:22 AM

amd9012

Aaron Dicken

i got my first blowjob when i was 16. she was blonde and had beautiful brown eyes i could stare into for days. i'll never forget her smile. she could light up a room with it.

we were alone in her car after a high school football game. our team won 17-14 in overtime. we had been drinking earlier that night. the mood struck both of us like a lightning bolt in that parking lot and i'll never forget how she made me feel that night.

Aug 18 - 07:20 PM

dudemeister

dude meister

Cool story bro

Aug 18 - 07:28 PM

Supachewy

Jeffrey Cooperhouse

I once open mouth kised a horse

Aug 19 - 05:27 AM

Logan L.

Logan Locke

And...what does this have to do with movies?

Aug 19 - 05:53 AM

H. Guy

Josh Price

amd9012 emailed me. Said that all the she's were typos and they were supposed to be he's.

Aug 19 - 06:24 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I see what you did there. You insulted him by insinuating he was gay!!! Very clever.

Aug 19 - 07:36 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Cliche-o-rama! Lighting up a room with a smile? The mood striking like a lightning bolt? LOL. Stephanie Meyer, move over!

Aug 19 - 07:46 AM

Dave J

Dave J

That's funny, I thought girls write about this kind of bullsh-t in their little diaries, I didn't know boys write about this too, especially on a movie site- you must be more simple minded than I thought!

Aug 19 - 01:50 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

amd9012, did your skin sparkle like diamonds when it was over. 'Cuz it sure sounds like it to me.

Aug 19 - 06:59 PM

Supachewy

Jeffrey Cooperhouse

I think Fright Night will perform as expected and Spy Kids will underperform but not flop. One Day will do poorly because it will be affected by the negative reviews.

Aug 19 - 05:27 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

One Day will do poorly because it sounds like Anne Hathaway went to the Kevin Costner School of Accents.

Aug 19 - 11:30 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Haha

Aug 19 - 02:16 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I think they will all break even. One day looks inexpensive. Spy Kids I fear will clean up at the box office

Aug 19 - 06:34 AM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

I think two will, I still feel Conan might rack up some amount of money.

Aug 19 - 06:37 AM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Yay! I hate most of these movies.

Aug 19 - 06:38 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

It would be a fitting ending to this summer overall.

Aug 19 - 11:28 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Pretty much. :)

Aug 19 - 02:17 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

Summer ended with a fantastic movie: "Rise of the Planets of the Apes." I don't care what the calendar says.

Aug 19 - 07:00 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

I like the way you use words. Rise was amazing.

Aug 19 - 08:28 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Remakes,3D & kiddie bullsh*t. Repeat next week.

Aug 18 - 05:36 PM

Mr. Lee

Daniel Lee

not surprised about Conan or One Day, a little surprised about Fright Night's positive tomatometer and REALLY surprised about Spy Kids 4's disastrous tomatometer....

Aug 18 - 05:36 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Surprised by the positive reviews for Fright Night. I thought it looked terrible. Both Conan the Barbarian and Spy Kids don't surprise me at all though.

Aug 18 - 05:38 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Just rent Conan the Barbarian. It's been out for about 29 years.

Aug 19 - 07:03 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Can't wait to see what you say when the unnecessary Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake comes out. "Just rent it, it's been out for about 2 years."

Aug 19 - 11:34 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Good point. or you can rent Beastmaster and see a more environmentally sound version of Conan

Aug 24 - 08:20 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

I hope they will all crash and burn.

Aug 18 - 05:39 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

I knew fright knight would be great. Spy kids 4 getting a 0% isn't really anything surprising but kind of sad, as the series went from: 93%,75%,49%, TO a 0%...I liked all of them but I thought the 3rd was enough for this series. oh well...Conan was bound to be terrible. ye..anyways, I gotta go check out Rise of the Planet of the Apes, so ye.

Aug 18 - 05:40 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Yeah Fright Night is great. Just rent it, it's been out for about 25 years.

Aug 18 - 05:58 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Can't wait to see what you say when the unnecessary Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake comes out. "Just rent it, it's been out for about 2 years."

Aug 19 - 11:34 AM

Bradley J.

Bradley J

Not really interested in anything this week again. Can't wait however for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.

Aug 18 - 05:42 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Yeah, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is great. Just rent it, it's been out for about 38 years.

Aug 19 - 07:02 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Can't wait to see what you say when the unnecessary Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake comes out. "Just rent it, it's been out for about 2 years."

Aug 19 - 11:34 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Well, I don't know about necessary but I expect The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo to be a great film. With the exception of Alien3 (which to be fair, suffered from studio interference and was Fincher's first film) all of David Fincher's films have been great. I wouldn't be surprised if American version of TGWTDT ends up being better than the swedish one.

Aug 19 - 01:12 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

It very well may be a good film. It does look solid, at least. (I do like some David Fincher movies, he is a good director)

But it also looks like... the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie that came out in 2009. I'll just watch that one. I'm an American who has no problem with reading subtitles.

One of my recent favorite movies, Biutiful, has subtitles (for three different languages, to be exact), and I would hate to see Hollywood do a remake.

As for Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I already find the casting of Daniel Craig problematic. It doesn't surprise me that Hollywood goes for "James Bond" to play the doughy, middle-aged, far from athletic male lead role. I'm sure they're going to make him kick-ass in some way. And I also have a feeling it will be toned down in some ways and also "toned up" action-wise through a thorough dumbing down for American audiences.

I'll be skipping this at the theaters. Maybe I'll rent it one day, but I'd be more likely to just see the 2009 version again.

Aug 19 - 01:26 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Fair enough. Personally I think American remakes of foreign films in general tend to be good. Films like Insomnia, Let me In, The Departed (didn't like it much the first time I saw it, watched it again last night....wow, what I was thinking the first time?) were pretty great.

The thing is, when you're remaking a foreign film you can't simply rely on the goodwill from the original. Now, when you're remaking an American film like Planet of the Apes or The Day the Earth Stood Still, you know that the popularity of the original will give the remake a good opening no matter what, but no matter how critically acclaimed a film like Infernal Affairs was, very few people know about it stateside, meaning you have to rely on Word of Mouth to carry the remake.

Aug 19 - 03:12 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

I doubt it even possible for it to surpass the original because it has the tone, pacing and tense moments of the book. It might end up being like Let me In, a very good adaptation of the movie on its own legs, but not as good as the very first adaptation. I do trust Fincher is not going to do something awful.

Aug 19 - 03:37 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

And by "adaptation of the movie" I meant "a very good adaptation of the book".

Aug 19 - 04:02 PM

megahew

Bob Smith

The problem is that the 2009 Swedish film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is mediocre and does not do the book justice. David Fincher is a quality film maker so I have no problem with him remaking this one.

Aug 19 - 02:14 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

I enjoyed the movie a lot, even thought it superior to the book in some ways. But to each his own.

Aug 19 - 02:46 PM

Dave J

Dave J

It has also alot to do with the budget meaning that if they had gotten more revenue- the producers may be able to produce a better job!

Aug 19 - 04:31 PM

Bradley J.

Bradley J

Um ok many people commenting.

Aug 19 - 02:15 PM

megahew

Bob Smith

Oh, and if you read the book you will find that Blomkvist would be a great character for Daniel Craig to portray.

Aug 19 - 02:19 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Quite honestly, the trailers for 4 movies were pretty spot on with how their Tomatomater ended up. Like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I too thought Fright Night would be lame - but their trailers made me believe that the movies actually would be good.

Aug 18 - 05:44 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I am flabbergasted by Fright Night's T-meter because I thought the trailer looked pretty bad, as well.

Aug 18 - 06:23 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Mrs. Doubtfire's trailer looked so bad I MISSED seeing the movie in the theater. darn those dastardly trailers. Mrs. Doubtfire is an awesome movie SANS trailer.

Aug 18 - 06:37 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

King - I saw the first Fright Night trailer in the theater - which is better than the TV trailer.

Aug 18 - 09:17 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

As did I, Noah! I am not hating on you for thinking it looked good or anything, I respect your opinion. I was just saying that it looked fairly generic to me, and seemed like they were going for a stereotypical horror flick, which the original Fright Night was not.

Aug 19 - 12:28 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

No worries - I didn't take it personally. I just assumed you went by the TV trailer - which I don't think shows anything special. So it was my fault for making the wrong assumption.

Aug 19 - 12:50 PM

Justin D.

Justin D.

I agree, I have no idea how Fright Night could get that high a score. The trailer didn't wow me at all.

Aug 18 - 09:34 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Frigjt night seems to be the only thing worth watching this weekend. Here's how I think the box office will look like this weekend.
1 Conan 19 million ( thanks to a large marketing campaign
2 help 16 million
3 apes 15 million
4 fright night 13 million ( the film has Been marketed sorta like a horror comedy, which rarely do big buisness. With better marketing it could had been a zombieland type hit, but those type of numbers seem out if the question now)
5 spy kids 10 million ( 4-d will like be more of negative, and old fans probally won't come back since unlike a toy story 3, which united old fans and brought in a new generation, this seems like it just for the new kids)
One day will probally do like 7 million, fd5 will probally hold better then past installments, but unless spy kids is a HUGE bomb, it won't be able to stay in the top 5.

Aug 18 - 05:45 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

I know, lots of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Aug 18 - 05:48 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I think Conan will be a bomb. It may make some money this weekend, but it will fall really hard.

The last Conan movie bombed, too (Conan O'Brien Can't Stop). That's 2 barbarian-sized turds in one year.

Aug 19 - 07:08 AM

tyson t.

tyson tarantino

The Help is going to Win this weekend for sure.

Aug 18 - 05:45 PM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

Really surprised that many critics liked Fright Night that it actually has a fresh score, not surprised about Conan though. Spy Kids looks embarrassingly stupid (as the entire franchise did [though the first one wasn't so bad] ) I really don't see the appeal in those films, they are so inept.

Aug 18 - 05:47 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

I know, lots of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Aug 18 - 05:48 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

There are only 5 reviews for Spy Kids 4D, so it may be a little premature to say its the worst of the series. I seriously doubt it will remain at 0%: just as its nearly impossible for a recent movie to get all postive reviews, its the same for a movie getting all negative reviews. However all of the current reviews are pretty negative so it wouldn't be a surprise for Spy Kids 4D to have a rating only in the single digits by the time the weekend is through.

Conan's rating seems disappointing. I didn't think it would be fresh but to be this low wow. I guess wanton violence can't cut it for an action flick.

I'm surprised with Fright Night's rating. I thought it would suck badly but being the only positive film this weekend is interesting. I think the kids that saw Final Destination 5 last weekend will flock to this one, but I don't know how they will react to comedy thrown in with the horror.

One Day I never was going to care for in any event, but the rating is pretty low for a dramedy (as compared to a straight romantic comedy). Probably is going to do very poorly this weekend with women going to see the Help.

Aug 18 - 05:57 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The only recent movie that held strong at its 0% T-meter I can remember is One Missed Call, and even it may have scrounged up one positive review since then.

Aug 18 - 06:23 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Well, there's also Nutcracker in 3-d which still has a 0% positive rating after 28 reviews with most negative reviews being aggresively negative (Roger Ebert hated it so much that he gave Gulliver's Travels a positive rating with most of his review being about how much of a relief the film was to him after Nutcracker)

Aug 19 - 12:41 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Forgot about that one!

Aug 19 - 01:37 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Don't forget Pinocchio and Alone in the Dark. Both have 0%.

Aug 19 - 02:50 PM

Linda B.

Linda Burke

Scratch that. Alone in the Dark has a 1%.

Aug 19 - 02:51 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

One Missed Call! LMAO. That movie was hilarious! The ghost that left hard candy in it's victims mouths...the cat it killed for no reason (plus it forgot to put the hard candy in the cat's mouth)...Ed Burns being Ed Burns...Margaret Cho as a tough-as-nails detective...this thing is so ripe for a MST3K skewering.

Aug 19 - 07:12 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

It is truly a craptastic piece of cinema!

Aug 19 - 01:37 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Yeah Fright Night is great. Just rent it, it's been out for about 25 years.

Aug 18 - 05:58 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Can't wait to see what you say when the unnecessary Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake comes out. "Just rent it, it's been out for about 2 years."

Aug 19 - 11:34 AM

Irukandji

Chris Skoufis

I would go see Fright Night (despite my hatred against a remake, I'm astounded by what I see) or Conan...... but every theater near me lacks 2-D showings.... just my damn luck.

Aug 18 - 05:59 PM

Will K.

Will K

Sigh, it's the same for me. I'd probably go see Conan or Fright Night, but I won't if I have to sit through yet another awful 3D movie.

Aug 21 - 09:07 AM

Oliver R.

Oliver Renshaw

Loads of people hating on a remake, just let it go! I think I will be seeing Fright Night, being a Brit I owe it to David Tennant.

Aug 18 - 06:11 PM

Lenny M.

Lenny Monroe

Nothing interesting this week, all look like rentals, even after seeing the original films.


And also, I saw Final Destination 5, THAT MOVIE SUCKED!!! I have no idea why critics fell in love with it as much as they have. It was the 2nd worst film in the series, behind only the 4th film. The execution/timing/editing of the death scenes were boring and flat, no good humor, cheesy plot twist, just empty. All it did was remove the "cartoonish" feel of the 4th film. SMH Oh well, there are people that actually enjoyed the 4th Pirates of the Carribean movie over the last 2 film before it, I guess how people love Final Destination 5 more than its earlier entries will be a mystery to me like PotC

Aug 18 - 06:12 PM

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