Critical Consensus: A Smooth-Running "Cars," An Ill "Omen"

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This week at the movies, we've got anthropomorphic automobiles not named KITT ("Cars") and a mean little devil named Damien ("The Omen"). Will the critics go along for the ride? Will they give the devil his due?

"Cars," Pixar's latest feature, is the worst reviewed film in the studio's history, but it's still Certified Fresh. Featuring the voices of Paul Newman and Owen Wilson, "Cars" tells the tale of a hotshot race car who gets sidetracked in a small town, and learns a thing or two about friendship and humility in the process. The critics generally agree that while this may be the studio's weakest effort, it's still visually groundbreaking and emotionally heartfelt; it entertains even as it mourns the decline of the American small town. At 79 percent on the Tomatometer, "Cars" still provides a lot of kicks (on Route 66, no less!).



This is Paul Newman's audition reel for "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

Speaking of multiple sixes, as we noted yesterday, "The Omen" has set the all-time record for box-office on a Tuesday (06-06-06!), so it's probably of little concern to many what the critics thought of it. Still, here goes: while the scribes note that this remake has its share of effectively spooky moments, it's bedeviled by its adherence to the 1976 original. The film stars Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles as a diplomat and his wife who belatedly discover that they're raising El Diablo. Lucifer. The Prince of Darkness. You get the idea. At 30 percent on the Tomatometer, this little devil isn't scaring up many good reviews.



"Get behind me/ Get behind me Satan Yeah!"

Woe: Be gone! Critics say Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" retains the comfortable charms of its source, Garrison Keillor's radio show. And since it's a Robert Altman movie, it's got a gigantic cast, including Lindsay Lohan, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Tommy Lee Jones. And though it might fall short of Altman's finest work (dude has five movies at 100 percent on the Tomatometer), at 79 percent, this is one to write "Home" about. It's Certified Fresh, to boot.



"And now, for our next number, we'd like to do a version of Slayer's 'Raining Blood'..."

Also in theaters this week, albeit in limited release, are "The Heart of the Game," an in-depth documentary about seven years in the life of a high school girls' basketball program, that currently stands at 93 percent on the Tomatometer, and the cross-cultural music doc "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul," at 88 percent.

Recent Pixar Movies:
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97% -- The Incredibles (2004)
98% -- Finding Nemo (2003)
95% -- Monsters Inc. (2001)
100% -- Toy Story 2 (1999)
91% -- A Bug's Life (1998)

The Omens:
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84% -- The Omen (1976)
46% -- Damien: Omen II (1978)
21% -- The Final Conflict: Omen III (1981)
N/A - Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

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