Critics Consensus

Critics' Consensus: Cloverfield is Monstrously Fun, 27 Dresses Fails to Impress, Mad Money Not Worth Much

Cloverfield monster emerges victorious in critical bout.

by | January 17, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got monster mayhem (Cloverfield,
starring
Michael Stahl-David), marital mishaps (27 Dresses, starring
Katherine Heigl), and heist hilarity (Mad Money, starring
Diane Keaton
and Queen Latifah). What do the critics have to say?

A sort of
Blair Witch Project
crossed with
Godzilla
,
Cloverfield
tells the story of a monster invasion in Manhattan through
the eyes — and lenses — of a group of twentysomethings. And critics say it’s
one of the most intense cinematic offerings of the new year. The film begins at
a going-away party for Rob (Michael Stahl-David). Just as the festivities get
into full swing, a crisis grips the borough; it turns out a creature is on the
loose, and the partygoers wade out into the terrifying urban landscape,
recording the bedlam on their camcorders. The pundits say Cloverfield may
be a gimmicky take on old monster movie tropes, but it’s also economically
paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares. At 70 percent on the
Tomatometer, Cloverfield is a monstrously fun time.




"Stay Puft Marshmallow Man again?”

In
27 Dresses

Katherine Heigl plays a woman who’s
always a bridesmaid, never a bride. The movie’s looking for some love, too —
from the critics. Heigl plays Jane, a selfless gal who’s never met the right
guy, and whose best friend is about to marry the object of her unspoken
affections (Ed Burns); good thing there’s a better guy (James Marsden) in the
general vicinity. The pundits say although everything that happens in 37
Dresses
is what you’d expect — check that, exactly what you’d expect
— Heigl is good enough to make one wish she was in a better movie. At 24
percent on the Tomatometer, Dresses is getting critically annulled.




Katherine Heigl in The Namesake: The Reckoning.


Mad Money
has such a delirious premise — three
average Janes decide to knock over the Federal Reserve — and such a talented
cast (Diane Keaton,
Queen Latifah,
Katie Holmes) that one might be tempted to
believe the movie is a hilarious girl-power-flavored romp. No such luck, say
critics. Money is the story of a down-on-her-luck housewife (Keaton)
whose husband has just been laid off; after taking a job at the fed bank, she
meets some compatriots who are willing to join her in lifting bills that are to
be removed from currency. While pundits say Money is without a few
laughs, it lacks the sharp edge and bounciness to pull off a caper comedy of
this sort. At 21 percent, Mad Money is not garnering mad props.




Queen Latifah’s words fall on deaf and plugged ears.

Also opining this week in limited release:


  • Taxi to the Dark Side
    ,
    a documentary about the Bush administration’s torture policy, is at 100 percent.

  • Indonesian import
    Opera Jawa
    , a
    phantasmagoric folk musical, is at 100 percent.

  • A restored
    Last Year at Marienbad
    ,
    Alain Resnais‘s
    still-divisive meditation on the persistence of memory, is at 89 percent.


  • Still Life
    ,
    Zhang Ke Jia‘s
    quiet docudrama about romance in the midst of Chinese modernization, is at 83
    percent.

  • Teeth,
    a horror/comedy about a teenage girl with killer genitalia, is at 82 percent.

  • Lou
    Ye
    ‘s controversial
    Summer Palace
    , about the
    lives and loves of a group of college students in the days before Tiananmen
    Square, is at 58 percent. (Check out our review from Cannes 2006
    here.)

  • Woody Allen‘s latest,
    Cassandra’s Dream, starring
    Ewan McGregor and
    Colin Farrell
    as brothers in dire financial straits, is at 35 percent.

  • And
    Day Zero
    , a drama about three young men who have
    been drafted and are off to war starring
    Elijah Wood and
    Chris Klein,
    is at 17 percent.




    "You really think Manhattan Murder Mystery is
    overrated?”

And finally, props to
SplendidIsolation and
Meatcake, as
each of them correctly guessed that
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege
Tale
would wind up at three percent on the Tomatometer. In the name of Uwe
Boll, I give thee props.
 

Recent Diane Keaton Movies:

————————————-

5% —
Because I Said So
(2007)

53% —
The Family Stone
(2005)

69% —
Something’s Gotta Give
(2003)

13% —
Town and Country
(2001)

12% —
Hanging Up
(2000)

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