Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Final Destination 5 Sorta Thrills, The Help Inspires

Plus, 30 Minutes or Less misses the mark, while Glee 3D is toe-tapping fun.

by | August 11, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got deadly premonitions (Final Destination 5, starring Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell); a wacky bank heist (30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride); societal change (The Help, starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone); and Gleek mania (Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, starring Lea Michele and Chris Colfer). What do the critics have to say?

Final Destination 5


Listen up, Final Destination fans: we’ve got good news, and we’ve got bad news. The good news first: the critics say Final Destination 5 is probably the best entry in the series, with tense, well-crafted set pieces that provide some welcome freshness to the franchise’s signature Rube Goldberg-esque kills. The bad news: critical success is relative here, since the Final Destination movies aren’t exactly rife with interesting characters or tight plotting. Once again, a group of attractive young people survive a horrible disaster (this time on a collapsing bridge) and once again the hand of fate picks them off in diabolical ways. However, this time there’s an interesting twist: if those marked for death can kill some random innocent person, they can delay the Grim Reaper’s scythe. The pundits say Final Destination 5 boasts better craftsmanship and more genuine suspense than previous installments, but it’s still bogged down by its devotion to formula, and the actors – game as they may be – are merely cogs in the machine. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of cinema’s most memorable dead teenager movies.)

30 Minutes or Less


There are plenty of good movies about criminal ineptitude – check out the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre for examples — but it’s a thin line between riotous farce and grim villainy. And critics say 30 Minutes or Less never quite walks that tightrope — despite some maniacally funny scenes, it’s tonally all over the place, and never quite as tight as it should be. Based upon (pretty horrific) true events, 30 Minutes or Less tells the story of Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), a pizza-delivery guy who’s forcefully enlisted to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest by a pair of wannabe criminals. Thereafter, Nick must dodge the cops and the crooks while working out his personal problems. The pundits say 30 Minutes or Less has moments of absurd hilarity and some interesting twists, but it’s pretty uneven, jarringly shifting from goofy laughs to brutal violence to sentimentality without finding a consistent tone. (Check out Crime Doesn’t Pay, our feature on some of the dumbest criminals in the movies.)

The Help


Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling 2009 novel The Help, which chronicles the close relationship between three very different women in Jim Crow-era Mississippi, quickly became a book-club favorite, so a movie adaptation was inevitable. Fortunately, critics say The Help largely succeeds – it’s moving and heartfelt, and features such terrific acting that its missteps are easy to forgive. Aibileen (Viola Davis) works as a maid for white families and is mourning the recent death of her son; she’s close friends with Minny (Octavia Spencer), whose outspokenness has hurt her employability as a domestic. Meanwhile, Skeeter (Emma Stone), a well-to-do college grad and an aspiring writer, is troubled by the disappearance of the black maid who helped raise her, and turns to Aibileen and Minny to learn more about their underappreciated lives and labors. The pundits say The Help sometimes sugarcoats the ugliness of its era, but the performers – particularly Davis – are so outstanding that the film works as a poignant, inspirational tale of empathy and understanding.

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie


Glee has a dedicated primetime audience, and the songs from the show have dominated the pop charts. So how does the gang from McKinley High do in its big screen, three-dimensionally enhanced debut? Pretty well, say critics, who call Glee: The 3D Concert Movie an infectious, toe-tapping experience that successfully distills the show’s equal-opportunity exuberance for multiplex consumption. Glee documents the cast in performance at the Meadowlands, giving fans an up-close-and-personal view of the New Directions crew as they belt out pop favorites from the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and, um, Men Without Hats. The Pundits say Glee may not convert nonbelievers into diehard Gleeks, but it’s still mightily entertaining, with plenty of showstopping songs, some backstage banter, and an egalitarian spirit that’s tough to resist.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Senna, a documentary about the life and death of the Formula One legend, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.
  • Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a documentary portrait of artist Anselm Kiefe and his large-scale works, is at 86 percent.
  • Scheherazade Tell Me a Story, about an Egyptian talk show host whose outspoken political views threaten her husband’s career, is at 83 percent.

  • Littlerock, an indie drama about a small town as seen through the eyes of a pair of Japanese tourists, is at 83 percent.

Tag Cloud

cinemax Comedy Teen dc Emmys cults period drama zombie Awards travel Paramount cooking WGN what to watch AMC Paramount Network Lionsgate VICE Reality Competition GIFs robots Holidays See It Skip It Red Carpet romance Masterpiece YouTube Red History CMT LGBTQ Horror 21st Century Fox Thanksgiving PBS Cosplay Hulu USA OWN ratings APB Netflix binge Best and Worst ITV Extras TIFF 007 Comic Book Infographic Tumblr CNN Mystery transformers Rocky 2016 Martial Arts Oscars CW Seed Pixar cats biography Fantasy supernatural Podcast Food Network Certified Fresh Action political drama ABC Family Summer Ghostbusters Creative Arts Emmys SXSW TV Land Marvel Toys 2017 Nat Geo Country IFC Films Marathons Premiere Dates Fox News Video Games hist 2015 science fiction Sony Pictures war Showtime composers cops RT History singing competition USA Network GLAAD docudrama Trailer Mary Tyler Moore discovery Superheroe Sci-Fi Ellie Kemper TCA 2017 Character Guide sports Drama CBS TCM politics BBC GoT Nickelodeon Photos spy thriller FXX social media ABC TLC Pirates Sneak Peek Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Amazon Polls and Games President crime drama ESPN CBS All Access FX 24 frames based on movie Set visit Rom-Com 45 Valentine's Day Animation TCA Acorn TV YA Disney Channel Music Opinion TV thriller Year in Review TBS DC streaming service diversity Trivia Grammys The Arrangement Freeform crime thriller adventure Sundance Election Spring TV Adult Swim PaleyFest Musical Britbox justice league American Society of Cinematographers E! sitcom DC Universe First Look Pop Dark Horse Comics Kids & Family SDCC aliens Comedy Central Bravo E3 harry potter Interview Watching Series BET comiccon zombies NBC boxoffice 20th Century Fox Nominations Cartoon Network vampires technology police drama National Geographic psycho The CW Warner Bros. Spike crime festivals Lucasfilm NYCC serial killer DC Comics dceu Mindy Kaling Star Trek X-Men SundanceTV Lifetime BBC America golden globes Countdown Universal Syfy Star Wars dramedy Crackle HBO MTV DirecTV medical drama Sundance Now MSNBC Schedule Winners IFC Musicals unscripted Logo A&E Writers Guild of America VH1 FOX TruTV Superheroes historical drama Winter TV Christmas Starz crossover Rock TNT Box Office Shondaland finale Fall TV Tomatazos Esquire Reality El Rey Super Bowl Calendar talk show Biopics Western Disney