Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: John Carter Gets Lost in Space

Plus, Silent House is spooky but uneven, and A Thousand Words has little to say.

by | March 9, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a swashbuckler on Mars (John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins), a sinister dwelling (Silent House, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Adam Trese), and a man left speechless (A Thousand Words, starring Eddie Murphy and Kerry Washington). What do the critics have to say?



John Carter

50%

After earning near-universal acclaim for Finding Nemo and WALL-E, Pixar wiz Andrew Stanton takes a big leap into live action filmmaking with the much-ballyhooed John Carter. The result, critics say, is something of a mixed bag: while John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization. Taylor Kitsch plays the title character, a Civil War vet who finds himself teleported to Mars and in the midst of a conflict between warring tribes. Can he save the Red Planet and get back to Earth? The pundits say John Carter‘s retro-futurist look is cool, and several action set-pieces deliver the goods, but those unfamiliar with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ source novels may have trouble keeping track of everything that’s happening.(Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Willem Dafoe’s best-reviewed movies.)



Silent House

43%

Right off the bat, Silent House has two intriguing points in its favor: the whole film is one long unbroken shot, and it stars the excellent Elizabeth Olsen. But while critics say the movie is atmospheric and often quite chilling, its climax is a big letdown. During a weekend stay at her family’s lake house, Sarah (Olsen) becomes trapped by menacing intruders and ominous noises. For the next hour and a half, Sarah tries to uncover the true nature of this malevolent force — and escape with her life. The pundits say Silent House is more technically proficient and ambitious than most fright-fests, but it also suffers from a disappointing payoff. (Check out Olsen’s Five Favorite Films here.)



A Thousand Words

0%

In last year’s Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy reminded critics that his rapid-fire comedic talent is still very much intact. Unfortunately, critics say those attributes are in short supply in A Thousand Words, an oddly sour, desperate comedy that robs its star of his most valuable asset: his way with words. Murphy plays Jack, a slick, occasionally unscrupulous literary agent who finds a magic tree in his backyard. The tree sheds a leaf every time Jack speaks, and he soon realizes that both he and the tree will die unless he learns to express himself differently. The pundits say A Thousand Words is hyperactive and obvious, with Murphy flailing about in order to wring laughs out of subpar material.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about the octogenarian that’s considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is at 100 percent.
  • The Oscar-nominated Israeli drama Footnote, about a professional conflict between father-and-son Talmudic scholars, is at 88 percent.
  • Shakespeare High, a doc about California high schoolers performing some of the Bard’s greatest works in a prestigious regional competition, is at 88 percent.
  • Sound of Noise, a comedy/thriller about a music-averse cop who must thwart a gang of criminal musicians, is at 88 percent.
  • Attenberg, a coming-of-age dramedy about a young Greek woman dealing with both her father’s impending death and her own romantic awakening, is at 76 percent.
  • The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, a doc about the literally transformative love affair between the Psychic TV frontman and his bandmate, is at 73 percent.
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in a dramedy about a fisheries expert tasked with bringing fly fishing to a desert nation, is at 66 percent (check out Blunt’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Friends With Kids, starring Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in a comedy about a group of close friends dealing with the effects of familial responsibility on their love lives, is at 57 percent (check out co-star Megan Fox’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Good for Nothing, a parody of macho old-school Westerns, is at 40 percent.
  • The Decoy Bride, starring Kelly Macdonald and Alice Eve in a romantic comedy about a movie star who hastily assembles a fake wedding to ward off paparazzi interest in her nuptials, is at 25 percent.

Tag Cloud

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