Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Pelham 1 2 3 Doesn't Quite Take

Plus, Imagine That could use a little more imagination.

by | June 11, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a railway heist (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta) and some magical financial advice (Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi). What do the critics have to say?


The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, from 1974, was a stylish mix of comedy and thrills that, despite its reputation, is just dated enough to warrant a remake. However, critics say that Tony Scott‘s take, while slick and hyperkinetic, lacks the grit and cool of the original. John Travolta stars as Ryder, who takes control of a New York City subway car and its passengers, demanding a hefty ransom. Meanwhile, subway dispatcher Garber (Denzel Washington) tries to thwart Ryder’s plot. The pundits say the film is well-acted but has little sense of economy or patience; it’s a well-made but empty exercise. (See our feature “A Hundred Years of Heist Films,” in which we break down the caper genre by decade.)


Imagine That

Imagine That has an intriguing premise, especially in these economically tumultuous times: what if a child’s fantasy world could predict the ebb and flow of the stock market? Unfortunately, critics say Imagine That does little with its setup, despite solid work from Eddie Murphy and newcomer Yara Shahidi. Murphy stars as Evan Danielson, a financial advisor who spends little time with his daughter. That changes when he discovers that her drawings and imaginary friends appear to have a preternatural understanding of the investment world. But will Evan learn to become a better dad? The pundits say Murphy is admirably restrained, and Shahidi is a natural, but the film around them is only sporadically amusing; it’s also overly gimmicky and predictable. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Murphy’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, a documentary about the great Senegalese singer and his attempt to bridge the musical divide between the sacred and the secular, is at 100 percent.
  • Food Inc., a doc about corporate control (and the lack of governmental oversight) over the food industry, is at 95 percent.
  • Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey in a dark thriller about corporate skullduggery on the lunar surface, is at 90 percent.
  • Sex Positive, a doc about the complex life and times of gay health activist Richard Berkowitz, is at 67 percent.
  • Blast!, a doc about a team of tenacious scientists and their search for the origins of life on Earth, is at 60 percent.
  • Francis Ford Coppola‘s latest, Tetro, starring Vincent Gallo as a man living in Buenos Aires and haunted by his past, is at 50 percent.

Tag Cloud

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