Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Pirates! Band of Misfits Is Certified Fresh

Plus, The Five-Year Engagement is overlong but sweet, Safe is predictable but exciting, and The Raven is spooky but dull.

by | April 27, 2012 | Comments


This week at the movies, we’ve got silly seafarers (The Pirates! Band of Misfits, with voice work from Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson); longtime companions (The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt); mafia targets (Safe, starring Jason Statham and Catherine Chan); and a literary gumshoe (The Raven, starring John Cusack and Alice Eve). What do the critics have to say?

The Pirates! Band of Misfits


Aardman Animations, the folks behind Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit films, make animated features the old-fashioned way: using stop-motion claymation. And critics say they’ve got another winner with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a bright, breezy, gleefully eccentric nautical adventure/comedy. A pirate captain named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is on a quest to win the prestigious Pirate of the Year Award; along the way, buckles are swashed, planks are walked, and ships are plundered (ineffectively, but still). The pundits say the Certified Fresh Pirates! Band of Misfits stands as another triumph for Aardman — it’s filled with witty sight gags and inventive visual touches, and it’s likely to amuse both children and their parents.

The Five-Year Engagement


With their patented mix of heart and raunch, Judd Apatow‘s productions — including, but not limited to, Superbad and Bridesmaids — have scored big with audiences and reviewers. Critics say The Five-Year Engagement doesn’t quite measure up to those standards, but despite some slack pacing, it’s still a pretty warm and honest look at modern love. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as Tom and Violet, whose matrimonial happiness is perpetually delayed by everything from bad luck to professional complications. The pundits say The Five-Year Engagement is way too long, and not every gag is a winner, but it’s redeemed by some big laughs and the sweet, believable chemistry between its leads. (Check out our countdown of the best-reviewed wedding movies here.)



Jason Statham is equally adept at roundhouse kicks and existential brooding. And while not every Statham vehicle is created equal, critics say Safe is better than most; though it’s formulaic to the bone, the film is gritty and exciting thanks in large part to its star’s charisma and acrobatics. Statham stars as Luke Wright, an ultimate fighter who botches a fixed fight, drawing the ire of the mafia. However, when he rescues and protects a 12-year-old girl with valuable information in her head, the two are pursued by both mobsters and corrupt government officials. The pundits say Safe is really predictable, but it’s an efficient, tough yarn that should satisfy adrenaline junkies. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable movies with matching titles.)

The Raven


The Raven is an odd (if intriguing) bird: it’s a period thriller in which Edgar Allen Poe helps to track a serial killer inspired by the author’s most macabre works. But, to paraphraseth the titular poem, critics say the result has made them weak and weary, as it vainly tries to borrow from fantastic terrors we’ve seen before. After a series of brutal slayings, a young detective calls upon Poe (John Cusack) to help ensure that the writer’s most homicidal fan will kill nevermore. The pundits say The Raven has a spooky gothic look, but it’s mostly a gloomy procedural that offers few thrills — or insights into Poe’s life and works. (Check out Cusack’s Five Favorite Films here.).)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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