Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: A So-So "Year", "Fiction" Works; "Babel" Shoots and Scores; "Harsh Times" Lives Up To Its Title; Guess "Return"'s Tomatometer!

by | November 9, 2006 | Comments

This week at the movies, we ve got a rom-com in Provence ("A Good Year," starring Russell Crowe), a guy whose life is a novel ("Stranger than Fiction," starring Will Ferrell), interconnected tales of despair ("Babel," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), a tough homecoming ("Harsh Times," starring Christian Bale), and supernatural visions ("The Return," starring Sarah Michelle Gellar). What do the critics say?

"Stranger than Fiction" is a movie about a guy named Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) who discovers that his life is being narrated and controlled by a bitter, brilliant novelist (Emma Thompson) who intends to do him in. As a result, Crick tries to turn the tables and reclaim his own life story. Sounds totally meta, huh? Well, critics generally say this is one head trip that won’t trip you up, thanks to warm performances and an agreeably kooky (and not over-heady) script. At 68 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s a fact that "Fiction" is Fresh.


"Guess how much I liked ‘Mystery, Alaska.’"

There’s a new movie out called "A Good Year" that’s being described as "Under the Tuscan Sun" with a guy in the main role. Even weirder, it’s from the ultra-macho team of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe — y’know, the dudes who brought you "Gladiator." Perhaps it isn’t much of a surprise that the critics are finding this pairing of filmmakers and material doesn’t totally work. Crowe stars as an arrogant, hyper-competitive London banker who inherits a house in Provence; laughs, love and life-lessons ensue. The scribes give Crowe and Scott props for trying to stretch, but unfortunately, they also say the film is working way too hard to be whimsical. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Year" isn’t looking so…. well, you get the idea.

"Babel" is a story of a shot heard ’round the world. A boy in Morocco unintentionally shoots an American tourist, and the ramifications of his mistake are felt in the U.S., Mexico, and Japan. Critics are praising Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s latest as an elaborate, stylistically deft emotional juggling act, with fine performances from Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and particularly Rinko Kikuchi as a deaf teenager trying to make her way in the world. If there is a complaint from the scribes, it’s that "Babel" may be overly ambitious, but most concede that it’s ambition of a high order. At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, "Babel" is Certified Fresh.


"I suggest you stop killing people; it’s doing a number on your cholesterol."

"Harsh Times" is not a movie with a misleading title. However, critics are split on whether this dark, intense story of an Iraq war vet returning home is ultimately rewarding. "Harsh Times" stars Christian Bale as a man consumed by his memories of war; as he tries to integrate back into society, he finds it impossible to suppress his violent impulses. Some critics have praised "Harsh Times" for its performances and intensity, but others say it’s too relentlessly grim and brutal to really be worthwhile. "Harsh Times" currently stands at 52 percent on the Tomatometer.

"The Return" marks Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s, uh, return to the horror genre. Guess what? It wasn’t screened for critics. Guess that Tomatometer, children.


"To tell you the truth, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince lately."

Also opening this week in limited release: the Mongolian import "The Cave of the Yellow Dog," featuring breathtaking scenery as well as cute kids and adorable doggies, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "Iraq in Fragments," a structurally adventurous documentary about the state of Iraq, is at 82 percent; "Cautiva," an Argentine film coming-of-age tale about an uprooted teenager, is at 80 percent; "Come Early Morning," a tale of Southern small-town life starring Ashley Judd, is at 65 percent; "F***," an examination of the English language’s naughtiest word, is at 50 percent; "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus," starring Nicole Kidman as the gifted but troubled photographer, is at 33 percent; and the historical fiction "Copying Beethoven," about the great composer’s relationship with a copyist, is at 27 percent.

Recent Russell Crowe Movies:
————————————-
81% — Cinderella Man (2005)
85% — Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
78% — A Beautiful Mind (2001)
40% — Proof of Life (2000)
78% — Gladiator (2000)

Recent Will Ferrell Movies:
———————————-
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
41% — Winter Passing (2006)
70% — Curious George (2006)
52% — The Producers (2005)
24% — Bewitched (2005)

Tag Cloud

spy thriller Mary Poppins Returns Pride Month 24 frames Sony Pictures MCU mockumentary psychological thriller Winter TV BBC America The Walking Dead Mary Tyler Moore Classic Film CMT stand-up comedy Masterpiece CBS All Access Apple TV Plus National Geographic First Reviews Pixar Oscars Comedy HBO Max rotten movies we love sequel 2019 christmas movies Western Epix RT21 Rocky Infographic History Lucasfilm romantic comedy A24 game of thrones Vudu television political drama Tarantino SundanceTV Amazon Prime Video crime drama CW Seed Shudder Adult Swim facebook kids breaking bad Spectrum Originals toy story Comedy Central The Purge cartoon Paramount Network Marathons Shondaland hispanic Freeform witnail Winners Esquire Sneak Peek Song of Ice and Fire Fall TV travel reboot revenge Tubi strong female leads Chernobyl unscripted Rock science fiction 71st Emmy Awards streaming 2015 Television Academy Crunchyroll finale El Rey name the review Anna Paquin batman TruTV The CW hist sitcom Opinion Emmys disaster dc teaser Mindy Kaling YouTube Red Schedule Thanksgiving Lifetime Mary poppins Disney Channel Disney+ Disney Plus casting south america theme song FX free movies movies Box Office aliens biography Marvel GLAAD TCM Photos blockbuster Biopics TV Comics on TV IFC serial killer DGA 20th Century Fox thriller Britbox police drama war Disney Plus Rocketman Reality Showtime period drama Trailer VH1 GIFs TV Land Toys cults ITV See It Skip It book spanish language Drama New York Comic Con Holidays binge YA Pirates Turner Classic Movies Hallmark Christmas movies Tomatazos FXX series WarnerMedia cops festivals Sundance TV golden globes screenings doctor who Lifetime Christmas movies Cartoon Network Calendar adventure movie slashers CNN spinoff harry potter ratings Columbia Pictures SXSW Nominations CBS psycho jamie lee curtis HBO diversity quibi mutant Film green book canceled Heroines PBS GoT DC streaming service Brie Larson Trivia halloween Star Trek Stephen King Musical crossover Amazon Prime dogs Marvel Studios directors Disney streaming service Starz Disney Awards Creative Arts Emmys politics MSNBC vampires OneApp Academy Awards BBC joker video Election cancelled TV series Trophy Talk latino nature Mudbound Rom-Com canceled TV shows Spike foreign Food Network Holiday Valentine's Day ESPN Action USA Network Cannes Family romance Avengers Elton John indie OWN Endgame sports Ovation Emmy Nominations Sci-Fi Super Bowl Captain marvel cancelled Film Festival The Witch ABC Family Logo YouTube Syfy tv talk LGBTQ Peacock Nat Geo natural history cats Best and Worst Apple TV+ Watching Series Character Guide Fantasy Arrowverse renewed TV shows The Arrangement Red Carpet Paramount spider-man cinemax Countdown screen actors guild DC Comics Comic Book Musicals Baby Yoda zombie TV renewals Certified Fresh true crime Crackle ghosts Interview Bravo Warner Bros. dragons Superheroe PaleyFest Ghostbusters Music Walt Disney Pictures Teen game show cars social media dceu Mystery cancelled television dramedy adaptation 2017 Premiere Dates Kids & Family miniseries justice league Extras DC Universe crime thriller spain Animation robots San Diego Comic-Con animated President ABC Apple 45 E! award winner Tumblr A&E comiccon documentary talk show Pop richard e. Grant Martial Arts composers anime singing competition Amazon Summer Sundance Now Pet Sematary independent Quiz Marvel Television Hallmark Amazon Studios Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Year in Review AMC Grammys Acorn TV Fox News Women's History Month Hulu Reality Competition Superheroes Video Games technology 2018 NBC TIFF zombies docudrama APB Country versus Discovery Channel American Society of Cinematographers comics zero dark thirty Spring TV WGN cancelled TV shows Set visit Turner Sundance Horror X-Men FOX what to watch Writers Guild of America TCA 2017 YouTube Premium TLC VICE werewolf Christmas TBS Star Wars discovery anthology LGBT TCA Winter 2020 21st Century Fox Nickelodeon Netflix Chilling Adventures of Sabrina children's TV BET IFC Films 2020 TCA Podcast transformers Polls and Games E3 MTV Dark Horse Comics SDCC First Look cooking USA blaxploitation boxoffice based on movie space Ellie Kemper Awards Tour NYCC Universal Netflix Christmas movies TNT comic DirecTV sag awards Lionsgate Cosplay 007 2016 crime medical drama supernatural Black Mirror RT History historical drama Binge Guide elevated horror