Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: "Flags" Flies High; "The Prestige" Is Magic; "Flicka" Is A Pretty Good Ride; "Marie Antoinette" Spared Critical Guillotine

by | October 19, 2006 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a complex tale of heroism (Clint Eastwood‘s "Flags of Our Fathers," starring Ryan Phillippe), a story of dueling magicians (Christopher Nolan‘s "The Prestige," starring Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman), a yarn about a girl and her horse ("Flicka," starring Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw), and a post-punk-scored period piece about the least punk human being ever (Sofia Coppola‘s "Marie Antoinette," starring Kirsten Dunst). What do the critics have to say?

Is America a great country? Yes. Do the soldiers who fought in WWII, the Greatest Generation, deserve our utmost praise for their sacrifices? Without a doubt. Is the truth often more complicated than the myth? Definitely. Clint Eastwood‘s latest, "Flags of Our Fathers," tells the story of that famous photo of the servicemen raising the flag atop Iwo Jima, and the trials and tribulations their celebrity caused. Critics say the film is so rich with historical information and inherent drama that it’s occasionally a little too much, but strong performances and Eastwood’s sure directorial hand keep things on track. At 69 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flags" may not reach the heights of Eastwood’s last film, "Million Dollar Baby" (92 percent), but it’s still flying pretty high. (Check out our feature on Clint’s filmography here.)


Clint Eastwood pays tribute to the Greatest Generation.

With "Memento," Christopher Nolan made a name for himself by holding his secrets close to the vest to the bitter end. Now comes "The Prestige," in which the director again serves up a brain-teaser, this time involving a pair of public manipulators in their own right. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as bitterly competitive magicians in turn-of- the-century London who play a deadly game of one-upmanship. While some scribes say the movie is uneven in spots, "The Prestige" is winning praise for its remarkable production design, sharp performances, and more than enough cinematic sleight-of-hand to keep audiences interested. At 68 percent, this is Nolan’s worst reviewed film, and it’s still getting its share of prestige.


"Headlines don’t sell papes. Newsies sell papes."

There is no shortage of stories involving adolescents and their beloved equine friends, from Steinbeck‘s "The Red Pony" to "The Black Stallion" to last year’s "Dreamer." Critics say "Flicka," itself a remake, is a strong and affecting entry into this sub-genre. The film stars Alison Lohman as a 16-year-old who loves her untamed horse and the freedom of the open range, and Tim McGraw as her father, a man with different ideas about her future. Some critics say "Flicka" is an old-fashioned, solid family drama with a notable lack of schmaltz, but others say the material is too well-trodden to really hit home. At 60 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flicka" ain’t Secretariat, but it’s not ready for the glue factory, either.


"Flicka": Full of horsing around!

In the song "Natural’s Not In It," the socialist British post-punk band Gang of Four sarcastically lamented "the problem of leisure / what to do for pleasure," words that are especially resonant if you’re a teenage monarch ruling a country you know little about, and your subjects are calling for your head. Sofia Coppola‘s long-awaited (and already controversial) "Marie Antoinette" tells the story of the queen (Kirsten Dunst), her inattentive husband, Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), her gossipy, silver-tongued court, and all the empty fun she had before she gets her head chopped off. Critics say Coppola’s film offers a wealth of visual riches and makes Marie’s hardships somewhat empathetic, but they’re split over its apparent lack of substance, as well as the anachronistic use of music by the likes of New Order, the Strokes, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this is definitely a cut (pun intended) below Coppola’s last feature, "Lost in Translation" (95 percent), but it’s still a pretty tasty piece of cake.


"A new royal family / A wild nobility / We are the family."

Also opening this week in limited release: "51 Birch Street," a documentary exploring the hidden lives of the filmmaker Doug Block’s parents, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "Requiem," a German tale of epilepsy/demonic possession, is at 100 percent; Tim Burton‘s stop motion anti-holiday classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas," getting a re-release, is at 96 percent; "Sweet Land," a sweeping tale of the American immigrant experience, is at 93 percent; "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple," a documentary about cult leader Jim Jones and his flock, is at 92 percent; "Hair High," a perverse animated comedy about a strange high school, is at 63 percent; "Sleeping Dogs Lie," Bobcat Goldthwait‘s sweet, taboo-busting rom-com, is at 59 percent; and "Running with Scissors," a tale of therapy and growing pains starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow, is at 17 percent.

Recent Clint Eastwood-Directed Movies:
————————————————-
92% — Million Dollar Baby (2004)
86% — Mystic River (2003)
56% — Blood Work (2002)
78% — Space Cowboys (2000)
50% — True Crime (1999)

Recent Kirsten Dunst Movies:
————————————–
28% — Elizabethtown (2005)
62% — Wimbledon (2004)
7% — Kaena: The Prophesy (2004)
93% — Spider Man 2 (2004)
93% — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Recent Christian Bale Movies:
————————————
59% — The New World (2005)
84% — Batman Begins (2005)
85% — Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)
72% — The Machinist (2004)
68% — Laurel Canyon (2003)

Tag Cloud

dark Netflix Christmas movies Grammys ratings Countdown Reality Competition CBS All Access Esquire 20th Century Fox The Arrangement reboot olympics Wes Anderson PlayStation saw Vudu Pop RT21 dreamworks hist blockbuster Red Carpet witnail Box Office Premiere Dates debate Disney streaming service Spike justice league E3 Ghostbusters 2015 Universal Pictures Crunchyroll king kong MGM DC Comics wonder woman franchise Comics on TV festival razzies Pacific Islander Biopics Martial Arts new zealand sitcom Best and Worst Neflix sports cartoon Hallmark Christmas movies video best anime Awards Tour stoner medical drama Best Picture TV based on movie cinemax revenge Cannes chucky LGBTQ biopic ITV HFPA spain Hulu die hard WarnerMedia Watching Series hidden camera spider-verse docuseries Mindy Kaling Heroines crime thriller monster movies cancelled TV series Star Trek broadcast concert theme song Winter TV south america movies Calendar Teen streaming movies dceu MSNBC IFC Emmy Nominations CW Seed Native Pirates asian-american PBS kids superhero Peacock Tomatazos SundanceTV deadpool mockumentary nature Cosplay Tarantino japan VH1 New York Comic Con live action A24 popular football Endgame Best Actress TLC Television Critics Association AMC National Geographic SXSW 2022 Columbia Pictures heist movie fast and furious CBS Song of Ice and Fire technology Super Bowl zombie sequel indiana jones Fox News cars renewed TV shows Nominations Baby Yoda documentaries slashers Ovation Disney Plus FX on Hulu Shudder unscripted black comic books superman Pixar Marathons jamie lee curtis comic book movies Apple TV+ hispanic heritage month See It Skip It rt labs ABC Family Warner Bros. cults Travel Channel worst Women's History Month doctor who blockbusters game show YouTube Red ABC Signature Chernobyl Star Wars canceled Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Quiz Lucasfilm Photos game of thrones Food Network APB Trivia DGA TV renewals remakes dragons psycho universal monsters romantic comedy legend natural history Captain marvel vs. San Diego Comic-Con political drama Tubi Hallmark Avengers President independent italian latino series El Rey adaptation venice finale Pride Month twilight nbcuniversal halloween tv television rt labs critics edition docudrama 73rd Emmy Awards Black History Month Elton John fresh halloween harry potter Paramount Plus Emmys live event sag awards scene in color film series aliens TruTV rom-coms genre cancelled summer preview Family crime young adult DC Universe First Look Universal criterion scary MCU Toys kong CMT Legendary Best Actor dexter OneApp Turner boxing Paramount Network MTV biography jurassic park American Society of Cinematographers Instagram Live serial killer animated summer TV aapi Kids & Family spanish Valentine's Day Film Festival Interview psychological thriller Alien IFC Films HBO TCA leaderboard slasher TV movies Dark Horse Comics Tokyo Olympics TBS supernatural war PaleyFest VICE movie blaxploitation Drama Tumblr Oscars 21st Century Fox comedies Polls and Games Ellie Kemper films cops Paramount Pictures book adaptation all-time laika james bond Animation festivals spanish language Prime Video lord of the rings Film prank streaming free movies BBC marvel cinematic universe Mudbound BAFTA Marvel NBA Video Games Television Academy posters Fargo Comedy Binge Guide new star wars movies french Best Director strong female leads stand-up comedy true crime casting 79th Golden Globes Awards space elevated horror Holidays Netflix sequels Fox Searchlight royal family australia Showtime X-Men rt archives TV One art house scorecard Western The Walking Dead Academy Awards Image Comics TV Land The CW singing competition rotten Music Epix Sony Pictures mutant Pop TV TCA 2017 Sneak Peek ESPN BET Awards Star Wars Celebration documentary Lifetime Christmas movies Black Mirror name the review Amazon Studios japanese nfl Superheroes Christmas Classic Film Awards breaking bad new york Nat Geo green book Creative Arts Emmys 45 South by Southwest Film Festival Crackle indie Fall TV Cartoon Network reviews trailers Logo Sci-Fi international Opinion The Academy HBO Go miniseries a nightmare on elm street Focus Features Superheroe Geeked Week USA Set visit rotten movies we love scene in color series christmas movies Rom-Com Winners 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Fantasy Lionsgate what to watch scary movies 2016 USA Network Oscar werewolf Walt Disney Pictures ghosts Infographic award winner period drama hispanic comic book movie SXSW Apple Summer Sony child's play golden globes thriller science fiction Musicals black comedy Brie Larson parents IMDb TV critic resources Adult Swim know your critic comics The Purge politics TCM women cooking Trailer CNN diversity BBC America Discovery Channel DirecTV comic RT History batman Pet Sematary Disney Channel emmy awards Musical Starz GLAAD satire Turner Classic Movies Bravo ABC 24 frames Lifetime 99% Funimation interviews screen actors guild action-comedy obi wan kaiju NYCC police drama Holiday video on demand tv talk news facebook 4/20 Broadway Exclusive Video versus FOX talk show 93rd Oscars joker robots target anthology cancelled television Rock stop motion cancelled TV shows Schedule children's TV summer TV preview Tags: Comedy trophy hollywood spinoff Amazon travel FXX Freeform Rocky YouTube mob Anna Paquin 2019 DC streaming service dogs Action streamig Mystery Indigenous telelvision Acorn TV Apple TV Plus 1990s spider-man Rocketman Writers Guild of America TIFF ID social media disaster screenings Comedy Central YA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina richard e. Grant crime drama scene in color dc mission: impossible Character Guide target scene in color worst movies Amazon Prime Video BET suspense First Reviews adenture transformers SDCC Trophy Talk FX ViacomCBS composers Shondaland pirates of the caribbean boxoffice Mary Poppins Returns book Marvel Studios Stephen King Year in Review romance discovery feel good 71st Emmy Awards Certified Fresh king arthur Comic Book Hear Us Out golden globe awards Election classics foreign TCA Awards OWN A&E VOD vampires zombies TCA Winter 2020 Sundance Now Marvel Television YouTube Premium Podcast zero dark thirty toy story AMC Plus quibi critics Arrowverse Mary poppins Paramount sopranos 2018 007 Disney+ Disney Plus basketball Amazon Prime gangster godzilla marvel comics Hollywood Foreign Press Association Britbox The Witch toronto NBC Extras Nickelodeon LGBT Sundance teaser directors Syfy archives adventure high school 94th Oscars Reality dramedy Mary Tyler Moore Horror 2021 HBO Max Spectrum Originals mcc obituary binge 72 Emmy Awards spy thriller comiccon crossover Disney Sundance TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 GoT Spring TV 2020 cats canceled TV shows TNT Thanksgiving BBC One 2017 History E! Country The Walt Disney Company WGN 90s Masterpiece historical drama GIFs