Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Conan the Barbarian is a Bloody Mess

Plus, Fright Night scares up some laughs and chills, but Spy Kids and One Day strike out.

by | August 19, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a heroic strongman (Conan the Barbarian, starring Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols), pint-sized agents (Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, starring Jessica Alba and Joel McHale), scary neighbors (Fright Night, starring Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell), and part-time lovers (One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess). What do the critics have to say?



Conan the Barbarian

25%

The 1982 Conan the Barbarian became a seminal entry in the sword-and-sorcery subgenre, maiking Arnold Schwarzenegger a star in the process. And although critics say Jason Momoa does his best with the title role, this new Conan the Barbarian eschews pulpy swashbuckling for non-stop action, and the result is a numbing barrage of blood, guts, and noise. The titular warrior is out for vengeance against the warlord who killed his family. On the trail of his foe, he encounters the beautiful Tamara (Rachel Nichols), and together, they leave a mountain of dead bodies strewn about the countryside. The pundits say Conan the Barbarian has a decent look and some thrills, but it’s mostly just a brutal, hyperactively-edited gore-fest that barely pauses to develop the characters or the plot. (Check out co-star Rose McGowan’s Five Favorite Films here.)



Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

22%

Throughout his career, director Robert Rodriguez has led a seemingly incongruous double life: when he’s not making stylistically bold neo-grindhouse films, he’s helming impish adventure tales for the kiddies. Unfortunately, critics say the fourth installment of his venerable Spy Kids franchise, All the Time in the World in 4D, is tired, juvenile stuff that isn’t improved by gimmicky 3D and scratch ‘n’ sniff cards. Jessica Alba stars as retired spy who’s lured back into action when a maniacal super villain threatens the free world. She’s joined in her mission by some newly recruited spy kids. The pundits say Spy Kids 4 is almost entirely bereft of the charm and excitement of the series’ first two entries, with mediocre special effects and an overabundance of sophomoric humor. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Rodriguez’s best-reviewed movies.)



Fright Night

72%

On paper, a remake of Fright Night sounds like an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the current vampire craze — especially since the original, a minor genre classic that deftly (and self-referentially) mixed laughs and scares, still holds up pretty well. However, critics say this new Fright Night is surprisingly effective, thanks to some terrific performances and a solid script that captures — and occasionally expands upon — what worked the first time around. Anton Yelchin stars as Charley, a too-cool-for-school teen who notices that something’s not quite right about Jerry (Colin Farrell), the guy who moved in next door. As it turns out, Jerry’s a vampire who’s preying on the neighborhood, and it’s up to Charley to stop him. The pundits say that while Fright Night doesn’t always match the mischievous appeal of its source material, the script is sharp and clever, and the cast — particularly Farrell, who oozes sly menace — is uniformly excellent.



One Day

36%

The premise of One Day is undeniably intriguing: it’s a romantic dramedy featuring two mismatched would-be lovers whose tentative relationship stretches for decades. Unfortunately, critics say the execution is a bit off; we’re never quite convinced our heroes are meant to be together, and the annual check-in conceit alluded to in the title seems contrived after a while. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are the couple, who meet at the end of college and are attracted to one another despite class and personality differences. Every subsequent June 15, we get glimpses of their lives, loves, and careers, as the pair maintains a friendship that might someday become something more. The pundits say One Day deserves credit for attempting to upend the traditional structure of the movie romance, and the stars’ repartee is fitfully amusing, but the characters are too ill-defined to make much of an impression.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Summer Pasture, a documentary about the harsh lives of Tibetan nomads, is at 100 percent.
  • The Last Circus, a dramedy about a clown whose life is upended by the rise of Fascism in Spain, is at 92 percent.
  • The Hedgehog, a drama about a morose 12-year-old who befriends the grumpy concierge in her apartment building, is at 83 percent.
  • Mozart’s Sister, a historical drama about the great composer’s talented older sibling, is at 80 percent.
  • Griff the Invisible, a comedy/romance about a shy working stiff who moonlights as a superhero, is at 78 percent.
  • Atrocious, a lo-fi horror film about a family that films its investigation into a terrifying urban legend, is at 67 percent.
  • The Journals Of Musan, a drama about a North Korean defector awkwardly adjusting to his new life in South Korea, is at 60 percent.
  • John Sayles‘s Amigo, a drama about a village torn apart by the Philippine-American War, is at 59 percent.
  • 5 Days Of War, starring Rupert Friend and Emmanuelle Chriqui in a drama about an American reporter caught in the crossfire of the 2008 Georgian conflict with Russia, is at 55 percent.
  • A Horrible Way to Die, an indie thriller about an escaped serial killer who’s looking for his ex-girlfriend, is at 40 percent.
  • Flypaper, starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd in a crime comedy about a would-be bank robber who develops a bond with a teller, is at 22 percent.
  • Programming The Nation?, a documentary about subliminal messages in politics and advertising, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

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