Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Elysium Soars; Planes is Grounded

Plus, We're the Millers and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters are uneven, and The Spectacular Now is Certified Fresh.

by | August 7, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a futuristic factory worker (Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster); anthropomorphic aircraft (Planes, with voice performances from Dane Cook and Julia Louis-Dreyfus); a drug-smuggling “family” (We’re the Millers, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis); a high school demigod (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, starring Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson); and an unlikely teenage couple (The Spectacular Now, starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley). What do the critics have to say?



Elysium

65%

Director Neill Blomkamp has a thing for allegorical sci-fi action. His debut, District 9, was a thinly-veiled tract on xenophobia featuring bug-like aliens, and his latest, Elysium, utilizes its stunningly realized setting in the year 2154 to expound on income inequity. Critics say it’s a potent mix of visceral thrills and social commentary, though its message isn’t delivered with much subtlety. Matt Damon stars as a factory worker who learns he’ll die within days without medical help. So he makes a risky journey from Earth to Elysium, a space station where the wealthy live in luxury and perfect health — and don’t take well to outsiders. The pundits say Elysium sometimes falls short of its intriguing premise, but it still delivers kinetic action and plenty of futuristic eye candy. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Damon’s best-reviewed movies, and watch our video interviews with Damon, Blomkamp, and more.)



Planes

25%

The output of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios is usually greeted with glowing reviews — too bad neither of them were involved with Planes, the DisneyToons Studios film critics say is surprisingly lightweight and frivolous, with dull characters and only fleeting moments of visual invention. Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) is a crop-dusting plane with a fear of heights and a big dream: to compete in an around-the-world race against the fastest, highest-flying aircraft. The pundits say Planes will probably serve as a decent audiovisual babysitter, but parents are likely to find its generic plot and cardboard characters make for a bumpy flight. (Check out our video interviews with the Planes cast and crew.)



We’re The Millers

49%

Take Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, and Emma Roberts, toss them into a stoner road trip comedy, and what do you get? An unfortunate shortage of laughs, apparently; critics say We’re the Millers has some stray chuckles, but its talented cast is mired in an undisciplined, overly vulgar plot. Jason Sudeikis stars as a small-time weed dealer who becomes indebted to his supplier when his stash is stolen. He contrives a plan to smuggle major weight in an RV, traveling with a ragtag group of neighbors pretending to be a family on vacation. The pundits say We’re the Millers might have benefited from letting the actors cut loose from the script; as it stands, this would-be satire lacks the discipline to generate consistent hilarity.



Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

42%

Of the young adult novels to be adapted the big screen in the wake of Harry Potter and Twilight, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief garnered decent, if hardly spectacular, reviews. Unfortunately, critics say its sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, is a step down; it’s an occasionally diverting fantasy adventure that’s decidedly short on enchantment. This time out, Percy (Logan Lerman) must protect the realm of his demigod brethren, so he embarks on a voyage to find the fabled Golden Fleece that will restore the tree spirit and ward off evil. The pundits say Sea of Monsters is reasonably brisk and visually sharp, but there’s a shortage of energy and character development that makes for a less-than-fantastical time.



The Spectacular Now

91%

The Spectacular Now, which critics have praised as a touching, uncommonly perceptive coming-of-age tale with an outstanding young cast, goes into wide release this week. Miles Teller stars as Sutter, a party-hearty high school senior who has a chance meeting with Aimee (Shailene Woodley), an eccentric, thoughtful classmate; as the two develop a romantic bond, Sutter begins to reflect on his impulsive ways. The pundits say this Certified Fresh dramedy benefits from sympathetic direction and a cast of characters with a lot more complexity than your average teen flick. (Check out our video interviews with Teller and Woodley.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Jug Face, a horror film about a pregnant teenager who fears she’ll be sacrificed by the citizenry of her rural community, is at 92 percent.
  • In a World…, starring Lake Bell in a romantic comedy about a movie trailer voiceover artist, is at 85 percent.
  • The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, a documentary in which young people in post-Soviet Georgia discuss their lives while auditioning for a film, is at 80 percent.
  • David Gordon Green‘s Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch in a comedy about two men who bond while doing maintenance on a country road ravaged by wildfire, is at 78 percent.
  • Kid-Thing, a drama about the adventures of an under-supervised 11-year-old, is at 73 percent.
  • I Give It a Year, starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall in a romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of a couple in its first year of marriage, is at 57 percent.
  • Off Label, a doc that examines the dark side of prescription drugs, is at 57 percent.
  • Blood, starring Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham in a drama about a pair of siblings who work as small-town British detectives and use unscrupulous means to incriminate a murder suspect, is at 55 percent.
  • Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard in a biopic of the Deep Throat star, is at 50 percent.

Tag Cloud

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