Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Final Destination 5 Sorta Thrills, The Help Inspires

Plus, 30 Minutes or Less misses the mark, while Glee 3D is toe-tapping fun.

by | August 11, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got deadly premonitions (Final Destination 5, starring Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell); a wacky bank heist (30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride); societal change (The Help, starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone); and Gleek mania (Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, starring Lea Michele and Chris Colfer). What do the critics have to say?

Final Destination 5


Listen up, Final Destination fans: we’ve got good news, and we’ve got bad news. The good news first: the critics say Final Destination 5 is probably the best entry in the series, with tense, well-crafted set pieces that provide some welcome freshness to the franchise’s signature Rube Goldberg-esque kills. The bad news: critical success is relative here, since the Final Destination movies aren’t exactly rife with interesting characters or tight plotting. Once again, a group of attractive young people survive a horrible disaster (this time on a collapsing bridge) and once again the hand of fate picks them off in diabolical ways. However, this time there’s an interesting twist: if those marked for death can kill some random innocent person, they can delay the Grim Reaper’s scythe. The pundits say Final Destination 5 boasts better craftsmanship and more genuine suspense than previous installments, but it’s still bogged down by its devotion to formula, and the actors – game as they may be – are merely cogs in the machine. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of cinema’s most memorable dead teenager movies.)

30 Minutes or Less


There are plenty of good movies about criminal ineptitude – check out the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre for examples — but it’s a thin line between riotous farce and grim villainy. And critics say 30 Minutes or Less never quite walks that tightrope — despite some maniacally funny scenes, it’s tonally all over the place, and never quite as tight as it should be. Based upon (pretty horrific) true events, 30 Minutes or Less tells the story of Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), a pizza-delivery guy who’s forcefully enlisted to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest by a pair of wannabe criminals. Thereafter, Nick must dodge the cops and the crooks while working out his personal problems. The pundits say 30 Minutes or Less has moments of absurd hilarity and some interesting twists, but it’s pretty uneven, jarringly shifting from goofy laughs to brutal violence to sentimentality without finding a consistent tone. (Check out Crime Doesn’t Pay, our feature on some of the dumbest criminals in the movies.)

The Help


Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling 2009 novel The Help, which chronicles the close relationship between three very different women in Jim Crow-era Mississippi, quickly became a book-club favorite, so a movie adaptation was inevitable. Fortunately, critics say The Help largely succeeds – it’s moving and heartfelt, and features such terrific acting that its missteps are easy to forgive. Aibileen (Viola Davis) works as a maid for white families and is mourning the recent death of her son; she’s close friends with Minny (Octavia Spencer), whose outspokenness has hurt her employability as a domestic. Meanwhile, Skeeter (Emma Stone), a well-to-do college grad and an aspiring writer, is troubled by the disappearance of the black maid who helped raise her, and turns to Aibileen and Minny to learn more about their underappreciated lives and labors. The pundits say The Help sometimes sugarcoats the ugliness of its era, but the performers – particularly Davis – are so outstanding that the film works as a poignant, inspirational tale of empathy and understanding.

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie


Glee has a dedicated primetime audience, and the songs from the show have dominated the pop charts. So how does the gang from McKinley High do in its big screen, three-dimensionally enhanced debut? Pretty well, say critics, who call Glee: The 3D Concert Movie an infectious, toe-tapping experience that successfully distills the show’s equal-opportunity exuberance for multiplex consumption. Glee documents the cast in performance at the Meadowlands, giving fans an up-close-and-personal view of the New Directions crew as they belt out pop favorites from the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and, um, Men Without Hats. The Pundits say Glee may not convert nonbelievers into diehard Gleeks, but it’s still mightily entertaining, with plenty of showstopping songs, some backstage banter, and an egalitarian spirit that’s tough to resist.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Senna, a documentary about the life and death of the Formula One legend, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.
  • Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a documentary portrait of artist Anselm Kiefe and his large-scale works, is at 86 percent.
  • Scheherazade Tell Me a Story, about an Egyptian talk show host whose outspoken political views threaten her husband’s career, is at 83 percent.

  • Littlerock, an indie drama about a small town as seen through the eyes of a pair of Japanese tourists, is at 83 percent.

Tag Cloud

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