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

62%

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

45%

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

76%

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

60%

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

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