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

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