Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Hits the Skids

Plus, This Means War fights a losing battle, and The Secret World of Arrietty is Certified Fresh.

by | February 17, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a combustible biker (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicolas Cage and Idris Elba), lovestruck spies (This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine), and a very little girl (The Secret World of Arrietty, with voice work from Bridgit Mendler and Amy Poehler). What do the critics have to say?



Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

18%

It appears the Ghost Rider franchise may be in desperate need of a tune up: Spirit of Vengeance wasn’t screened for American critics prior to its release, and the UK scribes who’ve seen it say it lacks the gonzo panache of its predecessor, 2007’s Ghost Rider. Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) returns as a stuntman-cum-satanic bounty hunter who teams up with a group of rebel monks in an attempt to end his tenure in the employ of the Prince of Darkness. The pundits say Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is chaotic, disjointed, and desperately short on trashy thrills.



This Means War

26%

What if the characters in Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy duked it out over a woman? That’s the basic premise of This Means War, but unfortunately, critics say its blend of screwball comedy and action is surprisingly flat. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy star as a pair of CIA operatives who discover that they’re both dating the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Soon, they’re each using their espionage skills to learn as much as they can about her in order to win her heart. The pundits say This Means War strands its talented stars in unlikeable roles, and its script lacks both coherence and mirth.



The Secret World of Arrietty

95%

For the last quarter century, Studio Ghibli’s animated features have bewitched and inspired kids and grownups alike, and the critics say they’ve got another winner with The Secret World of Arrietty, an exquisitely beautiful, whimsically charming fairy tale. Arrietty is the story of a family of tiny people who live quietly under the floorboards of a country home, occasionally borrowing various household items from the normal-sized humans without attracting notice. One day, however, teenaged Arrietty is discovered by a 12-year-old boy staying at the house, and their ensuing friendship threatens to undermine her family’s way of life. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Secret World of Arrietty is more modest in scope than such Ghibli classics as Spirited Away or Kiki’s Delivery Service, but its boundless imagination and careful attention to detail make for a sweet, inspiring film for all ages. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down the best of Studio Ghibli.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Oscar-nominated documentary Undefeated, about a perennially mediocre high school football team’s push for its first ever playoff spot, is at 91 percent.
  • Best Foreign Language Film nominee Bullhead, a drama about a cattle farmer who runs afoul of the mafia, is at 85 percent.
  • Thin Ice, starring Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin in a black comedy about an insurance salesman who tries to con an old farmer out of a potentially valuable violin, is at 83 percent.
  • The Forgotten Space, a doc about the downside of global trade, is at 80 percent.
  • Michael, a drama about an outwardly mild-mannered man who’s secretly keeping a 10-year-old boy captive in his basement, is at 69 percent.
  • On the Ice, a thriller about a pair of Alaskan teenagers who share a dark secret, is at 57 percent.
  • Putin’s Kiss, a doc about a member of a Kremlin-approved youth organization who begins to question her allegiances, is at 50 percent.

Tag Cloud

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