Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: John Carter Gets Lost in Space

Plus, Silent House is spooky but uneven, and A Thousand Words has little to say.

by | March 9, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a swashbuckler on Mars (John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins), a sinister dwelling (Silent House, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Adam Trese), and a man left speechless (A Thousand Words, starring Eddie Murphy and Kerry Washington). What do the critics have to say?

John Carter


After earning near-universal acclaim for Finding Nemo and WALL-E, Pixar wiz Andrew Stanton takes a big leap into live action filmmaking with the much-ballyhooed John Carter. The result, critics say, is something of a mixed bag: while John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization. Taylor Kitsch plays the title character, a Civil War vet who finds himself teleported to Mars and in the midst of a conflict between warring tribes. Can he save the Red Planet and get back to Earth? The pundits say John Carter‘s retro-futurist look is cool, and several action set-pieces deliver the goods, but those unfamiliar with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ source novels may have trouble keeping track of everything that’s happening.(Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Willem Dafoe’s best-reviewed movies.)

Silent House


Right off the bat, Silent House has two intriguing points in its favor: the whole film is one long unbroken shot, and it stars the excellent Elizabeth Olsen. But while critics say the movie is atmospheric and often quite chilling, its climax is a big letdown. During a weekend stay at her family’s lake house, Sarah (Olsen) becomes trapped by menacing intruders and ominous noises. For the next hour and a half, Sarah tries to uncover the true nature of this malevolent force — and escape with her life. The pundits say Silent House is more technically proficient and ambitious than most fright-fests, but it also suffers from a disappointing payoff. (Check out Olsen’s Five Favorite Films here.)

A Thousand Words


In last year’s Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy reminded critics that his rapid-fire comedic talent is still very much intact. Unfortunately, critics say those attributes are in short supply in A Thousand Words, an oddly sour, desperate comedy that robs its star of his most valuable asset: his way with words. Murphy plays Jack, a slick, occasionally unscrupulous literary agent who finds a magic tree in his backyard. The tree sheds a leaf every time Jack speaks, and he soon realizes that both he and the tree will die unless he learns to express himself differently. The pundits say A Thousand Words is hyperactive and obvious, with Murphy flailing about in order to wring laughs out of subpar material.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about the octogenarian that’s considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is at 100 percent.
  • The Oscar-nominated Israeli drama Footnote, about a professional conflict between father-and-son Talmudic scholars, is at 88 percent.
  • Shakespeare High, a doc about California high schoolers performing some of the Bard’s greatest works in a prestigious regional competition, is at 88 percent.
  • Sound of Noise, a comedy/thriller about a music-averse cop who must thwart a gang of criminal musicians, is at 88 percent.
  • Attenberg, a coming-of-age dramedy about a young Greek woman dealing with both her father’s impending death and her own romantic awakening, is at 76 percent.
  • The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, a doc about the literally transformative love affair between the Psychic TV frontman and his bandmate, is at 73 percent.
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in a dramedy about a fisheries expert tasked with bringing fly fishing to a desert nation, is at 66 percent (check out Blunt’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Friends With Kids, starring Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in a comedy about a group of close friends dealing with the effects of familial responsibility on their love lives, is at 57 percent (check out co-star Megan Fox’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Good for Nothing, a parody of macho old-school Westerns, is at 40 percent.
  • The Decoy Bride, starring Kelly Macdonald and Alice Eve in a romantic comedy about a movie star who hastily assembles a fake wedding to ward off paparazzi interest in her nuptials, is at 25 percent.

Tag Cloud

strong female leads Elton John CBS disaster Turner sitcom Universal IFC Films CW Seed tv talk Best and Worst Valentine's Day PBS Song of Ice and Fire RT21 Disney+ Disney Plus Stephen King biography NBC Chernobyl ghosts anthology The Witch blaxploitation BET See It Skip It YouTube Red FX docudrama period drama police drama BBC spain Sundance Now Holidays Captain marvel Film Festival harry potter Black Mirror Peacock President Brie Larson American Society of Cinematographers TCM 21st Century Fox Fox News Oscars Writers Guild of America National Geographic TCA Pirates space Nickelodeon TIFF zombies breaking bad hist Columbia Pictures cartoon facebook robots Shondaland Opinion mutant romance ITV Winter TV cinemax Mystery Extras canceled south america Rocky nature Marvel Infographic zombie Disney Channel E! zero dark thirty TNT theme song Freeform Tarantino FXX New York Comic Con TruTV Star Wars miniseries Syfy Mindy Kaling ABC A&E PaleyFest Crackle TCA 2017 Emmy Nominations Comedy Musical Watching Series CMT Sundance Heroines GIFs Awards Grammys based on movie 2015 Walt Disney Pictures YA cancelled TV shows Crunchyroll joker Anna Paquin anime Mary Poppins Returns Ovation Sci-Fi Calendar Mudbound Sony Pictures what to watch versus Television Academy movies SundanceTV Video Games First Look Trophy Talk Emmys Tomatazos jamie lee curtis DC streaming service The CW cops The Purge medical drama Summer spider-man Rock Bravo USA MCU psychological thriller ABC Family serial killer Shudder cooking Marvel Television Kids & Family Epix Certified Fresh Spectrum Originals psycho composers Hulu Lionsgate Pet Sematary BBC America MSNBC romantic comedy Tumblr book Superheroe GLAAD indie Musicals Marathons Hallmark Christmas movies discovery teaser Amazon Prime Video Comedy Central TV Land DGA game of thrones Horror Podcast Britbox Paramount war Film Sneak Peek Warner Bros. political drama GoT Marvel Studios Fantasy CBS All Access dc mockumentary First Reviews rotten movies we love Dark Horse Comics Fall TV richard e. Grant Spring TV LGBT festivals batman television Comics on TV video VH1 Masterpiece Comic Book DC Comics CNN supernatural History Western Rocketman true crime kids doctor who justice league revenge Food Network free movies RT History politics Drama 2019 Trailer Family slashers TV renewals 007 2018 finale Box Office Christmas Creative Arts Emmys Red Carpet sequel Set visit animated 20th Century Fox series MTV WGN talk show USA Network X-Men comic comiccon Binge Guide quibi vampires Toys cancelled Nat Geo Starz toy story streaming Holiday casting 71st Emmy Awards Pride Month Netflix Christmas movies children's TV natural history Lifetime SXSW blockbuster Classic Film ratings Action golden globes science fiction dramedy green book boxoffice The Walking Dead Disney Plus spanish language NYCC screenings Cannes Logo crossover A24 Paramount Network Pixar singing competition latino LGBTQ Interview Superheroes cancelled TV series Mary poppins binge crime drama Character Guide Netflix halloween Lifetime Christmas movies 45 Quiz spy thriller historical drama dragons christmas movies game show cars independent Hallmark Vudu Country Spike Martial Arts FOX Awards Tour DC Universe cats dceu Disney streaming service Countdown social media renewed TV shows Chilling Adventures of Sabrina thriller elevated horror Trivia crime thriller YouTube TBS Thanksgiving Women's History Month Star Trek APB sports unscripted stand-up comedy Amazon Teen cancelled television IFC YouTube Premium TLC SDCC Reality Amazon Prime diversity E3 adaptation 24 frames Year in Review Rom-Com technology 2017 Music Election crime OWN HBO Animation Turner Classic Movies Apple hispanic Arrowverse DirecTV Premiere Dates El Rey award winner Esquire AMC Nominations werewolf 2016 Photos Cosplay Lucasfilm aliens spinoff canceled TV shows Cartoon Network Schedule Super Bowl Showtime Adult Swim foreign VICE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Apple TV Plus Acorn TV Biopics Ellie Kemper adventure Polls and Games Disney cults Mary Tyler Moore transformers Reality Competition travel TV witnail Apple TV+ HBO Max WarnerMedia Winners Ghostbusters ESPN San Diego Comic-Con The Arrangement Pop