Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Kick-Ass 2 Misses the Target; Lee Daniels' The Butler is Moving and Well-Acted

Plus, Paranoia is a misfire, and Jobs fails to get inside its subject's head.

by | August 15, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got teenage superheroes (Kick-Ass 2, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz); a White House domestic worker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey); corporate killers (Paranoia, starring Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman); and a tech titan (Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher and Dermot Mulroney). What do the critics have to say?



Kick-Ass 2

32%

The first Kick-Ass was a canny mix of ultra-violence and dark humor that busted through taboos and earned an appreciative cult audience. But sequels are known for taking what once seemed fresh and making it stale, and critics say that while Kick-Ass 2 maintains the energy and bad taste of the original, it’s largely bereft of any saving wit or satirical ambitions. This time out, Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is being targeted by his old frenemy Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), while Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) discovers that her high school classmates can be as ruthless as any supervillain. The pundits say the cast (particularly Moretz) is fine, but the trouble is that the film’s once- transgressive sense of humor now comes across as merely sadistic and unsavory. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Jim Carrey’s best-reviewed movies, and check out our gallery of cinematic vigilantes.)



Lee Daniels’ The Butler

72%

Bringing history to life on screen is no small task, but it’s made considerably easier if you have a great cast at your disposal. Critics say Lee Daniels’ The Butler benefits from outstanding performances that lend gravitas to an earnest, ambitious look at a few decades’ worth of African American history. The film chronicles America’s social changes and political upheaval from the mid-1950s to the 1980s through the eyes of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a butler whose employment in the White House spans eight presidential administrations. The pundits say Lee Daniels’ The Butler has moments of contrivance, but overall it’s a thoughtful and deeply affecting look at our tumultuous recent past.



Paranoia

7%

It’s got a cast of hot newcomers (Liam Hemsworth, Amber Heard) and reliable old pros (Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman) as well as a timely theme (corporate chicanery); unfortunately, what Paranoia lacks, say critics, is a believable script and a sense of tension. Liam Hemsworth stars as an ambitious tech firm employee who finds himself in a deadly world of intrigue after his boss (Oldman) tasks him with stealing a competitor’s cell phone prototype. The pundits say Paranoia mostly goes through the motions, failing to generate much interest in its predictable plotting and unsurprising twists. (Watch our video interviews with the stars of Paranoia here.)



Jobs

28%

Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was many things to many people; those who knew him described him as an innovator, a perfectionist, a wellspring of charisma, and a petty tyrant. Unfortunately, critics say Jobs spends too much time on the events in its subject’s life and not enough on the man in all his complexities. The movie follows Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) from the early days of Apple to the triumph of the iPod; the pundits say the script is mostly surface-level, following the biopic formula without bringing its fascinating central character to life.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Cutie And The Boxer, a documentary about the complex marriage of two accomplished Japanese painters, is at 96 percent.
  • This Is Martin Bonner, a drama about a recently-divorced man who gets a job helping parolees readjust to society, is at 91 percent.
  • Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in a drama about an imprisoned bank robber and the woman and child he left behind, is at 76 percent.
  • The Patience Stone, a drama about a woman in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who shares a lifetime of pent-up frustrations with her badly injured husband, is at 71 percent.
  • Austenland, starring Keri Russell and Bret McKenzie in a comedy about an obsessive Pride and Prejudice fan who finds romance at a Jane Austen-themed resort, is at 39 percent.

Tag Cloud

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