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

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