Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Kill Isn't Righteous; Burn Is Hot

Plus, The Women falls flat, and guess The Family That Preys' Tomatometer!

by | September 11, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got tough cops (Righteous Kill, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino), bumbling gymrats (Burn After Reading, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney), gossip girls (The Women, starring Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes), and put-upon moms (Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, starring Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates). What do the critics have to say?

Ten years ago, the mere mention of a film starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino would have raised expectations sky-high, especially after their classic scene together in Heat. Now? The critics’ reaction to Righteous Kill is little more than an indifferent shrug. The Oscar winners star as a pair of New York City detectives on the trail of a serial killer whose work appears tied to a case they handled years before. The pundits say Righteous Kill is thoroughly mediocre, cribbing tough-guy dialogue and plot twists from every cop TV show known to man, and while De Niro and Pacino are fine, the script gives them precious little to work with. At 23 percent on the Tomatometer, Righteous is no killer.

“I guess Keitel was the first one to go.”

It would be nearly impossible for the Coen Brothers to top the critical, commercial, and Academy success that was No Country For Old Men. So with Burn After Reading, they scale down with a lark, a stylish crime comedy that critics say is lightweight but mightily enjoyable nonetheless. Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand star as a pair of dim-witted gym employees who stumble across the memoir of a former CIA agent (John Malkovich) and, foolishly, attempt to exploit their find for personal gain; meanwhile, the spy’s wife (Tilda Swinton) is having an affair with a field marshal (George Clooney), and they get tangled up in the plot as well. The pundits say Burn may be minor Coen, but it’s stylishly crafted and features droll comic performances and an almost sublime sense of stupid fun. At 76 percent on the Tomatometer, this Burn isn’t just hot, it’s Certified Fresh. Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we delve into the Coens’ filmography.)

Looks like these two put their Michael Clayton beef behind them.

Remaking a great film is a dicey proposition; it’s tough to hold on to the elements that made the original compelling while adding a contemporary, fresh spin. And critics say that The Women, despite boasting an outstanding cast, never justifies its existence. Based upon George Cukor‘s 1939 classic of the same name, The Women stars Meg Ryan as a woman who discovers her husband is cheating on her with a younger woman (Eva Mendes); she turns to her close friend (Annette Bening) for help, and ends up betraying her trust. The film doesn’t lack for acting firepower (Jada Pinket Smith Debra Messing, and Bette Midler, among others, are part of the all-female ensemble), but critics say this is a near-total misfire; it lacks the bite, the wit, and class conflict of the original, and it doesn’t offer the shopoholic pleasures of Sex and the City, making for a tepid, misconceived mess. At zero percent on the Tomatometer, The Women is one of the year’s worst-reviewed films. And in case you were wondering, the original, which starred Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Rosalind Russell, is at 90 percent. (Check out Eva Mendes’ top five favorite movies of all time here.)

“The only thing this trip is missing is a case of Old Milwaukee Light.”

The critics have warmed (somewhat) to Tyler Perry‘s films as he’s gone along. But that doesn’t mean he’s warmed to them; as with his last couple pictures, Perry’s latest, The Family that Preys, went unseen by the scribes before release. Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates star as old friends who struggle mightily as their families fall apart around them. Consult you family members (or perhaps even a higher power) for help in guessing that Tomatometer!

Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard in Grand Theft Auto: Middle Age

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Flow: For Love of Water, a documentary about the global impact of a lack of fresh water, is at 100 percent.
  • Secrecy, a doc about government classification of documents and programs, is at 100 percent.
  • Moving Midway, a doc about the strange things that happen when film critic Godfrey Cheshire visits his childhood home in North Carolina, is at 80 percent.
  • Alan Ball‘s Towelhead, a pitch-black comedy about a young Arab-American girl’s coming of age starring Aaron Eckhart and Summer Bishil, is at 55 percent.
  • YPF, a wacky Canadian bedroom farce with an unprintable title, is at 46 percent.
Recent Robert De Niro Movies:
Recent Al Pacino Movies:

Tag Cloud

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