Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Lawless Is Violent and Atmospheric

Plus, The Possession is mostly scare-free, and The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure is more weird than enchanting.

by | August 30, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got bootlegging brothers (Lawless, starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy), a bedeviled box (The Possession, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick), and some bewitching balloons (The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure, featuring Toni Braxton and Christopher Lloyd). What do the critics have to say?



Director John Hillcoat (The Road) has carved out a niche as a filmmaker skilled at wringing empathy from bleak and bloody scenarios. Critics say his latest, Lawless, is brilliantly acted and evocatively atmospheric, which helps it to overcome the script’s sometimes slack narrative. Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy star as Prohibition-era bootleggers whose business is threatened both by rival hooch-makers and crooked cops who want a cut of their profits. A wave of violence ensues. The pundits say Lawless‘ plot occasionally meanders, but it’s viscerally powerful and features fine performances from a top-notch cast. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Gary Oldman’s best-reviewed movies.)

The Possession


Plenty of horror flicks have ripped off The Exorcist, so The Possession earns points for injecting a dash of Jewish mysticism into the bedeviled-tot subgenre. Otherwise, critics say, this is a pretty ho-hum frightfest, and despite strong performances and smooth direction, it’s both clichéd and light on scares. Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as a divorced dad who’s unsettled by his young daughter’s obsession with an antique wooden box purchased at a yard sale, which contains a malevolent spirit from Jewish folklore. The pundits say The Possession is a little better than many of its ilk, but it’s still a pretty by-the-numbers supernatural thriller. (Check out 24 Frames for a pictorial rundown of cursed movie items.)

The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure


If you’ve got (really) little kids, there’s a decent chance they’ll enjoy The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure, a colorful, sweet family musical. However, critics say grown-ups may find this odd slice of juvenilia to be overly saccharine and pretty far from toe-tapping. The plot: the Oogieloves are planning a birthday party for a friend, but complications ensue when their magical balloons fly away. Our heroes embark on a quest to retrieve the balloons, and team up with likes of Toni Braxton, Christopher Lloyd, and Cloris Leachman for some musical numbers along the way. The pundits say The Oogieloves is gentle and well-intentioned, but the songs are forgettable and the whole enterprise is more weird than enchanting.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Bullet Vanishes, a period mystery about a murder investigation in 1930s China, is at 100 percent.
  • The Ambassador, a gonzo documentary about a man who impersonates a diplomat with the expressed intention of smuggling blood diamonds out of the Central African Republic, is at 74 percent.
  • For a Good Time, Call…, starring Seth Rogen and Ari Graynor in a comedy about a pair of cash-strapped roommates who work as phone-sex operators, is at 66 percent.
  • The Good Doctor, starring Orlando Bloom as a young resident who becomes obsessed with a beautiful patient, is at 60 percent.
  • Tsui Hark‘s The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, starring Jet Li as the leader of a group of fighters defending the people from a tyrannical leader, is at 56 percent.
  • Little Birds, starring Juno Temple and Leslie Mann in a drama about two teenage girls who leave their depressed small town for a turbulent big city experience, is at 50 percent.
  • The Tall Man, starring Jessica Biel in a horror film about a woman who searches frantically for her missing son, is at 44 percent.
  • One Day On Earth, a documentary that chronicles a single day from every country on the planet, is at 43 percent.
  • The Day, starring Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Bell in a post-apocalyptic thriller about a group of friends attempting to fend off cannibals, is at 29 percent.
  • Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, a drama about a young man who has to decide between clubbing and love, is at six percent.

Finally, props to Richard Dempsy for coming the closest to guessing The Apparition‘s two percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

USA Fox News Amazon CW Seed Disney Tubi RT21 dramedy Sony Pictures Sundance Now Grammys ITV The Walking Dead A24 comiccon CBS Rocketman Trailer Lionsgate transformers Marvel Television PBS discovery TLC spinoff Martial Arts Acorn TV Ellie Kemper biography TruTV Nominations politics Netflix Christmas movies travel doctor who comic NBC Tarantino Holidays San Diego Comic-Con Warner Bros. Trivia Box Office Super Bowl Britbox TCA New York Comic Con Brie Larson Marvel Biopics 45 The CW social media movies VICE ABC medical drama historical drama HBO toy story Amazon Prime MCU Lucasfilm Video Games Trophy Talk Pop Food Network TIFF Kids & Family Stephen King Schedule technology free movies Action blaxploitation true crime cooking Crackle E! Nickelodeon HBO Max Winners Apple TV Plus war Country Watching Series TV renewals DC Universe Countdown GIFs miniseries Apple romantic comedy award winner spy thriller video TNT Calendar DC streaming service robots cops Disney Channel streaming binge boxoffice Musicals Turner USA Network Opinion NYCC mutant sports golden globes ratings cars El Rey Epix VH1 hispanic TCA Winter 2020 festivals SundanceTV Mary Tyler Moore green book spider-man GLAAD cartoon Mindy Kaling sitcom ghosts Disney Plus Awards crime Universal rotten movies we love what to watch Showtime Adult Swim CMT dragons Bravo 2019 SDCC Television Academy witnail werewolf Comic Book Discovery Channel TV Land Rocky anime theme song GoT blockbuster tv talk aliens OWN Pirates Family IFC Films talk show 2016 Sundance TV political drama Hallmark Christmas movies Paramount Network Set visit Crunchyroll YouTube Premium crime thriller LGBT zero dark thirty anthology revenge Writers Guild of America Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Superheroes versus Valentine's Day Thanksgiving Hulu canceled Extras Avengers harry potter period drama game show Netflix Best and Worst Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mary poppins Film Binge Guide Photos Fantasy police drama First Reviews justice league slashers Tomatazos cults Fall TV BBC facebook The Witch vampires Christmas Summer Character Guide Captain marvel First Look Film Festival Turner Classic Movies Awards Tour Podcast Rock crime drama ESPN AMC based on movie stand-up comedy Music thriller Columbia Pictures dc DGA south america Logo PaleyFest science fiction Syfy Certified Fresh WGN cancelled TV shows nature X-Men Song of Ice and Fire Tumblr halloween richard e. Grant Ghostbusters Pixar Walt Disney Pictures Rom-Com Baby Yoda cats breaking bad Election Spring TV The Arrangement Red Carpet kids Drama foreign cinemax zombie Disney streaming service Animation name the review Sneak Peek BET Sci-Fi elevated horror space 007 series comics cancelled television Anna Paquin Star Wars Paramount Lifetime Christmas movies Toys Black Mirror The Purge Cartoon Network TCM Winter TV Classic Film Pride Month hist indie Peacock See It Skip It children's TV renewed TV shows directors Elton John casting Quiz YouTube Red quibi screen actors guild LGBTQ diversity jamie lee curtis FOX 21st Century Fox 2018 RT History Cosplay disaster Chernobyl MTV TBS Musical TCA 2017 Amazon Prime Video adaptation Oscars Spectrum Originals Marathons latino MSNBC Academy Awards reboot Ovation christmas movies batman Masterpiece Esquire DC Comics Shondaland natural history singing competition Superheroe finale book FX Holiday CBS All Access Star Trek CNN IFC Shudder Mary Poppins Returns Pet Sematary 20th Century Fox SXSW Dark Horse Comics docudrama cancelled TV series psycho zombies psychological thriller Starz Interview Apple TV+ DirecTV serial killer E3 Mudbound 71st Emmy Awards 2017 supernatural Comics on TV Nat Geo Comedy Central A&E Western television Endgame OneApp composers YouTube Creative Arts Emmys Comedy spain sequel Horror Heroines Women's History Month Emmy Nominations Reality Competition BBC America WarnerMedia sag awards National Geographic Arrowverse Vudu Freeform joker 2015 Teen Spike Emmys cancelled 2020 strong female leads Sundance President Reality Mystery crossover documentary romance Premiere Dates TV Infographic teaser FXX History Marvel Studios Polls and Games unscripted Disney+ Disney Plus Lifetime spanish language adventure canceled TV shows animated American Society of Cinematographers Year in Review dceu Cannes screenings YA independent APB Hallmark mockumentary 24 frames ABC Family game of thrones