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?



Lawless

67%

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

40%

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

30%

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

Rock hist Universal comic critics GLAAD streaming First Look Winter TV romance anime TLC Star Trek Elton John video on demand National Geographic sports MTV Tumblr Sci-Fi Extras Kids & Family Certified Fresh Amazon Studios finale politics docudrama ABC Family The CW jamie lee curtis Black Mirror Hallmark Disney Ovation natural history Nickelodeon E! Comics on TV Women's History Month war BBC One Trivia Spring TV Brie Larson BBC America sag awards binge Columbia Pictures batman festivals HBO Go Marathons 2015 Action CNN Food Network Comedy Central joker RT21 Heroines crime drama Music Masterpiece award winner BET Mystery Election franchise all-time Oscars police drama Sundance Now dogs Crunchyroll YouTube Red Drama American Society of Cinematographers mission: impossible Amazon Prime Pop Quiz FXX cops CBS 24 frames CBS All Access Funimation The Walking Dead boxoffice Tarantino ESPN Arrowverse slashers Thanksgiving San Diego Comic-Con The Arrangement cartoon ITV Premiere Dates Trailer TruTV romantic comedy Amazon Prime Video period drama cults Rom-Com name the review YA Paramount Network Podcast Classic Film television Shudder TBS CW Seed stand-up comedy a nightmare on elm street Musical sequel 2020 Year in Review TCA 21st Century Fox Turner rotten movies we love unscripted Song of Ice and Fire twilight Animation FOX IFC Marvel Studios revenge cars reboot indie TCA Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Syfy blaxploitation concert TV witnail sitcom doctor who canceled TV shows Infographic See It Skip It Comedy anthology Rocky Epix parents 2017 First Reviews justice league Spike Lifetime Christmas movies stoner films Baby Yoda Film Festival nature Teen MCU Superheroes VOD Avengers X-Men Opinion spanish language 2016 BET Awards Martial Arts Holiday cancelled TV shows Winners animated biography mockumentary green book DC Comics Netflix spinoff chucky video Rocketman APB tv talk Comic Book Netflix Christmas movies 007 comiccon diversity Lifetime based on movie cinemax YouTube DC streaming service Freeform NYCC DirecTV Super Bowl Ellie Kemper adventure Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt social media Reality Competition Apple Interview dark Creative Arts Emmys adaptation Nominations Lionsgate spider-man technology Hear Us Out kids Biopics Sundance zero dark thirty blockbuster Cosplay Pet Sematary Ghostbusters documentaries movies TIFF Captain marvel Warner Bros. disaster Amazon movie Apple TV+ Spectrum Originals HBO serial killer comedies Country Crackle theme song SXSW Emmy Nominations GoT criterion cancelled TV series Toys directors halloween independent elevated horror Dark Horse Comics teaser Star Wars screenings thriller psycho Endgame supernatural Starz AMC Bravo cooking Tubi Writers Guild of America space richard e. Grant Calendar Trophy Talk PlayStation El Rey TCA 2017 LGBTQ Disney Plus Fox News breaking bad Red Carpet crime thriller foreign Emmys WarnerMedia Pixar Nat Geo Travel Channel Pirates historical drama book Academy Awards WGN The Purge Superheroe facebook versus free movies 2018 singing competition comics Cannes TNT Anna Paquin vampires Pride Month dramedy Paramount renewed TV shows Schedule Adult Swim TV renewals indiana jones Stephen King Disney Channel latino best Photos MSNBC Watching Series science fiction FX Cartoon Network CMT Set visit Countdown child's play Western 45 Horror Disney streaming service PBS Hallmark Christmas movies E3 documentary Reality USA Network 20th Century Fox ABC Awards miniseries travel south america Summer scary movies Polls and Games Peacock FX on Hulu Awards Tour Acorn TV composers children's TV reviews Britbox NBC Apple TV Plus OneApp A24 SDCC Mindy Kaling IFC Films Christmas harry potter strong female leads Lucasfilm Logo A&E zombies game of thrones dragons Disney+ Disney Plus Binge Guide Best and Worst cats ghosts Box Office Showtime cancelled television TCM Tomatazos ratings Hulu dceu series news golden globes VICE SundanceTV 4/20 die hard YouTube Premium Fantasy Mary Poppins Returns universal monsters mutant what to watch 2019 asian-american cancelled political drama The Witch Valentine's Day talk show Marvel DGA Chernobyl BBC casting werewolf RT History 71st Emmy Awards Family Discovery Channel President Character Guide discovery quibi Sundance TV toy story Mary poppins zombie aliens TV Land transformers crossover Shondaland Marvel Television DC Universe Television Academy spy thriller USA dc OWN Vudu PaleyFest game show Fall TV Esquire Black History Month TCA Winter 2020 Walt Disney Pictures New York Comic Con christmas movies History medical drama spain robots canceled Television Critics Association Musicals VH1 Pop TV psychological thriller Mudbound Turner Classic Movies Mary Tyler Moore BAFTA Holidays hispanic Grammys Film true crime screen actors guild LGBT Sony Pictures GIFs HBO Max satire Sneak Peek Video Games crime