This week at the movies, we’ve got a dog and his boy (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, with voice performances by Ty Burrell and Stephen Colbert) and some raging Spartans (300: Rise of an Empire, starring Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green). What do the critics have to say?
It’s never easy to stretch a series of shorts to feature-film length, especially when the source material is largely unfamiliar to its intended audience. Fortunately, critics say Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a mostly successful big screen adaptation, with enough cleverness and goofy action to please kids and their parents. Canine genius Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) and his adopted charge Sherman (Max Charles) use the WABAC machine to travel back in time and ensure that history’s greatest moments happen as they should. However, when Sherman takes the machine for a joyride to impress a classmate, it’s up to his doggie guardian to rescue him. The critics say Mr. Peabody & Sherman sometimes strains to maintain the inspired lunacy of the original cartoons, but most of the time, it’s bright, funny, exciting, and heartfelt. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some memorable time travel movies, as well as our interviews with the cast.)
If you’re in the mood stylized bloodshed, you’re in luck: 300: Rise of an Empire is chock full of beheadings, hacked-off limbs, and gallons of blood. But critics say beyond its admittedly impressive visuals, the film is short on the heroic bombast of its predecessor. This time out, it’s a band of plucky seafaring Greeks, lead by Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against the mighty Persian navy, headed by Artemisia (Eva Green); as we eventually learn through a series of flashbacks, this fight is partially driven by personal animosity. The pundits say Green is fantastic as a bellicose she-devil, but little resonates in 300: Rise of an Empire beyond the lovingly rendered killings and decapitations. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of big stars in togas.)
Miele, a drama about a woman who secretly helps people with terminal illnesses to die on their own terms, is at 100 percent.
Particle Fever, a documentary about the physicists working to find the Higgs boson particle, is at 92 percent.
In Fear, a thriller about a couple that gets lost en route to a would-be romantic getaway, is at 90 percent.
Journey To The West, Stephen Chow‘s adaptation of the classic Chinese novel about a Buddhist monk’s epic excursion from China to India, is at 90 percent.
Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring Ralph Fiennes and Saoirse Ronan in a period comedy about the adventures of a concierge and the oddball inhabitants of an ornate hotel, is Certified Fresh at 86 percent.
Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack in a thriller about a concert pianist who must deliver a flawless performance to stave off a sniper, is at 82 percent.
Bethlehem, a drama about the tense relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and a Palestinian informant, is at 65 percent.
The Face of Love, starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris in a drama about a widow who meets a man who’s the spitting image of her dead husband, is at 53 percent.
Haunt, a horror film about a family that moves into an old house and stirs a malevolent curse, is at 20 percent.