This week at the movies, we’ve got a turbulent flight (Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore) and the greatest story ever told (Son of God, starring Diogo Morgado and Greg Hicks). What do the critics have to say?
Having proven his tough-guy bona fides on the streets of Paris (Taken), in the desert (The A-Team), across the wolf-infested tundra (The Grey), and on the sea (Battleship), Liam Neeson brings his unflappable demeanor (and his unforgiving fists) to the skies in Non-Stop. Critics say the result is reasonably entertaining but utterly preposterous, with a few good fight scenes and a couple groan-worthy plot twists. On a flight from New York to London, federal air marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a text informing him that a passenger will be killed every 20 minutes unless $150 million is deposited into a secure bank account. The pundits say Non-Stop benefits immeasurably from Neeson’s hard-bitten presence, but its implausible plot proves distracting over the long haul. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Neeson’s best-reviewed films.)
The life of Jesus has inspired filmmakers since the dawn of cinema, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new ways of telling even the most familiar of stories. Unfortunately, critics say Son of God is well-meaning but dramatically inert, a film that recounts the major events of the Gospels without delving more deeply into Jesus’ message. Son of God is an abridged version of the History Channel’s 10-hour miniseries The Bible starring Diogo Morgado as the King of Kings; you probably know the broad outlines of the story by now. The pundits say Son of God‘s greatest hits approach fails to generate much heat or passion.
The Oscar-nominated animated feature Ernest & Célestine, about the friendship between a mouse and a bear, is at 100 percent.
The Lunchbox, starring Irfan Khan in a romantic dramedy about an unwitting penpal relationship between a neglected housewife and a lonely widower, is at 96 percent.
Two Lives, starring Liv Ullmann in a drama about a woman whose past comes to light with the fall of the Berlin Wall, is at 86 percent.
Fatal Assistance, a documentary about the troubled relief effort in the wake of the 2009 Haiti earthquake, is at 71 percent.
Stalingrad, an IMAX 3D epic about the brutal World War II battle, is at 48 percent.
Almost Human, a sci-fi horror flick about a man who returns to earth after being abducted by aliens, is at 42 percent.
Odd Thomas, starring Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe in a supernatural thriller about a small town resident with the ability to see ghosts, is at 29 percent.
HairBrained, starring Brendan Fraser and Parker Posey in a comedy about the friendship between a precocious teen and a fortysomething slacker at a small liberal arts college, is at 22 percent.
The Bag Man, starring John Cusack and Robert De Niro in a thriller about a crook hired to make a delivery to a powerful crime lord, is at 9 percent.
Chlorine, starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Kyra Sedgwick in a dramedy about a banker who scams a tennis pro in an upscale suburb, is at zero percent.