Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Pelham 1 2 3 Doesn't Quite Take

Plus, Imagine That could use a little more imagination.

by | June 11, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a railway heist (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta) and some magical financial advice (Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi). What do the critics have to say?


The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, from 1974, was a stylish mix of comedy and thrills that, despite its reputation, is just dated enough to warrant a remake. However, critics say that Tony Scott‘s take, while slick and hyperkinetic, lacks the grit and cool of the original. John Travolta stars as Ryder, who takes control of a New York City subway car and its passengers, demanding a hefty ransom. Meanwhile, subway dispatcher Garber (Denzel Washington) tries to thwart Ryder’s plot. The pundits say the film is well-acted but has little sense of economy or patience; it’s a well-made but empty exercise. (See our feature “A Hundred Years of Heist Films,” in which we break down the caper genre by decade.)


Imagine That

Imagine That has an intriguing premise, especially in these economically tumultuous times: what if a child’s fantasy world could predict the ebb and flow of the stock market? Unfortunately, critics say Imagine That does little with its setup, despite solid work from Eddie Murphy and newcomer Yara Shahidi. Murphy stars as Evan Danielson, a financial advisor who spends little time with his daughter. That changes when he discovers that her drawings and imaginary friends appear to have a preternatural understanding of the investment world. But will Evan learn to become a better dad? The pundits say Murphy is admirably restrained, and Shahidi is a natural, but the film around them is only sporadically amusing; it’s also overly gimmicky and predictable. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Murphy’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, a documentary about the great Senegalese singer and his attempt to bridge the musical divide between the sacred and the secular, is at 100 percent.
  • Food Inc., a doc about corporate control (and the lack of governmental oversight) over the food industry, is at 95 percent.
  • Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey in a dark thriller about corporate skullduggery on the lunar surface, is at 90 percent.
  • Sex Positive, a doc about the complex life and times of gay health activist Richard Berkowitz, is at 67 percent.
  • Blast!, a doc about a team of tenacious scientists and their search for the origins of life on Earth, is at 60 percent.
  • Francis Ford Coppola‘s latest, Tetro, starring Vincent Gallo as a man living in Buenos Aires and haunted by his past, is at 50 percent.

Tag Cloud

cults foreign Esquire Film Festival Mary Poppins Returns 20th Century Fox Emmy Nominations historical drama police drama travel Watching Series Turner Classic Movies LGBTQ die hard Winter TV Food Network concert Amazon Trophy Talk Britbox Columbia Pictures screenings renewed TV shows Oscars independent LGBT Certified Fresh Fantasy TCA Winter 2020 hist Lucasfilm See It Skip It Cannes emmy awards Nickelodeon Awards Tour Spring TV best Musical versus documentary sports IFC Country Mudbound true crime SundanceTV CBS Nat Geo 2015 dark Rocketman sitcom The CW Black History Month DC Comics Countdown Box Office elevated horror TCA 2017 Western CBS All Access christmas movies Freeform Pet Sematary Heroines HBO Go Paramount Hallmark Christmas movies GoT stand-up comedy Grammys Super Bowl Tumblr Red Carpet game of thrones finale Video Games BBC golden globes cooking BBC One Crackle FX on Hulu rotten Photos batman Biopics X-Men Black Mirror A24 2016 biography scary movies Music slashers Anna Paquin DC Universe vampires Election boxoffice zombies The Witch Epix free movies Musicals discovery cancelled Brie Larson Pop VH1 obituary cats Crunchyroll Hallmark werewolf screen actors guild Hulu politics superhero IFC Films USA Network name the review The Purge Awards American Society of Cinematographers indiana jones video Hear Us Out Ovation Syfy Lifetime Christmas movies nature Extras award winner movie social media Polls and Games Best and Worst docudrama History Trivia Disney Women's History Month tv talk serial killer Sundance TV Pop TV Television Critics Association dceu parents RT History El Rey Holiday hollywood Adult Swim a nightmare on elm street 2017 DGA Family Reality Competition Funimation Binge Guide supernatural richard e. Grant canceled TV shows space Elton John Mary Tyler Moore Sundance sequel YA game show blaxploitation DirecTV Amazon Studios kids Television Academy Rom-Com teaser 45 First Look Creative Arts Emmys theme song Comic Book psychological thriller Fall TV series romance anthology First Reviews twilight Superheroe MCU 4/20 Acorn TV 24 frames children's TV universal monsters Bravo crime drama book ESPN thriller Thanksgiving FX TLC TruTV SDCC crime 72 Emmy Awards romantic comedy mockumentary VICE ABC Spectrum Originals south america joker revenge APB casting Christmas Toys Apple TV+ Superheroes AMC 21st Century Fox cancelled TV series Rocky Quiz spanish language indie TV renewals justice league reviews FOX TNT cancelled TV shows quibi SXSW Lionsgate Sony Pictures sag awards CW Seed Logo documentaries TBS 007 Pride Month cancelled television NBC comic Disney+ Disney Plus Disney Channel facebook VOD Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BBC America Paramount Network 71st Emmy Awards war period drama psycho Drama Marathons Animation Cartoon Network Winners Comedy Central BET Awards cartoon cinemax YouTube Red PlayStation animated satire Netflix Holidays Amazon Prime aliens binge festivals child's play TV Land Schedule Interview jamie lee curtis what to watch Martial Arts Podcast dragons laika Opinion Reality The Arrangement Teen Shondaland halloween Masterpiece television streaming comics ghosts 2018 criterion movies BAFTA Academy Awards Nominations cars PaleyFest Netflix Christmas movies diversity franchise adventure Turner adaptation dogs Emmys WarnerMedia Character Guide Tomatazos Spike Trailer Universal FXX RT21 nbcuniversal 2020 worst Star Wars OneApp political drama canceled doctor who YouTube Premium news critics spy thriller blockbuster Rock technology Year in Review E! rotten movies we love San Diego Comic-Con DC streaming service unscripted MTV Comics on TV witnail Shudder crime thriller toy story USA New York Comic Con BET Showtime MSNBC YouTube TV Walt Disney Pictures Valentine's Day Stephen King films Mindy Kaling stoner all-time comiccon Film mission: impossible Warner Bros. Premiere Dates Cosplay hispanic Disney Plus Set visit Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Dark Horse Comics CMT Marvel Television Apple TV Plus Calendar Sneak Peek zero dark thirty HBO ratings Pirates science fiction Baby Yoda composers anime dc robots harry potter directors fast and furious TCM Infographic Captain marvel crossover Starz Ghostbusters A&E stop motion Lifetime Classic Film President E3 video on demand WGN GIFs Disney streaming service spider-man Writers Guild of America Sundance Now disaster Travel Channel NYCC miniseries Star Trek Marvel Studios Sci-Fi comedies The Walking Dead reboot Marvel 2019 cops spain PBS ITV Mary poppins CNN natural history TCA Awards Mystery Tubi Peacock asian-american HBO Max classics Comedy Song of Ice and Fire ABC Family National Geographic mutant singing competition TCA zombie transformers Ellie Kemper dramedy Amazon Prime Video Apple Horror Summer Kids & Family Vudu strong female leads Chernobyl medical drama Avengers green book OWN Tarantino Arrowverse talk show Endgame Fox News GLAAD based on movie Pixar breaking bad chucky Action TIFF spinoff latino Discovery Channel