This week at the movies, we’ve got aging agents (Red, starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman) and gumptious goofballs (Jackass 3-D, starring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O). What do the critics have to say?
Only a scant few weeks after The Expendables came and went, along comes another movie about a ragtag bunch of oldsters operating heavy firearms. Happily, the critics say Red makes for a goofy, action-packed good time – it’s witty, high-spirited, and loaded with loose, good-humored performances from a stellar cast. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich star as retired CIA agents whose immense knowledge of top-secret intel put them in the crosshairs of their former employers. Can this crew of over-the-hill agents survive long enough to pull the lid on a huge government conspiracy? The pundits say Red doesn’t always fire on all cylinders — its mix of comedy and suspense is sometimes uneasy – it’s ultimately a fun romp, and much of the delight comes from watching these excellent actors at their most relaxed. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Mirren’s complete filmography.)
It’s hard not to have at least a little grudging affection for the Jackass posse: how many others have risked life and limb in such inventively absurd ways for our entertainment? But if Jackass Number Two represented an advance in terms of (relative) critical respect for the gang, the pundits aren’t quite as enthused about Jackass 3-D, which they say is more of the same shtick with limited multi-dimensional ornamentation. Once again, messers Knoxville, O, Margera, and many more perform acts that you should never, ever try at home — stunts involving jet skis, porta-potties, Santa suits, and wild animals. But the critics say this movie lacks the inspired stupidity of the group’s previous efforts, and the 3-D effects aren’t as eye-popping — or stomach-churning — as one would hope.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Samson and Delilah, a meditation on the lives of two displaced Indigenous Australian teens, is at 97 percent.
Carlos, Olivier Assayas’s biopic of notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is at 93 percent.
Margarethe von Trotta’s Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, a biopic of a pioneering and extraordinary nun, is at 86 percent.
Down Terrace, a comedy about quarrelling father-and-son crime bosses, is at 80 percent.
Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard in a supernatural drama about three people dealing with questions about the afterlife, is at 69 percent.
Conviction, starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in the based-on-true-events tale of a woman who went through law school to free her brother from prison, is at 64 percent.
The Two Escobars, a documentary about the infamous drug kingpin and his friendship with a soccer star with the same last name, is at 60 percent.
Gerrymandering, a doc about the politics behind congressional redistricting, is at 33 percent.
Carmo, Hit the Road, a drama about a pair of outlaws who find love while on the lam, is at 20 percent.
And finally, mad props to the festively-monikered Easter In The Batcave for coming the closest to guessing My Soul to Take‘s six percent Tomatometer.