Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: RoboCop is Half Man, Half Machine, Half Fresh

Plus, About Last Night is funny and insightful, while Endless Love and Winter's Tale are romantic duds.

by | February 13, 2014 | Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day! This week at the movies, we’ve got futuristic law enforcement (RoboCop, starring Joel Kinnaman and Gary Oldman); a star-crossed romance (Endless Love, starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde); a time-spanning battle between good and evil (Winter’s Tale, starring Colin Farrell and Jennifer Connelly), and the complexities of love (About Last Night, starring Kevin Hart and Regina Hall). What do the critics have to say?

RoboCop

48%

A wicked satire disguised as a sci-fi action flick, Paul Verhoeven‘s RoboCop was one of the most brutal and subversive mainstream films of the late 1980s. The best critics can say for the new RoboCop is that it’s well-acted and reasonably exciting, but it lacks the visceral grit that made the original so compelling. When Detroit detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is badly injured on the job, a military contractor fits him with a robot exoskeleton in an attempt to create the ultimate crime fighter. The pundits say RoboCop is sleek and competent, but it’s short on the risk-taking verve of its predecessor. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of movie cyborgs.)

Endless Love

16%

The original Endless Love was no great shakes, but it at least earned points for audacity. Critics say the biggest problem with this remake is that it’s pretty bland, lacking the passion and energy to make this anything other than a middling melodrama. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde stars as teenagers from different sides of the tracks who fall in love, but complications ensue when her dad demands she break up with him. The pundits say Endless Love boasts some solid supporting performances, but it’s hobbled by a predictable plot and a shortage of fireworks.

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Winter’s Tale

13%

Winter’s Tale has it all: time travel, magic realism, deathless passion, and even Satan himself. What it lacks, critics say, is logic, coherence, and restraint, and the result is an unintentionally funny schmaltz-fest that’s more likely to inspire befuddlement than swooning. It’s 1915, and Peter (Colin Farrell) has fallen in love with Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay) while robbing her family’s mansion. When she dies of consumption, he finds himself in the present-day, where he bonds with Virginia (Jennifer Connelly) and tries to escape a demon (Russell Crowe). The pundits say Winter’s Tale looks pretty, but it’s so over-earnest and inexplicable that it ultimately falls far short of its ambitious aims. (Check out our video interview with the cast of Winter’s Tale, as well as this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Connelly’s best-reviewed movies.)

About Last Night

69%

Plenty of movies capture the buzz of infatuation at the beginning of a love affair. What makes About Last Night special, critics say, is that it’s also wise about the ups and downs that follow — and it’s often hilarious to boot. The movie follows Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) from their first meeting to an eventual break up; meanwhile, their friends Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Joan (Regina Hall) share a combustible bond of their own. The pundits say About Last Night doesn’t reinvent the romantic comedy wheel, but it’s refreshingly honest and insightful, and it provides a fine showcase for Hart’s onscreen talents.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The New Black, a documentary about the campaign to drum up African American support for same-sex marriage in Maryland, is at 78 percent.

  • The Returned, a sci-fi thriller in which a medicine used to contain a zombie outbreak is running low, is at 60 percent.

  • Lucky Bastard, a found-footage thriller about a porn website that recruits a contest winner for a voyeuristic and humiliating film, is at 58 percent.

  • Jimmy P., starring Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric in a drama about an anthropologist who treats a World War II vet who suffered a debilitating head injury, is at 50 percent.

  • Adult World, starring Emma Roberts and John Cusack in a comedy about a recent college grad and aspiring poet who reluctantly takes a job at an adult bookstore, is at 44 percent.

  • Easy Money: Hard to Kill, starring Joel Kinnaman in a crime drama about an ex-con who sinks deeper into the drug trade, is at 27 percent.

  • Girl On A Bicycle, a romantic comedy about an engaged bus driver who falls for a woman he accidentally injures, is at zero percent.

Finally, props to Alex Meyer for guessing Vampire Academy‘s 10 percent Tomatometer.

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