Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a So-So Sequel

Plus, When The Game Stands Tall fumbles, and If I Stay is a sleepy weepie.

by | August 21, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a town without pity (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, starring Josh Brolin and Eva Green), a pigskin powerhouse (When The Game Stands Tall, starring Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern), and a teenage tragedy (If I Stay, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley,). What do the critics have to say?

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


When Sin City was released in 2005, it sent shockwaves through the fanboy universe: it was a comic book movie that really felt like a graphic novel come to life. Nine years later, we get a sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and while critics say its noirish visuals are as astonishing as before, the film’s slow pace and would-be hard-boiled dialogue make for a less satisfying journey. Like its predecessor, A Dame to Kill For is a series of vignettes set within the rainy, pitiless confines of Sin City, a metropolis rife with brutal violence, double-crosses, and vengeance. The pundits say Sin City: A Dame to Kill For benefits from a stellar cast and bleak ambiance, but this material just doesn’t feel as fresh as it used to. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down director Robert Rodriguez’s best-reviewed films.)

When The Game Stands Tall


With the NFL season just around the corner, the inspirational drama When The Game Stands Tall hits theaters to sate the appetites of anyone in desperate need of a football fix. But while critics say the film’s on-field action is visceral and exciting, its script sticks a little too close to the sports movie playbook. It’s based on the true story of the De La Salle Spartans, a Concord, CA high school team that compiled a 151-game winning streak under the calm, thoughtful guidance of coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) before tragedy struck. The pundits say When the Game Stands Tall is best in its smaller, more character-driven moments, but it could use a little more “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah.” (Flip through this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of the best and worst movie coaches.)

If I Stay


There’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned tear-jerker, as long as the tears are jerked honestly. Unfortunately, critics say that’s not the case with If I Stay, a well-meaning, well-acted melodrama that ultimately collapses under the weight of its forced, schmaltzy story. Things are going pretty well for Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) — she’s a Juilliard-bound cellist in a relationship with an aspiring rocker (Jamie Blackley) — until she’s left comatose by a terrible car accident. As Mia clings to life, her spectral presence roams free, checking up on her family and friends while contemplating the afterlife. The pundits say If I Stay offers further proof of Moretz’s talent, but she’s ill-served by clunky dialogue and soapy plotting. (Watch our video interview with Moretz, Blackley, and co-stars Mereille Enos and Joshua Leonard.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • K2: Siren of the Himalayas, a documentary about a trek to the summit of the foreboding mountain, is at 100 percent.

  • Love Is Strange, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as an aging couple who must each find new lodging after losing their apartment, is Certified Fresh at 98 percent.

  • Metro Manila, a thriller about a rural couple who get into big trouble in the big city, is at 96 percent.

  • The Expedition to the End of the World, a documentary about a diverse group of adventurers who journey by boat to a remote area off the coast of Greenland, is at 83 percent.

  • Kink, a behind-the-scenes look at a poplular BDSM website, is at 83 percent.

  • To Be Takei, a documentary about the remarkable life and times of the Star Trek star, is at 81 percent.

  • The One I Love, starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss in a dramedy about a married couple trying to rekindle their relationship while on a romantic getaway, at 79 percent.

  • Salvo, a thriller about a hitman whose life is changed when he spares the life of the blind sister of the man he was ordered to kill, is at 79 percent.

  • 14 Blades, starring Donnie Yen in a martial arts film about an assassin who goes on the run after being betrayed by his men, is at 63 percent.

  • Winter In The Blood, a drama about a drunken man on the trail of his estranged wife and his late father’s rifle, is at 53 percent.

  • May In The Summer, a drama about a celebrated writer whose life is upended by a visit to her family in Jordan, is at 50 percent.

  • The Possession of Michael King, a found footage horror film about a documentarian looking for proof of the supernatural, is at 50 percent.

  • Jersey Shore Massacre, a horror/comedy in which vapid bar-hoppers are stalked by a crazed killer, is at 17 percent.

  • Are You Here, starring Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson in a comedy about a slacker who inherits his father’s estate over the objections of other family members, is at four percent (check out director Matthew Weiner’s Five Favorite Films here).

Tag Cloud

Trivia anime dramedy leaderboard TV king kong DC Comics politics saw IFC NYCC Vudu American Society of Cinematographers docudrama Columbia Pictures Rocketman PaleyFest Hollywood Foreign Press Association WarnerMedia joker Best Director trophy Paramount Plus true crime FX Endgame Quiz social media thriller rt archives medical drama Interview blockbusters HFPA space Crunchyroll Writers Guild of America APB Paramount Network Best Actress summer TV hollywood heist movie doctor who nature Mindy Kaling legend war AMC Plus zombies nbcuniversal Sony summer preview franchise A&E TNT Amazon ID 2019 Nominations critics ghosts FXX all-time Netflix Christmas movies strong female leads blockbuster Ghostbusters Reality Countdown adventure disaster cancelled TV series TCM History sequel comiccon CW Seed green book new star wars movies period drama kaiju Geeked Week spinoff Kids & Family biography GoT genre toronto Television Academy book adaptation Year in Review Pet Sematary BAFTA Disney Plus hist Mystery Hulu CBS Esquire HBO MCU HBO Go Shudder Marvel TV Land Amazon Prime Video quibi Country NBA indie reboot superman Baby Yoda Anna Paquin Peacock Paramount Pictures dceu reviews The Academy Oscar USA australia Paramount Binge Guide Sci-Fi crime drama Amazon Prime Song of Ice and Fire 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards President basketball Universal Pictures scene in color Reality Competition SundanceTV Holiday concert 2015 Instagram Live psychological thriller Winter TV Winners mcc documentary unscripted Podcast 72 Emmy Awards directors award winner NBC golden globes Awards Tour Disney streaming service National Geographic teaser aliens comic book movie rt labs critics edition TBS elevated horror CNN Nickelodeon action-comedy crime thriller binge vs. die hard MSNBC Legendary debate Hallmark Christmas movies Music lord of the rings Pride Month CBS All Access Fox Searchlight Tokyo Olympics Rock GIFs GLAAD criterion Amazon Studios Teen asian-american RT21 BBC One 2020 boxing Brie Larson Trophy Talk Lucasfilm cults news BET kids stand-up comedy Hear Us Out interviews diversity Watching Series hispanic blaxploitation Comic Book travel rom-coms Action ABC scorecard Warner Bros. docuseries sports zombie book Extras Image Comics romantic comedy Broadway YouTube Red series MGM Drama TV movies black comedy south america Premiere Dates Thanksgiving First Look kong stop motion Rom-Com wonder woman Food Network dogs italian Black History Month cooking The Purge mockumentary science fiction ABC Signature 2021 Sneak Peek witnail Martial Arts jurassic park Infographic Discovery Channel nfl Starz revenge mutant high school slasher Fall TV Star Wars Alien Spike 24 frames Oscars Mary Poppins Returns 20th Century Fox monster movies aapi batman ABC Family Pop TV OWN Mudbound MTV BBC America spy thriller justice league facebook scary TLC HBO Max cancelled Biopics Summer Certified Fresh scary movies 79th Golden Globes Awards Travel Channel trailers Cannes composers new york Photos name the review 4/20 broadcast comic X-Men E3 Disney movies Apple technology TV One Women's History Month SXSW Best and Worst First Reviews richard e. Grant Western ratings Musical movie Indigenous 2016 target obituary Comedy Central South by Southwest Film Festival Marvel Television ITV Adult Swim Opinion Election hispanic heritage month VH1 94th Oscars Grammys japanese spider-man Masterpiece Acorn TV Rocky Tumblr Nat Geo Superheroe golden globe awards Exclusive Video Syfy CMT natural history Horror LGBT DC Universe Walt Disney Pictures Black Mirror SDCC know your critic women Tomatazos Ellie Kemper Hallmark feel good anthology 71st Emmy Awards YouTube Premium E! The CW Fargo streamig Toys Film sag awards streaming OneApp DGA 2017 streaming movies venice werewolf New York Comic Con Britbox comic books AMC romance VOD independent talk show emmy awards The Walking Dead comic book movies children's TV art house Family The Witch Tags: Comedy Best Actor 90s canceled summer TV preview chucky FOX cinemax Lifetime Christmas movies Apple TV Plus Focus Features gangster breaking bad Video Games Awards singing competition japan screenings versus black 93rd Oscars The Walt Disney Company Fox News king arthur Pop TIFF crossover remakes Spectrum Originals casting stoner marvel cinematic universe TruTV video child's play rotten popular YA pirates of the caribbean classics football Christmas french sitcom dragons latino godzilla parents adenture Tubi VICE halloween tv Cartoon Network international serial killer El Rey spanish language hidden camera tv talk Cosplay superhero Wes Anderson Valentine's Day scene in color film series ESPN Comics on TV Calendar 2018 Universal SXSW 2022 Comedy Native Elton John dark Pacific Islander IFC Films Disney+ Disney Plus Funimation discovery TCA Awards cats obi wan YouTube comics live event IMDb TV christmas movies television boxoffice dc game of thrones Pirates Star Trek comedies Lifetime Crackle Best Picture Holidays The Arrangement zero dark thirty spanish miniseries rt labs Box Office sopranos Star Wars Celebration target scene in color Captain marvel Chernobyl RT History Classic Film USA Network Avengers robots WGN prank San Diego Comic-Con BBC 007 adaptation Arrowverse LGBTQ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance TV deadpool Sundance Now Spring TV films cars Schedule halloween game show cancelled TV shows Dark Horse Comics laika Epix biopic canceled TV shows Television Critics Association royal family Showtime PBS renewed TV shows Animation slashers Tarantino PlayStation Mary poppins psycho Character Guide twilight a nightmare on elm street cancelled television TCA 2017 Neflix archives finale Apple TV+ sequels posters 21st Century Fox Prime Video See It Skip It Freeform Bravo Logo FX on Hulu jamie lee curtis dexter Academy Awards animated 1990s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Polls and Games scene in color series Sundance Turner mob Netflix new zealand Fantasy Musicals theme song cops Ovation Set visit documentaries young adult what to watch festivals razzies live action 45 TV renewals olympics harry potter based on movie critic resources crime video on demand Super Bowl Sony Pictures Heroines festival vampires Emmy Nominations A24 Stephen King Trailer Superheroes TCA Winter 2020 BET Awards Pixar ViacomCBS Turner Classic Movies cartoon marvel comics Marvel Studios Mary Tyler Moore spider-verse spain 73rd Emmy Awards 99% fresh Comic-Con@Home 2021 screen actors guild supernatural satire rotten movies we love free movies political drama Emmys suspense Lionsgate Creative Arts Emmys DC streaming service dreamworks DirecTV Disney Channel Film Festival toy story mission: impossible transformers Shondaland police drama foreign indiana jones james bond TCA worst movies universal monsters Marathons historical drama Red Carpet telelvision fast and furious worst best