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

43%

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

19%

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

36%

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

spy thriller Disney streaming service Mystery HBO Mary Tyler Moore Pet Sematary Awards Tour Sundance Now Adult Swim Premiere Dates Epix NYCC cooking IFC Films ESPN golden globes Character Guide spider-man comiccon crossover robots Sony Pictures miniseries Family GIFs TV Land 2019 supernatural Country talk show book SXSW medical drama what to watch Logo SDCC Netflix Lucasfilm strong female leads CNN toy story Podcast Pirates crime thriller Teen History The Arrangement Rom-Com AMC Video Games adventure comic BET Comic Book Trailer SundanceTV Polls and Games TV Nickelodeon thriller Musicals DC Universe Watching Series Infographic Columbia Pictures Set visit CMT Emmy Nominations Writers Guild of America zero dark thirty Paramount animated cats IFC psychological thriller Comedy Central MCU crime facebook Spike Food Network Kids & Family TIFF YA Schedule Marathons Calendar Valentine's Day RT21 spinoff award winner ABC Family Reality Competition Cosplay Election sequel CW Seed Star Trek Paramount Network WGN E3 The Witch Apple National Geographic Comedy BBC America Ellie Kemper finale period drama TLC Red Carpet jamie lee curtis Anna Paquin Amazon Prime Captain marvel Biopics Quiz Tarantino 2018 nature 007 WarnerMedia zombies Dark Horse Comics harry potter Oscars television Crackle Grammys mutant 20th Century Fox Chernobyl PBS Acorn TV mockumentary police drama blaxploitation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt American Society of Cinematographers HBO Max quibi Spring TV Creative Arts Emmys San Diego Comic-Con elevated horror Elton John Brie Larson Certified Fresh tv talk festivals Summer theme song Martial Arts cops Vudu sitcom Photos Cartoon Network kids ABC USA Network BBC DC streaming service Comics on TV TCA 2017 TNT Fantasy DC Comics sports Amazon unscripted Animation dceu 24 frames TCM Trivia Rocketman GLAAD E! based on movie Syfy TruTV vampires Song of Ice and Fire Film Festival Box Office space historical drama Masterpiece Black Mirror Star Wars Thanksgiving adaptation binge aliens biography Warner Bros. Marvel Sci-Fi X-Men El Rey Nat Geo FOX DirecTV travel 21st Century Fox Mudbound LGBTQ witnail Mary poppins richard e. Grant TBS Drama war Sneak Peek zombie revenge romance children's TV TCA Ghostbusters psycho 2016 Film technology Interview Rocky Lifetime YouTube Premium Pride Month Binge Guide PaleyFest RT History dragons Horror streaming Mindy Kaling Winners serial killer President Pixar science fiction DGA Rock FXX CBS Fox News Superheroe OWN Tomatazos Heroines Music Christmas natural history Superheroes New York Comic Con social media 2015 Super Bowl boxoffice Bravo Showtime Western cults singing competition composers GoT Britbox Cannes LGBT Musical Shondaland Trophy Talk Countdown disaster Starz Tumblr Mary Poppins Returns The CW Reality MTV APB VH1 diversity discovery First Look Women's History Month ratings anthology Stephen King green book Best and Worst politics justice league Disney Shudder Pop MSNBC movies 45 Year in Review Awards doctor who Lionsgate political drama Nominations NBC CBS All Access Spectrum Originals Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ITV crime drama anime ghosts Walt Disney Pictures Sundance See It Skip It teaser Fall TV cars Holidays docudrama dramedy game show Universal Opinion Winter TV Extras series transformers Freeform FX Hulu Amazon Prime Video VICE Esquire YouTube Red 2017 Action Toys USA cinemax Ovation Disney Channel A&E dc casting true crime hist Emmys