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

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