Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Taken 2 Is Less Than Captivating

Plus, Frankenweenie is Certified Fresh, and Pitch Perfect is toe-tapping fun.

by | October 4, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a kidnapping plot (Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen), a reanimated pooch (Frankenweenie, with voice work from Charlie Tahan and Winona Ryder), and a cappella all-stars (Pitch Perfect, starring Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow). What do the critics have to say?



Taken 2

21%

Why would anyone mess with Liam Neeson’s family again, given the brutal swath he cut in the first Taken? That’s a great question, say critics, who find Taken 2 to be largely bereft of the kinetic thrills — and surprises — that made the original a hit. Neeson is back as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, who must use every skill in his arsenal when his ex-wife and daughter are kidnapped in Istanbul by vengeance-driven family members of the folks who abducted Mills’ daughter last time. The pundits say Taken 2 is essentially a rehash of its predecessor, but without the logic, coherence, and excitement required to keep it fresh. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames, in which we present a gallery of rough-and-tumble old guys.)



Frankenweenie

87%

Tim Burton has always had a taste for the macabre, and a love for outsiders. Critics say those fixations dovetail nicely in Frankenweenie, an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story. Young Victor is a lonely middle schooler who spends his days working on bizarre science projects in the company of his faithful dog Sparky. When Sparky is fatally wounded, Victor is able to bring him back to life; in doing so, however, he unwittingly unleashes a plague of monsters on his normally placid hometown. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Frankenweenie may not be Burton’s best, its twisted sensibility and sweetness harkens back to the director’s earlier classics. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Burton’s best-reviewed films.)



Pitch Perfect

80%

At first glance, Pitch Perfect sounds like little more than a big-screen Glee. However, critics say this tale of a college a cappella competition has panache and goofy good humor that make it stand out from the pack. Anna Kendrick stars as a new kid on campus who goes looking for a new clique and finds one in the form of the school’s a cappella ensemble. Can our heroine’s hip taste in tunes shake up the group’s staid arrangements — and make it a contender at the big singing competition? The pundits say Pitch Perfect‘s plot is awfully tired, but the performances — particularly the scene-stealing Rebel Wilson — are excellent, and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well. (Find out Kendrick’s Five Favorite Films here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

Superheroes Awards Holidays Star Trek Ghostbusters CBS All Access 007 E3 TruTV Opinion Writers Guild of America Winners Esquire Emmys Action Sci-Fi what to watch Spring TV Countdown Calendar PaleyFest based on movie thriller Nat Geo Marathons E! Video Games crime thriller justice league 24 frames TCM dramedy psycho 2015 transformers 21st Century Fox Schedule Warner Bros. Sundance Now MSNBC supernatural Creative Arts Emmys Character Guide boxoffice TV Musicals Kids & Family period drama crime BBC America Netflix Spike singing competition politics police drama crime drama Comic Book Certified Fresh Starz Red Carpet Toys Rom-Com Grammys FXX Country Logo Best and Worst historical drama ABC serial killer Mindy Kaling travel BET AMC American Society of Cinematographers El Rey Super Bowl LGBTQ Amazon PBS NYCC 2017 OWN science fiction Marvel TV Land USA Network Extras binge Tumblr Photos 2016 Cartoon Network Horror Crackle WGN Universal Thanksgiving Fantasy romance medical drama Acorn TV sports dceu VICE Valentine's Day TIFF Syfy Comedy VH1 GIFs Pop Disney ABC Family FX HBO Interview Christmas Rock History Star Wars Tomatazos Music CBS talk show aliens Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt social media political drama sitcom TLC X-Men Hulu DC Universe Trivia Drama Comedy Central Martial Arts Pirates dc Animation Fox News Western Podcast Lifetime GoT Sneak Peek Biopics The Arrangement President vampires Britbox YA USA Mystery BBC DC Comics See It Skip It Paramount Food Network cinemax Infographic 45 The CW Ellie Kemper CMT Freeform Fall TV Summer golden globes adventure cops TBS Polls and Games Sundance SDCC harry potter Pixar spy thriller Set visit Adult Swim DirecTV TNT war Showtime diversity Mary Tyler Moore First Look Dark Horse Comics Election ESPN Winter TV Rocky Musical TCA 2017 technology Cosplay Masterpiece Nickelodeon Year in Review cats MTV Box Office Lionsgate Trailer Reality Competition Disney Channel ratings APB discovery docudrama composers zombie Reality Bravo RT History Premiere Dates Nominations biography IFC CNN Oscars Teen Paramount Network NBC Watching Series GLAAD ITV FOX A&E SundanceTV comiccon TCA cooking