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

79%

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

crime romance Musicals Extras hist ESPN Spring TV Winter TV Box Office transformers Warner Bros. The CW cinemax period drama biography DC streaming service President Kids & Family Nominations Freeform Video Games discovery Fox News talk show Mystery Creative Arts Emmys Pirates TIFF SundanceTV Thanksgiving VH1 Universal golden globes Nat Geo GoT Polls and Games serial killer USA Logo Syfy Britbox science fiction A&E Schedule TCA 2017 BBC GLAAD boxoffice Rocky travel political drama APB Sneak Peek docudrama Masterpiece historical drama zombie TruTV BET Rom-Com Lionsgate Star Trek composers BBC America SXSW Marvel police drama Bravo NYCC Rock Amazon CNN First Look cooking Acorn TV Lucasfilm Fantasy Podcast Tumblr RT History The Arrangement ratings Marathons FX psycho Trivia See It Skip It Writers Guild of America singing competition 20th Century Fox medical drama Paramount Network MSNBC politics Photos Netflix Ghostbusters justice league supernatural FXX Red Carpet Drama cops Crackle PaleyFest Tomatazos crime thriller binge GIFs zombies unscripted Showtime DC Universe Character Guide crime drama TCM Sony Pictures AMC SDCC 45 Grammys technology dceu ITV Summer harry potter 2016 Comic Book History E! Paramount LGBTQ 2017 Interview Esquire cults Animation Music Year in Review Oscars Pop Reality Competition sports CBS DC Comics Infographic diversity Certified Fresh vampires Reality Western dramedy festivals Mindy Kaling TV Land National Geographic Pixar Disney Channel Election TLC Emmys Star Wars Musical USA Network Food Network IFC Martial Arts NBC robots Lifetime YA Country Cartoon Network Trailer Action Winners Cosplay Best and Worst Dark Horse Comics crossover Spike Opinion Sci-Fi Hulu sitcom 007 21st Century Fox Comedy Central E3 DirecTV Sundance Now TV PBS war Adult Swim what to watch 2015 Disney American Society of Cinematographers WGN Ellie Kemper based on movie HBO cats X-Men Toys Teen Shondaland CBS All Access OWN comiccon spy thriller Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt VICE Premiere Dates El Rey Super Bowl Watching Series TNT Awards thriller CW Seed Christmas Holidays social media Horror adventure TCA Countdown Superheroes MTV CMT FOX Biopics aliens ABC Family TBS IFC Films Starz Sundance YouTube Red finale Valentine's Day Nickelodeon Fall TV Set visit 24 frames Mary Tyler Moore dc Calendar Superheroe Comedy ABC