Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Book of Eli Is a So-So Read

Plus, The Spy Next Door gets razed, and The Lovely Bones misfires.

by | January 14, 2010 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got Biblical bloodshed (The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman); neighborhood intrigue (The Spy Next Door, starring Jackie Chan and George Lopez); and life after death (The Lovely Bones, starring Saoirse Ronan and Mark Wahlberg). What do the critics have to say?



[tomatometer]MuzeID=10010488[/tomatometer]

The Book of Eli

For those who like their religious parables with plenty of fire and brimstone, The Book of Eli should be up your alley. That said, most critics say Eli is a bit of a muddle. Denzel Washington stars as the title character who, even though he walks through a post-apocalyptic, illiterate wasteland, will fear no man, for he carries the last known copy of the Good Book — as well as plenty of deadly weaponry. Standing in his way is the frontier-town despot Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who wants to get his hand on the book. The pundits say The Book of Eli has its moments, adding some originality to the recent glut of cinematic dystopias. However, others say it’s awfully inconsistent, and never quite achieves the gradeur it’s aiming for. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Washington’s best-reviewed films.)



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1220593[/tomatometer]

The Spy Next Door

Not since the days of Buster Keaton has anyone combined slapstick comedy with astonishing stunt work quite like Jackie Chan. However, critics say his talents are risibly misused in The Spy Next Door, a flat, witless family action/comedy. Chan stars as a former CIA agent who retires after marrying a widow with three kids, but is forced back into action when he and the little urchins are threatened by evil spies who are hell-bent on world destabilization. The pundits say The Spy Next Door is one of Chan’s worst ever, a juvenile, generic, sticommy mess that utterly fails to thrill or amuse.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1189344[/tomatometer]

The Lovely Bones

With the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson proved he could adapt complex literary material for the screen with aplomb. However, critics say he’s on much shakier ground with his latest, based on Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Saoirse Ronan plays Susie, a 15-year-old who explores the afterlife after being murdered by a neighbor; Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play her grieving parents, who try to pick up the pieces in the wake of Susie’s death. The pundits say The Lovely Bones marks an odd miscalculation on Jackson’s part — the special effects overwhelm the humanity of the story, and the film fails to find a consistent tone. (Check out Jackson’s Five Favorite Films, as well as our interview with star Susan Sarandon.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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