Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Counselor is Eccentric but Uneven

Plus, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is rude, ribald, and funny, and Blue Is The Warmest Color is Certified Fresh.

by | October 24, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an amoral attorney (The Counselor, starring Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz) and an onerous octogenarian (Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, starring Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll). What do the critics have to say?

The Counselor


On paper, The Counselor‘s pedigree is impeccable: its credits include a top-notch director (Ridley Scott), an A-list cast (Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz), and a screenplay from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Cormac McCarthy). However, critics say the result is a bit of a jumble, a collection of eccentric performances and interesting scenes that never fully coheres into a strong narrative. Fassbender stars as a financially strapped lawyer who invests in a risky drug deal; when the transaction is inevitably botched, our hero plunges into a demimonde of sketchy characters and increasingly desperate straits. The pundits say The Counselor is never less than watchable, but its dour tone and occasionally confusing storyline keeps the story from being fully absorbing. (Flip through this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of the best and worst movie lawyers.)

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa


It appears that Johnny Knoxville has taken the words of Dylan Thomas to heart; playing a misanthropic old man in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, he does not go gentle into that good night. And critics say that’s mostly a good thing, for while this Borat-esque hidden camera comedy is pretty hit-and-miss, it still offers plenty of rude, ribald fun. There’s a loose storyline this time — Knoxville stars as Irving Zisman, a mischievous 86-year-old on a road trip with his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) — but it’s mostly an excuse to string together a series of outrageous gags that shock unsuspecting onlookers. The pundits say Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa rises and falls on the strength of its jokes, but some of them are gleefully, shockingly crude, and Nicoll nearly steals the show with his pitch-perfect comedic chops. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of cinema’s most wild and crazy old people.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • I Am Divine, a documentary about John WatersPink Flamingos muse, is at 100 percent.
  • The Square, a doc about the politics of Egypt since the demonstrations in Tahrir Square in early 2011, is at 100 percent.
  • The Palme d’Or-winning Blue Is The Warmest Color, a coming-of-age drama about a teenager who falls in love with an older art student, is Certified Fresh at 92 percent.
  • When I Walk, a documentary about a filmmaker suffering from multiple sclerosis, is at 88 percent.
  • Torn, a drama about two women who form a bond after their sons are killed in a bombing, is at 86 percent.
  • Spinning Plates, a doc about the innovative staff members who work at three cutting edge restaurants, is at 82 percent.
  • Toad Road, an indie thriller about a group of teenagers whose debauchery leads them to investigate a creepy local legend, is at 80 percent.
  • Capital, starring Gabriel Byrne in a drama about the Machiavellian schemes to wrest control of a bank when its CEO dies unexpectedly, is at 75 percent.
  • Blood Brother, a doc about an American who works in an orphanage for HIV-infected children in India, is at 73 percent.
  • Claire DenisThe Bastards, a neo-noir about a man with an unconventional plan to avenge his brother’s suicide, is at 63 percent.

Tag Cloud

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