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

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