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

Rock singing competition New York Comic Con BET The Arrangement Calendar nbcuniversal 24 frames adenture Reality Competition heist movie Mary Poppins Returns Amazon aliens Opinion universal monsters Logo Spectrum Originals Martial Arts Binge Guide Television Critics Association Sundance dogs Superheroes hispanic heritage month women 93rd Oscars crime Marvel Turner Classic Movies Showtime dark Pop spider-verse screenings Travel Channel Ghostbusters FXX Marathons cooking Adult Swim Hulu TV Land serial killer book Lifetime Musicals Sundance TV ABC Family films Tomatazos stop motion A&E Epix Grammys Certified Fresh legend Pixar travel Food Network 4/20 quibi FX on Hulu suspense Pirates Brie Larson 2017 cartoon series Biopics TV renewals vampires slasher USA Disney Channel child's play marvel cinematic universe GoT 99% sitcom President Britbox Superheroe gangster Super Bowl Starz TCA Winter 2020 2020 Film dexter Red Carpet NBA hist Schedule Netflix Christmas movies Reality richard e. Grant YA Wes Anderson directors HFPA Animation 90s high school Video Games Awards miniseries Awards Tour italian Winners kids diversity rt labs critics edition BBC America fresh nfl french dc MSNBC Photos politics AMC Plus elevated horror OneApp game show Marvel Television crime thriller Oscars First Look Mary poppins Comics on TV crossover superhero Apple TV Plus Hallmark laika TLC Interview Discovery Channel PaleyFest CMT VICE rt archives ITV cults scene in color Universal latino OWN Freeform Song of Ice and Fire Kids & Family boxoffice streaming movies Bravo Emmy Nominations Music critic resources Acorn TV Hallmark Christmas movies DC Comics SXSW social media finale zombie cars History indiana jones WarnerMedia Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt robots unscripted ViacomCBS children's TV Pet Sematary Hollywood Foreign Press Association spanish justice league rt labs Apple TV+ ID Exclusive Video slashers TNT 2016 Sneak Peek franchise composers dreamworks Peacock reviews green book Comic-Con@Home 2021 blaxploitation Crackle historical drama what to watch psycho binge DC Universe Holidays period drama game of thrones RT History renewed TV shows documentary romantic comedy spy thriller Spike comiccon Rom-Com screen actors guild sag awards Country 72 Emmy Awards toronto Year in Review Comedy Central Classic Film prank leaderboard Broadway international VOD witnail spider-man king arthur HBO Go Pride Month ABC Drama zombies cops Black History Month LGBT cancelled target Cosplay trophy football Prime Video Trivia YouTube E3 a nightmare on elm street Fantasy Film Festival Mudbound spanish language Mystery scary movies zero dark thirty Paramount Network stand-up comedy Marvel Studios blockbuster Fox Searchlight true crime supernatural scorecard Baby Yoda Ovation TBS animated Teen Alien Legendary chucky godzilla Masterpiece medical drama based on movie American Society of Cinematographers Musical Disney Fall TV doctor who 71st Emmy Awards Podcast Neflix First Reviews golden globe awards wonder woman 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards joker 2019 Sundance Now sequel best Quiz 2021 Sony Pictures mockumentary Shudder Countdown basketball Holiday talk show El Rey discovery Polls and Games Thanksgiving SDCC GIFs worst black comedy transformers rom-coms breaking bad festivals crime drama biography Television Academy Lucasfilm Tubi Paramount PBS See It Skip It Hear Us Out new york DirecTV Cannes ratings TV movies Toys Endgame TIFF BBC One hollywood monster movies Amazon Prime Video aapi black award winner asian-american saw pirates of the caribbean 2015 007 japan The Witch movie HBO Tags: Comedy critics reboot free movies Tokyo Olympics christmas movies disaster Esquire halloween Netflix rotten Instagram Live Trophy Talk space mob cats south america feel good harry potter parents FOX ABC Signature VH1 HBO Max LGBTQ X-Men Funimation boxing CW Seed BET Awards GLAAD video on demand sopranos Box Office jurassic park hidden camera Columbia Pictures telelvision docuseries concert teaser Extras Amazon Studios news classics Best and Worst thriller comedies Emmys AMC Summer video festival Star Wars adventure trailers emmy awards Comedy comic book movie TCA 2017 Black Mirror indie Anna Paquin 20th Century Fox Sci-Fi casting Tumblr fast and furious cinemax Walt Disney Pictures Set visit Premiere Dates razzies book adaptation The Walt Disney Company dragons die hard 21st Century Fox Arrowverse Family war halloween tv comics spain live event Mary Tyler Moore FX Rocky Comic Book BBC cancelled TV shows ESPN Lionsgate Watching Series Avengers Elton John james bond canceled ghosts deadpool USA Network Women's History Month RT21 Valentine's Day Vudu IFC Films kaiju CBS All Access San Diego Comic-Con action-comedy Nat Geo mcc debate TV One adaptation television Academy Awards Tarantino YouTube Premium Action movies satire SundanceTV Stephen King TCA Awards Syfy Disney streaming service Mindy Kaling mutant National Geographic tv talk IMDb TV romance popular natural history Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Infographic Character Guide NBC technology art house 79th Golden Globes Awards theme song golden globes hispanic science fiction know your critic The Purge new zealand Disney Plus Nickelodeon Winter TV CBS toy story Christmas rotten movies we love sequels lord of the rings Spring TV Western Pop TV police drama foreign Election blockbusters king kong Writers Guild of America comic book movies anthology Disney+ Disney Plus olympics Paramount Plus dceu docudrama stoner E! CNN vs. marvel comics batman comic books remakes PlayStation WGN 2018 superman archives venice 45 political drama young adult Horror biopic facebook Fox News name the review australia strong female leads Captain marvel Warner Bros. Trailer comic Lifetime Christmas movies DGA Shondaland versus genre independent Turner A24 sports Image Comics kong cancelled television canceled TV shows revenge Amazon Prime Cartoon Network mission: impossible MCU jamie lee curtis 73rd Emmy Awards cancelled TV series obituary NYCC TCM Dark Horse Comics nature Apple anime Star Trek scary YouTube Red Heroines psychological thriller posters Crunchyroll IFC The CW spinoff Fargo 1990s werewolf worst movies TruTV The Walking Dead TV japanese Chernobyl Ellie Kemper BAFTA Creative Arts Emmys DC streaming service dramedy Nominations new star wars movies streaming live action twilight Rocketman royal family The Academy APB all-time Universal Pictures Pacific Islander criterion TCA MTV documentaries