Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Maze Runner Is Better-Than-Average YA Fare

Plus, This is Where I Leave You is too safe; A Walk Among the Tombstones is solid; and Tusk is uneven.

by | September 18, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a mysterious labyrinth (The Maze Runner, starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario), a tense family reunion (This is Where I Leave You, starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey), a grizzled private investigator (A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson and Dan Stevens), and a walrus-obsessed killer (Tusk, starring Justin Long and Michael Parks). What do the critics have to say?

The Maze Runner


Another week, another dystopian young adult novel adaptation. Fortunately, critics say The Maze Runner is better than most, thanks to strong performances and a creepy, mysterious atmosphere. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up with no memory of his past, and finds himself within the confines of the Glade, a vast maze populated by other teenagers. Using clues within the Glade, he begins to piece together the enigma of his existence — and how to escape. The pundits say The Maze Runner‘s setup is more satisfying than its payoff, but overall, it’s smart, well-acted, and visually striking.

This Is Where I Leave You


This is Where I Leave You is a dramedy about a dysfunctional family starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, and many more recognizable faces. Sounds like a winner, right? Well, critics say that despite the best efforts of the cast, the movie only generates occasional laughs. When the Altman family patriarch dies, his wife and children gather to mourn; fairly quickly, deeply-held insecurities, resentments, and family secrets bubble to the surface. The pundits say that while it’s fun to see this many good actors together onscreen, This is Where I Leave You plays everything a bit too safe, with rote characterizations and clichéd conflicts that don’t cut very deep. (Watch our video interview with the cast and crew here.)

A Walk Among the Tombstones


Liam Neeson’s recent transformation into a world-weary vengeance seeker has yielded uneven — though occasionally startling — dividends. Critics say his latest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, falls right in the middle — it’s an old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes noir with better-than-average characters to offset its shopworn plot. Neeson stars as a private investigator who’s tasked with finding those responsible for the murder of a drug trafficker’s wife. He soon learns that the killers are likely to strike again, and vows to hunt them down and stop them before they do. The pundits say that A Walk Among the Tombstones is a relatively routine detective thriller, but it’s skillfully made and benefits from the gravitas Neeson brings to the proceedings. (Check out Neeson’s best-reviewed movies here, and be sure to watch our video interview here.)



Best known for his amiable, observational comedies, Kevin Smith has recently taken a detour into horror with Red State (2011) and now Tusk. And while critics say his latest is inventive and gleefully perverse, its gruesome set pieces coexist uneasily with its macabre sense of humor. Justin Long stars as Wallace, the host of a podcast that spotlights the bizarre and grotesque. He travels to Canada to interview a mysterious loner, who eventually reveals that he intends to turn Wallace into a walrus. The pundits say Tusk certainly doesn’t lack for ambition, but it too often feels strange for its own sake.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Andrew LaPlant for coming the closest to guessing No Good Deed‘s 11 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

Biopics MTV Trailer Action USA Cartoon Network ITV Lionsgate 2015 Photos biography cops LGBTQ TCM El Rey crime Dark Horse Comics Watching Series TV Land Spring TV Mary Tyler Moore History Nat Geo Universal Toys Best and Worst Musical Country sports Opinion Disney President Amazon Bravo GIFs Summer E! Video Games FX Horror Awards Tumblr Masterpiece Freeform Sneak Peek DC Comics TLC VICE supernatural psycho 2017 Cosplay Valentine's Day Grammys CNN IFC First Look Reality Competition Red Carpet GoT historical drama Sci-Fi BET Martial Arts TruTV ESPN PBS Polls and Games period drama NYCC SundanceTV composers based on movie TV Super Bowl diversity Starz police drama CBS All Access APB science fiction thriller American Society of Cinematographers cinemax Tomatazos Animation Writers Guild of America vampires aliens TCA 2017 Box Office Mystery A&E crime thriller Year in Review 24 frames RT History Nominations Kids & Family SDCC Trivia dramedy Fantasy Adult Swim Election AMC discovery TCA Food Network docudrama X-Men Comedy Central harry potter FXX serial killer MSNBC Thanksgiving singing competition TNT ABC Family cooking Fox News DirecTV Countdown Calendar Star Wars Oscars boxoffice Hulu travel Pirates Winners Interview PaleyFest HBO technology BBC Sundance TBS VH1 Rock Schedule crime drama Extras The CW Superheroes Netflix Crackle Character Guide GLAAD Star Trek Rocky ABC zombie 2016 CMT The Arrangement Lifetime Comedy Showtime TIFF Pop Marvel adventure Holidays Comic Book 007 FOX Certified Fresh NBC war Emmys Music Infographic Musicals Rom-Com Set visit Podcast politics Fall TV social media Logo Premiere Dates BBC America Esquire Teen sitcom comiccon Ghostbusters Nickelodeon Winter TV Drama Disney Channel OWN Reality Syfy WGN Marathons CBS