Critics Consensus

A Quiet Place and Blockers Are Certified Fresh

Plus, Chappaquiddick and The Miracle Season prove not all true stories are adapted equally, and season 2 of Legion is also Certified Fresh.

by | April 5, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have some uniquely taciturn horror (A Quiet Place, starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt), parental prom panic (Blockers, starring Leslie Mann and John Cena), a serving of volleyball drama (The Miracle Season, starring Helen Hunt and William Hurt), and a Kennedy scandal revisited (Chappaquiddick, starring Jason Clarke and Kate Mara). What are the critics saying?


A Quiet Place (2018) 96%

Every discerning horror fan understands the key role sound plays in a great genre flick — although it’s usually pointed out as a way of highlighting a filmmaker’s lazy reliance on cheap jolts in place of true elemental dread. We get to see the opposite in action with A Quiet Place, the latest directorial outing from Office vet John Krasinski. Starring alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt, Krasinski (who also co-wrote the screenplay) plunges audiences into a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has been largely wiped out by a horde of insect-like aliens, and the last remaining stragglers must keep silent in order to remain undetected by the invaders. Our protagonists have managed to carve out a hardscrabble life for their family, but Blunt’s character is heavily pregnant — all of which lays the foundation for a movie that pretty much every critic has lauded as a smart, wickedly frightening good time at the movies. Filmgoers who are allergic to horror may want to steer clear, but for everyone else, A Quiet Place is shaping up to be one of the year’s best-reviewed wide releases, as well as yet another example of our ongoing genre renaissance. Get yourself a ticket, but you might want to skip the popcorn — the less sound you make during this movie, the better.


Blockers (2018) 84%


The post-Bridesmaids era has seen Hollywood awaken to the reality that women can carry a raunchy comedy just as well as men — yet while it’s hard to fault their belated enthusiasm for ribald female-led laughs, the results haven’t always been as easy to celebrate. Happily, that isn’t the case with Blockers, which finds Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon moving behind the camera to direct the tale of three high school seniors (Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon) determined to lose their virginity on prom night — and the increasingly desperate efforts of their parents (Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena) to stop the deflowering at all costs. In terms of setup, it’s little more than a gender-swapped take on the type of “losin’ it” teen comedies the industry has been cranking out for decades; fortunately, there’s a lot more to a movie than its setup, and critics say this is a very funny case in point. There’s plenty of gross-out humor, to be sure — audiences may never look at Cena’s rear end and/or beer bongs the same way ever again — but the gags are brought to life by an exceptionally talented cast, and balanced by the type of intelligence and empathy that aren’t often found in this genre.


The Miracle Season (2018) 52%


As we’ve discussed countless times in this space, a formula only becomes a formula because it works — and the inspirational sports drama is a perfect case in point. Once you’ve watched a few of them, it’s fairly easy to predict the storyline beats and when they’ll be hit, but no matter how many times we see people triumph over adversity through bonding over competitive games, it can still be powerfully effective when it’s done right. To its credit, The Miracle Season does a couple of things that suggest it’ll be a worthy and/or somewhat novel addition to the genre, including hiring Helen Hunt and William Hurt to star and centering the plot around girls’ high school volleyball; unfortunately, critics say none of it is enough to outweigh director Sean McNamara‘s overall failure to capture the heart-wrenching true story of a squad that bands together in pursuit of the state championship after the death of their star player. Reviews point to a movie that’s occasionally bluntly effective in its aggressive pursuit of the audience’s tear ducts, but unless you’re really into volleyball and/or hugely emotional final acts, consider yourself advised to stay on the sidelines for this one.


Chappaquiddick (2017) 80%


As a political dynasty as well as an American family, the Kennedys have weathered more than their share of stranger-than-fiction developments, enjoying generations of historic good fortune while also suffering searing tragedy and shame. One of the darker chapters gets its due with this weekend’s Chappaquiddick, which focuses on the scandal that erupted — and was ultimately quelled — when Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) drove off a bridge, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). It’s obviously a sordid story, the truth of which remains beyond the grasp of any biopic, but critics say this one mostly hits the mark; Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan‘s screenplay takes a balanced approach to the tabloid-friendly details, while Jason Clarke’s performance as Kennedy artfully resists caricature on multiple levels. There’s certainly no shortage of movies about the members of this family, but Chappaquidick fits solidly into the oeuvre.


What’s New on TV

Legion: Season 2 (2018) 91%

Legion returns with a smart, strange second season that settles into a straighter narrative without sacrificing its unique sensibilities.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Endless (2017) , about two brothers who return to the site of their cult upbringing in a potentially misguided attempt to make peace with their childhood, is at 100%.
  • Lowlife (2017) , a dramedy using a cross-cutting narrative approach to the story of several people mixed up in an L.A. organ harvesting ring, is at 100%.
  • Pandas (2018) , an IMAX documentary about snakes — just kidding, it’s pandas — is at 100%.
  • Rogers Park (2017) , about the intertwining lives of people residing in the titular Chicago neighborhood, is at 100%.
  • The Heart of Nuba (2016) , a documentary about the heroic efforts of a lone doctor and his small staff in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, is at 100%.
  • Sweet Country (2017) , about an Australian aborigine who goes on the run after he’s forced to violently defend himself against his employer, is at 95%.
  • Lean on Pete (2017) , starring Charlie Plummer as a boy who finds companionship while caring for a horse at his local racetrack, is Certified Fresh at 89%.
  • You Were Never Really Here (2017) , starring Joaquin Phoenix as a veteran who channels his haunted past into tracking down missing girls, is Certified Fresh at 86%.
  • Big Fish & Begonia (2016) , an animated outing from Chinese filmmakers Xuan Liang and Chun Zhang, is at 78%.
  • Where Is Kyra? (2017) , starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a woman whose life is upended after the death of her mother, is at 74%.
  • Spinning Man (2018) , a twisty mystery starring Guy Pearce as a chief suspect in a young woman’s disappearance, is at 43%.
  • Shelter (2017) , a drama centering on a Mossad agent holed up with an informant who’s recovering from identity-concealing plastic surgery, is at 29%.

Tag Cloud

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