Critics Consensus

Alien: Covenant Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul isn't worth the trip, and Everything, Everything is a tepid weepie.

by | May 18, 2017 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have a group of people no one can hear scream (Alien: Covenant, starring Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston), the continuing saga of a less-than-assertive young man (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, starring Jason Drucker and Owen Asztalos), and a pair of young star-crossed lovers (Everything, Everything, starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson). What do the critics have to say?


Alien: Covenant (2017) 69%


The first two chapters in the Alien saga were so close to flawless that the failures of their subsequent sequels were almost preordained — and yet the allure of the franchise’s sturdy premise continues to prove a powerful draw for audiences as well as the director who helped start it all. With this weekend’s Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott continues building on the Alien origin story he started in 2012’s Prometheus, introducing audiences to another ill-fated space crew whose dreams of a utopian mission are destined to go horribly (and gorily) wrong. Like its predecessor, reviews describe Covenant as a solidly entertaining sci-fi horror outing whose nagging failures are magnified by its evident desire to tackle weighty themes it never satisfactorily addresses — and, of course, its connection to a couple of modern classics. Yet those flaws aren’t enough to keep the majority of critics from recommending the movie, which compensates for a somewhat uneven narrative with strong acting (particularly from Michael Fassbender in a dual role) and plenty of pulse-pounding xenomorph action. And remember, Alien fans: if you like this, Scott’s got at least a couple more installments up his sleeve.


Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017) 20%


Aging out of a role is a fact of life for any franchise actor, but time can be particularly cruel to child stars. To wit: the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, whose original junior stars are now too old to fit their parts, and have been replaced as part of a top-to-bottom casting overhaul for the fourth installment, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. Unfortunately, that roster of fresh faces (which includes Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott as our wimpy kid’s parents) hasn’t improved the franchise’s critical fortunes. While never exactly an acclaim magnet, earlier Wimpy Kid movies managed middling reviews; not so The Long Haul, whose road-trip plot opens up the canvas without adding much of actual interest. If your tastes run toward pratfalls and family-friendly scatological humor, make a beeline for the theater posthaste — but for everyone else, this chapter offers a particularly poor substitute for the best-selling books on which it’s based.


Everything, Everything (2017) 45%


A boy, a girl, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: this is the stuff YA love stories are made of, and Everything, Everything is no exception. Adapted from Nicola Yoon’s novel, this teen-targeted romance seeks to make viewers swoon over the story of a housebound teenager (Amandla Stenberg) whose rare illness prevents her from leaving the safety of her sterile environment — but can’t keep her from falling for the boy next door (Nick Robinson), who’s determined to be with her despite her condition. If three-hankie romances are your thing, in other words, you’ve seen more than a few variations on this type of thing before, and it won’t surprise you to learn that critics aren’t exactly falling over themselves with praise. On the other hand, in the context of the genre, the limited number of reviews have been somewhat surprisingly kind, describing a viewing experience that — while certainly predictable and a little manipulative — more or less achieves its limited goals. If you’re in the mood to cry in the dark with some strangers this weekend, Everything, Everything should just about fit the bill.


What’s New on TV

 

Downward Dog: Season 1 (2017) 90%

The adorable and insightful — though sometimes grating — titular pet elevates Downward Dog from its potentially “ruff” premise into a sweet, intellectual comedy.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Elián (2017) , a documentary look at the headline-grabbing tale of young refugee Elián González, is at 100 percent.
  • The Survivalist (2017) , a post-apocalyptic drama about the fraught connection between three people fighting for their lives, is at 97 percent.
  • Paint It Black (2017) , starring Alia Shawkat as a woman grappling with her grief over the death of her boyfriend — and facing a looming confrontation with his mother — is at 93 percent.
  • Icaros: A Vision (2017) , about the unusual bond that develops between a woman and an Amazonian shaman through ayahuasca, is at 86 percent.
  • Wakefield (2017) , starring Bryan Cranston as a man who abandons his family under exceedingly odd circumstances, is at 83 percent.
  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2017) , a documentary about the only bank indicted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, is at 81 percent.
  • Soul on a String (2017) , about a Tibetan cowboy’s quest to return a sacred stone to a holy mountain, is at 80 percent.
  • Afterimage (Powidoki) (2017) , about an artist’s increasingly miserable experiences under socialist rule, is at 77 percent.
  • The Commune (Kollektivet) (2017) , about the complex repercussions of a couple’s decision to open their home to a group of strangers, is at 72 percent.

Tag Cloud

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