Critics Consensus

American Made Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Battle of the Sexes, Stronger, and Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 are all Certified Fresh, and guess the Tomatometer for Flatliners and A Question of Faith.

by | September 28, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have Tom Cruise racking up some seriously ill-gotten gains (American Made, co-starring Domhnall Gleeson), Ellen Page leading a group of med students (temporarily) to their deaths (Flatliners, co-starring Diego Luna), a landmark tennis match (Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell), a group of people at an unexpected spiritual crossroads (A Question of Faith, starring Richard T. Jones and C. Thomas Howell), and Jake Gyllenhaal triumphing over adversity (Stronger, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany). What are the critics saying?

American Made (2017) 86%

Tom Cruise has scored hits in a variety of genres, but audiences have always loved him best when he’s playing to the type that made him famous: a rakishly charming good guy, with just enough of a cocky rogue’s personality to allow for some fun one-liners and an interesting character development arc. American Made, which reunites Cruise with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, doesn’t quite hew to that formula — but according to critics, it comes close enough to scratch that nostalgic itch while smartly subverting a number of expectations. Cruise stars as Barry Seal, the real-life airline pilot who flipped from drug smuggler to DEA informant, and Liman (working from a script by Gary Spinelli) takes full advantage of a setup that puts the Top Gun hero back in the cockpit and calls for all manner of toothy grinning along the way. Whether you’re after a thought-provoking real-life story or just in the mood for that vintage Cruise control, it looks like American Made is a pretty safe bet.

Flatliners (2017) 4%

The philosopher George Santayana told us that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it — words of wisdom clearly lost on Dr. Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page), who triggers the events of this weekend’s new Flatliners by trying to perfect the death-defying experiments performed by med student Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland) in the movie’s 1990 predecessor. Determined to discover what lies on the other side of life, Holmes and her cohorts follow in Wright’s footsteps… and just like before, it isn’t long until stuff starts to go supernaturally awry. Unfortunately, just as we can’t say for sure whether there’s an afterlife or tell you what might be waiting there, we’re unable to inform you whether the critics have signed off on the 2017 Flatliners, because it wasn’t screened for critics. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for those of you who head out to any Thursday night showings; meanwhile, as we’re waiting for a consensus to develop, let’s all gather ’round for a game of Guess the Tomatometer.

Battle of the Sexes (2017) 85%

It can be easy to feel discouraged about how far we have to go in terms of truly achieving equal rights for all American citizens. But we’ve also come a pretty long way — just over the last few decades — as this weekend’s Battle of the Sexes ably attests. Inspired by the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), this dramedy from Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris looks back with bemusement on the rampant sexism that produced the deep financial inequality leading to King and Riggs facing off, but it isn’t all laughs; although King won the match, a number of the issues she faced then are still with us now, and critics say Battle draws some strong, subtle parallels between its period setting and the present day. Topping it all off are strong performances from a solid cast, led by a fearlessly buffoonish Carell and what some scribes are calling career-best work from Stone.

A Question of Faith (2017) 40%

Whatever else you can say about A Question of Faith, there’s no doubt that it stars this week’s most eclectic ensemble. Facts of Life vet Kim Fields and ’80s heartthrob C. Thomas Howell head up the cast of this drama, in which the lives of three families collide after a series of mishaps that leave dreams in doubt and convictions tested. Actually, that is all we can say about A Question of Faith, because it wasn’t screened for critics. You know what that means: it’s time once more to play Guess the Tomatometer!

Stronger (2017) 90%

What’s the difference between being held up as a hero and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time? For Jeff Bauman, a 2013 Boston Marathon spectator who was among those maimed in the terrorist attack that marred the event and gripped the city in fear, there might not be much difference at all — which is what makes Stronger, an adaptation of Bauman’s memoir starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the author, such a compelling biographical drama. Critics say that in refusing to shy away from the real-life Bauman’s flaws — or turn a blind eye to his tumultuous relationship with Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany), the on-again, off-again girlfriend he was at the marathon to support — the movie does its audience a service by trusting them to identify with its protagonists as recognizably human beings, not to mention giving its stars an opportunity to shine. Working from a screenplay by John Pollono, director David Gordon Green delivers his most affecting drama in years; even if you haven’t run a step since high school P.E., Stronger lives up to its name.

What’s New on TV

Star Trek: Discovery: Season 1 (2017) 83%

Although it takes an episode to achieve liftoff, Star Trek: Discovery delivers a solid franchise installment for the next generation — boldly led by the charismatic Sonequa Martin-Green.

The Good Doctor: Season 1 (2017) 62%

The Good Doctor‘s heavy-handed bedside manner undermines a solid lead performance, but under all the emotionally manipulative gimmickry, there’s still plenty of room to improve.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

First Look comiccon Adult Swim FX Marvel CMT space Reality TNT Elton John Crackle 24 frames DC Universe animated HBO Max Kids & Family Awards Tour YouTube Red See It Skip It green book Writers Guild of America Peacock Thanksgiving Mystery Anna Paquin Paramount social media E! DGA elevated horror Shudder Quiz casting facebook miniseries adaptation dramedy Stephen King Reality Competition Rocketman 007 Freeform children's TV witnail Vudu PBS Extras sitcom Valentine's Day stand-up comedy Action cats 45 Family sports ABC Esquire YA Interview DC Comics docudrama robots X-Men Food Network Comic Book 2016 The Arrangement festivals cooking dc Dark Horse Comics Lucasfilm Epix GoT VH1 vampires mutant Sundance Now Photos Comics on TV NYCC crime Toys Logo tv talk crossover Captain marvel San Diego Comic-Con thriller Pop Sony Pictures USA Cosplay MTV BET doctor who Best and Worst CBS award winner discovery historical drama DC streaming service TCM Brie Larson dceu YouTube Premium 21st Century Fox serial killer Starz Comedy Animation President nature Lionsgate HBO Chernobyl ESPN psycho Warner Bros. Watching Series blaxploitation Rocky hist Film Schedule NBC Year in Review Trailer richard e. Grant Ovation transformers foreign Sneak Peek crime drama talk show Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trivia anthology harry potter Syfy Winter TV sequel Mudbound jamie lee curtis BBC Paramount Network psychological thriller AMC Election teaser Black Mirror Country Sci-Fi Arrowverse dragons revenge CNN mockumentary Pride Month Box Office streaming Musicals Netflix OWN Star Wars Amazon Prime Rock Biopics kids composers The Witch medical drama 71st Emmy Awards movies Musical Ghostbusters zero dark thirty SDCC Mary Tyler Moore Nat Geo RT21 ratings Certified Fresh Summer WGN Fox News romance Film Festival comic Christmas strong female leads History Video Games binge natural history TV quibi National Geographic LGBT SXSW Spike Grammys MCU SundanceTV travel Amazon Prime Video game of thrones 2018 Opinion Music TV Land war Character Guide Winners Set visit spider-man spy thriller Creative Arts Emmys USA Network MSNBC TIFF cults disaster spanish language biography CW Seed ABC Family boxoffice Star Trek Pixar Teen Apple ghosts Pet Sematary based on movie Nominations Amazon APB Drama BBC America Nickelodeon finale television 2019 Walt Disney Pictures Horror Disney unscripted police drama Superheroe Binge Guide Heroines Bravo what to watch Song of Ice and Fire science fiction hispanic Marathons cinemax Cannes Calendar Showtime Podcast cops spinoff Tomatazos ITV IFC Films Trophy Talk period drama Mary poppins adventure Premiere Dates TCA series Rom-Com IFC Red Carpet Martial Arts 2015 spain justice league Mary Poppins Returns Tarantino Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Oscars New York Comic Con south america Women's History Month Fall TV supernatural Acorn TV Infographic Sundance Disney streaming service LGBTQ anime aliens technology TruTV game show book Masterpiece American Society of Cinematographers video VICE Spectrum Originals theme song Super Bowl Television Academy true crime Columbia Pictures cars Britbox RT History The CW zombies Ellie Kemper politics Fantasy golden globes GLAAD toy story Cartoon Network First Reviews Superheroes crime thriller Holidays latino Spring TV Emmys FOX Western Universal GIFs TBS Hulu PaleyFest FXX diversity singing competition WarnerMedia El Rey Awards Pirates Emmy Nominations 20th Century Fox Countdown Disney Channel Shondaland 2017 zombie DirecTV TLC Mindy Kaling Tumblr Lifetime Polls and Games CBS All Access political drama E3 TCA 2017 A&E