Critics Consensus

American Ultra is Half-Baked

Plus, Hitman: Agent 47 and Sinister 2 both misfire badly, and Show Me a Hero is Certified Fresh.

by | August 20, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a reluctant assassin (American Ultra, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart), a remorseless assassin (Hitman: Agent 47, starring Rupert Friend and Zachary Quinto), and remorseless revenant (Sinister 2, starring James Ransone and Shannyn Sossamon). What do the critics have to say?

American Ultra (2015) 44%

American Ultra has a pretty ingenious premise: what if a perpetually stoned slacker was a brainwashed killing machine? Unfortunately, critics say this would-be mashup of The Manchurian Candidate and Pineapple Express is undone by an inconsistent tone, veering wildly between laughs and ultraviolence — though stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart make a charming pair. Eisenberg plays Mike, a small-town layabout who lives blissfully unaware that he was once trained as a CIA super soldier. When the agency decides to eliminate him, his dormant powers are activated and chaos ensues. The pundits say American Ultra is quite sweet and charming in spots, but it devolves into the kind of mediocre shoot-em-up it seemed to parody in the first place.

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) 8%

Hitman: Agent 47 is a sequel/reboot to a video game adaptation that wasn’t particularly loved to begin with. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that critics say it’s a bland, shallow action flick that heaps more loving care on its shootouts than its characters. Rupert Friend stars as the titular assassin, who acquired his murderous talents as part of a secret government experiment. He’s tasked with tracking down a woman who knows secrets about the program’s origins. The pundits say Hitman: Agent 47 is thoroughly generic stuff, and its occasional flashes of craft do little to elevate its hollow emotional core.

Sinister 2 (2015) 15%

In Sinister, a writer moved into a house that was bedeviled by a ghoul that lurked within the frames of old Super 8 films. Critics say Sinister 2 is haunted as well — by a dull script and a decided lack of scares. Shannyn Sossamon stars as a woman who moves into an isolated farmhouse with her sons to escape her abusive husband. Soon, however, the malevolent spirit Bughuul turns up with his box of haunted Super 8 reels. Critics say Sinister 2 substitutes jump scares for real tension, and it’s only on the strength of the acting that the film sustains any interest.

 What’s Hot on TV


Show Me a Hero: Season 1 (2015) 96%

Show Me a Hero is an impressively crafted period drama whose timely themes prove as absorbing as its engaging, compassionately drawn characters.

Fear the Walking Dead: Season 1 (2015) 76%

Fear the Walking Dead recycles elements of its predecessor, but it’s still moody and engrossing enough to compete with the original.

Kevin From Work: Season 1 (2015) 55%

Kevin From Work relies on raunchy jokes delivered by unsavory characters, but the show’s gags hit their targets often enough to elevate a rather routine premise.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release


  • Being Evel (2015) , a documentary portrait of legendary motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, is at 100 percent.
  • Blood Cells (2014) , a drama about a transient laborer haunted by family secrets, is at 100 percent.
  • Station to Station (2015) , which documents a cross-country train trip and features short works by a wide range of artists, is at 90 percent.
  • Grandma (2015) , starring Lily Tomlin in a comedy about a woman who visits a bunch of old friends iin order to borrow money to help her granddaughter out of a jam, is at 88 percent.
  • The Iron Ministry (2014) , a semi-experimental documentary about China’s railway system and its passengers, is at 86 percent.
  • Guidance (2014) , a comedy about a former child star who fakes his way into a gig as a high school guidance counselor, is at 80 percent.
  • The Mend (2014) , starring Josh Lucas in a comedy about a man who stirs up dysfunction when he crashes on his brother’s couch, is at 75 percent.
  • Digging for Fire (2015) , starring Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt in a comedy about the marital tension that arises when a man makes a strange discovery at a rented house, is at 70 percent.
  • Learning to Drive (2014) , starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley in a romantic drama about a lovelorn woman who bonds with a cabbie while receiving driving lessons, is at 45 percent.
  • After Words (2015) , starring Marcia Gay Harden in a drama about a woman in the midst of a personal crisis who meets a younger man while on vacation, is at 40 percent.
  • 6 Years (2015) , starring Taissa Farmiga and Ben Rosenfield in a drama about the ups and downs in a young couple’s relationship, is at 40 percent.
  • Peter Bogdanovich‘s  She's Funny That Way (2014) , starring Owen Wilson and Imogen Poots in a screwball farce about a theater director who casts his wife and her ex  alongside his mistress in a new play, is at 38 percent.
  • The Curse of Downers Grove (2015) , a horror film about a hex that claims the life of a high school senior each year, is at 20 percent.
  • Some Kind of Beautiful (2014) , starring Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek in a comedy about a rakish professor in love with his girlfriend’s sister, is at zero percent.

Tag Cloud

cancelled television Comic Book Character Guide miniseries spider-verse Video Games video OWN ABC Signature 2021 Mudbound halloween Summer child's play 72 Emmy Awards independent new york Mary poppins TV Land Rom-Com Christmas BET Disney streaming service Hulu historical drama History wonder woman mission: impossible Women's History Month feel good suspense boxoffice Hallmark Christmas movies superhero Western Amazon Prime Video cops 2020 Pixar Pacific Islander facebook Alien scorecard MSNBC Year in Review technology discovery movie rt labs critics edition See It Skip It olympics streamig A24 Set visit Best Actress Emmys Captain marvel broadcast Crunchyroll cartoon FXX black comedy Freeform FX on Hulu children's TV Disney Plus Drama dceu Tags: Comedy biography Fargo BBC First Reviews diversity gangster Stephen King RT21 what to watch Legendary Starz Infographic PaleyFest golden globes Shudder TruTV Tubi Marathons The Purge CMT mob TV sequels jurassic park Sony Pictures Reality AMC Plus theme song E3 Anna Paquin social media period drama police drama cars critics Best Picture rotten movies we love obituary E! genre medical drama Spectrum Originals HBO comic book movies target posters Paramount Network Film Kids & Family Paramount Pictures composers Nickelodeon Epix renewed TV shows Black History Month 24 frames Chernobyl toy story Sundance australia Apple National Geographic spider-man VICE documentaries zombies Extras 79th Golden Globes Awards Netflix Christmas movies cats Apple TV Plus golden globe awards CW Seed Peacock Television Critics Association leaderboard Brie Larson ITV 2019 live event emmy awards Country nbcuniversal spain serial killer Neflix Nominations Martial Arts kids Paramount book adaptation adenture summer TV preview Ellie Kemper Thanksgiving Premiere Dates political drama BET Awards ghosts 21st Century Fox Trivia stop motion Marvel Television space new zealand revenge Turner Classic Movies Quiz Rocky Song of Ice and Fire Interview festivals BBC One New York Comic Con Walt Disney Pictures President scary movies Comedy Masterpiece criterion Calendar science fiction Cosplay canceled travel APB italian indiana jones Shondaland biopic james bond 007 boxing TIFF robots First Look MGM reboot trailers SXSW 2022 spanish language Mary Poppins Returns 2016 Valentine's Day spanish ratings zombie IFC The CW Cannes fast and furious Mary Tyler Moore Countdown Black Mirror 2017 Teen rom-coms TBS finale Showtime Turner parents Baby Yoda pirates of the caribbean Writers Guild of America LGBTQ young adult psychological thriller cancelled FOX latino 20th Century Fox Instagram Live mcc blockbuster Rocketman Exclusive Video godzilla 93rd Oscars HBO Go mutant popular Photos SXSW hist Lionsgate japan Red Carpet book Holidays screenings Fox Searchlight remakes Universal Pictures superman Toys 90s docuseries Election IMDb TV all-time crime drama Superheroes canceled TV shows Action NBC Sundance Now scene in color name the review El Rey Disney adventure deadpool south america Endgame South by Southwest Film Festival comics king kong know your critic Avengers award winner AMC Best Director aliens hidden camera DC streaming service art house The Arrangement nfl zero dark thirty heist movie Comics on TV Animation tv talk vampires slashers dreamworks Biopics cooking talk show indie Elton John a nightmare on elm street marvel comics venice spy thriller TLC monster movies ABC Family Horror RT History Mystery green book docudrama Hallmark french Marvel Studios Watching Series streaming movies crime Star Wars elevated horror MTV TCA Awards Arrowverse TCA 2017 Discovery Channel TCM Vudu Mindy Kaling video on demand comedies Adult Swim Columbia Pictures USA Network binge batman disaster Rock vs. 45 based on movie romance universal monsters doctor who TV renewals Comic-Con@Home 2021 films 2018 Holiday Box Office Polls and Games Comedy Central Trophy Talk YouTube Red classics DGA IFC Films PBS Warner Bros. ViacomCBS SundanceTV Winners Amazon dark The Walt Disney Company DC Comics justice league anthology Lifetime Syfy 4/20 Pirates debate witnail natural history legend DC Universe Hollywood Foreign Press Association archives Amazon Prime Pop TV adaptation rt labs Tomatazos new star wars movies WGN 73rd Emmy Awards OneApp stoner dc casting prank Cartoon Network Opinion war Pride Month psycho Musicals television The Witch American Society of Cinematographers YA Food Network ID Television Academy black ESPN Fantasy Netflix aapi worst San Diego Comic-Con Best Actor Disney Channel Emmy Nominations breaking bad dramedy Academy Awards FX werewolf The Walking Dead HBO Max stand-up comedy Nat Geo Sneak Peek DirecTV NYCC marvel cinematic universe Oscars Star Trek Best and Worst Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV movies Hear Us Out asian-american X-Men series richard e. Grant dogs Acorn TV sopranos lord of the rings Heroines Focus Features news spinoff comic book movie kaiju comiccon nature Pop HFPA Spike SDCC sequel Ovation basketball summer preview Musical laika transformers royal family kong Oscar Ghostbusters cinemax trophy true crime women versus Apple TV+ 99% crossover Britbox unscripted Paramount Plus hispanic heritage month Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt crime thriller Winter TV Creative Arts Emmys halloween tv thriller game show twilight Classic Film cancelled TV series Lucasfilm interviews reviews Tokyo Olympics quibi streaming 2015 politics Crackle Spring TV ABC Sundance TV The Academy hispanic Awards GIFs satire Podcast rotten Funimation PlayStation BBC America teaser mockumentary Sci-Fi international Bravo concert action-comedy WarnerMedia football dexter toronto GoT TNT Logo animated GLAAD Tarantino cults BAFTA Universal YouTube directors telelvision Tumblr comic cancelled TV shows blockbusters NBA Esquire scary game of thrones japanese 1990s sports A&E Trailer Family high school summer TV free movies Lifetime Christmas movies chucky Music sag awards LGBT screen actors guild Prime Video foreign Fall TV Grammys supernatural christmas movies best Reality Competition Marvel TCA Winter 2020 king arthur USA romantic comedy VH1 94th Oscars razzies blaxploitation Superheroe strong female leads Certified Fresh VOD harry potter movies slasher Schedule YouTube Premium worst movies 71st Emmy Awards Super Bowl Fox News Amazon Studios fresh documentary comic books jamie lee curtis sitcom TV One CBS All Access Image Comics dragons live action rt archives die hard Awards Tour CBS Binge Guide joker saw franchise Pet Sematary hollywood Film Festival festival TCA critic resources singing competition anime Broadway obi wan Wes Anderson CNN Disney+ Disney Plus 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards MCU Dark Horse Comics Travel Channel