Critics Consensus

Annabelle: Creation Is a Potent Prequel

Plus, The Glass Castle is a bumpy biopic , critics aren't down with Nutty by Nature, and Mr. Mercedes Season 1 is Certified Fresh.

by | August 10, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got an origin story for an evil toy (Annabelle: Creation, starring Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto), an adaptation of an incredible memoir (The Glass Castle, starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson), and a squirrel fighting City Hall (The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, featuring the voices of Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl). What are the critics saying?

Annabelle: Creation (2017) 70%

For filmgoers old enough to remember the days of regularly issued Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the idea of a horror franchise that retains its spine-tingling effectiveness as it goes along — to say nothing of actually improving — might sound more than a little absurd. There’s an exception to every rule, however, and the spookily consistent Conjuring series seems ready to keep making bumps in the night (and at the box office) for the foreseeable future: while 2014’s Annabelle spinoff failed to resonate with critics, it scared up enough ticket receipts to warrant a sequel — and as reviews for this weekend’s Annabelle: Creation attest, this is one creepy-looking doll who’s far from finished making filmgoers scream. Critics say this prequel story doesn’t do much audiences haven’t seen before, but for once, the old genre tropes are trotted out in service of a well-told story whose effective scares are bolstered by strong atmosphere and acting. Grab a few friends and get ready for a solidly undemanding horror outing — and maybe plan on sleeping with the lights on for a few nights too.

The Glass Castle (2017) 51%

For those in search of a sadly more realistic brand of horror this weekend, there’s The Glass Castle, which reunites director Destin Daniel Cretton with his Short Term 12 star Brie Larson in a dramatization of author Jeannette Walls’ bestselling autobiography. Starring Larson as Walls opposite Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as the mother and father of the family, Castle details the peripatetic lifestyle and abject poverty in which the four Walls children grew up, as well as their painful path to adult independence from their dysfunctional parents. It’s undeniably compelling material for a memoir, let alone a screen adaptation; unfortunately, critics say The Glass Castle doesn’t quite do it justice, setting out to split the difference between harrowing and heartwarming and failing to fully hit either mark. Still, there’s a tremendous cast here, united in service of one heck of a real-life story, and Castle‘s stronger elements aren’t always overpowered by its flaws. If you’re in the mood for adult drama or in need of a good cry, this just might hit the spot.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017) 15%

Much of the time, being a movie critic seems like a pretty sweet gig: You get to see the big films before everyone else, you’re being paid to do something most people do for fun, and if you’re lucky and/or talented enough to reach an audience, you enjoy a certain measure of cultural gatekeeper status. There’s a downside to everything, however, and for many film critics, it takes the shape of releases like The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. A follow-up to the 2014 original — which amassed a grim 10 percent on the Tomatometer but raked in more than $120 million worldwide — this installment reunites members of the voice cast (including Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl) for another colorfully animated adventure about talking critters facing a crisis. Will Surly and the gang be able to foil the mayor’s plan to turn their home into an amusement park? We’re pretty sure you can guess how it’ll all turn out, just as you could have predicted critics wouldn’t exactly be enthused about having to turn out for a Nut Job sequel. Like a lot of poorly reviewed cartoons, Nutty by Nature should prove reasonably diverting for the youngest audience members, but there’s no shortage of clearly superior alternative options.

What’s New on TV

Mr. Mercedes: Season 1 (2017) 86%

Mr. Mercedes propels its tense, creepy narrative with quick-witted dialogue, strong characters, and terrifying surprises.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Farthest (2017) , a documentary about the incredible journey of the spacecraft Voyager, is at 100 percent.
  • After Love (L'économie du couple) (2017) , a French dramedy about the fallout endured by a family after a husband and wife decide to split up but both refuse to leave their home, is at 97 percent.
  • In This Corner of the World (Kono sekai no katasumi ni) (2017) , an animated drama about a young Japanese girl’s experiences during World War II, is at 97 percent.
  • Whose Streets? (2017) , a documentary look at the civil unrest that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri after the killing of Michael Brown, is at 97 percent.
  • Good Time (2017) , starring Robert Pattinson as a failed bank robber trying to work his younger brother and himself out of a desperate situation, is Certified Fresh at 90 percent.
  • Ingrid Goes West (2017) , starring Aubrey Plaza as a woman who befriends her celebrity stalking obsession, is Certified Fresh at 85 percent.
  • The Trip to Spain (2017)Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon‘s latest chatty travelogue, is at 82 percent.
  • Nocturama (2017) , in which Parisian teens plot to carry off a violent act, is at 80 percent.
  • The Ghoul (2017) , about a police detective whose latest case draws him to the brink of a total breakdown, is at 76 percent.
  • Pilgrimage (2017) , about the perilous journey undertaken by 13th-century monks transporting a holy relic, is at 74 percent.
  • The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) , about a Cairo cop pursuing a case that could expose widespread political corruption, is at 60 percent.
  • The Only Living Boy in New York (2017) , about a young man whose first uncertain steps into adulthood are thrown off by the discovery of his father’s affair, is at 25 percent.
  • The Summoning (Planetarium) (2017) , starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp as a pair of fortune tellers lured into a businessman’s world of intrigue, is at 13 percent.

Tag Cloud

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