Critics Consensus

Bridget Jones's Baby Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Blair Witch is less than spellbinding, Snowden is timely but muted, and American Horror Story offers an intriguing twist.

by | September 15, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have a pair of very belated, very different sequels (Bridget Jones’s Baby, starring Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth; and Blair Witch, starring James Allen McCune and Callie Hernandez), a ripped-from-the-headlines Oliver Stone drama (Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley), and a concert movie (Hillsong – Let Hope Rise). What are the critics saying? Let’s take a look.


Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) 78%

Bridget Jones’s Diary made rom-com magic out of Helen Fielding‘s bestselling novel in 2001, but the sequel, 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, failed to produce similar results. It might have seemed safe to assume we’d seen the last of Ms. Jones on the big screen, but lo and behold, all these years later, she’s back with Bridget Jones’s Baby. Reviews describe a third installment that delivers pretty much what fans would expect; although Hugh Grant has departed the cast, Renee Zellweger remains as charming as ever as Bridget, and Colin Firth is back for another appearance as her longtime squeeze (and potential baby daddy) Mark Darcy. Critics say this is the rare threequel that, while somewhat safe and fairly predictable, remains a surprising return to form over its predecessor — and may even be the best Bridget of the bunch.


Blair Witch (2016) 37%

Speaking of sequels to long-ago movies, here’s Blair Witch, a follow-up to the 1999 found-footage horror hit that eschews the side road taken by 2000’s ill-received Book of Shadows in favor of taking audiences back where they started. Which, in a nutshell, is the problem: Instead of taking the Blair Witch mythology in any substantially new or extra-terrifying directions, director Adam Wingard (working from a script by his frequent collaborator Simon Barrett) seems mostly content to settle for a loose rehash of the original story. Although the end results are still good for some jolts, and Blair Witch does manage to add a few wrinkles to the familiar narrative, critics say you can safely wait to watch this one in the dark from the comfort of your own home.


Snowden (2016) 61%

Oliver Stone is certainly no stranger to political filmmaking; in fact, his filmography contains some of Hollywood’s more provocative — and widely acclaimed — cinematic statements on American history and current events. But looking to the headlines isn’t always enough to guarantee an Oscar contender from Stone; in recent years, fact-based efforts such as World Trade Center and W. have fallen short of the lofty standard set by achievements like Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, critics say this weekend’s Snowden follows that downward slope, giving the fascinating story of the titular whistleblower (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a curiously muted dramatization that critics say is well-acted and topical, but occasionally too slackly paced. If it’s a great Snowden film you’re in the mood for, try checking out the Citizenfour documentary this weekend — but if you’re holding out for the next great Oliver Stone production, you might be a little disappointed.


Hillsong - Let Hope Rise (2016) 60%

They may not be household names yet, but the members of Australian contemporary worship band Hillsong UNITED have cracked the Billboard Top 10 with each of their last two albums — and now they’re getting their documentary due with Hillsong — Let Hope Rise, which purports to capture their “on-stage energy and off-stage hearts” while bringing new meaning to the phrase “theatrical worship experience.” Unfortunately, we can’t really speak to their success in that mission, because critics don’t seem to be rushing out to see it. As of this writing, Let Hope Rise has a pair of reviews, and they’re evenly split. Go on and Guess the Tomatometer!


What’s Hot on TV

High Maintenance: Season 1 (2016) 95%

Dreamlike, poignant, and often funny, High Maintenance successfully transitions from the web to the small screen thanks to sharp writing and an excellent cast.


American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016) 74%

Season six of American Horror Story takes a surprising turn away from prior AHS formats, revisiting the deliberate pace of earlier seasons on a spookier, smaller scale, even if the true-crime format feels overdone.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016) , a Ron Howard documentary offering a new look at the titular period in the Fab Four’s history, is at 97 percent.
  • Miss Stevens (2016) , about a teacher whose inner turmoil dovetails with her chaperoning duties on a weekend school trip, is at 92 percent.
  • Command and Control (2016) , a documentary that raises questions about the stewardship of America’s nuclear weapons program, is at 92 percent.
  • Operation Avalanche (2016) , a Cold War thriller about a pair of CIA agents trying to root out a mole in NASA’s space program, is at 74 percent.
  • Tanna (2016) , the reality-inspired story of young South Pacific lovers caught in the middle of a tribal war, is at 73 percent.
  • Mr. Church (2016) , starring Eddie Murphy in a rare dramatic role as a chef who proves a fateful addition to a household in their time of need, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

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