Critical Consensus: A Brave New "World," A "Step" Down, And No Screenings for "Pulse" and "Zoom"

by | August 9, 2006 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got Oliver Stone paying tribute to the heroes of 9/11 ("World Trade Center," starring Nicolas Cage); two youngsters trying to start a dance dance revolution ("Step Up," starring Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum); a school for young superheroes ("Zoom," starring Tim Allen and Courteney Cox); and an evil website ("Pulse," starring Kristen Bell). What do the critics have to say?

Oliver Stone has never been the subtlest of directors, nor has he shied away from controversy or conspiracy-mongering. So it’s something of a surprise to critics that with his latest, "World Trade Center," he has tackled a subject (the 9/11 attacks) rife with talk of dark machinations and created a straightforward, apolitical tale of heroism. Based on a true story, "World Trade Center" stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as a pair of Port Authority police officers who became trapped in the ruins of the World Trade Center while attempting to rescue others. Critics say the narrow human focus is one of the strengths of the film, along with its stunning visuals and an old-fashioned sense of resilience and heroism. At 70 percent on the Tomatometer, "World Trade Center" may be a cut below Paul Greengrass‘ 9/11 film "United 93" (90 percent), but it’s a worthy examination of a day that will live in infamy. It’s also Stone’s best-reviewed film since "Nixon."


Nicolas Cage as real-life officer John McLoughlin in "World Trade Center"

"Step Up" tells the story of a hip-hop dancer from the wrong side of the tracks (Channing Tatum) and a privileged ballerina (Jenna Dewan) who overcome their differences to make beautiful music together on the dance floor. Sound familiar? It should, if you’ve seen "Saturday Night Fever," "Save the Last Dance," or "Dirty Dancing." Perhaps the Bee Gees presciently spoke for the critics of "Step Up" when they sang, "You should be dancing," for the scribes say the film is at its best in its electrifying dance sequences, but dramatically flat otherwise. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are putting this baby in a corner.


"Step Up": Do fries come with that shake?

The studios apparently believe "Pulse" is pretty lifeless, and that "Zoom" is full of cinematic gloom. What else could explain the fact that the Kristen Bell J-horror remake and the Tim Allen superhero comedy, respectively, were not screened for critics? It’s time to bust out those crystal balls and guess those Tomatometers, people.


"Sometimes when we touch/ the horror’s just too much"

Also in theaters this week, in limited release: "Half Nelson," starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled inner city teacher, is at a whopping 95 percent on the Tomatometer; the Czech surrealist horror film "Lunacy" is at 80 percent; "House of Sand," a visually remarkable Brazilian epic, is at 80 percent; "Conversations With Other Women," a tale of a romantic reunion starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, is at 70 percent; "The Trouble With Men and Women," a low-budget Brit relationship drama, is at 50 percent; "Poster Boy," a drama about the gay son of a senator, is at 43 percent; and "The Ordeal," a dark Belgian horror import, is at 43 percent.

Recent Oliver Stone Movies:
———————————–
16% — Alexander (2004)
50% — Comandante (2003)
48% — Any Given Sunday (1999)
51% — U-Turn (1997)
74% — Nixon (1995)

Recent Nicolas Cage Movies:
————————————
61% — Lord of War (2005)
59% — The Weather Man (2005)
42% — National Treasure (2004)
82% — Matchstick Men (2003)
90% — Adaptation (2002)

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
————————————————
28% — Silent Hill
27% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
24% — Phat Girlz
16% — Grandma’s Boy
15% — Underworld: Evolution
11% — The Benchwarmers
10% — Ultraviolet
10% — When a Stranger Calls
7% — Date Movie
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
6% — See No Evil
5% — Doogal
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Stay Alive

Tag Cloud

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