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

transformers Best and Worst Year in Review war TV Infographic Hulu Lionsgate Red Carpet CNN vampires First Look 45 PBS crime thriller BBC Horror Oscars Winter TV Extras Podcast Election Nat Geo E3 supernatural Photos Star Wars Pirates period drama Countdown USA Mary Tyler Moore Showtime SDCC 20th Century Fox MTV Character Guide Rom-Com Superheroe Emmys unscripted golden globes DC Universe science fiction Dark Horse Comics Sci-Fi FOX Comedy Tomatazos The CW romance Lifetime Valentine's Day Writers Guild of America VH1 dceu Sundance Now Freeform ESPN Starz YouTube Premium crime drama talk show Trivia dramedy Song of Ice and Fire spy thriller psycho CW Seed Cartoon Network Grammys Acorn TV cops cults singing competition Tumblr diversity Country Western YA Crackle BET Comedy Central Opinion Ellie Kemper Fox News Polls and Games TruTV doctor who political drama Paramount Network adventure PaleyFest 21st Century Fox finale sports Toys Sony Pictures Winners Teen jamie lee curtis social media Creative Arts Emmys harry potter Superheroes Ghostbusters Bravo 2016 zombies boxoffice Rocky Fall TV Food Network police drama FX Set visit BBC America CBS Reality Epix Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA 2017 Mindy Kaling 007 LGBTQ Universal NBC SXSW Disney Logo based on movie Trailer TCA CMT thriller Star Trek National Geographic justice league Box Office Walt Disney Pictures Shudder discovery docudrama VICE TV Land Biopics travel Reality Competition Spike FXX The Arrangement Spring TV Esquire sitcom Ovation AMC ABC TNT cooking 24 frames WGN cats El Rey Disney Channel Animation Fantasy Holidays Masterpiece HBO Sundance Columbia Pictures YouTube Red Action CBS All Access San Diego Comic-Con Musicals festivals Video Games DC Comics MSNBC DirecTV mutant History Nickelodeon Certified Fresh Lucasfilm cinemax Martial Arts aliens Shondaland Thanksgiving politics American Society of Cinematographers Music blaxploitation Musical Drama streaming Super Bowl Adult Swim Syfy Pop ABC Family Britbox historical drama Calendar SundanceTV Apple biography DC streaming service comiccon technology ratings Summer Premiere Dates Paramount anime 2015 Marathons IFC Awards A&E E! 2017 TBS See It Skip It TLC NYCC crossover Cosplay ITV Watching Series serial killer Schedule TIFF Warner Bros. TCM crime OWN IFC Films USA Network Marvel Mystery Comic Book President GIFs Amazon Pixar binge what to watch APB hist Netflix medical drama RT History dc Interview Nominations X-Men GoT Kids & Family zombie Sneak Peek robots Rock composers Christmas GLAAD