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

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