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

Creative Arts Emmys A&E Black History Month Shondaland Oscars Hulu boxing CNN Valentine's Day Disney+ Disney Plus biography festival best PlayStation nature free movies universal monsters 2017 Comics on TV Mystery Bravo Nat Geo deadpool anthology VH1 Reality Election films 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Rocketman zero dark thirty Fantasy zombies robots dramedy harry potter Winter TV theme song Box Office MCU revenge 20th Century Fox HBO Go Spectrum Originals 4/20 sequels movies Winners Broadway disaster The Witch Photos Star Trek Countdown what to watch DGA dceu Crunchyroll Peacock Calendar Trivia documentary The Walt Disney Company serial killer Video Games BAFTA SundanceTV Horror See It Skip It new star wars movies comic spain TCA Winter 2020 sitcom Watching Series mockumentary aliens Spring TV Tubi Trailer Esquire archives razzies Nominations laika tv talk SXSW stand-up comedy trailers fast and furious versus CMT Paramount WGN Pet Sematary toronto OneApp twilight Pirates emmy awards Red Carpet supernatural 99% composers Musical dogs halloween Drama video Starz Sony Pictures mutant Legendary AMC Star Wars Toys Marvel HBO Max Polls and Games BET Awards The Purge Character Guide NBC political drama Television Academy Rock adaptation franchise hist Fox News space Mary poppins Schedule LGBTQ book toy story Lucasfilm sports cops cancelled Marvel Studios movie Comedy Central telelvision Quiz spanish language travel Emmys Comic Book Awards Tour BBC One Reality Competition Animation Discovery Channel stoner kids blockbuster spy thriller NYCC Biopics award winner werewolf HBO Tomatazos Ghostbusters Stephen King Spike Acorn TV Martial Arts VOD President Superheroes children's TV cancelled TV series Women's History Month asian-american critics book adaptation Family Writers Guild of America Pride Month Premiere Dates PaleyFest Trophy Talk Lifetime Apple TV Plus concert Food Network obituary mission: impossible diversity sequel ABC screen actors guild scary movies Summer GLAAD Ellie Kemper Best and Worst documentaries Crackle Pop game show Binge Guide saw Travel Channel talk show Super Bowl renewed TV shows Masterpiece slashers chucky Emmy Nominations Interview medical drama Amazon GIFs Holiday E3 Classic Film Anna Paquin Certified Fresh Fall TV Christmas TCA 2017 foreign OWN Sundance nbcuniversal rt archives BBC jamie lee curtis ID cancelled television cancelled TV shows TCA Avengers The Academy Podcast 21st Century Fox comiccon YouTube Red cartoon thriller a nightmare on elm street Lifetime Christmas movies ITV television IFC DC Universe festivals Hallmark Christmas movies Set visit cats Syfy History APB Endgame National Geographic casting DC streaming service halloween tv Adult Swim Pixar 2020 Tarantino kong Walt Disney Pictures TCM superhero popular hollywood pirates of the caribbean Comedy E! scorecard comic books james bond natural history 2019 Cosplay Epix Infographic Western transformers YouTube nfl The Arrangement Awards canceled TV shows BBC America TBS Extras First Reviews Exclusive Video Music CBS All Access Film Festival series Holidays teaser Universal hispanic crossover psycho Marvel Television DC Comics football Cannes cinemax high school christmas movies Turner Classic Movies batman spider-man Apple blaxploitation Disney Plus canceled 72 Emmy Awards 93rd Oscars spanish cars dc Brie Larson FX italian screenings remakes Marathons Nickelodeon crime drama reboot rotten worst Amazon Prime Britbox ABC Family YA FXX boxoffice PBS Disney 2021 Freeform DirecTV Amazon Prime Video sag awards zombie golden globes latino heist movie dragons comedies video on demand Arrowverse war WarnerMedia Country all-time 2018 quibi kaiju Pop TV justice league women Disney Channel 71st Emmy Awards worst movies Captain marvel 2016 period drama TV renewals crime comics Opinion CW Seed Alien classics facebook Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Heroines Academy Awards news Black Mirror golden globe awards docudrama Musicals Sci-Fi Sundance TV ghosts jurassic park Hear Us Out ABC Signature satire VICE RT21 The CW directors police drama Ovation Netflix Christmas movies name the review TIFF Superheroe king kong Logo blockbusters godzilla indie FX on Hulu Funimation ratings A24 TV stop motion American Society of Cinematographers crime thriller Paramount Network ViacomCBS LGBT discovery Showtime CBS TruTV TLC Rocky animated miniseries venice TCA Awards Apple TV+ vampires Chernobyl 2015 anime social media Lionsgate YouTube Premium Baby Yoda USA Network Dark Horse Comics Netflix adventure dark TV Land true crime 007 45 Action Rom-Com Tumblr psychological thriller monster movies X-Men rom-coms die hard Mary Tyler Moore El Rey Year in Review BET MSNBC australia Columbia Pictures game of thrones strong female leads Film First Look romantic comedy RT History Hallmark parents indiana jones SDCC IFC Films Mary Poppins Returns richard e. Grant independent Fox Searchlight ESPN Teen doctor who 24 frames San Diego Comic-Con joker elevated horror FOX Paramount Plus politics The Walking Dead Vudu Grammys singing competition cults Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt japanese spinoff criterion technology based on movie black TNT Cartoon Network superman fresh reviews Mudbound cooking streaming USA Shudder green book MTV finale Amazon Studios witnail hidden camera Kids & Family prank french romance docuseries Mindy Kaling breaking bad Disney streaming service GoT south america historical drama Sneak Peek Song of Ice and Fire binge Turner Warner Bros. Television Critics Association Elton John TV One Sundance Now child's play New York Comic Con science fiction Thanksgiving rotten movies we love unscripted