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

21st Century Fox nbcuniversal Writers Guild of America laika biopic prank Women's History Month worst movies SXSW Superheroes king kong slashers casting rt labs critics edition movie deadpool Heroines Amazon Studios Music monster movies latino BAFTA VOD Star Wars sequel golden globes name the review tv talk stop motion nature HBO Go what to watch canceled TV shows finale Chernobyl WGN Apple TV Plus vs. Spike dramedy cancelled television 007 Crunchyroll Awards Freeform 1990s sopranos Holiday king arthur The Walking Dead Sneak Peek composers Rock anime Quiz Reality doctor who Shudder Mary Tyler Moore discovery Action Fargo binge south america ghosts documentary Crackle Hulu Cannes Apple spider-man Food Network true crime Star Trek scene in color Emmy Nominations Rom-Com Trailer Mary Poppins Returns FXX Universal CMT LGBTQ The Arrangement concert TBS PaleyFest Turner Classic Movies See It Skip It Reality Competition award winner BBC One universal monsters Musicals politics Biopics Fox Searchlight Emmys ABC Signature cults Comic-Con@Home 2021 halloween The Academy NYCC docuseries venice Country boxing singing competition crime thriller based on movie spider-verse directors OWN Winter TV Apple TV+ Endgame Amazon Prime Video TV renewals Classic Film Neflix dragons First Look Mary poppins Superheroe Thanksgiving italian Disney streaming service crossover Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Best and Worst scary movies Kids & Family serial killer jurassic park australia women 90s ViacomCBS IMDb TV ratings Watching Series die hard FX biography ABC crime drama political drama spain Interview revenge screen actors guild obituary unscripted critic resources Anna Paquin young adult rotten Binge Guide period drama toy story Syfy Disney Plus PlayStation elevated horror Sci-Fi Photos criterion telelvision Epix james bond Tokyo Olympics Comedy 71st Emmy Awards TCA 2017 Wes Anderson football posters police drama wonder woman indie A&E asian-american theme song reviews franchise Calendar sitcom dceu archives Animation BBC America VICE Set visit Hallmark Christmas movies royal family National Geographic AMC Plus Mudbound Lifetime hispanic heritage month CBS docudrama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards cars Film E3 video on demand Ghostbusters ABC Family green book IFC Elton John Logo Sony Pictures hollywood PBS black comiccon reboot satire Video Games Film Festival game show Trivia adenture Fantasy all-time Pop supernatural hidden camera Nickelodeon Amazon Prime art house stoner Broadway Character Guide films dexter dark richard e. Grant 4/20 science fiction comic book movie zombie YouTube Cartoon Network ESPN Disney+ Disney Plus HBO ID sag awards witnail Pop TV talk show Tumblr versus kids Winners Starz book adaptation Baby Yoda crime Hear Us Out Brie Larson Tubi IFC Films The Walt Disney Company blockbuster RT21 fast and furious YouTube Red American Society of Cinematographers A24 psycho game of thrones New York Comic Con breaking bad Song of Ice and Fire Showtime stand-up comedy Fall TV dogs TV comic Academy Awards golden globe awards Acorn TV leaderboard 45 television Drama Britbox FOX Travel Channel TruTV Horror best superhero Funimation joker romantic comedy diversity Countdown Black Mirror basketball dc action-comedy 93rd Oscars debate Cosplay Shondaland Lifetime Christmas movies Lionsgate HBO Max Lucasfilm Awards Tour festival cooking Turner Comics on TV Premiere Dates Election SDCC facebook olympics NBA anthology TCM Western 2016 rotten movies we love marvel comics USA Network cancelled TV series MCU new zealand 72 Emmy Awards Holidays GLAAD halloween tv OneApp Marvel History Marvel Studios historical drama thriller 99% scary canceled CW Seed Captain marvel USA CNN Trophy Talk Columbia Pictures trophy marvel cinematic universe adaptation cancelled toronto Chilling Adventures of Sabrina medical drama Alien jamie lee curtis 24 frames Super Bowl AMC black comedy Paramount Plus San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Image Comics streaming movies zero dark thirty cartoon documentaries Pirates Avengers Paramount Network Christmas sports WarnerMedia series TCA Awards Disney 20th Century Fox teaser TCA Winter 2020 a nightmare on elm street Television Critics Association psychological thriller french BBC Pride Month Tomatazos Teen adventure Podcast Arrowverse indiana jones zombies new york Toys natural history kaiju BET Awards cops X-Men Marvel Television rt labs Ellie Kemper GoT Certified Fresh Family sequels technology saw hispanic Sundance Now Schedule vampires foreign Esquire chucky Paramount comic book movies godzilla RT History Oscars Ovation harry potter streaming Red Carpet war GIFs SundanceTV Walt Disney Pictures robots aapi DirecTV boxoffice target APB Fox News TNT Exclusive Video NBC DGA social media Pixar ITV razzies mission: impossible comedies Pet Sematary critics twilight classics Rocky Black History Month nfl Stephen King transformers MSNBC genre DC streaming service Pacific Islander Infographic kong comics animated Tarantino high school Year in Review book japan Amazon Nominations independent Creative Arts Emmys Instagram Live Box Office Rocketman 2020 dreamworks international Valentine's Day Spectrum Originals Mystery Discovery Channel President trailers The Witch BET festivals live action Masterpiece slasher mob mutant hist 2018 live event FX on Hulu Comedy Central emmy awards MTV spinoff Nat Geo 2015 justice league The Purge 2019 Warner Bros. free movies fresh heist movie Marathons Peacock travel VH1 werewolf Opinion Disney Channel Comic Book Martial Arts screenings legend TV movies Television Academy cinemax LGBT disaster feel good know your critic blaxploitation Dark Horse Comics E! spy thriller YouTube Premium Sundance TV video TV Land child's play TCA pirates of the caribbean Legendary renewed TV shows Netflix Christmas movies Netflix batman romance Musical lord of the rings cancelled TV shows 2021 Spring TV 73rd Emmy Awards Vudu Grammys blockbusters mockumentary news quibi YA new star wars movies Universal Pictures spanish comic books Hallmark superman cats remakes Polls and Games Mindy Kaling rt archives japanese Sundance TV One The CW First Reviews Extras worst DC Comics strong female leads space scorecard aliens Adult Swim spanish language miniseries DC Universe El Rey rom-coms parents mcc popular suspense TIFF children's TV CBS All Access gangster TLC movies Bravo Summer christmas movies