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

Box Office mutant unscripted NBC dramedy politics The CW The Arrangement Certified Fresh Rom-Com Premiere Dates Creative Arts Emmys HBO Character Guide DC Universe 24 frames Holidays Mary Tyler Moore Nominations crossover Calendar USA Network Mary poppins Food Network TIFF Winners comiccon boxoffice DC Comics Marvel Dark Horse Comics Epix RT History supernatural Sci-Fi Best and Worst thriller Reality SDCC hist historical drama what to watch Amazon Prime vampires robots Country New York Comic Con transformers TCA Trailer Watching Series Comedy Apple VICE spider-man 2017 Columbia Pictures TNT GLAAD Biopics CW Seed doctor who Pixar TCA 2017 CBS All Access Disney diversity Nat Geo Winter TV sitcom Animation Fox News 2016 medical drama MCU FX Mary Poppins Returns spy thriller Comic Book SXSW Sundance Now casting Song of Ice and Fire Western GIFs Superheroes Christmas Teen adventure History Infographic political drama IFC Video Games Trivia TruTV harry potter Quiz First Look APB 45 Sneak Peek social media BBC America Esquire aliens SundanceTV National Geographic dc Rock Disney Channel Musicals technology Chilling Adventures of Sabrina festivals TLC Valentine's Day Paramount Network Summer Spring TV ITV cooking Red Carpet Sundance Awards Tour Thanksgiving Sony Pictures Comics on TV Comedy Central Emmys X-Men Warner Bros. Star Wars binge Cartoon Network 21st Century Fox FOX YA Ovation Spike biography discovery dceu MTV Pirates Reality Competition Rocky composers Action police drama PaleyFest Mystery blaxploitation Year in Review Acorn TV ratings Brie Larson CBS 20th Century Fox El Rey IFC Films BBC TCM Tomatazos San Diego Comic-Con Drama cats docudrama Tumblr Schedule NYCC Superheroe zombies WGN American Society of Cinematographers Grammys CNN 2018 Countdown TV Adult Swim Super Bowl VH1 Lucasfilm Shudder crime television Podcast Kids & Family Fall TV jamie lee curtis MSNBC Oscars streaming science fiction YouTube Premium GoT Hulu See It Skip It Polls and Games Masterpiece BET Crackle Election war Starz award winner crime drama Toys DC streaming service Showtime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Walt Disney Pictures Fantasy Writers Guild of America Opinion Star Trek Syfy TBS finale Photos Bravo miniseries 2015 serial killer Logo crime thriller Interview Nickelodeon ABC Britbox romance comic zombie Musical AMC DGA YouTube Red cinemax USA Freeform Horror Trophy Talk Awards Black Mirror singing competition E! psycho 007 travel PBS DirecTV green book Music facebook cops golden globes E3 A&E anime ABC Family 2019 period drama President Universal Ellie Kemper cults sports based on movie FXX OWN Marathons Pop Amazon ESPN CMT Extras Shondaland Mindy Kaling Ghostbusters Netflix Captain marvel Lionsgate Paramount justice league talk show Cosplay TV Land Set visit Martial Arts LGBTQ Lifetime