Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: Night Doesn't Shine, Rendition Unextraordinary, Gone Baby Gone is Certified Fresh

Fire is lukewarm, Commandments not a ten. Plus, guess the Comebacks and Sarah Landon Tomatometer!

by | October 18, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies we have Alaskan vamps (30
Days of Night
, starring
Josh Hartnett
and Melissa
George
), imprisoned citizens (Rendition,
starring Jake
Gyllenhaal
and
Reese
Witherspoon
), private eyes (Gone
Baby Gone
, starring
Casey Affleck
and
Michelle Monaghan
), grieving adults (Things
We Lost in the Fire
, starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro),
biblical figures (The
Ten Commandments
), athletes (The
Comebacks
), and teen detectives of the supernatural (Sarah
Landon and the Paranormal Hour
). What do the critics have to say?

Many horror films go to great lengths to create a dark atmosphere. 30
Days of Night
does them all one better, venturing to a place where it’s night for
a month: Barrow, AK, the northernmost point in the U.S. Unfortunately, critics
are left cold by this one. Night stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George
as an estranged couple defending their town against a horde of bloodthirsty
vampires. Critics say the film has some frightful moments that should please
gorehounds, but overall, the film lacks the nuance and sustained tension to
really put this kind of genre exercise over. At 39 percent on the Tomatometer, Night
doesn’t shine.



Hartnett and company check for undead termites.
 

Reese Witherspoon stars in Rendition as a housewife whose husband is imprisoned
and tortured by the U.S. for his suspected involvement with terrorists. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as a government employee trying to set him free, with
Meryl
Streep
as a bureaucrat intent on keeping him there. While critics commended the
film for exploring the issue of torture within the context of combating
terrorism, they say the plot is spread thinly across an abundance of characters
and doesn’t give the film the emotional drive it needs, while arriving at an
oversimplified conclusion of this very complex subject. At 39 percent, this
Rendition is less than extraordinary.




Who needs work when you have Snood?
 

Ben Affleck has had a rollercoaster career, but critics say his feature
directorial debut, Gone
Baby Gone
, is one of the high points. Treading
the same rough Boston streets as
Mystic River
(also adapted from one of
source writer Dennis
Lehane
‘s novels), Gone Baby Gone tells the story of
a pair of private eyes (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) searching for a
lost four-year-old, a quest that delves into the dark shadows of the city, from
the criminal underworld to corrupt cops. Critics say Baby is grim, but
also deliciously noirish and morally complex, featuring standout performances
from its leads, as well as
Morgan Freeman and
Ed Harris. With a score of 89
percent on the Tomatometer, Gone Baby Gone‘s critical reaction should
assuage Ben’s depression over the current state of his beloved Red Sox. (Check
out this week’s Total Recall, where we examine some of Affleck’s notable
cameos).



Affleck ponders another imminent Red Sox defeat.
 

Susanne Bier, famed in her native Denmark for her dark and complex melodramas,
makes her American debut this week with Things
We Lost in the Fire
. Halle Berry
stars as a grieving widow who invites Benicio Del Toro’s character, her
husband’s childhood friend and heroin addict, to move in with her and her
children. Though it frequently drips into maudlin territory (something Bier
avoided with her previous effort, the Certified Fresh
After the Wedding
),
critics recognize it as at least a sincere tearjerker, and an honest and
emotionally raw portrayal of two tortured people. At 64 percent, Fire isn’t
red-hot but should appease viewers out for a soapy drama.




A therapeutic game of thumb war.
 
Movie lovers who lack the patience to sit through the
The Decalogue
are
in luck:
The Ten Commandments
tells the story of Moses in less than an
hour and a half, and in animated form, no less. But is it any good? Well,
critics are forbidden to bear false witness, and they say it isn’t. The Ten
Commandments
follows Moses’ journey from infancy to the point where he leads
the Chosen People to the Promised Land, and features voice work from the likes
of Ben Kingsley and
Christian Slater. But critics say the film’s middling
animation and lack of nuance make for a dull take on one of the Bible’s most
rousing tales. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, critics say thou shall not
enjoy The Ten Commandments.

This week, the folks behind both The
Comebacks
and Sarah
Landon and the Paranormal Hour
declined to screen their films for pundits. The
Comebacks
spoofs inspirational sports movies, while Sarah Landon is
about a 17-year-old who discovers spectral activity in her hometown. Our only
guess is that it was assumed each film would receive a critical (buzzer)
beating, or wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance with the scribes. (Thank you.
I’ll be here all week.) Guess those Tomatometers.



"I’ve got a bad case of athlete’s spoof."
 
Also opening this week in limited release:
Meeting Resistance
, a doc
about Iraqi insurgents, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer;
Trigger Man
,
an indie about a harrowing hunting trip, is at 100 percent;
Wristcutters: A
Love Story
, a dramedy about the afterlife starring
Patrick Fugit, is at 71
percent; the Spanish import
DarkBlueAlmostBlack
, about the familial
responsibilities of a young janitor, is at 67 percent;
Out of the Blue
, a
fictional retelling of New Zealand’s largest mass-murder, is at 67 percent;
Summer
Love
, a Polish take on the spaghetti western genre, is at 60 percent;
Weirdsville,
a wacky tale of stoners and satanic cults, is at 58
percent;
The Girl Next Door
, a tale of torture beneath the placid façade
of 1950s suburbia, is at 58 percent;
Reservation Road
, a tale of familial
grief starring
Joaquin Phoenix,
Jennifer Connelly, and
Mark Ruffalo, is at 37
percent (check out our interview with director Terry George
here); and
Klimt
,
starring John Malkovich in a biopic of the great painter, is at 30 percent.




"You have a beard but you’re not the bad guy? That’s weird."
 
Finally, props to Bloody Mathias for coming the closest to guessing
Tyler
Perry’s Why Did I Get Married
‘s 48 percent Tomatometer. Try putting a
bandage on it, and perhaps then you won’t be bloody, Mathias.

Recent Ben Affleck Movies:
—————————————-
26% — Smokin’ Aces (2007)
38% — Man About Town (2006)
63% — Clerks II (2006)
70% — Hollywoodland (2006)
7% — Surviving Christmas (2004)

Recent Casey Affleck Movies:
—————————————-
73% —
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(2007)
69% — Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
46% — The Last Kiss (2006)
55% — Lonesome Jim (2006)
55% — Ocean’s
Twelve
(2004)

Tag Cloud

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