Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: Superbad is Certified Fresh; The Invasion Crash-Lands

Last Legion Not Screened; Guess the Tomatometer!

by | August 16, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got some McLovin
(Superbad,
starring Michael
Cera
and Jonah
Hill
), pod people (The
Invasion
, starring
Nicole Kidman
and Daniel Craig),
and swordplay (The
Last Legion
, starring
Ben Kingsley
and Colin Firth).
What do the critics have to say?

It’s been a very good year for
Judd Apatow.
After directing Knocked
Up
, he’s the producer on another gross-out comedy with heart,
Superbad
, and both are big hits with critics. Superbad tells the
story of two geeks (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) on the cusp of graduation who
really, really want to change their luck with the ladies. The pundits say
Superbad
is as raunchy and cheerfully vulgar as any comedy you’re likely to
see this summer, but it’s also remarkably wise and poignant regarding the
awkwardness of the high school years. At 92 percent, Superbad surpasses
Knocked Up
‘s Tomatometer score, which means that it’s one of the best
reviewed films of the year. (Check out our interview with the Superbad
gang here.)


“Those RT critics crack me up.”

The
Invasion
arrives in theaters with plenty of baggage. The film, helmed
by Oliver
Hirschbiegel
(Downfall),
originally wrapped in 2006, but the studio allegedly balked at what they saw,
and it’s rumored that a good portion of the final product is the result of a
retooled script by the
Wachowski
brothers
and reshoots by
V for Vendetta
director
James
McTeigue
. Such Hollywood intrigue may ultimately prove more interesting than
the film itself, as critics say The Invasion is a pretty tepid,
unsuspenseful remake of an already thrice-adapted story (Invasion
of the Body Snatchers
). After a space shuttle crash, Nicole Kidman and
Daniel Craig discover that an infection is taking over peoples’ bodies in their
sleep, turning them into unemotional quasi-zombies. The pundits say the film is
slick but unfocused, lacking psychological complexity and thrills. At 16 percent
on the Tomatometer, The Invasion sits far below the precedent set by the 1956 and
1978 Body Snatchers, both at 100 percent.


They couldn’t hide their horror upon seeing the Wachowski Bros. re-cut.

It appears the folks behind The Last Legion are afraid the number of
pundits who wouldn’t dig their movie would be, ahem, legion. Perhaps that’s the
reason the film wasn’t screened before hitting theaters. Featuring a pretty
impressive cast that includes Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, and
Aishwarya Rai,
The
Last Legion
tells the story of a boy with the responsibility to save the
Roman Empire. Put down your copy of Livy’s From the Founding of the City and
Guess the Tomatometer.


Both sigh as they attempt to guess the Tomatometer.

Also opening this week in limited release:

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
, a documentary about the
competition between Donkey Kong experts, is at 100 percent on the
Tomatometer; The 11th
Hour
, a global warming doc narrated by
Leonardo
DiCaprio
, is at 90 percent (check out our review from Cannes
here);
Delirious,
a tale of small-time paparazzi starring
Steve Buscemi
and Michael Pitt,
is at 89 percent (check out our San Francisco International Film Festival review
here);
Manda Bala
, a doc
about class divisions in modern Brazil, is at 89 percent;
Primo Levi’s
Journey
, a doc about the great writer’s trek after WWII, is at 75 percent;
Death at a Funeral,
a farce about a funeral interrupted by a dark family secret starring
Matthew
MacFadyen
and
Peter Dinklage,
is at 71 percent; and Ils,
a tale of a French couple terrorized by a haunted house in Romania, is at 71
percent; Love
for Sale
, a Brazilian import about a woman who leaves Sao Paulo for her
hometown, is at 67 percent;
Takashi Miike‘s
Zebraman, a spoof
of Japanese superheroes, is at 60 percent; and
Sunflower
,
Zhang Yang‘s
tale of a 30-year relationship starring
Joan Chen, is
at 60 percent.


Attack its weak point for massive damage!

Finally, props to

BATSPIDEYKONG
for correctly guessing
Skinwalkers
‘ 13
percent Tomatometer. Congrats, BSK. Now you won’t have to write in all caps to
be heard.

Recent Nicole Kidman Movies:
—————————————–
81% — I
Have Never Forgotten You
(2007)
90% — God Grew
Tired of Us
(2007)
30% — Fur: An Imaginary Portrait
of Diane Arbus
(2006)
74% — Happy Feet
(2006)
25% — Bewitched (2005)

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