Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: Woo-Hoo! Simpsons Is Certified Fresh; No Reservations Is Bland; Rescue Dawn Shines

I Know Who Killed Me And Who's Your Caddy Not Screened; Guess The Tomatometer

by | July 26, 2007 | Comments

This week at the moves, we’ve got America’s favorite family in their long-awaited big-screen debut (The Simpsons Movie); a tale of two chefs (No Reservations, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart); a rumble in the jungle (Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale), a kidnapping mystery (I Know Who Killed Me, starring Lindsay Lohan); and wacky golf gags (Who’s Your Caddy? Starring Lil Wayne and Big Boi). What do the critics have to say?

The wait is finally over: The Simpsons have migrated from the confines of television to the silver (or is that yellow?) screen. The result? Well, maybe not the “best…. movie… ever,” but pundits say it’s still pretty exxxxx-cellent. Homer, responsible for an eco-disaster, piles Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie into the car and leaves Springfield for Alaska (you were expecting Capital City?). Ah, but who cares about the plot? The critics say The Simpsons Movie is essentially an extra-long episode of the show, but one that contains plenty of the S-M-R-T jokes, killer slapstick, and poignancy that fans have come to expect. At 84 percent on the Tomatometer, The Simpsons Movie is Certified Fresh. Release the hounds.

Mmmmm, Flaming Homer!

No Reservations joins a list of movies (Eat Drink Man Woman, Like Water for Chocolate, Sideways) about the intersection between the taste buds and the heartstrings; unfortunately, the pundits say this one is bland, under-nourishing, and a bunch of other food metaphors. Catherine Zeta-Jones stares as Kate, a master chef who is at first threatened, then inspired, by the presence of rising culinary star Nick (Aaron Eckhart) in the kitchen of an upscale New York restaurant. Critics say No Reservations is appealingly presented, but its combination of predictability and melancholy make it hard to swallow. At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, critics have some Reservations about this one.

“I told you not to do a Zorro sequel!”

When it comes to making movies about the struggle between man and nature, German director Werner Herzog is one of the greats, with such masterpieces as Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, and Grizzly Man to his credit. Add Rescue Dawn to that list. Rescue Dawn stars Christian Bale as Dieter Dengler, a Navy pilot who, after crash-landing in the jungles of Laos, must escape imprisonment and navigate the treacherous depths of the jungle. Critics say Dawn is the closest that Herzog has made to an inspiring popcorn flick, albeit one that challenges viewers’ expectations and doesn’t shortchange the horror or despair of the situation. At 89 percent on the Tomatometer, this is one emotional Rescue. (Check out RT’s take here.)

Crowd surfing on two broken legs is not recommended.

Two of this week’s wide releases contain mysteries unlikely to be solved before they hit theaters. The makers of I Know Who Killed Me aren’t letting critics in on their little secret. Nor will we learn the identity of your caddy, as Who’s Your Caddy? was also withheld from scribes. Killed features troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan as a college student who escapes abduction and torture. Caddy stars Big Boi and Lil Wayne in a film that features the most golf course antics this side of Dorf. Kids, tee up and Guess those Tomatometers!

“No seriously, I really would like to know who will be caddying for you.”

Also opening this week in limited release: Punk’s Not Dead, a zippy doc about punk rock from the beginning to its place in Hot Topic, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; No End in Sight, which chronicles the missteps in the Iraq war, is at 95 percent (check out RT’s interview with director Charles Ferguson here); The Devil Came on Horseback, a harrowing look at genocide in Darfur, is at 94 percent; The Camden 28, a doc about resistance to the Vietnam War, is at 92 percent; Moliere, a biopic of the great satirist, is at 87 percent; This is England, a skinhead coming-of-age story, is at 87 percent; The Sugar Curtain, a doc about an elegiac trip to Cuba, is at 86 percent; and Arctic Tale, a nature film featuring polar bears and walruses, is at 53 percent.

“I love it when you call me Big Papa.”

Recent Catherine Zeta-Jones Movies:
26% — The Legend of Zorro (2005)
55% — Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
61% — The Terminal (2004)
71% — Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
46% — Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)

Recent Werner Herzog Movies:
66% — The Wild Blue Yonder: A Science Fiction Fantasy (2006)
94% — The White Diamond (2005)
94% — Wheel of Time (2005)
93% — Grizzly Man (2005)
53% — Invincible (2002)

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