TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got a survivor story (50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen), ex excitement (What’s Your Number?, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans), a demonic dwelling (Dream House, starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz), and some conflicted cops (Courageous, starring Alex Kendrick and Ken Bevel). What do the critics have to say?
In a comedy, no subject is completely off limits if the jokes make us laugh – and have the ring of truth. Such is the case with 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man whose cancer diagnosis forces him to reevaluate his life. Along the way, he leans on his friends for support, and finds that often he’s helping others work through their feelings as much as he’s tending to his own. The critics say you’ll laugh and you’ll cry through this Certified Fresh comedy, which is touching, heartfelt, occasionally naughty, and often very funny. (Check out Gordon-Levitt’s best-reviewed movies here.)
Anna Farris is a very funny woman, but critics have long hoped she’d get the lead in a comedy worthy of her talents. The wait continues with What’s Your Number?, the story of a single gal who decides to reunite with all her exes to see if any of them are marriage material. The pundits say the film has moments of comic inspiration and some decent performances, but mostly, its script is a middling grab bag of romantic comedy clichés and raunchiness that squanders the offbeat charm of its star.
We can’t tell you whether Dream House is a prime piece of real estate or a fixer-upper, since it wasn’t screened for critics. Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz star as a couple who have just moved into a charming new home; little do they know it was once the site of a harrowing murder, and soon they’re bedeviled by spooky goings-on. Put down that copy of Architectural Digest and guess the Tomatometer! (And check out our list of Certified Fresh psychological thrillers here.)
Director Alex Kendrick, who also made Fireproof, has a thing for stories about spiritual awakenings among public servants. His latest, Courageous, tells the tale of four police officers who struggle with faith and fatherhood while trying to clean up the streets. Unfortunately, only a few critics have seen it, so you can feel free to guess the Tomatometer for this one too.
Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain in a drama about a small town family man who has terrifying visions of a deadly storm, is at 97 percent.
Benda Bilili!, a documentary about a remarkable band of street musicians from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is at 89 percent.
My Joy, a surreal drama about a Russian truck driver who finds himself in a dark netherworld comprised of people representative of the country’s history, is at 89 percent.
You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo, a doc about a Canadian citizen who was methodically interrogated after being accused of terrorism, is at 88 percent.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil, a horror/comedy about a pair of hillbillies who are mistaken for psycho killers, is Certified Fresh at 86 percent (check out star Alan Tudyk’s Five Favorite Films here).
Margaret, starring Anna Paquin and Matt Damon in a drama about a high school student who guiltily believes she caused a fatal bus crash, is at 50 percent.
American Teacher, a doc that follows four teachers who work in economically depressed areas, is at 50 percent.
Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, Nick Broomfield‘s gotcha doc about the 2008 vice presidential candidate, is at 35 percent.
Bunraku, starring Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson in a stylized period action flick about a drifter and a warrior who team up to take down an evil warlord, is at 21 percent.