Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Is Okay

Plus, The Judge, Dracula Untold, Men, Women & Children, Addicted, and Certified Fresh TV.

by | October 9, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got family pratfalls (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner); a tense trial (The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall); a legendary vampire (Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans and Sarah Gadon); a failure to communicate (Men, Women & Children, starring Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt); and a torrid affair (Addicted, starring Sharon Leal and Boris Kodjoe). What do the critics have to say?



Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

61%

<pTerrible, horrible, no good, and very bad? Or terrific, honest, noteworthy, and very good? Critics say Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day falls directly in the middle — it’s pleasant, charming, inoffensive, and a little tepid. Based upon Judith Viorst’s beloved children’s book, the movie stars Ed Oxenbould, who has a lousy day at school and subsequently wishes that his other family members are also stricken with bad luck as well. Hilarity and, ultimately, family bonding ensue. The pundits say Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is perfectly passable family entertainment — it’s well-meaning and reasonably funny, but nothing earth-shaking. (Watch our video interviews with stars Jennifer Garner, Steve Carrell, Ed Oxenbould, and more.)



The Judge

49%

It’s been a while since we’ve been treated to a weighty courtroom drama at the multiplex, so it’s not unreasonable to have high expectations for The Judge — especially since it stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Unfortunately, critics say that despite its fine performances, the film is overlong and far too predictable. Hank Palmer (Downey) is a big-city attorney who returns to his hometown in Indiana for his mother’s funeral. His estranged father Joseph (Duvall), the town judge, is accused of murder, so Hank ends up defending him, while trying to make peace with the past. The pundits say The Judge is impeccably crafted, and the stars play off each other quite well, but it’s got too much melodrama and not enough suspense. (Check out our video interviews with Downey, Duvall, and more.)



Dracula Untold

25%

You can drive a stake through his heart, expose him to sunlight, and come at him with a convent’s-worth of crucifixes, and still, Dracula will rise again — since the silent era, we’ve been treated to hundreds of cinematic depictions of Transylvania’s favorite son. That said, critics say Dracula Untold is visually striking but narratively shaky, borrowing heavily from a wide range of fantasy/adventure movies. In 15th Century Romania, Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) makes a deal with an old vampire in order to protect his kingdom from an invading army. He’s granted a variety of supernatural powers, but at the cost of developing a taste for blood. The pundits say Dracula Untold offers some fun battle scenes, but it’s a bit unclear on the rules of being a vampire. (See interviews with Evans, Sarah Gadon, and more.)



Men, Women & Children

33%

In Up in the Air and Young Adult, director Jason Reitman crafted witty, portraits of lonely people trying to connect with others. Unfortunately, critics say his latest, Men, Women & Children, jettisons the wit in favor of a more hectoring tone that’s only partially redeemed by the strong cast. It’s a multi-stranded ensemble piece set in a small town in Texas, in which adults and their teenage children are immersed in their phones and computers, but have difficulty communicating offline. The pundits say Men, Women & Children is ambitious and well-acted, but its message ultimately overrides its storytelling.



Addicted

7%

We’d love to tell you what the critics thought of Addicted, but it wasn’t screened prior to its release. It’s the tale of a successful businesswoman who gets in over her head when she cheats on her husband with an artist. Guess the Tomatometer!

Certified Fresh on TV this week:


We’ve seen plenty of heavy, gritty superhero stories lately. What critics say makes The Flash (Certified Fresh at 96 percent) stand out is it light, likeable tone — it’s energetic, buoyant, and likely to have appeal beyond the comics crowd.

The fourth iteration of Ryan Murphy’s creep fest, American Horror Story: Freak Show (Certified Fresh at 79 percent) proves there are plenty more dark corners for the series to explore; Critics say it’s stylishly presented and well-acted by returning players Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Whiplash, starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in a drama about an ambitious jazz drummer and his punishingly strict teacher, is Certified Fresh at 97 percent.
  • The Overnighters, a documentary about the influx of people looking for stable jobs amidst North Dakota’s energy boom, is at 94 percent.
  • Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, the second installment of the horror/comedy franchise about Nazi zombies, is at 87 percent.
  • Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner in a drama about investigative journalist Gary Webb’s discovery of CIA ties to a drug trafficking conspiracy, is at 71 percent (check out Renner’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • The Canal, a horror film about a man who is haunted by a grisly murder that took place in his home, is at 71 percent.
  • St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy in a comedy about a hard-living curmudgeon who bonds with his neighbor’s 12-year-old son, is at 63 percent.
  • One Chance, a drama based on the true story of the amateur opera singer who became an overnight sensation on Britain’s Got Talent, is at 61 percent.
  • I Am Ali, featuring audio recordings of the boxing legend, is at 42 percent.
  • You’re Not You, starring Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum in a drama about a woman suffering from ALS and the college student who cares for her, is at 22 percent.
  • Autómata, starring Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith in a sci-fi drama about an insurance agent who investigates a self-improving robot, is at 21 percent.
  • The Pact II, a horror film about a woman who’s bedeviled by a serial killer, is at zero percent.
  • Kite, starring Samuel L. Jackson and India Eisley in a thriller about an orphan who attempts to break free from the detective who trained her to be a killer, is at zero percent.
  • Catch Hell, starring Ryan Phillippe as a has-been actor who’s kidnapped and blackmailed while shooting an indie film, is at zero percent.

Tag Cloud

Turner YouTube Red MCU mutant witnail justice league Black History Month true crime festival Ellie Kemper VICE political drama BAFTA remakes DirecTV spanish language directors transformers IFC Films crime thriller American Society of Cinematographers CNN Freeform DC Universe parents crime drama Fox News Comic Book Adult Swim psychological thriller obituary science fiction hollywood spain Crunchyroll Sci-Fi cancelled TV series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TV indiana jones Dark Horse Comics FXX Best and Worst independent TV One cars Chernobyl sports worst joker comic Pirates video on demand critics The CW Musical boxoffice Warner Bros. E! Ovation Crackle Hallmark Christmas movies ratings docudrama Summer OneApp Super Bowl YA PlayStation BBC Rocky BBC One Trophy Talk Anna Paquin Premiere Dates godzilla 2018 Television Academy rt archives zero dark thirty FX on Hulu Toys breaking bad Bravo Quiz video space The Walking Dead hidden camera BBC America Western renewed TV shows GoT thriller reboot Stephen King San Diego Comic-Con cancelled satire festivals Set visit cancelled TV shows WarnerMedia Women's History Month Paramount Plus comics cooking HBO Go FX RT21 franchise cults richard e. Grant Star Trek social media Turner Classic Movies stoner Calendar CMT 71st Emmy Awards king kong natural history Black Mirror Hear Us Out ITV ESPN Legendary Apple Country Classic Film President Esquire archives 2015 Red Carpet sitcom Elton John popular Universal award winner women rotten movies we love TBS Disney streaming service Mary Poppins Returns Spring TV pirates of the caribbean trailers comedies laika james bond hispanic police drama news dc elevated horror Columbia Pictures monster movies Spike Chilling Adventures of Sabrina game of thrones spinoff Trivia USA Network 2021 latino Film Festival serial killer classics Spectrum Originals scorecard VH1 golden globes Apple TV Plus Fall TV TCA Awards docuseries Lifetime The Arrangement what to watch Logo Starz ID TCA 2017 Awards Tour movie jurassic park cats blockbuster nfl Rock BET Reality Marathons diversity crime romantic comedy Opinion technology Apple TV+ children's TV Year in Review asian-american biography australia Netflix Christmas movies mission: impossible Heroines Disney+ Disney Plus Syfy crossover tv talk Exclusive Video doctor who Song of Ice and Fire politics Film reviews Amazon Prime Shudder Nominations GIFs PBS cops Disney Channel Peacock anthology Marvel Television cartoon Hallmark quibi Oscars Academy Awards game show Captain marvel Cosplay stand-up comedy movies dark Emmys PaleyFest NYCC Comedy Sundance Now disaster ViacomCBS Discovery Channel Animation historical drama harry potter teaser The Witch screen actors guild war GLAAD A&E Comedy Central supernatural Tumblr Television Critics Association Disney Plus Lucasfilm Mudbound Thanksgiving kong DC streaming service FOX Winners halloween tv New York Comic Con HBO Max Sundance TV SXSW discovery toy story Travel Channel Infographic fresh rom-coms Marvel Holiday Epix The Academy mockumentary Binge Guide ABC Family slashers Polls and Games El Rey Election spider-man Mystery singing competition based on movie Christmas Walt Disney Pictures Certified Fresh E3 medical drama japanese TCM telelvision Fantasy Reality Competition psycho 24 frames theme song streaming dogs Emmy Nominations Pride Month toronto criterion The Walt Disney Company indie Tubi batman dragons 72 Emmy Awards scary movies Grammys facebook Pop TV TIFF TCA Winter 2020 romance Musicals kaiju Trailer revenge Mary Tyler Moore Tarantino OWN Paramount name the review halloween Holidays documentary rotten Interview Alien a nightmare on elm street Video Games Funimation First Reviews screenings LGBTQ TV renewals superhero First Look anime blaxploitation sag awards Sony Pictures hist ghosts Podcast DC Comics all-time emmy awards Tomatazos spy thriller SDCC Lifetime Christmas movies A24 Martial Arts National Geographic finale YouTube Premium book Vudu versus Nickelodeon VOD Sundance fast and furious Superheroes MSNBC 99% canceled TV shows black 20th Century Fox Creative Arts Emmys Character Guide italian Amazon Prime Video TV Land BET Awards Hulu See It Skip It Writers Guild of America Comics on TV twilight APB razzies Arrowverse sequels Kids & Family deadpool Drama Pet Sematary ABC Signature 2017 Endgame venice robots free movies Showtime werewolf Pop RT History SundanceTV AMC USA HBO Disney Amazon CW Seed golden globe awards Photos 2020 Mary poppins canceled WGN dceu Ghostbusters comic books jamie lee curtis NBC binge 2019 Horror ABC travel 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards documentaries Shondaland talk show LGBT series X-Men adaptation Valentine's Day Netflix CBS Rocketman Nat Geo Winter TV 45 Acorn TV Star Wars unscripted nbcuniversal die hard Sneak Peek stop motion Food Network Countdown Box Office Baby Yoda TNT cinemax miniseries Schedule Awards worst movies kids Marvel Studios Masterpiece Fox Searchlight 2016 adventure Lionsgate YouTube 21st Century Fox The Purge IFC DGA CBS All Access Pixar blockbusters Action concert Amazon Studios football TruTV zombies Superheroe Watching Series green book best prank zombie Britbox composers Broadway Avengers nature TCA animated Extras superman cancelled television universal monsters television Mindy Kaling Brie Larson child's play boxing strong female leads vampires aliens chucky Biopics MTV foreign Teen Paramount Network Family comiccon sequel films 007 christmas movies period drama Music dramedy Rom-Com casting Cartoon Network Cannes 4/20 TLC spanish french History south america