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

48%

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

23%

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

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