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

Avengers Lifetime Action History worst movies Box Office new star wars movies olympics Country Teen Alien theme song 2021 Shudder batman Fall TV WGN true crime FX festivals Stephen King Sundance Holidays Heroines 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards DC streaming service adaptation Exclusive Video New York Comic Con book Hallmark Amazon Prime Video halloween tv cancelled TV series disaster television supernatural First Reviews cancelled El Rey nfl Musical Universal VH1 90s Extras psycho BAFTA italian comic Interview travel Peacock Epix docuseries hist WarnerMedia CNN spider-man Netflix Christmas movies Song of Ice and Fire technology American Society of Cinematographers YouTube GoT movie Photos Emmys sports TLC Emmy Nominations FX on Hulu pirates of the caribbean LGBTQ 2018 animated SXSW Mindy Kaling Summer See It Skip It Video Games revenge Opinion sitcom stand-up comedy Rock Showtime Fox News MCU NBA Hulu documentary natural history international APB jurassic park quibi twilight TV One 21st Century Fox Adult Swim Lucasfilm Film Hear Us Out Winners TNT IFC Films Classic Film Best and Worst Calendar 2020 2015 hollywood kaiju aapi marvel cinematic universe biography singing competition Syfy children's TV Musicals YouTube Premium know your critic 1990s toronto robots finale HBO Go south america Food Network live action news hispanic Television Academy critics book adaptation richard e. Grant scorecard video on demand CBS women suspense OneApp BBC America Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Disney+ Disney Plus universal monsters TV Martial Arts Sneak Peek Rocky 99% fresh ITV facebook japanese IFC zero dark thirty YA football Turner Classic Movies stoner Ellie Kemper superhero Disney Channel criterion diversity Creative Arts Emmys aliens james bond Travel Channel A&E BET Awards CBS All Access adventure spanish language period drama TruTV franchise boxoffice comic books anthology political drama Spike BBC popular Marathons award winner rotten king kong adenture GIFs sequels Disney streaming service PaleyFest screen actors guild Comedy Central Pet Sematary Reality Competition ratings San Diego Comic-Con crime NYCC 2016 Star Trek superman Tumblr VICE romance serial killer lord of the rings Pacific Islander crime thriller binge ABC Signature Christmas comiccon ViacomCBS Bravo E! dceu based on movie OWN nature Chernobyl BBC One reboot Nominations Quiz Spring TV cats Sony Pictures Trivia spy thriller breaking bad Disney Plus Fox Searchlight CW Seed Kids & Family Apple TV Plus mutant TCA satire 24 frames DirecTV spanish halloween werewolf strong female leads Acorn TV Oscars vampires Broadway President Holiday australia game show A24 trailers doctor who obituary comics mockumentary Comics on TV Comedy Hallmark Christmas movies dogs Crunchyroll talk show National Geographic Legendary FOX historical drama a nightmare on elm street Mary poppins SDCC 20th Century Fox ghosts transformers Marvel Television Apple spain boxing Cosplay Academy Awards The CW streaming TCA 2017 fast and furious RT21 foreign legend Countdown Podcast Esquire 45 Infographic Mudbound The Purge jamie lee curtis DC Universe Netflix social media Black History Month emmy awards Turner dark Certified Fresh joker Grammys Drama heist movie harry potter wonder woman cults crime drama composers Funimation Schedule free movies psychological thriller elevated horror spinoff First Look Ovation cancelled television witnail Trophy Talk X-Men reviews The Witch discovery high school deadpool RT History 72 Emmy Awards USA Network police drama Horror dragons Music Pixar ID casting prank TCA Awards Ghostbusters sag awards miniseries ABC Family 71st Emmy Awards 007 Arrowverse Crackle Paramount Toys FXX Set visit E3 black versus comedies renewed TV shows Captain marvel festival Tokyo Olympics Sundance Now latino mission: impossible monster movies stop motion name the review NBC Tarantino independent worst laika Star Wars CMT TCA Winter 2020 films Pop TV PlayStation Freeform Mary Tyler Moore Valentine's Day PBS Polls and Games The Walking Dead cars romantic comedy docudrama 2019 politics space game of thrones Film Festival Television Critics Association best rt archives YouTube Red Vudu Mystery Binge Guide Thanksgiving japan concert Fantasy Writers Guild of America screenings canceled indiana jones teaser 2017 Marvel basketball anime series cancelled TV shows Tomatazos 4/20 Pride Month DC Comics cinemax die hard Western zombie Shondaland sequel video golden globes Black Mirror toy story AMC crossover french kids Baby Yoda dc Amazon tv talk Britbox venice Nickelodeon Super Bowl classics justice league rom-coms medical drama Sci-Fi Spectrum Originals golden globe awards TCM Watching Series HBO Discovery Channel Masterpiece godzilla directors Apple TV+ telelvision Winter TV canceled TV shows VOD ESPN Superheroes Comic-Con@Home 2021 chucky SundanceTV war Walt Disney Pictures saw HBO Max parents Paramount Network new zealand Brie Larson Anna Paquin Dark Horse Comics Trailer Women's History Month unscripted asian-american MTV cops BET Endgame blockbuster Sundance TV indie Rom-Com Year in Review The Academy Election Image Comics Premiere Dates razzies christmas movies TBS Superheroe what to watch DGA LGBT Amazon Prime scene in color Biopics Pop blaxploitation Character Guide science fiction documentaries Marvel Studios hidden camera Starz Warner Bros. The Walt Disney Company streaming movies Rocketman Awards rotten movies we love Mary Poppins Returns Paramount Plus Comic Book zombies cooking nbcuniversal kong Red Carpet Awards Tour target Family Reality slashers new york remakes Lifetime Christmas movies GLAAD Cartoon Network TV movies Nat Geo thriller Lionsgate Chilling Adventures of Sabrina green book TIFF dramedy 93rd Oscars ABC all-time TV Land The Arrangement MSNBC Cannes cartoon USA movies scary movies Logo child's play Tubi Disney Amazon Studios Pirates Columbia Pictures Elton John TV renewals blockbusters archives Animation Wes Anderson