Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: American Sniper Hits the Target, Paddington Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Blackhat does not compute, and The Wedding Ringer is short on laughs.

by | January 15, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a fallen soldier (American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller), a marmalade-loving bear (Paddington, starring Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins), an ex-con hacker (Blackhat, starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis), and a best man for hire (The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad). What do the critics have to say?


American Sniper

72%

As a director, Clint Eastwood is one of cinema’s greatest chroniclers of troubled tough guys. Critics say American Sniper is a tense, kinetic drama that has much to say about the emotional toll of war — even if it fudges some of the facts about its real-life subject. Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper who achieved near-legendary status for his fearlessness and shooting accuracy. But when he left the service, Kyle’s place in the world became less certain. The pundits say American Sniper avoids some of the more controversial aspects of Kyle’s life, but it’s still a bracing, tense, powerfully acted portrait of a supremely talented soldier at war with himself.



Paddington

97%

The bear from darkest Peru is one of the brightest lights of the young movie year. Critics say Paddington is the best kind of family film — it’s funny, thoughtful, deeply heartfelt, and filled with strong characters. After stowing away on a boat, the titular bear arrives in London and is discovered by the Brown family, who bring him into their home. Paddington is a stranger in a strange land, but he does his best to adjust to city life; unfortunately, he also draws the attention of a devious taxidermist. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Paddington maintains the cheer and whimsy of Michael Bond’s books, while teaching children a gentle lesson in tolerance. (Check out star Hugh Bonneville’s Five Favorite Films, as well as our interviews with the cast and crew.)



Blackhat

33%

It’s tough to make computing look cool on the big screen. Critics say even a talented director like Michael Mann can only add so much to something like Blackhat, a cyberthriller that’s long on visual razzle-dazzle but short on tension and believability. Chris Hemsworth stars as Nick Hathaway, a brilliant hacker who’s serving prison time. However, when U.S. intelligence agents team up with the Chinese government to investigate a devastating act of cyberterrorism, they spring Hathaway from the joint to help solve the case. The pundits say Blackhat squanders its timely premise on a silly plotting and dialogue, though it does have a sense of visual panache.



The Wedding Ringer

27%

Kevin Hart is one of the funniest men on the planet, but critics say his comic exuberance can’t save The Wedding Ringer, a thoroughly so-so bromance with a few good gags but a whole lot of dead spots. Hart stars as Jimmy, who provides an unusual service: he serves as the best man for socially awkward, soon-to-be-wedded guys. While giving Doug (Josh Gad) instructions on how to act cool, Jimmy stars to actually like the big galoot. The pundits say Hart tries his best, but the pace is slack and too many of the jokes are of the gross-out variety. (Check out our interviews with Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, and Kaley Cuoco.)

What’s Hot On TV:


Critics say Togetherness (Certified Fresh at 94 percent) is a delightful surprise that interweaves day-to-day life with moving, dramatic characters who have an affinity for deprecating, squirmy humor.

The critics say Man Seeking Woman (92 percent) is easy to fall for, taking a ridiculously funny approach to a common theme with amusingly surreality and enjoyable oddness.

The pundits say Girls (Certified Fresh at 86 percent) is familiar after four seasons, but its convoluted-yet-comical depiction of young women dealing with the real world still manages to impress.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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