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


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.



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.)



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


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

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