TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got a deadly virus (Contagion, starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow), MMA misfortune (Warrior, starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte), and a would-be thespian (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, starring Nick Swardson and Christina Ricci). What do the critics have to say?
Steven Soderbergh has certainly proven himself to be a director who can handle movies with lots of big stars and multiple storylines – after all, he’s the guy behind both Traffic and the Ocean’s movies. And critics say his latest, Contagion, is another winner, a briskly paced, harrowing thriller with plenty on its mind. Featuring a murderer’s row of big-time talent (including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburn), Contagion chronicles the global reaction to a highly contagious flu epidemic, and how ordinary citizens and officials react to both the virus and the public panic. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Contagion is smart and suspenseful, as fine performances and Soderbergh’s deft direction help to keep all the big ideas and narrative complexity from bursting at the seams.
The world already has Raging Bull, On the Waterfront, The Wrestler, and The Fighter; do we really need another movie about a ring king struggling with his personal and familial demons? Well, in the case of Warrior, critics say the answer is a resounding yes — they say the film is emotionally resonant and viscerally powerful. Tom Hardy stars as an ex-Marine and a former wrestling champ who decides to enter a martial arts competition. He trains with his father (Nick Nolte), an ex-prizefighter with a history of alcoholism, not realizing his estranged brother (Joel Edgerton) is also preparing for the tournament. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Warrior‘s premise may be melodramatic, but it’s tremendously acted and unexpectedly moving, making for a fight film that hits harder than you’d expect.
It looks like the folks behind Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star were afraid their film wasn’t destined for critical praise, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. Nick Swardson stars as a small town grocery store employee who decides to make a go of showbiz after learning his parents were once movie stars – that is, adult movie stars. Time to play guess the Tomatometer!
We Were Here, a documentary about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, is at 100 percent.
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, a doc about the notorious Romanian despot, is at 80 percent.
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a doc that collects archival footage of prominent figures of the Black Power movement, is at 75 percent.
Shaolin, a martial arts adventure about a general who takes refuge with a group of monks, is at 64 percent.
Echotone, a documentary about Austin’s vibrant music scene, is at 67 percent.
Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis in a comedy/thriller about a pair of killers who sell the corpses to a medical school, is at 34 percent.
Inside Out, starring Michael Rapaport and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque in a drama about an ex-con who’s drawn back into the criminal life by his best friend, is at 33 percent.
Tanner Hall, starring Rooney Mara in a coming-of-age drama about the lives and loves of a group of private schoolgirls, is at 13 percent.
Main Street, starring Orlando Bloom and Colin Firth a drama about an outsider with a plan to refurbish a decaying small town, is at zero percent.
Finally, crazy mad props to King S. for correctly guessing Shark Night 3D‘s 16 percent Tomatometer and for coming the closest to guessing Apollo 18‘s 20 percent Tomatometer.