Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Gone Girl is Certified Fresh

Plus, Annabelle, Left Behind, and new TV.

by | October 2, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a mysterious disappearance (Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike), a spooky doll (Annabelle, starring Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton), and the end of the world (Left Behind, starring Nicolas Cage and Lea Thompson). What do the critics have to say?

Gone Girl


As the old promotional tagline goes, “You’ve read the book — now see the movie!” In the case of David Fincher‘s Gone Girl (adapted from Gillian Flynn‘s page-turning bestseller), critics say that’s sage advice, for the film is a psychologically penetrating thriller that’s chilling and darkly funny — and it features a performance from Rosamund Pike that’s likely to catapult her to the big-time. Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Pike) are a seemly idyllic couple. However, when Amy goes missing, and the media descends on their small Midwestern town, Nick looks increasingly suspicious. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Gone Girl is well-acted, intelligent, and deeply unsettling — in short, what we’ve come to expect from Fincher. (Watch our video interview with the cast and crew here.)



That creepy doll Annabelle cut such a striking presence in The Conjuring that she got her own movie. Unfortunately, the critics say it’s too bad she couldn’t get a better one; despite a few undeniably effective scares, Annabelle is by and large a compendium of horror movie cliches. A young couple with a baby on the way witnesses the shocking murder of their neighbors by a satanic cult. Soon, our heroes experience sinister goings-on throughout their house ; could that weird vintage doll the husband purchased be the cause? The pundits say Annabelle is a pretty generic haunted house flick, though it’s spooky enough on occasion to wish it were more.

Left Behind


Nicolas Cage plus the Book of Revelations should equal apocalyptic excitement, right? Apparently not. Critics are less than — ahem — enraptured by Left Behind; they say it’s a limp, clumsily crafted potboiler with cheesy special effects and minimal character development. Based upon the bestselling novels by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, the film stars Cage as Rayford Steele, a disaffected airline pilot who witnesses several passengers and crew members vanish in mid-flight. Steele must safely land the plane while chaos reigns on the ground. The pundits say Left Behind is mostly amateurish and largely bereft of thrills.

Fresh on TV this week:

This Amazon Prime dramedy is winning high praise for its honest, empathetic, and funny depiction of a dysfunctional family; critics say Transparent (98 percent) features top-notch performances from the likes of Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, and many more.

Gracepoint (73 percent) is an American adaptation of the critically-adored British detective series Broadchurch, both of which star David Tennant. And while critics say it’s not quite as sharp as its predecessor, it’s sophisticated and stylish, and features a strong lead performance from Anna Gunn.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Nas: Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about the making of one of hip hop’s greatest albums, is at 100 percent.
  • Last Hijack, a documentary about the life of a Somali pirate, is at 100 percent.
  • The Blue Room, a thriller about a man whose adulterous affairs lead to serious trouble, is at 90 percent.
  • For Those In Peril, a drama about a man who survives a mysterious fishing boat accident off the coast of Scotland, is at 89 percent.
  • The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon in a drama about a group of Sudanese refugees who attempt to make new lives for themselves in the United States, is at 85 percent (check out our interview with the cast here).
  • Copenhagen, a drama about a man who befriends a teenage girl while searching for his grandfather in Denmark, is at 83 percent.
  • Harmontown, a documentary portrait of Community creator Dan Harmon, is at 60 percent.
  • The Decent One, a documentary about how Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler thought about his actions, is at 50 percent.
  • Men, Women & Children, starring Jennifer Garner and Adam Sandler in a dramedy about the ways that technology has changed the way that parents and teens communicate, is at 40 percent.
  • Inner Demons, a horror film about reality show subject who appears to be a drug addict but may be suffering from something even scarier, is at 40 percent.
  • A Good Marriage, starring Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia in a thriller about a woman who makes a shocking discovery about her husband, is at 38 percent.
  • The Liberator, a biopic of Simón Bolívar and his fight for Latin American independence from Spain, is at 27 percent.
  • The Hero of Color City, an animated adventure about anthropomophic crayons featuring voice performances by Christina Ricci and Craig Ferguson, is at 20 percent.
  • Drive Hard, starring John Cusack and Thomas Jane in a thriller about a racecar driver who’s enlisted to drive the getaway car as part of daring heist, is at eight percent.

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