Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is Certified Fresh

Plus, 22 Jump Street is also Certified Fresh.

by | June 12, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got Viking explorers (How to Train Your Dragon 2, with voice performances by Jay Baruchel and Gerard Butler) and college-bound cops (22 Jump Street, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum). What do the critics have to say?

How to Train Your Dragon 2


When How to Train Your Dragon became a runaway critical and commercial hit, it helped to quiet the contention that DreamWorks was simply a second banana to Pixar. Happily, critics say the inevitable sequel lives up to the high standards set by its predecessor — it’s exuberant, ambitious, and visually striking. This time out, Hiccup is all grown up and hoping to prove himself to his community. He and his dragon pal Toothless inadvertently discover a new land, where a different group of people work with dragons for a different purpose. The pundits say the Certified Fresh How to Train Your Dragon 2 is headier and darker than your average kiddie fare, and the result is a sweeping, imaginative fantasy adventure. (Watch our video interview with How to Train Your Dragon 2 stars Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson.)

22 Jump Street


21 Jump Street was a pleasant surprise, so what can we expect for an encore? How about a near-total repeat? Critics say that’s not a bad thing at all; 22 Jump Street works well enough as an action comedy, but it’s even better as a meta commentary on the action comedy formula. The plot unfolds exactly the same as before: two cops (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) go undercover (this time at a college) in order to foil a drug ring. Once again, they learn a bit about themselves (and each other) in the process. And once again, their boss (Ice Cube) is constantly up in their business. The pundits say the Certified Fresh 22 Jump Street has fun at the expense of cop movie cliches, but what really puts it over the top is the deft chemistry between its two leads. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, a compendium of buddy cop movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Agnieszka Holland‘s Burning Bush, a drama about the fallout from a brave protest of the Soviet occupation of Prague in 1969, is at 100 percent.
  • Policeman, a drama about the leader of an Israeli counterterrorism unit who’s tasked with stopping a group of armed revolutionaries, is at 82 percent.
  • Witching and Bitching, a horror comedy about a desperate criminal gang that runs afoul with a coven of witches, is at 80 percent.
  • Ivory Tower, a documentary about the high cost of college tuition, is at 77 percent.
  • A Coffee in Berlin, a dramedy about an aimless man who meets a series of interesting people, is at 73 percent.
  • Violette, a biopic about celebrated French novelist Violette Leduc, is at 69 percent.
  • The Rover, starring Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce in a thriller about two men trying to survive in post-apocalyptic Australia, is at 68 percent.
  • Heli, a thriller about a family that gets caught up in the Mexican drug war, is at 56 percent.
  • I Am I, a drama about a woman who tracks down her estranged father only to discover he suffers from memory loss, is at 50 percent.
  • Hellion, starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis in a drama about a troubled 13-year-old reeling from the death of his mother, is at 50 percent.
  • All Cheerleaders Die, a horror comedy about a teenager who plans revenge on the pep squad, is at 48 percent.
  • The Signal, starring Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites in a sci-fi thriller about a group of hackers who stumble upon a top secret desert facility that may house extraterrestrial life, is at 47 percent.
  • Lullaby, starring Richard Jenkins and Amy Adams in a drama about a man who reconnects with his terminally ill father, is at 38 percent.

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