Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: John Wick is Certified Fresh

Plus, Ouija is dull, 23 Blast is earnest but predictable; and new episodes of The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy

by | October 22, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an avenging hitman (John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves and Adrianne Palicki), a bedeviled board (Ouija, starring Olivia Cooke and Douglas Smith), and an inspirational gridiron tale (23 Blast, starring Mark Hapka and Alexa Vega). What do the critics have to say?


John Wick

86%

He’s taken some lumps over the years, but when it comes right down to it, Keanu Reeves is one of our most dependable action stars. Time will tell if John Wick will join Speed and The Matrix in the action movie pantheon, but critics say this is a stylish, briskly-paced thriller with terrific fight scenes and some sly humor. Reeves stars as a retired hitman reeling from the death of his wife when mob-affiliated hoods break into his house and kill his dog. Soon, our hero is back in the game — and practically every gangster in town is in fear for his life. The pundits say the Certified Fresh John Wick is the kind of muscular, full-throttle action flick that’s made with such skill and energy you’ll barely notice how thin the plot is. (Watch our video interview with Reeves.)



Ouija

6%

Ah, the mysterious Ouija board. Imbued with alleged occult powers, it’s been used to add spice to plenty of frightfests over the years, from 13 Ghosts to The Exorcist to Paranormal Activity. Now, everybody’s favorite board is ready for its close-up, but critics say Ouija fails to conjure much excitement aside from a few jump-scares. When a teenager dies in an accident, her friends attempt to contact her in the great beyond, awaking a malevolent spirit in the process. The pundits say Ouija is competently made but thoroughly bland and decidedly short on creepiness.



23 Blast

36%

Made with the best of intentions and based upon a remarkable true story, 23 Blast would seem to have all the pieces in place to wring tears from even the most hardened pigskin fans. Unfortunately, critics say the movie could use a lesson in clock management; despite fine acting from a group of seasoned pros, the film’s narrative is a little too slack. Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) is a high school football player who loses his vision from an inflammation of meningitis, but with the help of his family and friends, he eventually returns to the field. The pundits say 23 Blast has a nice sense of place and a few touching moments, but it’s awfully predictable.

Certified Fresh on TV:



After a rollicking, action-packed premiere, The Walking Dead mellowed out a bit for its second episode; critics say “Strangers”(100 percent) settles into a more deliberate, dialogue-heavy groove while still maintaining suspense.

 



Critics were mixed (but mostly positive) for the latest episode of Sons of Anarchy, saying that while it relied too heavily on brutal plot twists for effect, saying goodbye to a familiar face gives “Greensleeves”(70 percent) some emotional weight.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Heart Machine, an indie thriller about a Manhattanite who suspects his long-distance girlfriend may be catfishing him, is at 100 percent.
  • Citizenfour, a documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is Certified Fresh at 98 percent.
  • Force Majeure , a black comedy about a Swedish family on a ski trip in the Alps dealing with the fallout from a powerful avalanche, is at 97 percent.
  • 1,000 Times Good Night , starring Juliette Binoche and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in a drama about an idealistic war photographer whose family fears for her safety, is at 65 percent.
  • Laggies, starring Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz in a drama about an aimless woman in her late 20s who befriends a teenager as an escape from adult responsibility, is at 62 percent.
  • Stonehearst Asylum, starring Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley in a period thriller about a young doctor who discovers the inmates are literally running the asylum, is at 57 percent.
  • White Bird in a Blizzard, starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green in a dark dramedy about a teenager’s response to the disappearance of her overbearing mother, is at 53 percent.
  • Alain ResnaisLife of Riley, a drama about a group of close friends dealing with the news that one member of their circle has a terminal illness, is at 50 percent.
  • Exists, a found-footage horror film about a group of friends trying to find evidence of Bigfoot while on vacation in rural Texas, is at 29 percent.
  • Low Down, starring John Hawkes and Elle Fanning in a drama about a heroin-addicted jazz pianist and his daughter, is at 18 percent.
  • Revenge of the Green Dragons, a thriller about a gang member who targets his old comrades after a love affair goes wrong, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

Musicals versus classics American Society of Cinematographers video ABC Signature canceled game show Walt Disney Pictures Lionsgate breaking bad YA Interview Sundance TV LGBT scary movies asian-american Tomatazos television WGN Sci-Fi toronto CMT First Look docuseries sag awards Premiere Dates Nominations reboot teaser Super Bowl First Reviews romantic comedy festival anthology travel Character Guide Mary poppins obituary talk show Winners TCA Awards Apple pirates of the caribbean ratings transformers Sony Pictures book witnail Emmy Nominations renewed TV shows TCM TBS Discovery Channel best SXSW docudrama Rocky Netflix werewolf Adult Swim Marvel The Walking Dead singing competition Holiday Cannes BBC ID Travel Channel DC Universe comic Tubi ABC Family Country TCA crime thriller south america video on demand news Fall TV Food Network CBS All Access psychological thriller Anna Paquin Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Avengers SDCC President Hallmark discovery Writers Guild of America spanish PBS DC streaming service Polls and Games Cartoon Network Star Wars Funimation Horror slashers Showtime RT History Logo 2021 Marvel Television Pop TV Pop MCU biography NYCC venice ABC Captain marvel Calendar movies vampires 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Song of Ice and Fire A&E cooking Classic Film PaleyFest BBC America what to watch Brie Larson Rock cancelled WarnerMedia Teen sequels CBS Turner Classic Movies Women's History Month dc Starz Lifetime mission: impossible italian boxoffice strong female leads richard e. Grant Black History Month PlayStation comic books popular disaster cancelled TV series Lucasfilm japanese Awards Tour telelvision MSNBC Pixar sitcom Paramount Plus elevated horror hispanic TNT hist 20th Century Fox Turner Black Mirror Comics on TV DGA boxing Year in Review crime drama stand-up comedy Schedule Sneak Peek A24 Ovation fast and furious Mindy Kaling Reality Competition FX on Hulu laika halloween tv TV Land Peacock Shondaland GLAAD Toys mockumentary Quiz 007 OneApp Opinion golden globes 4/20 The Walt Disney Company Acorn TV Esquire Red Carpet historical drama CW Seed CNN spider-man fresh blaxploitation finale harry potter IFC Films Amazon Prime Tumblr foreign Television Critics Association worst IFC deadpool Binge Guide Rocketman Fox Searchlight 2020 Endgame Musical Western independent Paramount See It Skip It comedies screen actors guild criterion 21st Century Fox Shudder Stephen King Pet Sematary facebook psycho razzies DC Comics Hulu AMC reviews BET Video Games Crackle The Purge stop motion TCA Winter 2020 Reality Superheroes Family Ellie Kemper satire Film San Diego Comic-Con nbcuniversal Box Office a nightmare on elm street justice league diversity chucky romance USA Network Disney Plus TV One remakes El Rey Elton John crossover all-time jamie lee curtis archives Summer sports Film Festival superman critics unscripted Oscars Universal The Academy free movies Disney MTV Epix National Geographic spinoff Infographic Apple TV+ Drama cancelled television stoner screenings police drama mutant quibi adventure Christmas Music crime latino worst movies E3 doctor who war indiana jones children's TV TV renewals Chernobyl medical drama Mystery BBC One twilight Star Trek prank Marathons universal monsters monster movies Disney+ Disney Plus dragons Bravo Mary Poppins Returns thriller directors child's play spain Podcast Sundance Now godzilla Netflix Christmas movies spy thriller Best and Worst Lifetime Christmas movies rom-coms nature Rom-Com Pride Month 71st Emmy Awards true crime Mary Tyler Moore Hear Us Out tv talk comics Election parents golden globe awards Alien die hard Fantasy zombies History The CW adaptation Baby Yoda supernatural series indie Nickelodeon FXX emmy awards Fox News 2017 cinemax DirecTV Comedy concert Television Academy ghosts cartoon based on movie Mudbound Sundance HBO Max Grammys aliens NBC TruTV cars GIFs HBO Legendary Trailer king kong Freeform miniseries documentaries Valentine's Day name the review YouTube Red streaming TIFF SundanceTV revenge Amazon Prime Video spanish language Emmys Apple TV Plus kong theme song green book festivals zombie robots Syfy Action Comedy Central natural history rt archives black BAFTA Extras APB Amazon Studios hidden camera Trivia Tarantino LGBTQ toy story trailers Academy Awards rotten movies we love james bond ESPN Awards dark french YouTube cops FX TLC Certified Fresh Set visit hollywood Marvel Studios composers anime period drama documentary OWN blockbuster cats Dark Horse Comics joker space casting kids Broadway USA Biopics Winter TV 99% Photos award winner Paramount Network The Arrangement TV Disney streaming service Trophy Talk dogs 2019 The Witch canceled TV shows Superheroe films Amazon Kids & Family Spring TV TCA 2017 animated social media ViacomCBS Arrowverse 72 Emmy Awards Watching Series Nat Geo dceu technology 24 frames 2018 Crunchyroll Spike Holidays Comic Book Cosplay 2016 YouTube Premium sequel politics franchise Thanksgiving BET Awards Animation dramedy game of thrones Countdown christmas movies VH1 45 women Vudu kaiju Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt science fiction Martial Arts X-Men GoT australia batman HBO Go Masterpiece serial killer superhero FOX cancelled TV shows E! nfl New York Comic Con Creative Arts Emmys blockbusters RT21 halloween political drama Columbia Pictures Warner Bros. Britbox Pirates scorecard football Spectrum Originals Exclusive Video rotten ITV Hallmark Christmas movies VICE Ghostbusters zero dark thirty jurassic park comiccon VOD movie Disney Channel Heroines cults 2015 binge