Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Looper Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Hotel Transylvania is giddy but thinly-scripted, and Won't Back Down is impassioned but bland.

by | September 27, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a futuristic hitman (Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a monster bash (Hotel Transylvania, with voice work by Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg), and a pair of education advocates (Won’t Back Down, starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal). What do the critics have to say?



Looper

93%

The fanboy anticipation for Looper has grown to a fever pitch over the last few months. It appears the wait was worth it; critics say Rian Johnson‘s third feature pulls off that rarest of trifectas — it’s at once a provocative head trip, a tense thriller, and an intriguing character study. It’s 2044, and control of time-travel technology is in the hands of the mob; when they want somebody rubbed out, they send them back 30 years for an assassin to kill. But when one such “looper” (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is tasked with killing a future version of himself (Bruce Willis), he finds himself on the run from perhaps fate itself. The pundits say that despite the occasional narrative stumble, the Certified Fresh Looper is such an exciting, heartfelt, and ambitious sci-fi tale that it’s sure to imspire plenty of conversation after the lights come up. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Willis’ best-reviewed films.)



Hotel Transylvania

45%

They may look scary, but all the famous movie monsters are just like us on the inside. That’s the clever premise of Hotel Transylvania, but while critics say the movie looks great and has moments of comic inspiration, it largely fails to balance the yuks with its attempts at sincerity. At a remote hotel, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, and a bunch of other horror VIPs gather for Dracula’s daughter Mavis’ birthday celebration. But the ghoulies’ placid idyll is threatened when Mavis falls for a human and her dad gets really overprotective. The pundits say Hotel Transylvania has a buoyant, giddy tone that may please children, but it’s also loud and thinly-scripted. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames, an image gallery of legendary creatures in animation.)



Won’t Back Down

35%

If you’ve seen one inspirational story of underdogs taking on the system, you’ve seen ’em all, right? Not necessarily, though critics say Won’t Back Down feels awfully familiar — not to mention simplistic — despite the best efforts of stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Davis and Gyllenhaal play a teacher and a single mom, respectively, who become so disillusioned by the bureaucratic rigidity of the local public school system that they start a grass-roots movement to wrest control from the teachers union. The pundits say Won’t Back Down is well-acted, but its script fails to lend dramatic heft or sophistication to the hot-button issue of education reform.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Other Dream Team, a documentary about the politics surrounding the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, is at 86 percent.
  • The Waiting Room, a documentary about the workings of a public hospital in Oakland, is at 86 percent.
  • Joe Dante‘s The Hole, a horror film about a pair of middle-schoolers who discover a bottomless pit in the basement of their new house, is at 81 percent.
  • Tales of the Night, an animated collection of vignettes featuring fantastic tales from around the world, is at 80 percent.
  • Pitch Perfect, starring Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow in a comedy about a new girl on campus who encourages the school’s a cappella group to get hip, is at 76 percent.
  • Solomon Kane, an action/fantasy hybrid about an English mercenary who goes to war with the devil, is at 64 percent.
  • The Thai import Headshot, an action/thriller about a cop-turned-hitman with vision problems, is at 56 percent.
  • Vulgaria, a comedy about a movie producer who must make a bizarre pornographic film in order to pay alimony to his ex-wife, is at 43 percent.
  • Stars In Shorts, a collection of seven short films featuring an all-star cast, is at 38 percent.
  • Bringing Up Bobby, starring Milla Jovovich and Bill Pullman in a comedy about a con artist who tries to create a stable environment for her son, is at 14 percent.

Finally, props to Bently Lyles for coming the closest to guessing House at the End of the Street‘s 11 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

The Walt Disney Company TV Land Amazon Prime marvel cinematic universe green book Video Games new star wars movies Bravo miniseries video Elton John versus heist movie justice league Comic Book Winners rt labs critics edition E! adaptation Black History Month Prime Video TIFF ABC Signature best Star Wars NYCC nfl jurassic park cancelled television A24 Schedule FOX Brie Larson black comedy HFPA CBS All Access Comedy Central Best and Worst Sci-Fi WarnerMedia Trailer ghosts MTV composers thriller target Reality Marvel Television El Rey zombie Mindy Kaling hidden camera sitcom hispanic heritage month TBS vampires Nickelodeon Mary poppins mockumentary rotten Pirates french 2015 action-comedy razzies sequels screenings Pop 73rd Emmy Awards genre 72 Emmy Awards science fiction rt archives DC Universe Pop TV Mary Poppins Returns godzilla richard e. Grant Countdown President The Walking Dead know your critic cars animated reviews Syfy FXX Polls and Games comic 2019 Certified Fresh Year in Review Amazon Studios 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards police drama Character Guide YouTube Alien blockbuster cinemax slasher franchise hollywood movie joker Apple Warner Bros. Podcast series Calendar Universal rom-coms award winner suspense james bond a nightmare on elm street VOD war First Look sopranos Emmys Peacock Horror Set visit GIFs MSNBC television Grammys Hulu Spike festivals Extras crime films Britbox Country rotten movies we love BAFTA PBS strong female leads young adult Esquire Action concert royal family breaking bad TruTV toronto Disney Musical Tokyo Olympics king arthur RT21 scorecard DC Comics 79th Golden Globes Awards Paramount Network X-Men Cannes BET spy thriller documentaries aliens Food Network Apple TV+ robots natural history OneApp Rocketman NBC Biopics Box Office 2021 Marathons indie comic book movies nbcuniversal comiccon Hear Us Out 007 TV One Super Bowl Martial Arts dragons Wes Anderson toy story Red Carpet directors Mystery travel blockbusters dark Paramount renewed TV shows halloween tv SundanceTV Pixar Reality Competition IFC children's TV Trivia batman japanese Classic Film CW Seed mob king kong foreign laika Netflix Christmas movies See It Skip It 4/20 twilight Spring TV diversity quibi Starz Rom-Com Premiere Dates FX on Hulu HBO Go TCA 2017 social media scene in color ABC Nominations comic books werewolf Writers Guild of America dceu politics Rocky 21st Century Fox Superheroes sag awards nature Mudbound women First Reviews comics 99% prank Lifetime aapi Neflix Film Festival 24 frames Shudder streaming movies pirates of the caribbean Black Mirror PaleyFest The CW psychological thriller Anna Paquin TCA Winter 2020 spanish language DC streaming service south america Fantasy Instagram Live mutant Columbia Pictures Freeform legend Fall TV NBA IFC Films USA Network Kids & Family TCA high school dreamworks Avengers satire leaderboard feel good Netflix serial killer kong historical drama asian-american Opinion The Academy spider-man Musicals Pacific Islander Sundance TV medical drama BBC IMDb TV Stephen King Summer emmy awards worst movies criterion Hallmark festival Family Creative Arts Emmys Logo Valentine's Day Marvel ITV hispanic trophy Lifetime Christmas movies Winter TV Tags: Comedy spider-verse psycho Tomatazos teaser 93rd Oscars period drama 2018 book adaptation casting zero dark thirty indiana jones History cooking Thanksgiving remakes HBO Max lord of the rings latino Epix classics new zealand FX Arrowverse spain fast and furious VH1 1990s Discovery Channel Song of Ice and Fire unscripted CMT crime thriller theme song Watching Series Toys CNN TCA Awards Tumblr Chernobyl Universal Pictures talk show wonder woman sports APB Crunchyroll Nat Geo basketball name the review Turner Classic Movies TV movies Trophy Talk popular Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Pet Sematary Election SXSW The Arrangement Hallmark Christmas movies screen actors guild halloween Music Binge Guide crime drama news transformers harry potter Fargo Oscars Fox News cats superman adenture Comics on TV YA universal monsters Broadway comedies hist Film docudrama worst Ellie Kemper New York Comic Con 45 Marvel Studios GoT BET Awards Rock Christmas debate mission: impossible romantic comedy romance live action scary movies game of thrones Cosplay Lionsgate cults singing competition reboot HBO American Society of Cinematographers stop motion Crackle saw Interview Comedy Holiday marvel comics The Witch A&E Emmy Nominations golden globes Disney+ Disney Plus rt labs Ghostbusters child's play Comic-Con@Home 2021 trailers critic resources San Diego Comic-Con Image Comics Photos japan Amazon Prime Video ESPN WGN Tarantino facebook cancelled TV series cops LGBT Sony Pictures LGBTQ revenge Western National Geographic Paramount Plus SDCC Cartoon Network independent docuseries dramedy spanish Turner DGA jamie lee curtis zombies Teen documentary Masterpiece disaster YouTube Premium deadpool TNT Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Baby Yoda sequel book adventure Women's History Month Fox Searchlight italian Legendary boxoffice canceled TCM Travel Channel binge political drama free movies new york biopic dexter YouTube Red video on demand space 2016 Exclusive Video BBC One Disney Channel Sundance Now anime christmas movies game show movies ABC Family gangster obituary Infographic doctor who Dark Horse Comics MCU critics telelvision DirecTV dc international kaiju USA ID blaxploitation art house streaming CBS Funimation Heroines Academy Awards Awards Superheroe 90s Vudu based on movie Mary Tyler Moore Star Trek Amazon posters archives die hard Adult Swim cancelled TV shows 71st Emmy Awards anthology The Purge stoner Acorn TV TV renewals PlayStation olympics Sundance ViacomCBS cartoon what to watch ratings Television Critics Association Television Academy TV live event kids crossover AMC Walt Disney Pictures Disney streaming service comic book movie 20th Century Fox true crime BBC America Quiz Captain marvel TLC VICE Tubi venice Showtime spinoff superhero football Shondaland dogs E3 chucky AMC Plus GLAAD elevated horror 2020 Pride Month 2017 supernatural black slashers scary all-time discovery OWN technology parents monster movies vs. tv talk Endgame boxing Apple TV Plus Sneak Peek Lucasfilm Ovation golden globe awards australia Drama Spectrum Originals finale Disney Plus canceled TV shows Awards Tour stand-up comedy fresh mcc Hollywood Foreign Press Association Animation RT History biography witnail Holidays cancelled