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?



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


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


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

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