Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Moneyball is Certified Fresh

Plus, Dolphin Tale inspires, Killer Elite wanders, and Abduction sags.

by | September 23, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got baseball nerds (Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill), aquatic rehab (Dolphin Tale, starring Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman), an assassin-dodging teen (Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins), and a tough-guy showdown (Killer Elite, starring Jason Statham and Clive Owen). What do the critics have to say?



Moneyball

94%

Do you love The Natural, but wish the movie had found time to take a closer look at Roy Hobbs’s OPS and weighted on base average? Well then, Moneyball is the movie for you, and critics say it’s a moving, witty underdog tale that somehow manages to find drama in baseball stat geekdom. Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is tasked with fielding a competitive team on a small-market budget. His solution is to ignore traditional scouting methods and focus almost exclusively on obscure statistics that measure players’ abilities in ways that have been overlooked by other teams. Will Beane’s feather-ruffling approach be accepted in the staid world of Major League Baseball — and more importantly, will it yield results on the field? The pundits say the Certified Fresh Moneyball is a smart dramedy with excellent performances and a razor-sharp script that is likely to appeal to folks who don’t know the first thing about our national pastime. (Check out our countdown of the best baseball movies here.)



Dolphin Tale

81%

In these cynical times, we could use some good old fashioned inspirational family entertainment at the multiplex. And critics say the pleasant, uplifting Dolphin Tale fits the bill, thanks to solid acting and a script that manages to avoid schmaltz and still jerk tears. Based upon a true story, Dolphin Tale is the story of an injured seafaring mammal who damages her tail in a crab trap. A team of specialists and a lonely youngster band together to help our aquatic heroine — now sporting a prosthetic tail — to swim again. The pundits say Dolphin Tale deftly avoids the corniness that could have weighed it down, and the result is a heartwarming film that will please both kids and adults.



Abduction

5%

Given his high-profile gig in the Twilight franchise, it was inevitable that Taylor Lautner would get his own starring vehicle. Unfortunately, critics say he could have chosen a better one than Abduction, a predictable, mediocre thriller that never slows down long enough to make sense. Launter plays Nathan Harper, who learns that the family he’s living with is not his own. Soon, he’s on the run from an elite group of assassins, and he tries to piece together his mysterious past while staying one step ahead of his pursuers. The pundits say Abduction is Bourne-lite, with unintentionally funny dialogue and an absurdly complicated plot that strands a talented cast. (Check out Lautner’s Five Favorite Films here.)



Killer Elite

26%

Killer Elite is a globe-trotting action flick with a top-notch cast and more on its mind than your typical thriller. Unfortunately, critics say those intriguing pieces don’t add up to a satisfying whole, and Killer Elite is ultimately a formulaic adrenaline-fest with a plot that wanders all over the place. Jason Statham plays Danny Bryce, a hired gun on the edge of retirement who’s lured back into action when his mentor Hunter (Robert De Niro) is taken hostage. Our hero must finish the job Hunter was contracted to do, but soon he’s run afoul with a rogue group of soldiers lead by Spike (Clive Owen), who’s now gunning for Danny. The pundits say Killer Elite has macho attitude to spare, but its execution is off, and the result is an overlong and confusing film that raises interesting moral questions without answering them. (Check this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Statham’s best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Weekend, a romantic drama about two men who meet and share their lives over the course of 48 hours, is at 100 percent.
  • Thunder Soul, a documentary about Houston’s astonishingly funky Kashmere High School Stage Band, is at 100 percent.
  • Pearl Jam Twenty, Cameron Crowe‘s documentary portrait of the grunge superstars, is at 71 percent.
  • Limelight, a doc about the rise and fall of New York nightclub impresario Peter Gatien, is at 71 percent.
  • The Whale, a doc about a killer whale who befriends some residents of Vancouver Island after being separated from his family, is at 67 percent.
  • Puncture, starring Chris Evans in a drama about a drug addicted lawyer who investigates a health care and pharmaceutical industry conspiracy, is at 57 percent.
  • Archie’s Final Project, dramedy about a high school filmmaker who announces he’s going to kill himself on camera, is at 40 percent.
  • Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler in a drama about a former biker and born-again Christian who goes to Sudan to save as many children as he can, is at 29 percent.

Tag Cloud

diversity award winner SundanceTV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina period drama harry potter Spectrum Originals Marvel cops adventure Trailer foreign medical drama Amazon Prime psychological thriller BET Toys American Society of Cinematographers Bravo Elton John USA Film Festival San Diego Comic-Con The Witch Song of Ice and Fire MSNBC finale Stephen King SDCC USA Network ghosts Comics on TV spinoff aliens TCM Country Superheroes Cartoon Network Paramount crossover Film E! social media Star Wars politics adaptation President WGN true crime comic toy story Winter TV DGA Hulu Rocketman Sci-Fi Photos National Geographic singing competition Heroines sequel latino Anna Paquin robots Warner Bros. space zombie book Pirates See It Skip It zombies LGBT Calendar Cosplay Awards Tour Chernobyl witnail Opinion Nat Geo Amazon Creative Arts Emmys teaser X-Men GLAAD war APB Sundance Watching Series sitcom Nominations Video Games IFC crime 24 frames transformers DC Comics festivals PaleyFest Kids & Family movies DC streaming service children's TV Fall TV revenge elevated horror Lifetime Drama Mystery Lionsgate dramedy Musicals Extras The Arrangement Sneak Peek AMC strong female leads Mary Tyler Moore The CW mutant Fantasy Universal YA south america cults Super Bowl Biopics quibi dragons Pride Month doctor who Spring TV cinemax Freeform Acorn TV facebook 007 casting Election television 21st Century Fox Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Epix Oscars Ovation travel Christmas Thanksgiving ABC Family TV Land Infographic Comic Book Holidays miniseries TruTV dceu unscripted Tumblr stand-up comedy TIFF crime thriller police drama hist Horror NBC Rocky Mudbound Disney Channel tv talk boxoffice Comedy Central MCU composers spain TV Britbox theme song 2015 Music Reality Mary poppins Western ratings Paramount Network science fiction Binge Guide CW Seed Martial Arts Writers Guild of America Red Carpet what to watch Food Network Mary Poppins Returns Shudder serial killer jamie lee curtis RT History FX game of thrones HBO Max sports Pop Box Office NYCC Countdown VH1 cars Pet Sematary Awards historical drama FXX CNN cooking Showtime 2016 based on movie TBS Walt Disney Pictures New York Comic Con natural history game show Teen TNT Quiz FOX justice league series Tomatazos Black Mirror Dark Horse Comics Captain marvel docudrama Women's History Month spider-man 2017 GoT kids Reality Competition Character Guide psycho Superheroe Vudu 2018 hispanic anthology CMT YouTube Premium OWN Certified Fresh Valentine's Day supernatural Rock Nickelodeon Masterpiece WarnerMedia GIFs History Family LGBTQ disaster Netflix cats Action DirecTV Emmys Trivia First Reviews 2019 Rom-Com YouTube Red technology Year in Review discovery 45 Sundance Now Syfy Spike Animation Set visit A&E RT21 spanish language ITV Shondaland El Rey Tarantino mockumentary Winners Ellie Kemper Amazon Prime Video Esquire First Look E3 Star Trek Disney streaming service Marathons comiccon Disney ABC SXSW Adult Swim golden globes Comedy Schedule PBS vampires Emmy Nominations BBC Summer Musical dc Interview Cannes Starz animated Crackle HBO ESPN BBC America Pixar Mindy Kaling Grammys IFC Films Trophy Talk CBS Lucasfilm VICE spy thriller nature Fox News anime TLC thriller 20th Century Fox binge biography MTV romance crime drama streaming Brie Larson Podcast blaxploitation Premiere Dates Best and Worst Logo DC Universe Ghostbusters zero dark thirty talk show Sony Pictures political drama Apple CBS All Access TCA TCA 2017 green book Polls and Games Columbia Pictures richard e. Grant