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

82%

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

28%

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

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