Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Prisoners is Certified Fresh

Plus, Battle of the Year has two left feet.

by | September 19, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a frantic search (Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal) and an international dance-off (Battle of the Year, starring Josh Holloway and Laz Alonso). What do the critics have to say?



A dark, grim police procedural, Prisoners isn’t exactly feel-good cinema. However, critics say it’s a suspenseful, gripping thriller, thanks to an outstanding ensemble cast and a mystery that remains ambiguous to the end. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is the father of a six-year-old girl who goes missing, along with her best friend. A suspect is arrested, but released for lack of evidence; fearing the worst for his child, Dover decides to take the law into his own hands. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Prisoners is haunting, tense, and disturbing, with a weighty sense of moral complexity. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Jake Gyllenhaal’s best-reviewed movies

Battle of the Year


Nobody goes to a dance movie expecting high art, but critics say Battle of the Year is flimsy even by the standards of the genre, spending too much time on its hackneyed story and not enough on the dancefloor. With an international dance competition only months away, a down-on-his-luck basketball coach (Josh Holloway) is recruited to coax a squad of 12 street dancers into fighting shape. Will this ragtag band of breakers bring home the title — and will their coach find a measure of personal redemption in the process? The pundits say Battle of the Year delivers a few slick dance moves, but its plot is hopelessly hokey and the dialogue is unintentionally hilarious.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Wizard of Oz: An IMAX 3D Experience, starring Judy Garland in a timeless classic about a girl who isn’t in Kansas anymore, is Certified Fresh at 99 percent.
  • Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in a drama about a divorced woman who meets a man who seems perfect until she finds out a little more about him, is Certified Fresh at 93 percent.
  • After Tiller, a documentary that profiles doctors that perform late-term abortions, is at 85 percent.
  • Generation Iron, a doc about the world of professional bodybuilders, is at 80 percent.
  • The Short Game, a doc about the highly competitive world of junior golf, is at 78 percent.
  • C.O.G., a dramedy based on a David Sedaris story about a man who ditches his modern devices and works as an apple picker in Oregon, is at 74 percent.
  • Haute Cuisine, a comedy about a little-known provincial chef who becomes the French president’s personal cook, is at 71 percent.
  • Thanks For Sharing, starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow in a dramedy about the lives of an interconnected group of recovering sex addicts, is at 57 percent.
  • Ip Man: The Final Fight, an action drama about the legendary martial arts master in the twilight of his life, is at 58 percent.
  • A Single Shot, starring Sam Rockwell and Jeffrey Wright in a thriller about a hunter who inadvertently kills a woman and tries to cover it up, is at 52 percent.
  • Men at Lunch, a documentary about the famous photograph Lunch atop a Skyscraper, is at 50 percent.
  • Newlyweeds, a comedy about a young couple that smokes an awful lot of marijuana, is at 44 percent.
  • My Lucky Star, starring Zhang Ziyi in a spy spoof about a cartoonist who gets involved in a plot to obtain a valuable diamond, is at 44 percent.
  • Zaytoun, starring Stephen Dorff in a drama about an Israeli pilot who travels with a Palestinian orphan to see the kid’s family’s hometown, is at 39 percent.
  • Weekender, a dramedy about a pair of friends who organize warehouse raves in the early 1990s, is at nine percent.
  • The Colony, starring Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton in a sci-fi thriller set in a post-apocalyptic ice age, is at six percent.
  • Jewtopia, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jamie-Lynn Sigler in a romantic comedy about a guy who pretends to be Jewish in order to win the heart of a rabbi’s daughter, is at zero percent.

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