Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Project Almanac is Fun but Uneven

Plus, Black or White is well-meaning but contrived, and The Americans is Certified Fresh.

by | January 29, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got time-traveling teens (Project Almanac, starring Jonny Weston and Sofia Black D’Elia), squabbling families (Black or White, starring Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer), and philandering friends (The Loft, starring James Marsden and Karl Urban). What do the critics have to say?


Project Almanac

37%

Project Almanac is unlikely to replace Back to the Future or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in the popular imagination. Still, critics say this time-travel thriller is stylish and smart, even if it eventually runs out of steam and the found-footage gimmick doesn’t quite work. David (Jonny Weston) is a high school science wiz who builds a time machine based on a model developed by his late father. But when he and his friends journey into the past, they end up messing up the present in unforeseen ways. The pundits say Project Almanac is reasonably fun, but the film never quite lives up to its intriguing premise. (Watch our video interview with the stars.)



Black or White

38%

Heartfelt intentions and great actors do not a successful film make. Case in point: Black or White, which critics say saddles its stellar cast with a contrived story that only touches on the weightiness to which it aspires. Kevin Costner plays Elliot, a hard drinking attorney who finds himself caring for his orphaned granddaughter after his wife dies. But Rowena (Octavia Spencer), her paternal grandmother, thinks he’s not up to the task, and soon she and Elliot are involved in an emotional custody battle. The pundits say Black or White is a noble attempt to address issues of race and family, but the contrived plot undercuts both the film’s lofty aims and its nuanced performances. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Costner’s best-reviewed movies.)



The Loft

14%

It’s been nearly four years since The Loft was filmed, and now it hits theaters without being screened for critics. Neither of those facts are encouraging. It’s the story of five married guys who rent an apartment for extracurricular activities. When they discover a dead woman in the loft, each of them is a suspect. Guess the Tomatometer!

What’s Hot On TV:


Critics say that tamily-driven drama and psychological themes propel The Americans (Certified Fresh at 100 percent) which will dispence thrills of a different ilk this season.

The critics say the action and sex in Sons of Liberty (58 percent) is certainly titillating, but not enough to compensate for the show’s bland, historically inaccurate story.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Hard to be a God, an epic Russian sci-fi film about a scientist sent to planet whose inhabitants have regressed into the dark ages, is at 100 percent.
  • Timbuktu, a drama about everyday life in the famed Malian city after its takeover by religious fundamentalists, is at 97 percent.
  • Girlhood, a drama about a teenager with a troubled home life who finds solace with a group of street kids, is at 82 percent.
  • Above and Beyond, a documentary about a group of American pilots who fought in the Israeli War of Independence, is at 80 percent.
  • Amira & Sam, a romantic dramedy about the relationship between an American soldier and an Iraqi woman, is at 75 percent. (Also, check out Martin Starr’s Five Favorite Films.)
  • Suburban Gothic, starring Kat Dennings and Matthew Gray Gubler in a horror comedy about a misfit who must protect his community from a vengeful spirit, is at 43 percent.
  • Wild Card, starring Jason Statham and Sofía Vergara in an action thriller about a bodyguard who goes after the thug who attacked his friend, is at 15 percent.
  • Alien Outpost, a mockumentary about a group of soldiers fighting extraterrestrials in the deserts of Pakistan, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

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