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


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


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


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

Awards Tour animated PlayStation FX on Hulu blaxploitation hispanic heritage month ViacomCBS child's play Song of Ice and Fire hollywood Cartoon Network Disney Plus miniseries name the review Teen versus comic harry potter TIFF dramedy james bond french interviews LGBTQ australia worst VOD criterion Sony comiccon godzilla documentary The Purge History nature what to watch First Look Hallmark Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards SDCC sopranos golden globe awards cooking 79th Golden Globes Awards directors 2021 BET obituary movie jamie lee curtis Animation dceu Sci-Fi South by Southwest Film Festival south america serial killer DirecTV book dreamworks A&E slasher high school Fox Searchlight video Paramount Plus NYCC prank ID Holiday Country dogs comedies Toys adenture new star wars movies popular scary Lifetime Christmas movies art house Women's History Month Black Mirror Drama A24 archives WGN Thanksgiving live event Hulu Sneak Peek italian war 99% Trailer docudrama die hard TV One Apple TV+ best Mary poppins crime drama talk show Baby Yoda The Walt Disney Company romance Chernobyl ghosts IMDb TV Biopics black comedy Photos Amazon Prime Legendary politics Action See It Skip It LGBT razzies Crunchyroll Awards anthology USA Epix TLC vs. feel good SundanceTV 1990s cats pirates of the caribbean fast and furious IFC Films boxoffice football Winter TV asian-american streaming movies Video Games TCM movies Certified Fresh Mary Tyler Moore rt archives disaster latino Box Office Disney streaming service biopic Hear Us Out mob Ovation monster movies rotten movies we love Academy Awards scene in color series 73rd Emmy Awards The CW TV Election BET Awards Peacock young adult emmy awards joker President screen actors guild Paramount Pictures new york crime game show spider-verse OWN Sundance TV ESPN screenings 2019 HBO Set visit The Arrangement IFC MTV GoT sequels richard e. Grant a nightmare on elm street toy story Starz scary movies Comic Book period drama saw nfl 94th Oscars Black History Month MGM video on demand japan Marvel CBS All Access Film aapi japanese Tokyo Olympics scene in color cancelled sag awards El Rey Pop comic book movie Lifetime Fargo TCA 2017 TNT Superheroes Acorn TV superman tv talk TV movies rom-coms festival Walt Disney Pictures satire vampires sitcom robots Creative Arts Emmys Esquire 93rd Oscars broadcast Hallmark all-time trophy dexter Disney Channel diversity cancelled TV series American Society of Cinematographers rt labs comic books Spectrum Originals doctor who halloween tv ITV BAFTA Native Quiz summer preview Turner zombie kaiju dark zero dark thirty Logo spanish cinemax hidden camera Mindy Kaling Sundance basketball black stop motion BBC One reviews Britbox Horror summer TV breaking bad Rom-Com quibi cops finale Vudu wonder woman rt labs critics edition Columbia Pictures crime thriller Reality Comics on TV Pet Sematary Superheroe heist movie comic book movies free movies DC Universe FX TCA Winter 2020 Best Picture Tubi Television Critics Association CW Seed 2020 historical drama 2015 hist 007 scorecard theme song Martial Arts king kong jurassic park Star Wars Classic Film canceled TV shows DC Comics Best and Worst Best Actress elevated horror 2018 mockumentary based on movie 2017 social media MSNBC 21st Century Fox Countdown renewed TV shows anime Calendar Trivia Fantasy marvel comics remakes FOX National Geographic parents GLAAD HFPA Pop TV TBS TCA Awards Avengers rotten boxing dc lord of the rings The Witch golden globes Crackle Podcast New York Comic Con mcc CMT Oscars toronto venice Arrowverse Sony Pictures Dark Horse Comics Red Carpet Super Bowl spy thriller BBC fresh Holidays romantic comedy adaptation kong critic resources Warner Bros. Best Actor Alien documentaries SXSW 2022 Emmys canceled justice league Netflix Christmas movies slashers Turner Classic Movies CBS Cosplay Apple TV Plus Lucasfilm Instagram Live Best Director Film Festival Discovery Channel cults women APB debate leaderboard Year in Review WarnerMedia Rock blockbusters new zealand TV renewals gangster Adult Swim Cannes werewolf Universal Infographic telelvision Prime Video 4/20 crossover revenge TruTV stand-up comedy Tumblr mutant aliens DC streaming service deadpool indie adventure Neflix political drama facebook Ellie Kemper First Reviews USA Network Schedule nbcuniversal foreign Anna Paquin action-comedy Endgame Kids & Family Musical biography PBS Comic-Con@Home 2021 strong female leads live action universal monsters Lionsgate Tags: Comedy Marvel Television ABC Shondaland DGA ratings Captain marvel blockbuster Star Wars Celebration Emmy Nominations comics Amazon Studios TCA Nominations GIFs 71st Emmy Awards HBO Go Polls and Games Sundance Now award winner Interview legend YouTube Red Trophy Talk chucky Christmas Mystery 2016 Pride Month singing competition twilight Image Comics cartoon Elton John OneApp Summer know your critic space Musicals reboot Pixar 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards obi wan target spanish language police drama halloween Stephen King binge Spring TV Shudder thriller Television Academy Ghostbusters YouTube Premium casting independent sequel festivals Nickelodeon Music witnail transformers 45 Comedy news indiana jones zombies Binge Guide San Diego Comic-Con superhero Pacific Islander Spike international Premiere Dates Fox News hispanic teaser Fall TV Tarantino Disney+ Disney Plus classics Food Network Rocky Watching Series Opinion scene in color film series films VICE Brie Larson Showtime Funimation Character Guide book adaptation green book Universal Pictures Oscar RT21 Marathons travel VH1 Tomatazos concert psychological thriller HBO Max olympics true crime Broadway Winners mission: impossible Pirates spain streaming unscripted worst movies laika Extras royal family The Walking Dead dragons E3 batman natural history Western PaleyFest cancelled TV shows summer TV preview Rocketman Netflix Focus Features science fiction posters Paramount Network 90s streamig supernatural Amazon Prime Video technology Freeform MCU sports ABC Signature NBA psycho children's TV docuseries RT History Hollywood Foreign Press Association Amazon trailers Star Trek discovery 20th Century Fox Comedy Central franchise Family Valentine's Day NBC king arthur cancelled television genre TV Land christmas movies television spinoff Travel Channel E! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Nat Geo FXX Geeked Week Indigenous Mudbound Exclusive Video composers spider-man YouTube stoner Reality Competition Paramount Apple Marvel Studios target scene in color AMC Syfy series ABC Family game of thrones marvel cinematic universe Disney critics Heroines Writers Guild of America medical drama YA X-Men The Academy cars Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Bravo suspense Wes Anderson Grammys kids BBC America AMC Plus Masterpiece Mary Poppins Returns CNN 24 frames SXSW