Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Super 8 is Certified Fresh

Plus, Judy Moody is kind of a bummer, and Midnight in Paris is Certified Fresh.

by | June 10, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a close encounter (Super 8, starring Kyle Chandler and Elle Fanning), a quest for fun (Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, starring Jordana Beatty and Heather Graham), and a Gallic nostalgia trip (Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams). What do the critics have to say?



Super 8

82%

With films like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg altered the cinematic landscape by combining B-movie thrills with sophistication and emotional heft. Now, with Spielberg producing, J.J. Abrams tries something similar with Super 8, and critics say it’s a both an expert homage to old-school 1970s proto-blockbusters and an exciting, heartfelt thrill-ride in its own right. Super 8 is the tale of a group of youngsters who, while filming a homemade movie, witness a horrific train crash. When the citizens of their small town become unnerved by a series of unexplained disappearances, the kids begin to suspect the crash might not have been an accident — and it may have unleashed something unworldly upon their sleepy community. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Super 8 pulls off the neat trick of being both suspenseful and poignant, with strong performances and an uncanny sense of the story-driven power of Spielberg’s early classics. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Spielberg’s best productions.)



Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

19%

It’s an old adage, but it’s one that bears repeating: sometimes, what works on the page falls flat on the screen. Take Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, for example: critics say this kiddie comedy — based upon the bestselling books by Megan McDonald — is an exercise in overblown whimsy that’s so manic it never slows down long enough to charm. Judy Moody is the tale of a precocious eight-year-old (played by Jordana Beatty) forced to spend the summer with her eccentric Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) when her parents and best friends leave town. But Judy’s got a plan, in the form of a checklist of adventures that, if achieved, count for “thrill points.” The pundits say that little kids might find some laughs in Judy Moody, but their parents and older siblings probably won’t; despite the good efforts of a game cast, the movie is hyper and noisy, with a plot that’s more a series of zany vignettes than a cohesive story.



Midnight in Paris

93%

Even at this late stage of his career, Woody Allen is capable of wringing a few surprises out of his trademark formula. Critics say Midnight in Paris is a treat for Allen’s fans and romantics alike, a comedy about wish fulfillment that’s magical and touching. Owen Wilson stars as an aspiring novelist who, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported back to the city’s Jazz Age, sharing drinks with Salvador Dali, getting advice from Ernest Hemingway, and finding romance with a beautiful scenester (Marion Cotillard). But is our hero’s idealized 1920s Paris all that it’s cracked up to be? And is his fantasy incompatible with the real world? The critics say the Certified Fresh Midnight in Paris is a delight, with terrific performances from an all-star cast (particularly Wilson as Allen’s onscreen surrogate) and a dreamy sweetness that’s both funny and lovely.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • One Lucky Elephant, a documentary about a man’s attempt to move an adult circus pachyderm to a more natural environment, is at 100 percent.
  • The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in a largely improvised comedy about a pair of foodies on a jaunt across the English countryside, is at 85 percent.
  • Viva Riva!, a Congolese crime drama about a small-time hustler looking to make a big score without running afoul of the underworld, is at 83 percent.
  • Bride Flight, a drama about three Dutch women immigrating to New Zealand whose lives intersect with a fellow immigrant, is at 80 percent.
  • TrollHunter, a horror/comedy about a group of Norwegian film students who discover a terrifying mythic beast, is at 77 percent.
  • Road To Nowhere, a drama about a woman cast in a true crime film that shares many similarities with the victim she’s portraying, is at 71 percent.
  • Just Like Us, doc about a Middle Eastern tour of a group standup comedians, is at 67 percent.
  • Reversion, a meditative sci-fi drama about a woman with a mutation that doesn’t allow her to process time, is at 43 percent.

Tag Cloud

Awards robots Acorn TV zombie Polls and Games Kids & Family Western TCA Infographic Rom-Com crime BBC America Fall TV History Action Cartoon Network Sony Pictures YA TV Land A&E 2015 Crackle diversity Lifetime 007 Watching Series DC Comics dceu romance YouTube Red Mystery Nickelodeon El Rey X-Men Spring TV crime drama IFC Films TLC Star Wars CBS All Access ESPN cats Musical Reality Comedy Central binge Esquire SXSW Universal CBS cooking unscripted Freeform biography Writers Guild of America RT History Mary Tyler Moore Star Trek Creative Arts Emmys Dark Horse Comics DirecTV FOX Starz SundanceTV hist IFC Bravo supernatural TCA 2017 Horror Nominations Calendar crime thriller Toys adventure Shondaland Lionsgate Animation Fantasy Ghostbusters what to watch Logo BBC Premiere Dates Fox News Set visit Video Games 45 talk show Rocky NYCC CMT discovery 2017 Winter TV cops science fiction Certified Fresh Thanksgiving American Society of Cinematographers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt GoT GLAAD travel USA Network Lucasfilm Opinion dramedy aliens political drama Showtime Disney Channel Warner Bros. TIFF Countdown Grammys Martial Arts 20th Century Fox 21st Century Fox Christmas transformers Oscars Box Office Adult Swim OWN Photos spy thriller festivals MTV Britbox Pop LGBTQ thriller DC Universe Paramount psycho Trailer sitcom ABC serial killer Netflix Pixar USA Marathons MSNBC The Arrangement First Look TBS APB war sports dc Red Carpet President Masterpiece harry potter finale Tomatazos Interview Trivia Food Network Syfy based on movie Biopics period drama ABC Family vampires Amazon Superheroes police drama Cosplay Superheroe Nat Geo Tumblr docudrama Sci-Fi Winners Emmys National Geographic HBO FXX historical drama crossover Comic Book TV Character Guide comiccon Ellie Kemper zombies Best and Worst Reality Competition E! medical drama CNN VICE cinemax PaleyFest technology justice league Teen social media PBS SDCC Music ITV Paramount Network TNT AMC Country Holidays Marvel 24 frames Sundance Valentine's Day Podcast The CW DC streaming service Sneak Peek See It Skip It cults Disney TruTV VH1 politics Year in Review 2016 CW Seed WGN Extras Schedule Comedy Drama Super Bowl ratings Hulu Summer Spike E3 FX Mindy Kaling composers TCM GIFs singing competition boxoffice BET Pirates Musicals Rock Sundance Now NBC Election golden globes