Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Taken 3 Is Less Than Captivating

Plus, Selma and Marvel's Agent Carter are Certified Fresh.

by | January 9, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a man on the run (Taken 3, starring Liam Neeson and Forest Whitaker) and a civil rights hero (Selma, starring David Oyelowo and Tom Wilkinson). What do the critics have to say?

Taken 3


Taken helped to establish Liam Neeson as Hollywood’s go-to middle-aged tough guy. But critics say what was once fresh has become formulaic, as Taken 3 (like its predecessor) is an over-caffeinated action fest elevated by Neeson’s presence but diminished by its absurd plot. This time out, our hero is framed for the murder of his wife, and must outwit the various cops and intelligence agents on his trail in order to find the real killers. The pundits say that any film with Neeson and Forest Whitaker is sure to contain moments worth watching, but overall Taken 3 is too slackly paced and frenetically edited to work as a giddy pleasure. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of old guys who still bring the pain.)



It’s not easy for a movie to bring history to life, and it’s even more difficult to capture the atmosphere and drama of an event from recent memory. But critics say that’s what director Ava DuVernay has done with Selma, a searing, vital drama that taps into of one of the Civil Rights era’s most tumultuous moments and features an astonishing performance from David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s an account of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, where demonstrators met serious resistance at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, as well as from local and national politicians. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Selma is powerfully acted, beautifully shot, and, above all, emotionally resonant — in short, one of the best films of the year.

Certified Fresh on TV:

The pundits say that the focus on on Peggy Carter as a person first and an action hero second makes Marvel’s Agent Carter (Certified Fresh at 96 percent) a winning, stylish drama with bursts of excitement and an undercurrent of cheeky fun (check out our interview with star Hayley Atwell here).

Critics say that while it’s heavy on melodrama, Empire (Certified Fresh at 86 percent) elevates the nighttime soap with its top-notch cast, musical entertainment, and engrossing plots.

The pundits say that while the jokes in Galavant (Certified Fresh at 83 percent) ride the line of predictability, their execution, along with campy themes and silly musical numbers, make it memorably entertaining.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Valley Of Saints, a drama about a man whose attempts to escape a life of poverty are stymied by a military curfew in the disputed Kashmir region, is at 100 percent.
  • Farewell, Herr Schwarz, a documentary about a reunion of siblings who survived the Holocaust, is at 88 percent.
  • Preservation, a thriller about three people on a camping trip who are menaced by sinister figures, is at 80 percent.
  • Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook in a sci-fi thriller about a time-traveling special agent tasked with stopping a terrorist attack, is at 77 percent.
  • Beloved Sisters, a period drama about the relationship between two sisters and a celebrated poet, is at 75 percent.
  • The World Made Straight, starring Minka Kelly and Noah Wyle in a drama about a troubled teenager who yearns to escape his small-town existence, is at 70 percent.
  • When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism, a meta-drama about a filmmaker and his complex relationship with his film’s leading lady, is at 70 percent.
  • It’s All So Quiet, a drama about a Dutch farmer dealing with the impending death of his father and his own suppressed homosexuality, is at 67 percent.
  • La última película, a comedy about a pretentious director who makes a nuisance of himself on location at Mayan historical sites, is at 67 percent.
  • Black November, starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in a drama about a group of Nigerian rebels who kidnap an oil company executive to hold him accountable for his unethical dealings in their country, is at 20 percent.
  • Dark Summer, a thriller about a teenager under house arrest who’s bedeviled by a mysterious visitor, is at 17 percent.

Tag Cloud

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