Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Is a Derivative Fantasy

Plus, You're Next, The World's End, and Blue Jasmine are all Certified Fresh.

by | August 22, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a teenage demon-slayer (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, starring Lily Collins and Lena Headey), a band of masked killers (You’re Next, starring Sharni Vinson and Nicholas Tucci), some resilient pub crawlers (The World’s End, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), and a desperate housewife (Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin). What do the critics have to say?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


When gauging the potential audience for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a classic Hollywood tagline comes to mind: “You read the book. Now see the movie!” In this case, critics say only those familiar with the source novel will be able make much of an emotional investment in this overstuffed, overlong mashup of familiar fantasy elements. Lily Collins stars as a New York City teenager who discovers that she’s from a long line of half-human, half-angel demon-killers; soon, she’s on a mission to rescue her mother and stop a powerful object from falling into the wrong hands. The pundits say The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones may appeal to its target audience, but everyone else is likely to find it derivative, confusing, and short on excitement. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Lena Headey’s best-reviewed movies.)

You’re Next


Question: Will horror buffs ever tire of home invasion thrillers? Answer: Not if they’re made with the energy and unnerving intelligence that runs through You’re Next, which critics say delivers enough bloody fun to rise above its hoary premise. A family get-together at a remote country estate is interrupted when masked, crossbow-wielding psychos start to pick off the house’s inhabitants one by one — that is, until one of them fights back. The pundits say the Certified Fresh You’re Next is an energetic mix of black humor and gore that transcends its predictable setup with invention and panache. (Flip through our gallery of memorable movie masks here.)

The World’s End


Director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have parodied zombie flicks (Shaun of the Dead) and cop-buddy action movies (Hot Fuzz) with a warmth that’s hard to resist. The critics say their latest, The World’s End, is another winner, one that sends up apocalyptic sci-fi films with wit and empathy. A group of old schoolmates reunite to embark on an epic pub crawl, but during the course of their journey, our heroes notice that something has gone seriously amiss around them. The pundits say the Certified Fresh World’s End is an inspired bit of lunacy — wild, unpredictable, and often disarmingly compassionate. (Watch our video interviews with Wright, Pegg, and Frost.)

Blue Jasmine


Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine goes into wide release this week, and critics say this heartrending tragicomedy boasts an outstanding performance from Cate Blanchett in the title role. Blanchett stars as a well-to-do socialite whose world is upended when her husband’s white-collar criminal activities are unveiled. Now destitute, she moves into her sister’s cramped apartment, offering unwanted advice while hoping to return to her life of luxury. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Blue Jasmine offers up a strong example of Allen’s trademark blend of humor and pathos, and the film is elevated by a fantastic supporting cast.

Also opening this week in limited release: