Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Pirates! Band of Misfits Is Certified Fresh

Plus, The Five-Year Engagement is overlong but sweet, Safe is predictable but exciting, and The Raven is spooky but dull.

by | April 27, 2012 | Comments


This week at the movies, we’ve got silly seafarers (The Pirates! Band of Misfits, with voice work from Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson); longtime companions (The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt); mafia targets (Safe, starring Jason Statham and Catherine Chan); and a literary gumshoe (The Raven, starring John Cusack and Alice Eve). What do the critics have to say?

The Pirates! Band of Misfits


Aardman Animations, the folks behind Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit films, make animated features the old-fashioned way: using stop-motion claymation. And critics say they’ve got another winner with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a bright, breezy, gleefully eccentric nautical adventure/comedy. A pirate captain named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is on a quest to win the prestigious Pirate of the Year Award; along the way, buckles are swashed, planks are walked, and ships are plundered (ineffectively, but still). The pundits say the Certified Fresh Pirates! Band of Misfits stands as another triumph for Aardman — it’s filled with witty sight gags and inventive visual touches, and it’s likely to amuse both children and their parents.

The Five-Year Engagement


With their patented mix of heart and raunch, Judd Apatow‘s productions — including, but not limited to, Superbad and Bridesmaids — have scored big with audiences and reviewers. Critics say The Five-Year Engagement doesn’t quite measure up to those standards, but despite some slack pacing, it’s still a pretty warm and honest look at modern love. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as Tom and Violet, whose matrimonial happiness is perpetually delayed by everything from bad luck to professional complications. The pundits say The Five-Year Engagement is way too long, and not every gag is a winner, but it’s redeemed by some big laughs and the sweet, believable chemistry between its leads. (Check out our countdown of the best-reviewed wedding movies here.)



Jason Statham is equally adept at roundhouse kicks and existential brooding. And while not every Statham vehicle is created equal, critics say Safe is better than most; though it’s formulaic to the bone, the film is gritty and exciting thanks in large part to its star’s charisma and acrobatics. Statham stars as Luke Wright, an ultimate fighter who botches a fixed fight, drawing the ire of the mafia. However, when he rescues and protects a 12-year-old girl with valuable information in her head, the two are pursued by both mobsters and corrupt government officials. The pundits say Safe is really predictable, but it’s an efficient, tough yarn that should satisfy adrenaline junkies. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable movies with matching titles.)

The Raven


The Raven is an odd (if intriguing) bird: it’s a period thriller in which Edgar Allen Poe helps to track a serial killer inspired by the author’s most macabre works. But, to paraphraseth the titular poem, critics say the result has made them weak and weary, as it vainly tries to borrow from fantastic terrors we’ve seen before. After a series of brutal slayings, a young detective calls upon Poe (John Cusack) to help ensure that the writer’s most homicidal fan will kill nevermore. The pundits say The Raven has a spooky gothic look, but it’s mostly a gloomy procedural that offers few thrills — or insights into Poe’s life and works. (Check out Cusack’s Five Favorite Films here.).)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

crime drama Comic Book BBC Super Bowl DC Comics IFC science fiction SDCC technology biography Pirates Hulu ABC Family Grammys based on movie CMT 2015 sports FX discovery Kids & Family APB OWN Spring TV Awards CNN Marvel Esquire cops TCM TCA cooking FOX GoT Oscars diversity comiccon Sci-Fi Polls and Games vampires Amazon El Rey TCA 2017 Country Tomatazos MSNBC dramedy First Look Marathons Podcast Summer MTV Video Games TBS Mystery Tumblr Showtime TNT Logo 2017 TruTV police drama Star Trek Watching Series Certified Fresh GLAAD X-Men Disney Channel 007 Drama Fall TV Toys Best and Worst boxoffice Reality Competition Teen Disney Holidays Adult Swim Ghostbusters Rock Netflix GIFs Interview psycho Sundance ESPN Character Guide NBC crime thriller CBS All Access Extras Thanksgiving Trailer TLC harry potter WGN RT History Horror Winter TV singing competition Martial Arts SundanceTV Freeform TV Star Wars adventure Calendar crime The Arrangement Fox News American Society of Cinematographers TV Land Exclusive Video Reality thriller Comedy Central travel BET PBS Cosplay Infographic Syfy HBO docudrama Opinion serial killer Lionsgate aliens Sneak Peek The CW BBC America Lifetime Superheroes ABC Crackle Year in Review E! politics Biopics Masterpiece zombie Premiere Dates LGBTQ Pop ITV VH1 Comedy Nominations USA war Nickelodeon Starz Dark Horse Comics supernatural FXX Animation Musicals Winners Fantasy TIFF AMC 2016 Election PaleyFest Action Trivia Countdown Universal Writers Guild of America Rocky sitcom Set visit Food Network Box Office Valentine's Day Rom-Com period drama Schedule History Red Carpet A&E Cartoon Network Photos Emmys Mary Tyler Moore Music 24 frames Nat Geo President social media VICE cinemax NYCC CBS Bravo DirecTV