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

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