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

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