Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Tropic Thunder Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Vicky Christina Barcelona scores but The Clone Wars misses. And guess Mirrors' Tomatometer!

by | August 14, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a war movie satire (Tropic Thunder, starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr.), romantic foibles in Spain (Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz), animated Force-utilizers (George LucasThe Clone Wars), and killer reflections (Mirrors, starring Kiefer Sutherland). What do the critics have to say?

How better to lambaste the over-blown, summer blockbuster than with an over-blown, summer blockbuster? That’s the battle plan with Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. While shooting a war drama in Vietnam, the pampered “all-star” cast (Stiller, Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr.) are taken off set and dropped into a camera-rigged jungle where they’re expected to pull off a guerrilla-style re-shoot and resurrect their Oscar-bait production turned over-budget disaster. While no one’s invoking the Academy (yet), critics are calling Stiller’s helming just the thing to promote his directorial resume (Reality Bites, The Cable Guy) from private to corporal. With references to major war films (Apocalypse Now, Platoon) as well as their making-of docs (Hearts of Darkness) and a few odd references thrown in (There’s There’s Something about Mary, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), critics are saying this foul-mouthed, politically incorrect farce proves war can be Hell-arious. It currently stands at 83 percent on the Tomatometer.

Macho Libre!

Rumors of Woody Allen’s creative demise may be dispelled by his new tragicomic travelogue Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Critics aren’t just referring to the film’s Spanish exteriors when they call it “warm,” “sun-drenched,” and “seductive.” Vicky Cristina follows two American girls (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) who Venture to Spain for a summer only to become entangled with a passionate artist (Javier Bardem) and his borderline insane ex-wife (Penelope Cruz). Critics are saying the dazzling performances have elevated this bedroom comedy-cum-treatise on art, and put it in the lexicon of some of Allen’s saucier sagas of doomed romance. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, Vicky Cristina tops even 2005’s Match Point, and is getting the kind of love Allen’s work hasn’t seen since Bullets over Broadway (96 percent).

“Anyone up for a Bergman retrospective?”

The Clone Wars hits screens this week with what sounds like a leaden thud. The critics are using words that haven’t been uttered about the franchise since the ill-fated Holiday Special, implying there’s little pop-culture future for this Clone. A precursor to the CG series airing on Cartoon Network this fall, Clone Wars doesn’t go too far into the titular war, instead focusing on an ancillary mission to recover Jabba the Hutt’s kidnapped infant. Critics are citing the mechanical animation and lackluster plot as culprit for pushing the franchise towards decline. At 24 percent, this one might have been better suited for the small screen. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down the Tomatometers for every entry in the Star Wars franchise.)

“Bad reviews getting is this.”

We get the impression Mirrors is all about images that can kill, though that’s sort of conjecture. The studio isn’t screening it for press, which makes it sound like the only thing these images can kill are box office numbers. Keifer Sutherland plays an ex-cop whose house is haunted by ghosts with a fondness for reflective surfaces. The film, directed by Alexandre Aja, the Frenchman who brought us High Tension and the Hills Have Eyes remake, begs us to ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, what will be the Tomatometer after all?” Venture a guess, kids!

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

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