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

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