TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got a runaway train (Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine), chat show intrigue (Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford), and an alien invasion (Skyline, starring Donald Faison and Eric Balfour). What do the critics have to say?
Director Tony Scott has taken some knocks in recent years, but give the man credit: he knows how to stage a white-knuckle action scene. And in Unstoppable, the tale of an out-of-control locomotive, critics say he’s reeled off a whole string of them, making for one of the most purely enjoyable action flicks of the year. Denzel Washington and Chis Pine star as a pair of railway employees who must regain control of a train that contains an absurd amount of toxic chemicals before it decimates an entire town. It’s a tantalizingly simple premise that the pundits say yields some terrific set pieces; they also say the Certified Fresh Unstoppable is taut, briskly paced, and impeccably crafted. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we list some memorable train movies.)
Rachel McAdams is a movie star. She’s brought charm and spunk to a lot of roles before, but critics say Morning Glory offers definitive proof she’s the real deal. Unfortunately, they also note the rest of the movie doesn’t rise to the quality of its leading lady; it’s a relatively toothless satire of television that offers a few big laughs but ultimately feels like something of a missed opportunity. McAdams stars as a young go-getter on a failing network morning show who hopes to improve ratings by adding a legendary news anchor (Harrison Ford) to the cast; unfortunately, her new charge is grumpy about working on such a news-lite program. Can our heroine make the show a ratings winner – and find love in the process? The pundits say Morning Glory is mostly affable, with a few moments of inspiration, but that despite strong work from McAdams, it’s not quite as substantial as it could have been (Find out what star Jeff Goldblum’s Five Favorite Films are here.)
It appears the folks behind Skyline were afraid that movie critics would act like a bunch of Chicken Littles, since the film wasn’t screened in the U.S. prior to release. Skyline tells the tale of a group of friends who discover that aliens are abducting every human being; our ragtag heroes realize they are the only hope to save humanity. Kids, put down those back issues of Omni and guess that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release:
Disco and Atomic War, a documentary about how Western pop culture helped overthrow a totalitarian regime in Estonia, is at 80 percent.
Tiny Furniture, a festival favorite about post-collegiate confusion, is at 67 percent.
Cool It, a documentary profile of Bjorn Lomborg and his unorthodox climate change policy recommendations, is at 36 percent.