Critics Consensus

Dark Tower Condemned

Plus, Kidnap is a middling thriller, and Detroit and The Sinner are Certified Fresh.

by | August 3, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a Stephen King epic brought to life (The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey), a mother in a desperate race to save her child (Kidnap, starring Halle Berry), and a mournful look back at a fatally violent chapter in America’s past (Detroit, starring John Boyega and Anthony Mackie). What are the critics saying?

The Dark Tower (2017) 15%

Everyone wants a cinematic universe these days, which is just one of a handful of reasons why it’s a little hard to understand the way Hollywood’s dragged its feet adapting Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. A mystical fantasy girded with fate-of-the-universe stakes, populated with distinctive characters, and tinged with the author’s trademark horror, it’s got plenty of blockbuster potential — and it ties into a whole bunch of King’s bestselling books. It’s also narratively sprawling, incredibly ambitious, and beloved among a devoted fanbase, which are just a few of the potential problems that have helped keep this project languishing in studio limbo for so long. Unfortunately, all that extra time in development doesn’t seem to have helped: this Tower is under siege from all sides by critics who’ve scaled its cinematic heights and found them sadly lacking. Lacking the scope of the source material or the focus of a compelling fantasy thriller, it’s being maligned as a near-total misfire — and a truly unfortunate beginning to what was once conceived as a major film and television franchise.

Detroit (2017) 84%

There’s a unique power to a well-made docudrama, but any director who attempts one bears the unique responsibility of trying to craft compelling cinema while also honoring the facts of the events being dramatized — and the people who experienced them. With Detroit, director Kathryn Bigelow shoulders that burden heavier than most; in looking back on one of the most violent race riots in American history 50 years after it occurred, her film probes wounds that are still painfully raw for many — and does so at what feels like a particularly fraught time. It’s a tough job, in other words, but critics say it’s a good thing Bigelow was the one to do it: the director’s award-winning experience with intense fact-based drama is well suited to the material, and that also applies to screenwriter Mark Boal, who earlier collaborated with her on The Hurt Locker. The end result certainly isn’t easy to watch, but reviews describe a hard-hitting achievement that might be something more important: a brutally honest look at our past that’s just as timely — and essential — today.

Kidnap (2017) 37%

Liam Neeson’s career-altering turn in Taken proved that sometimes, all it takes is the right action vehicle to remind audiences how much they love you, and with this weekend’s Kidnap, Halle Berry joins the list of big-screen veterans ready to avenge a loved one by violently incapacitating bad guys. Berry plays Karla Dyson, a single mom whose son’s sudden abduction — in the midst of a custody battle, natch — sparks an action-packed struggle that’s only the start of their fight for survival. It sounds like the setup for a perfectly serviceable late-summer diversion, and as far as a handful of critics are concerned, that’s pretty much what it is; the majority, however, can’t get past the picture’s occasionally inexplicable plot and overall perfunctory air. If you’re really in the mood for an August action thriller, a huge Halle Berry fan, or just seeking out a darkened, air-conditioned room, Kidnap will do — but otherwise, it looks like you’re better off waiting to stream it at your extreme leisure.

What’s New on TV

The Sinner: Season 1 (2017) 90%

Smartly unpredictable and led by powerful performances from a talented cast, the darkly compelling The Sinner sinks its hooks in fast and doesn’t let go.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Columbus (2017) , starring John Cho as a young man waylaid in the titular Indiana city after his father falls ill, is at 100 percent.
  • 68 Kill (2017) , about a down-on-their-luck duo who hatch a highly illegal scheme to improve their financial fortunes, is at 100 percent.
  • It's Not Yet Dark (2017) , a documentary about filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice‘s life with ALS, is at 100 percent.
  • Some Freaks (2017) , about young lovers forced to reexamine their relationship after one undergoes a major physical change, is at 100 percent.
  • Step (2017) , a documentary about an all-girls’ step squad in Baltimore, is at 93 percent.
  • Wind River (2017) , a Wyoming-set murder mystery starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, is at 87 percent.
  • 4 Days in France (Jours de France) (2017) , about a young man’s Grindr-led journey through the French countryside after abandoning his lover, is at 86 percent.
  • Fun Mom Dinner (2017) , about four moms who pause looking after their preschoolers long enough to head out on the town for a fun dinner, is at 44 percent.
  • Brave New Jersey (2017) , a comedy imagining the chaos that erupts in a New Jersey town whose residents fall for Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, is at 38 percent.

Tag Cloud

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