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) 16%

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) 38%

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

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