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) 83%

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) 95%

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

ITV Logo USA Network Comedy Central Columbia Pictures Syfy Dark Horse Comics Comedy Awards Tour Drama Ovation WGN PaleyFest Rock Mary Tyler Moore DC Comics NYCC cults Awards Esquire jamie lee curtis SDCC comic hist Sneak Peek FOX RT History Mindy Kaling OWN Trailer E3 crime Interview CMT Action TruTV Best and Worst crime thriller GoT VICE serial killer ratings Shondaland 007 Nickelodeon Holidays romance finale Freeform Ghostbusters supernatural Year in Review Biopics Winners Cosplay cooking Video Games Calendar Spring TV YouTube Red Grammys APB The CW TIFF Pirates History Super Bowl CNN DirecTV Certified Fresh Red Carpet comiccon composers ABC CBS Sony Pictures TCA transformers TCM Lifetime San Diego Comic-Con Countdown Reality National Geographic Horror Western X-Men crime drama Paramount political drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dceu TCA 2017 Martial Arts discovery Acorn TV Walt Disney Pictures sports FXX Watching Series social media PBS anime Shudder television Paramount Network Fantasy Song of Ice and Fire AMC Quiz DC streaming service Marathons Epix USA Music Showtime Mystery golden globes Spike MTV Star Wars Toys A&E Election Creative Arts Emmys Thanksgiving Bravo Fall TV Musical war dc Warner Bros. politics The Arrangement MSNBC 45 Cartoon Network binge sitcom LGBTQ TBS Britbox Emmys Tumblr cats biography vampires NBC CW Seed robots Nat Geo TV Writers Guild of America cops police drama Superheroe docudrama Apple Animation doctor who Oscars Superheroes Adult Swim aliens festivals psycho Hulu IFC dramedy See It Skip It zombies 20th Century Fox SundanceTV New York Comic Con Lucasfilm Sundance Infographic President Lionsgate YouTube Premium Disney Channel Ellie Kemper Photos Country YA HBO Schedule ABC Family Trophy Talk Disney adventure singing competition Extras streaming Crackle Amazon Musicals TNT BBC VH1 Reality Competition Teen medical drama spy thriller mutant Christmas talk show 2016 GLAAD unscripted blaxploitation science fiction thriller justice league CBS All Access travel 2015 Comic Book cinemax harry potter Universal Sundance Now Podcast Food Network Box Office Nominations TLC Netflix IFC Films FX 21st Century Fox First Look Star Trek Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Set visit Marvel Pixar diversity Starz zombie what to watch historical drama crossover Fox News BBC America Sci-Fi Opinion boxoffice Summer Valentine's Day BET El Rey Tomatazos Winter TV GIFs 24 frames SXSW Masterpiece Comics on TV based on movie Kids & Family ESPN E! Rom-Com Premiere Dates American Society of Cinematographers technology Pop Character Guide Trivia period drama Polls and Games DC Universe Rocky 2017 TV Land