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) 82%

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) 35%

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

2018 dramedy Winners what to watch critics Lionsgate cancelled TV series unscripted golden globes classics technology HBO Go CMT Black History Month Ovation casting Turner Tumblr Marvel Television social media OWN Mary Tyler Moore Extras rom-coms worst HBO Drama TV renewals Character Guide award winner Disney streaming service Amazon Studios Pride Month Lifetime blaxploitation Masterpiece festival TruTV Winter TV reboot talk show Valentine's Day sequel Dark Horse Comics science fiction renewed TV shows Marvel elevated horror Photos Awards Tour Amazon Prime Song of Ice and Fire Sci-Fi die hard harry potter medical drama DC Comics a nightmare on elm street rotten GLAAD obituary ABC Family Horror CW Seed directors 2016 DirecTV 99% YouTube Premium indie tv talk ghosts chucky slashers latino Rocky HBO Max mission: impossible TCM teaser Rock Infographic Discovery Channel kids reviews VICE free movies based on movie adventure game of thrones Disney+ Disney Plus political drama PBS SundanceTV TCA The Academy films Mindy Kaling YA Superheroe joker TCA Winter 2020 richard e. Grant Martial Arts TV One dark ID Peacock women Ellie Kemper Tubi YouTube Watching Series historical drama The Witch fast and furious breaking bad politics robots blockbuster werewolf cops indiana jones Shondaland Heroines Paramount Awards Thanksgiving BAFTA concert 72 Emmy Awards ESPN dragons Toys Holidays theme song Britbox boxing FX Mudbound Trophy Talk Stephen King APB Comics on TV Musical The CW 4/20 cancelled TV shows The Walt Disney Company period drama Fall TV Spring TV Oscars X-Men natural history NBC Kids & Family Mystery canceled hollywood cats Rocketman Star Wars Spike dceu black Video Games Brie Larson archives batman ABC Signature TCA Awards zombie Trailer Anna Paquin GIFs deadpool Apple jurassic park BBC One FXX Music Podcast cars comic books Funimation golden globe awards criterion comics emmy awards Classic Film adaptation MCU 21st Century Fox WGN Reality Competition Hulu Bravo rt archives Walt Disney Pictures Set visit Television Critics Association San Diego Comic-Con Quiz Vudu Showtime El Rey Lucasfilm composers fresh cults Election History Apple TV Plus TLC serial killer Certified Fresh romantic comedy screenings DC Universe streaming cartoon remakes boxoffice football Western Musicals E3 BBC America pirates of the caribbean Sundance video Mary poppins spy thriller TV Land spinoff laika series LGBT Tarantino halloween 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards television Interview festivals nbcuniversal USA Network American Society of Cinematographers FX on Hulu asian-american ratings OneApp RT21 DGA comic Christmas dogs Paramount Network Cartoon Network screen actors guild Adult Swim child's play comiccon crime thriller SXSW disaster Fox News game show TNT Cosplay crime TBS Pop VH1 Alien travel spanish language south america video on demand PlayStation venice Sundance TV Food Network YouTube Red foreign LGBTQ Nominations trailers A&E book spider-man halloween tv PaleyFest quibi First Look movies independent Red Carpet Writers Guild of America documentaries Crackle 007 cooking facebook news Film Festival italian worst movies Television Academy all-time Acorn TV Endgame spanish BET Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina canceled TV shows Baby Yoda Premiere Dates french Avengers TIFF Comedy NYCC 24 frames satire vampires Freeform CNN Year in Review 2015 Travel Channel Pop TV Sundance Now TV Trivia aliens FOX Super Bowl 71st Emmy Awards The Arrangement Fantasy binge Countdown New York Comic Con Hear Us Out Comedy Central Pixar Marathons Sneak Peek children's TV universal monsters MTV Box Office Binge Guide stand-up comedy Epix Pet Sematary A24 Academy Awards Apple TV+ name the review Family The Purge Elton John Ghostbusters 45 Animation revenge crossover christmas movies IFC Films Summer transformers President Country docudrama Schedule SDCC documentary RT History Holiday Calendar superhero ITV Shudder discovery twilight miniseries best Columbia Pictures Nat Geo ABC Warner Bros. toronto mockumentary nfl true crime VOD See It Skip It GoT spain cancelled doctor who toy story Logo japanese Emmy Nominations Opinion Sony Pictures Superheroes Women's History Month 2019 franchise finale AMC Comic Book Biopics cancelled television Amazon biography Netflix Christmas movies Best and Worst Star Trek dc diversity 2017 green book thriller WarnerMedia 2020 First Reviews hispanic justice league Esquire anthology Nickelodeon crime drama Hallmark Christmas movies Amazon Prime Video hist zero dark thirty DC streaming service scorecard Fox Searchlight Teen romance ViacomCBS Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Spectrum Originals Turner Classic Movies Disney Channel Creative Arts Emmys IFC cinemax australia Paramount Plus Arrowverse police drama The Walking Dead stop motion james bond comedies stoner parents strong female leads Starz Marvel Studios movie 20th Century Fox MSNBC Disney zombies CBS All Access TCA 2017 Chernobyl Cannes Netflix witnail anime Captain marvel jamie lee curtis E! Tomatazos BET Black Mirror CBS Disney Plus National Geographic psychological thriller USA sitcom war Mary Poppins Returns sequels supernatural scary movies Hallmark space Reality BBC Grammys sag awards versus nature Crunchyroll mutant Action animated Polls and Games Film Emmys Universal Lifetime Christmas movies rotten movies we love Pirates sports singing competition psycho Syfy Rom-Com