Critics Consensus

Dark Waters Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Playmobil is flashy but underwhelming, while Portrait of A Lady on Fire, In Fabric, and The Aeronauts are all also Certified Fresh.

by | December 5, 2019 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a man on a mission (Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway) and an animated adventure (Playmobil: The Movie, featuring the voices of Anya Taylor-Joy and Daniel Radcliffe). What are the critics saying?

Dark Waters (2019) 89%

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to be fed up with gigantic, multinational corporations, director Todd Haynes‘ drama Dark Waters reminds us there’s plenty more to keep the fires stoked. Based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article, the film recounts how a corporate attorney named Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo), whose firm represented corporations like the DuPont chemical company, transformed into an environmental crusader when he discovered what DuPont’s production of Teflon was doing to farm cattle — and later, humans — in West Virginia. Part mystery, part courtroom drama, Dark Waters has earned high praise from critics, who call the film a powerful, timely, and ultimately infuriating condemnation of predatory corporate practices. Not prone to extravagant dramatic touches, Haynes manages to craft a heady underdog story that maintains a steady course, sticks to the facts, and pulls an understated but moving performance from Mark Ruffalo. If you’re looking for fireworks, you won’t get those here, but this story is an important one, and it manages to shine all the same.

Playmobil: The Movie (2019) 18%

In 2014, The LEGO Movie proved it was possible, however improbable, to craft an engaging, entertaining film from source material that isn’t inherently narrative in nature. That film wasn’t the first to make the attempt, and it certainly won’t be the last, as evidenced further by this week’s Playbmobil: The Movie. Adapted from the popular German toy line first introduced in the 1970s, the film centers on a young woman (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) whose younger brother (Gabriel Bateman) is magically transported to an animated dreamland, compelling her to follow him and traverse landscapes populated by pirates, gladiators, and other fanciful creatures to rescue him. Unfortunately, critics say Playmobil is a regrettably mediocre outing that offers little aside from a barrage of colorful images and a brisk but ultimately generic and uninspired story. Never mind that Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) lends his voice to James Bond-like secret agent, or that singers like Meghan Trainor and Adam Lambert are on hand to belt out musical numbers; according to the reviews, Playmobil is a whole lot of flash and glitter with very little behind it.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Midnight Family (2019) , a documentary about a family running a private ambulance business in Mexico City, is at 100%.
  • The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) , a documentary about Italian actress, model, and activist Benedetta Barzini by her son, Beniamino Barrese, is at 100%.
  • Safe Spaces (2019) , starring Justin Long in a comedy about a family learning to cope when their matriarch is suddenly hospitalized, is at 100%.
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) , a period drama about a woman hired to secretly paint the portrait of a reluctant bride, only for the two to fall in love, is Certified Fresh at 98%.
  • In Fabric (2018) , a comedic supernatural thriller about a woman who slowly succumbs to the sinister powers of a new dress she’s purchased, is Certified Fresh at 95%.
  • Daniel Isn't Real (2019) , a psychological thriller about a college freshman whose childhood imaginary friend suddenly reappears and begins to take over his life, is at 84%.
  • The Aeronauts (2019) , starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in a historical drama about the pioneering 19th century meteorologists who utilized hot air balloons to learn more about the weather, is Certified Fresh at 78%.
  • Knives and Skin (2019) , a mystery chronicling the way a suburban own unravels in the wake of a teenage girl’s disappearance, is at 75%.
  • Little Joe (2019) , a sci-fi thriller about a scientist who develops a therapeutic flower species and quickly discovers its unexpected side effects, is at 69%.
  • I See You (2019) , a twisty thriller about a small-town detective and his family, who are plagued by unseen forces in their home that may or may not be real, is at 69%.
  • The Wolf Hour (2019) , starring Naomi Watts in a thriller about a reclusive woman suffering from paranoia during a citywide black out in New York in 1977, is at 67%.
  • A Million Little Pieces (2018) , starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a drama based on the controversial memoir of James Frey, is at 26%.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Countdown binge films Writers Guild of America cancelled TV series FXX Ellie Kemper Turner Rom-Com anthology Women's History Month dreamworks 1990s IFC NBC Columbia Pictures what to watch Rock crossover Opinion BBC America Freeform DC Universe docuseries sag awards History Exclusive Video hispanic heritage month RT21 Winners directors twilight Crackle TV Land critic resources Sundance Now Paramount sitcom die hard aliens spider-verse spider-man miniseries casting Creative Arts Emmys unscripted cars cancelled Image Comics ghosts Esquire comics Fargo FX on Hulu spinoff critics indie Disney+ Disney Plus zero dark thirty criterion 2018 MTV Apple TV Plus Character Guide Music joker 79th Golden Globes Awards Stephen King comic Broadway scary Holidays saw San Diego Comic-Con crime drama LGBT Fox News independent Amazon Studios Superheroe The CW Marathons hollywood international leaderboard NYCC golden globe awards wonder woman movies sequel Paramount Network Box Office Fall TV fast and furious genre nature TNT black archives Ghostbusters talk show christmas movies high school adenture chucky X-Men spanish Travel Channel godzilla PBS blaxploitation documentary halloween tv APB women action-comedy Tarantino Emmys witnail Cartoon Network canceled based on movie debate facebook emmy awards new zealand Drama richard e. Grant See It Skip It Britbox 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards adaptation zombie Hallmark El Rey franchise AMC VH1 hidden camera 2015 nfl mutant batman blockbuster Sundance TV hispanic Netflix dceu Vudu monster movies stoner finale slashers Hulu Marvel Television Masterpiece The Walking Dead Elton John razzies Legendary Baby Yoda National Geographic japanese Bravo Valentine's Day Rocketman Tomatazos VOD superman jurassic park Neflix BET Country quibi A&E Arrowverse Black History Month crime thriller comic books The Witch TLC TV movies worst New York Comic Con feel good streaming Tokyo Olympics Spring TV kaiju Funimation TCM Instagram Live Amazon Prime reboot anime Binge Guide comic book movies AMC Plus Teen versus biography CBS All Access nbcuniversal Year in Review streaming movies Interview OneApp superhero Brie Larson mcc young adult Super Bowl japan Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Crunchyroll First Reviews green book cats dragons cinemax technology crime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Photos Grammys reviews Warner Bros. 4/20 Star Trek GLAAD Classic Film war lord of the rings ESPN Set visit strong female leads Kids & Family TV 2021 Family Best and Worst doctor who Starz legend Quiz WarnerMedia mockumentary foreign rt archives Television Critics Association adventure trailers revenge Disney streaming service jamie lee curtis Podcast Thanksgiving Hallmark Christmas movies Hollywood Foreign Press Association CMT DGA Winter TV The Purge spanish language Cosplay 007 kong RT History SDCC ratings 24 frames MSNBC romance CBS Pirates Avengers spy thriller all-time target A24 Comic-Con@Home 2021 Lionsgate game show new star wars movies TCA Winter 2020 theme song breaking bad American Society of Cinematographers pirates of the caribbean political drama HBO Max television docudrama Epix Logo universal monsters toronto Universal zombies Adult Swim Disney Plus PlayStation Reality dexter Chilling Adventures of Sabrina police drama DC Comics Marvel Studios james bond Comedy Central composers Red Carpet 93rd Oscars art house Premiere Dates rt labs critics edition Hear Us Out stop motion documentaries 71st Emmy Awards singing competition Ovation cancelled television children's TV royal family Apple TV+ vampires parents TIFF Mindy Kaling kids toy story cartoon cults Netflix Christmas movies YouTube posters YouTube Premium tv talk dramedy sports medical drama Spectrum Originals YouTube Red Spike 72 Emmy Awards Awards ViacomCBS Heroines DirecTV The Academy CW Seed boxoffice popular Oscars movie Universal Pictures space discovery Animation french video on demand Mary Poppins Returns dark Martial Arts Mystery remakes 2020 scary movies satire Video Games Cannes Certified Fresh rotten movies we love renewed TV shows spain TCA gangster comiccon cops Holiday DC streaming service Black Mirror Emmy Nominations king kong Reality Competition marvel comics 20th Century Fox animated canceled TV shows thriller IFC Films Endgame TV renewals 21st Century Fox a nightmare on elm street Peacock Apple First Look Acorn TV period drama Calendar President Election live event Trophy Talk Lifetime vs. Action Marvel award winner Comedy Sundance aapi sequels TV One elevated horror series mob HBO Go HBO Lucasfilm Rocky laika Superheroes Dark Horse Comics Pop TV classics live action screen actors guild Turner Classic Movies suspense 2019 Biopics boxing GoT justice league screenings Fantasy Food Network Trivia festivals Mary poppins Pacific Islander Disney Channel harry potter ABC Signature indiana jones worst movies robots travel dc new york Fox Searchlight 99% serial killer Showtime Sci-Fi south america Syfy Pop Horror scene in color GIFs Christmas venice Academy Awards name the review scorecard Musical cooking NBA transformers Shondaland E3 BET Awards australia IMDb TV Nat Geo ABC Family black comedy VICE biopic child's play Pet Sematary Mary Tyler Moore game of thrones news SundanceTV Tubi historical drama Watching Series stand-up comedy 2017 golden globes concert obituary king arthur BBC One Song of Ice and Fire Trailer HFPA Nickelodeon ITV italian SXSW rom-coms prank book adaptation Awards Tour Schedule Western Toys werewolf Sony Pictures olympics comic book movie comedies rt labs heist movie Walt Disney Pictures science fiction FOX basketball BBC Pixar Nominations Polls and Games football Comic Book WGN disaster CNN slasher OWN TCA Awards marvel cinematic universe USA Network sopranos festival politics natural history Alien Prime Video TBS 45 hist Pride Month Tags: Comedy Musicals diversity Mudbound TruTV best rotten Infographic true crime deadpool The Walt Disney Company romantic comedy social media 73rd Emmy Awards Film telelvision book blockbusters Sneak Peek E! dogs teaser BAFTA 2016 psychological thriller 90s ID free movies Chernobyl Star Wars fresh mission: impossible Tumblr Film Festival Wes Anderson YA TCA 2017 know your critic MCU Disney LGBTQ cancelled TV shows psycho Television Academy halloween asian-american video Summer USA Paramount Plus Captain marvel Discovery Channel The Arrangement Extras supernatural Amazon Prime Video ABC Anna Paquin Shudder PaleyFest trophy latino Comics on TV FX