Critics Consensus

Doctor Strange is Certified Fresh

Plus, Trolls is delightfully sweet, and Hacksaw Ridge, The Crown, and People of Earth are also Certified Fresh.

by | November 3, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have Tony Stark’s awesome facial hair bro (Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton), some singing pencil toppers (Trolls, with voice work from Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake), and a conscientious objector at war (Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield and Hugo Weaving). What are the critics saying?


Doctor Strange (2016) 89%

At some point, Marvel is bound to take this whole thing one sequel too far, or try and adapt a property that simply won’t work on the big screen. It won’t happen this weekend, however: critics say Doctor Strange is yet another in an impressively long streak of crowd-pleasing comics adaptations out of the MCU, with inventive CGI effects and a terrific cast (led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rachel McAdams) enlivening what is, at bottom, yet another origin story in a genre that already has more than its share. If you’re steadfastly opposed to movies about sorcerers, you may want to sit this one out, but otherwise, Doctor Strange delivers a finely calibrated, solidly crafted variation on the studio’s incredibly successful formula, and this weekend, the box office looks likely to be saying “make mine Marvel.”


Trolls (2016) 76%

Troll dolls have been around for decades, but aside from a few cameo appearances in the Toy Story series, they’ve never really gotten their big-screen due. That all changes this weekend with the descriptively titled Trolls, which repurposes the fuzzy-haired little goobers as the stars of a rainbow-hued DreamWorks Animation adventure with an impressive celebrity voice cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, and Russell Brand. Given that it’s a toy tie-in aimed at little ones, critics say the end result punches above its weight class: although this certainly isn’t the most inventive or subversive family-friendly film, its message is delivered agreeably enough, and the soundtrack may finally bump that Frozen CD from the top spot in your kids’ heavy rotation. For the younger set, Trolls looks like this weekend’s safe bet — and better than it needed to be.


Hacksaw Ridge (2016) 85%

Mel Gibson‘s filmography on either side of the camera has ably demonstrated he’s a solid hand with tormented protagonists and visceral violence, and his latest directorial effort, Hacksaw Ridge, delivers in spades on both counts. Inspired by the real-life tale of conscientious objector and World War II veteran Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), Ridge recounts his principled stand off the battlefield as well as his incredible heroism on it — all leading up to the bloody skirmish that saw him save the lives of 75 men without firing a single shot. It’s a project right in Gibson’s wheelhouse, and critics say he’s responded with a thought-provoking gut punch of a war drama that stands shoulder to shoulder with his best efforts behind the lens. Although it’s far from his most subtle work, and not designed to be an easy watch, Hacksaw offers hard-hitting entertainment for action aficionados in the mood for something with a little extra heft.


What’s Hot on TV

 

The Crown: Season 1 (2016) 90%

Powerful performances and lavish cinematography make The Crown a top-notch production worthy of its grand subject.


People of Earth: Season 1 (2016) 89%

People of Earth skillfully grounds its high-concept premise with a strong story, quirky humor, and sweetly relatable humanity.


Stan Against Evil: Season 1 (2016) 67%

Stan Against Evil is a light, gruesome horror-comedy whose premise is fun but has yet to solidify its tone and characters.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Peter and the Farm (2016) , a documentary look at one man’s troubled personal and agricultural legacy, is at 100 percent.
  • Off the Rails (2016) , a documentary about a man whose compulsion to impersonate transit workers has landed him in jail repeatedly, is at 100 percent.
  • Loving (2016) , a fact-based drama about an interracial couple who went to court to fight for their right to marry, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.
  • The Eagle Huntress (2016) , a documentary about a Kazakh teen training to become the first female in twelve generations to join her family tradition, is at 93 percent.
  • Trash Fire (2016) , a dark comedy about the dysfunction that erupts when a man’s past catches up to him, is at 67 percent.
  • Don't Call Me Son (Mãe Só Há Uma) (2016) , about the fraught reunion between an androgynous teen and his birth parents, is at 63 percent.
  • Dog Eat Dog (2016) , a Paul Schrader crime drama starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, is at 39 percent.

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