Critics Consensus

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is Certified Fresh

Plus, The Edge of Seventeen is a sharp coming-of-age comedy, Bleed for This is solid if flawed, and Good Behavior is sexy and suspenseful.

by | November 17, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have a Harry Potter prequel (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston), a young woman perched at a precipice (The Edge of Seventeen, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson), a boxer battling the odds (Bleed for This, starring Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart), and a private’s party (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, starring Joe Alwyn and Kristen Stewart). What are the critics saying?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) 74%

Hollywood loves a franchise — and these days, when a studio owns one that’s already pumped out billions of dollars at the box office, you can bet they’ll eventually get around to looking under the couch cushions for a few hundred million more. The Harry Potter movies did a pretty bang-up job of adapting a thoroughly involving story that had a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end, but that hasn’t stopped Warner Bros. from knocking on author J.K. Rowling’s door for another helping; fortunately for all concerned, she’s responded with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This Eddie Redmayne-led effort takes viewers back to the 1920s and across the pond from Hogwarts to America, where the forces of magic inconveniently collide with the No-Maj world, and critics say that by and large, it’s pretty dazzling stuff. As the first installment in a planned five-film franchise all its own, Beasts almost can’t help but get a little tangled in all the world-building, but the end result still casts a reliably Potter-esque spell.

The Edge of Seventeen (2016) 94%

As tends to be the case with basically every movie star, it’s difficult to buy the lovely Hailee Steinfeld as an awkward social misfit. But if you can suspend that bit of disbelief, critics say The Edge of Seventeen is a thoroughly charming and refreshingly honest coming-of-age story — one that benefits immeasurably from its star’s absorbing, nuanced performance as a high school student struggling with sex, social standing, and her own personal issues. Sure, we’re all familiar with this genre’s formula by now. But formula is formula because it works — and The Edge of Seventeen‘s reviews point to an example of that principle in consistently entertaining action.

Bleed for This (2016) 70%

Talented athlete pursues dream; dream suffers all-but-certain derailment; athlete triumphs over incredible odds in the closing moments, sending everyone home feeling pumped up on a popcorn high. The outline of the inspirational sports movie is awfully easy to trace, but darn if the stories don’t work — and this weekend’s Bleed for This is the latest proof. Miles Teller, ferociously committed as ever, stars as real-life boxer Vinny Pazienza, a title fighter whose doctors order him out of the ring after a car accident leaves him with a broken neck; ignoring their advice, he enters rehab with a trainer (Aaron Eckhart) who’s willing to help him box again even if it kills him. You almost can’t make a sports movie at this point without tripping over a few clichés, and Bleed for This bumps into its share — but critics say it also lands its share of solid dramatic beats.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016) 43%

Can a film with a truly solid story at its core be fundamentally derailed by technical quirks? With his latest effort, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, director Ang Lee offers a confounding answer. The story, about the titular private (Joe Alwyn) and his furlough back home for a special event after an act of bravery on the battlefield, is definitely worthy — and Lee has rounded up an interesting and able cast, with Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin helping round out the ensemble. But its impact is blunted, if not periodically outright undone, by Lee’s decision to dress it up by filming in 120fps 3D 4K — an extra layer of visual pizzazz that, according to critics’ complaints, makes the movie feel so distractingly hyper-realistic that it sails right past the essential illusion of cinema. This may very well be the future of movies, but this weekend, you may want to forego this Halftime Walk and take a trip to a different theater instead.

What’s New on TV

Good Behavior: Season 1 (2016) 78%

Emotional manipulation aside, Good Behavior is a legitimately suspenseful and sexy drama.

Mars: Season 1 () 61%

Ron Howard‘s direction ensures that Mars is an attractive endeavor, even if the show struggles to move smoothly between its documentary and fictional elements.

Shooter: Season 1 (2016) 47%

Ryan Phillippe‘s efforts aren’t enough to salvage Shooter, a tedious, under-developed drama that lacks an original voice or perspective.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Manchester by the Sea (2016) , about a man forced to face his past when events conspire to bring him back to his hometown, is Certified Fresh at 98 percent.
  • Notes on Blindness (2016) , a documentary look at writer John Hull’s struggle to come to grips with losing his eyesight, is at 92 percent.
  • Hunter Gatherer (2016) , about an ex-con rebuilding his life and finding friendship after paying his debt to society, is at 91 percent.
  • I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) , a dramedy about the enormous relationship fallout from a Chinese couple’s attempt to game the system, is at 85 percent.
  • A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) , a fact-based drama about a man’s recovery from addiction and friendship with a cat (not necessarily in that order), is at 78 percent.
  • Uncle Howard (2016) , a documentary tribute to the career and legacy of filmmaker Howard Brookner, is at 78 percent.
  • Nocturnal Animals (2016) , starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as a divorced couple at a painful crossroads, is Certified Fresh at 74 percent.
  • Officer Downe (2016) , adapted from the graphic novel about a cop whose unique brand of justice depends on his repeated resurrection, is at 57 percent.
  • Bastille Day (2016) , starring Idris Elba as a CIA operative trying to topple a conspiracy, is at 47 percent.
  • Unfriend (2016) , a slice of teen horror in which death arrives by social media, is at 40 percent.

Tag Cloud

Image Comics ABC Signature Teen game of thrones DC streaming service television Discovery Channel what to watch south america joker CNN ratings Trophy Talk romance natural history miniseries comics Countdown concert award winner space transformers New York Comic Con FX on Hulu child's play PBS Stephen King trailers BET summer TV Amazon Prime Video Amazon Studios king arthur Mystery Tags: Comedy crime superman Oscar TBS anthology Baby Yoda Grammys Universal Pictures USA Network A24 Nominations CBS All Access black HBO Go a nightmare on elm street Awards Horror australia 1990s Toys reviews Winners game show target marvel comics dc cancelled television worst Amazon zero dark thirty AMC Plus GoT Mary Poppins Returns Country summer preview binge superhero Opinion Vudu toronto psycho CBS biopic Fall TV YouTube Red Calendar comic Wes Anderson South by Southwest Film Festival Paramount Network stoner LGBTQ TIFF composers TLC new york Cartoon Network TNT President Crackle travel San Diego Comic-Con royal family American Society of Cinematographers crime thriller Hallmark Britbox streaming Family BAFTA leaderboard cancelled Bravo rotten movies we love archives ITV obituary 90s psychological thriller Adult Swim animated ViacomCBS Tumblr Holidays dreamworks Watching Series zombies DC Comics BBC Black History Month book Shudder Music AMC sopranos wonder woman Marvel Television marvel cinematic universe NBA scary 2021 book adaptation vampires 2018 sports jamie lee curtis 24 frames Alien Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Election ghosts nfl finale Arrowverse 79th Golden Globes Awards fast and furious TruTV Song of Ice and Fire Pop king kong 72 Emmy Awards series screenings genre DC Universe crime drama rotten Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt scorecard Ellie Kemper green book Superheroe crossover SXSW Sci-Fi movie docudrama Reality Competition SXSW 2022 best streaming movies 2020 Indigenous nature pirates of the caribbean Creative Arts Emmys critics Cannes IFC Cosplay USA saw Marvel Studios Mary Tyler Moore reboot Sony E! spanish godzilla RT21 Quiz documentaries politics Travel Channel Pet Sematary Disney TCA Winter 2020 french indiana jones critic resources medical drama Comedy Central Set visit Interview The Arrangement OWN Comedy YA richard e. Grant documentary Hallmark Christmas movies Showtime true crime Spectrum Originals witnail olympics video A&E dceu E3 Tarantino Video Games rt archives mcc dark Certified Fresh remakes twilight El Rey aapi Mindy Kaling doctor who Pride Month OneApp spy thriller scene in color new zealand Hollywood Foreign Press Association BET Awards spider-man adenture TV mission: impossible obi wan Television Critics Association Brie Larson Marathons chucky Television Academy mockumentary Classic Film Exclusive Video GIFs cancelled TV shows SDCC classics Peacock scene in color series FOX Marvel Netflix Christmas movies children's TV worst movies Western YouTube suspense 20th Century Fox Christmas Crunchyroll comedies Tomatazos sitcom revenge spinoff Rocketman dexter Pixar name the review Columbia Pictures kaiju 93rd Oscars APB international Funimation Pop TV First Reviews screen actors guild Avengers VH1 kong Comics on TV Sony Pictures Best Director Kids & Family GLAAD criterion rt labs critics edition Drama renewed TV shows theme song stand-up comedy comic book movie Comic Book MSNBC Red Carpet aliens robots basketball Fox Searchlight History See It Skip It IFC Films TV Land foreign latino MCU versus singing competition The Purge teaser Animation Lionsgate TCA 2017 kids unscripted films ABC Black Mirror Instagram Live Captain marvel free movies Reality art house slasher historical drama Sundance Women's History Month Podcast monster movies DirecTV Emmys dogs Paramount Pictures action-comedy Polls and Games Disney+ Disney Plus popular 21st Century Fox cancelled TV series Year in Review boxing The Walt Disney Company Star Wars Sundance TV Broadway legend Turner heist movie justice league canceled Netflix mob Starz Lifetime fresh sequel Best and Worst Disney streaming service Fox News italian telelvision HBO Max Film Festival disaster Elton John biography satire christmas movies Neflix werewolf thriller MGM ID parents feel good Native DGA halloween tv Fargo Shondaland science fiction Apple TV Plus Amazon Prime comic book movies Nat Geo gangster TV renewals Hulu golden globe awards Box Office Oscars halloween harry potter Sneak Peek sag awards Esquire Apple TV+ cinemax dragons Spike blockbusters The Witch dramedy Apple Trailer quibi elevated horror Paramount Plus The Academy period drama japan Rock SundanceTV comic books 007 Acorn TV zombie new star wars movies strong female leads Musicals 73rd Emmy Awards war political drama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards FXX CMT boxoffice Photos trophy PaleyFest toy story venice Musical spider-verse football 99% Masterpiece Mary poppins Thanksgiving NYCC Infographic TCA Awards Pacific Islander blaxploitation Disney Channel Biopics casting Trivia cults streamig Star Wars Celebration Premiere Dates hispanic heritage month Nickelodeon canceled TV shows First Look serial killer ABC Family PlayStation festivals supernatural broadcast Binge Guide Character Guide laika high school spain TCA lord of the rings X-Men diversity The Walking Dead technology Lifetime Christmas movies young adult Sundance Now adventure YouTube Premium hollywood comiccon women blockbuster independent TV movies Geeked Week Mudbound Best Picture Dark Horse Comics Prime Video 2015 festival asian-american police drama Ovation franchise posters jurassic park The CW VOD Freeform Endgame 71st Emmy Awards WarnerMedia japanese directors MTV know your critic BBC America rom-coms Winter TV stop motion live event Academy Awards Paramount TV One Star Trek emmy awards Superheroes ESPN Logo Heroines Ghostbusters Martial Arts Lucasfilm 2019 Hear Us Out Awards Tour target scene in color 2016 universal monsters Writers Guild of America Best Actor Rocky deadpool Extras discovery 2017 rt labs breaking bad Emmy Nominations spanish language 94th Oscars docuseries Pirates BBC One cooking cats Legendary HFPA 45 National Geographic Action Tokyo Olympics romantic comedy Schedule Film 4/20 Disney Plus Anna Paquin Warner Bros. live action movies razzies cars Syfy LGBT Universal golden globes james bond Super Bowl anime NBC cartoon black comedy TCM Fantasy hidden camera Valentine's Day WGN mutant batman Rom-Com hispanic indie Holiday Comic-Con@Home 2021 IMDb TV Food Network RT History Walt Disney Pictures tv talk Best Actress all-time scene in color film series hist Epix cops video on demand news prank Turner Classic Movies sequels summer TV preview HBO Focus Features Summer social media facebook slashers CW Seed Chernobyl talk show based on movie nbcuniversal Spring TV scary movies Tubi debate vs. adaptation FX die hard VICE interviews