Critics Consensus

The Intern Is Charming But Slight

Plus, Empire is Certified Fresh, and check out other fall TV premieres.

by | September 24, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an aged apprentice (The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro), imperiled activists (The Green Inferno, starring Daryl Sabara and Sky Ferreira), endangered climbers (Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke), a chess grandmaster (Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire and Peter Sarsgaard), and a little monster (Hotel Transylvania 2, with voice performances by Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez). What do the critics have to say?


The Intern (2015) 60%

Charm and likability are tough to come by, and critics say The Intern has plenty of both, along with terrific performances. Unfortunately, they also say this workplace comedy is seriously short on depth and  narrative momentum. Ben (Robert De Niro) is a widowed retiree whose boredom leads him to apply for a job as a “senior intern” at an online fashion startup; the company’s thirtysomething CEO Jules (Anne Hathaway) eventually takes a shine to her older employee, and the two of them become good friends. The pundits say The Intern slides along on the easy chemistry between its stars, but the slack pace keeps this from being particularly sharp.


 

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) 55%

Adam Sandler could sure use a hit, especially since Pixels, his last high profile project, was a pretty substantial bomb. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Hotel Transylvania 2 (which was barely screened for critics prior to its release) is likely to do the trick — the scribes say this animated comedy is pleasant enough, but it’s pretty simplistic stuff. Fearing his grandson won’t learn how to be a monster, Dracula (voiced by Sandler) takes the tyke on a road trip with Frankenstein, the Mummy, and a few more spooky pals; hi-jinks ensue. The pundits say Hotel Transylvania 2 doesn’t measure up to its tepidly reviewed predecessor, but it’s decent, inoffensive fare for the kiddies.


The Green Inferno (2015) 37%

The mastermind behind the Hostel series, Eli Roth is an expert craftsman of big screen bloodletting. Critics say his latest, The Green Inferno, mixes some smarter-than-average satire into its gruesome brew, though non-gorehounds are likely to find the whole thing pretty distasteful. A group of idealistic college students ventures to Peru in an effort to protest against deforestation. However, their plane crashes, and soon they’re in the clutches of the locals, who mistake the activists for the people trying to destroy the jungle. The pundits say The Green Inferno scores some decent points in its portrayal of clueless do-gooders, but eventually the whole thing devolves into sheer grossness.


Everest (2015) 73%

A dramatic depiction of a real-life tragedy, Everest recounts the harrowing tale of a group of climbers who were caught in an  avalanche while trying to scale the world’s highest peak in May of 1996. Critics say that despite its star studded cast (which includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, and Keira Knightley), Everest doesn’t delve too deeply into the climbers’ psyches; instead, it’s a visceral, visually stunning picture that captures the mountain in all its foreboding beauty.


 

Pawn Sacrifice (2015) 72%

At the height of the Cold War, even a chessboard could be the stage for a tense showdown between the U.S. and the Soviets. Pawn Sacrifice is a fictional retelling of the legendary 1972 face-off between the eccentric American Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and World Chess Champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), and critics say that while it occasionally succumbs to stylistic quirkiness, the film’s exploration of the thin line between genius and madness is immeasurably strengthened by Maguire’s commanding performance.


What’s Hot on TV

Empire: Season 2 (2015) 87%

With masterfully melodramatic writing and gloriously glam performances, Empire is not backing down on the soapy spectacle in its second season.


The Muppets: Season 1 (2015) 64%

The Muppets brings new energy to a beloved franchise — and although longtime fans may be taken aback by the show’s adult mockumentary approach, the classic characters retain their essential spirit.


Life in Pieces: Season 1 (2015) 60%

Life in Pieces‘ strong cast delivers funny, offbeat stories even if they’re not always relatable.


Scream Queens: Season 1 (2015) 68%

Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts, Scream Queens fails to satisfy.


Heroes Reborn: Season 1 (2015) 42%

Focusing on special effects and unearned melodrama at the expense of the original’s initially intriguing narrative, Heroes Reborn is a series revival with seemingly limited prospects.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Wildlike (2015) , starring Bruce Greenwood in a drama about a runaway girl who befriends a lonely backpacker in the wilds of Alaska, is at 100 percent.
  • () , a documentary about a man who fought to recover his amputated leg after it ended up in a grill, is at 93 percent.
  • Mississippi Grind (2015) , starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in a drama about two indebted gamblers who trek to New Orleans for a high-stakes poker tournament, is at 89 percent.
  • 99 Homes (2015) , starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon in a drama about a man who gets a job evicting homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages in order to stave off financial troubles of his own, is at 88 percent.
  • Mission To Lars (2015) , a documentary about an autistic man and his obsession with Metallica, is at 88 percent.
  • A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (2015) , a documentary about the anti-bullying lobbyist and motivational speaker, is at 86 percent.
  • Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (2015) , a documentary about the humor magazine that incubated the talents of some of comedy’s most important figures, is at 79 percent.
  • The Keeping Room (2015) , starring Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld in a Civil War-era thiller about two sisters defending the family farm from a pair of violent soldiers, is at 67 percent.
  • Incompresa (Misunderstood) (2015) , starring Charlotte Gainsbourg in a drama about a young girl dealing with the inattention her parents show her in the midst of their divorce, is at 67 percent.
  • Ashby (2015) , starring Mickey Rourke and Nat Wolff in a dramedy about a teenager who befriends a terminally ill ex-CIA assassin, is at 57 percent.
  • Pay the Ghost (2015) , starring Nicolas Cage in a supernatural thriller about a man searching who is haunted by spectral images while searching for his missing son, is at 13 percent.
  • The Reflektor Tapes (2015) , a documentary that follows the Arcade Fire on tour and into the studio for the recording of the band’s Reflektor album, is at 11 percent.
  • Stonewall (2015) , starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ron Perlman in a historical drama about the riot that kickstarted the gay rights movement, is at 8 percent.
  • The Anomaly (2015) , a sci-fi thriller about an ex-soldier whose body and mind have been commandeered by sinister forces, is at zero percent.
  • frothyruminations

    I can’t say I agree with the score for Everest. I mean, yes, it’s visually stunning, and the tension is very well crafted, but at the end it all sort of falls apart for me – not a satisfying ending. I recognize that not having a Hollywood ending is often a good thing, but I felt that the ending here was a little punchless. I also had trouble distinguishing characters – partly because there were too many of them, but mostly because they were hidden under so many layers of clothing that it was just tough to know who was whom. (In particular, Jake Gyllenhaal and Some Other Guy were both young with black beards and wearing blue jackets.) Well-done movie, but not as great as I think it could have been.

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