Critics Consensus

It Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Home Again is too familiar, and HBO drops another hit with The Deuce.

by | September 7, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have Reese Witherspoon housing some young hunks (Home Again, co-starring Lake Bell and Michael Sheen) and the long-awaited big-screen arrival of Stephen King’s Losers’ Club (It, starring Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Skarsgård). What are the critics saying?

It (2017) 86%

Plenty of Stephen King’s bestsellers have made the journey to theaters over the last several decades, but 1986’s It — about friends forced to do battle with an ancient evil plaguing the streets of their quaint Maine town — has thus far been relegated to the small screen. That changes with this weekend’s Andrés Muschietti-helmed adaptation, which covers the book’s first half, focusing on the group’s younger years and their first terrifying battle against the being known as Pennywise. Filmgoers have certainly been eager to see a blockbuster-sized It, and broke the horror movie ticket presale record to prove it; happily, critics say that show of faith has been richly rewarded with one of the better films derived from the King oeuvre. By sticking to the book’s opening act, Muschietti’s given his movie more room to develop its characters — and just as importantly, made it possible to balance the story’s supernatural horror against moments of humor and the real-world drama of its deeper themes. Even if you already know the story by heart, be prepared to sleep with the lights on for a night or two… and maybe eye red balloons suspiciously for a while, too.

Home Again (2017) 32%

It’s been a little while since Hollywood served up an old-fashioned romantic comedy, and Home Again — starring Reese Witherspoon as a single mom whose life is upended when she decides to house a trio of younger men — certainly seems to fit the bill. And for good reason: aside from rom-com veteran Witherspoon, the movie comes with an impressive pedigree. Producer Nancy Meyers is a name familiar to fans of the genre as the writer and/or director of entries like Baby Boom, Father of the Bride, and Something’s Gotta Give — and writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who’s making her directorial debut here, is Meyers’ daughter. In other words, Home Again looks like a surefire winner on paper, which makes it all the more disappointing that so many critics have been so resolutely unimpressed with the end result. Reviews describe a film that definitely has its share of Meyers’ creative DNA, for better as well as for worse; if fans of the aforementioned hits will likely find it acceptably entertaining, they may also feel like they’ve seen it all done better before. On the other hand, it’ll help you avoid scary clowns this weekend.

What’s New on TV

The Deuce: Season 1 (2017) 93%

The Deuce again demonstrates David Simon‘s masterful grasp of urban grit, while never losing detailed sight of its colorful characters.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Trophy (2017) , a documentary about the environmental impact of African big game hunting, is at 100 percent.
  • Spettacolo (2017) , a documentary about the unusual — and dwindling — traditional drama hosted by an Italian village for the last half-century, is at 100 percent.
  • Free in Deed (2015) , about a minister trying to heal a parishioner’s child as he faces his own demons, is at 100 percent.
  • Motherland (2017) , a look at the real-life Manila hospital whose maternity ward ranks as the world’s busiest, is at 100 percent.
  • Nobody's Watching (2017) , a drama about an Argentinian immigrant working to build a new life for himself in New York, is at 100 percent.
  • School Life (2017) , a documentary look at a year in the life of an Irish boarding school, is at 88 percent.
  • Anti Matter (2016) , about a woman desperately trying to understand the aftereffects of a science experiment gone wrong, is at 86 percent.
  • Year by the Sea (2016) , starring Karen Allen as a woman at a crossroads in her life and marriage, is at 78 percent.
  • Ancien and the Magic Tablet (2017) , a futuristic anime in which a young woman sets out to free her father after he’s wrongly accused of a crime, is at 77 percent.
  • The Limehouse Golem (2016) , starring Bill Nighy as a Scotland Yard inspector trying to catch a serial killer in Victorian London, is at 72 percent.
  • The Unknown Girl (2016) , a Dardennes brothers drama about a woman determined to solve the mystery of a death that happened on her doorstep, is at 70 percent.
  • The Challenge (2016) , a documentary investigating the lives of Qatari sheikhs who work as amateur falconers for fun, is at 63 percent.
  • Rememory (2017) , a sci-fi drama about the intrigue that unravels when a man dies after inventing a memory extraction machine, is at 23 percent.
  • Rebel in the Rye (2017) , a biopic about the early life of author J.D. Salinger, is at 22 percent.
  • Fallen (2016) , an adaptation of the YA bestseller about a teen girl in a paranormal love triangle, is at 14 percent.

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