Critics Consensus

John Wick: Chapter 3 is Certified Fresh

Plus, A Dog's Journey completes its mission and The Sun is Also a Star could shine brighter.

by | May 16, 2019 | Comments

The third chapter in the story about a character who avenges his dog (Keanu Reeves stars in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), a new film about a pup’s adventure (Josh Gad voices the titular pooch in A Dog’s Journey) and a teen drama based on a dog-eared best-seller (Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton play young lovers in The Sun is Also a Star), make up the movies heading into wide release this weekend. Which one gets the critics’ top pick?

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) 89%

Keanu Reeves returns to the slick action-adventure franchise as the titular ace assassin who now has a $14 million bounty on his head after he killed a member of the international assassin’s guild, the High Table. Chad Stahelski, who directed the first films (David Leitch co-directed with him on the original), returns with original John Wick writer Derek Kolstad, among others, penning this script. Laurence Fishburne also returns as the crime boss and ornithophile, The Bowery King. This film is tracking slightly better than the prior two from the franchise, which, respectively, have 87% and 89% Tomatometer scores.

A Dog's Journey (2019) 51%

Director Gail Mancuso, an accomplished television director whose recent credits include family-friendly series like Modern Family and Black-ish, has gone not just for sweet, but the saccharin with her first feature film. Josh Gad voices a dying dog named Bailey who promises his “boy” Ethan (Dennis Quaid) that he’ll keep tabs on Ethan’s granddaughter as his soul prepares to enter the body of a new dog. Whether critics see this gimmick as manipulative or moving, the film will probably still find a box office showing with families looking for an afternoon activity – and so far reviews say it’s a hard tearjearker to resist.

The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) 52%

Tracy Oliver, who has made a name for herself for writing or co-writing female-positive films like Girls Trip and Little, is trying her hand at the teen romance genre with this adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s novel, The Sun is Also a Star. Yara Shahidi – whose Black-ish co-star, Marsai Martin, coincidentally, starred in Little – plays a Jamaica-born quantum physics student named Natasha who falls for Charles Melton’s sweet exchange student, Daniel. The young lovers soon face real-life consequences when Natasha’s family faces deportation. Despite the topicality of Sun, and the winning performances of its talented leads, most reviews say the film flames out as it stretches believability.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Walking on Water (2018) : Bulgarian director Andrey Paounov’s documentary about environmental artist Christo’s attempts to complete his first major project after the death of his wife — and long-time collaborator — Jeanne-Claude: “The Floating Piers,” a floating yellow walkway on Italy’s Lake Iseo. It’s Certified Fresh with a score of 100% on the Tomatometer.
  • The Souvenir (2019) : Writer-director Joanna Hogg’s #MeToo-relevant story about a film student who finds her voice as an artist while embarking on an emotionally fraught relationship with an older man is 93% Fresh.
  • All Creatures Here Below (2018) : David Dastmalchian and Karen Gillan star as impoverished Angelenos whose criminal act sends them on the lam. It’s at 86% on the Tomatometer.
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018) : Taissa Farmiga stars as a young woman who is one of her few family members to survive an arsenic poisoning. She’s making do – until her controlling cousin Charlie (Sebastian Stan) arrives. Based on the Shirley Jackson novel, this film is 86% Fresh on the Tomatometer.
  • Photograph (2019) : The Lunchbox’s Ritesh Batra directs this romance about a shy street photographer in Mumbai who asks a woman to pose as his fiancée in an effort to appease his grandmother.
  • Amaurosis (2017) : In the Hands of the Gods’ Gary Sinyor writes and directs this mystery drama about a couple grieving the loss of their son.
  • Trial by Fire (2018) : Jack O’Connell and Laura Dern star in director Edward Zwick’s adaptation of the true story of a death row inmate and the woman who fought to get him free.
  • Aniara (2018) : This sci-fi fantasy film about humans who don’t cope well when they leave Earth for a resettlement on Mars falls mostly flat with a 47% Tomatometer score.
  • Perfect (2018) : Steven Soderbergh executive produces this film about a troubled man who gets reprogrammed to help with his dark thoughts. Things don’t go as planned for the characters or for the film itself, which is at 29% currently.
  • The Professor (2018) : Johnny Depp plays a college professor who lets loose when he finds out he has six months to live in this dark comedy. Critics give the film a failing grade of 0%.

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