Critics Consensus

Knives Out Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Queen & Slim is powerful and timely, and Netflix's The Two Popes benefits from a pair of outstanding performances.

by | November 27, 2019 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a murder mystery (Knives Out, starring Daniel Craig and Jamie Lee Curtis, and a ton of other stars) and a couple on the run (Queen & Slim, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith). What are the critics saying?

Knives Out (2019) 97%

Before writer-director Rian Johnson was handed the reins to Star Wars: Episode VIII (and a potential new trilogy of his own), he cut his teeth on low- to mid-budget capers and thrillers like BrickThe Brothers Bloom, and Looper. With this week’s Knives Out, Johnson returns to his roots with an old-fashioned murder mystery, and critics say it’s a blast. The story revolves around the murder of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who invited his large family to celebrate his 85th birthday at his sprawling estate, only to end up dead the next morning. Enter detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who quickly sets about sussing out which of the family members may or may not have been involved with the crime, and why. Critics say Johnson, working squarely within his wheelhouse here, expertly teases out the tension and utilizes familiar genre tropes in clever ways, and he’s aided by a stellar cast who clearly enjoy each other’s company. That cast, by the way? It includes Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, and LaKeith Stanfield, just to name a few. It’s a classic whodunit with a modern twist, a dark sense of humor, and some fantastic performances, and what better way is there to spend Thanksgiving weekend than to watch a movie about a family at each other’s throats?

Queen & Slim (2019) 82%

Like many who have come before her, director Melina Matsoukas began her career behind the camera in the music world, crafting award-winning videos for the likes of Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, before she went on to helm episodes of critically acclaimed TV series Insecure and Master of None. It was on the latter that she first worked alongside Lena Waithe, most notably on a pivotal Thanksgiving episode centered on Waithe’s character, Denise. The two of them reunite for this week’s Queen & Slim, Matsoukas’ feature directorial debut and Waithe’s feature writing debut, and critics are calling their new collaboration a success. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as the titular duo, a young Black couple on a first date who are pulled over by a cop presumably for a routine traffic stop. The situation escalates quickly and erupts into violence, and when the cop ends up dead, Queen and Slim flee the scene and become heralded as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde when video of the incident goes viral. Critics say Queen & Slim is a provocative examination of timely issues that tackles its potentially thorny themes thoughtfully, but also roots them in a gripping drama bolstered by powerful performances from its two leads. It may not necessarily be an ideal post-turkey pick-me-up, but it should be rewarding to viewers willing to engage with it.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • 63 Up (2019) , the latest chapter in Michael Apted‘s decades-long documentary series that has followed up with the same group of people every seven years since 1964, is at 100%.
  • After Parkland (2019) , a documentary chronicling the lives of families affected by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, is at 100%.
  • Away (2019) , a dialogue-free animated film about a young man fleeing a mysterious monster across a mystical island on a motorcycle, is at 100%.
  • Tremors (Temblores) (2019) , a drama about a devout Christian married man who undergoes “conversion therapy” when he begins to experience attraction to another man, is at 94%.
  • The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019) , a drama about two indigenous women in Vancouver who meet in a chance encounter and together confront the issues of class that separate them, is at 93%.
  • The Two Popes (2019) , starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in Fernando Meirelles‘ drama about the transition of power from Pope Benedict to Pope Francis, is at 91%.
  • My Friend the Polish Girl (2019) , a drama about an American girl documenting the life of a Polish actress, is at 63%.
  • Locusts (2019) , a thriller about a man who returns to his hometown and becomes entangled in an extortion plot, is at 40%.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Tubi what to watch Trophy Talk E! zombie ABC Family 24 frames CBS Academy Awards hist spy thriller Ellie Kemper Premiere Dates TV BBC composers movie dc Martial Arts Hallmark Christmas movies Cartoon Network FX on Hulu animated Binge Guide Sneak Peek mockumentary Family halloween Columbia Pictures 2016 First Look Walt Disney Pictures IFC Films slashers Pet Sematary Photos Lifetime Christmas movies Travel Channel Lionsgate Set visit CMT CW Seed justice league Pixar Holiday Awards Comedy TCM Horror Film canceled TV shows science fiction Valentine's Day Food Network Marvel Thanksgiving transformers Superheroe 21st Century Fox crime drama Box Office Star Trek Winter TV screen actors guild Epix USA Network DirecTV name the review Fantasy TLC TBS Baby Yoda WGN Music Cosplay Teen dogs Reality Competition Brie Larson Nominations talk show ABC blaxploitation elevated horror diversity Oscars south america Winners free movies nature facebook YouTube Red The Walking Dead cults psychological thriller thriller politics AMC anthology Lifetime batman spain Crunchyroll Musical green book Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge YouTube casting award winner Polls and Games Pop TV 45 Infographic travel Masterpiece dragons ghosts zombies Pirates See It Skip It canceled DC Universe Character Guide Classic Film children's TV boxoffice TCA OneApp romance Hallmark Amazon Studios Sony Pictures cinemax franchise TCA 2017 Mudbound Opinion DC streaming service stand-up comedy reviews romantic comedy independent political drama Hulu Amazon Prime Video HBO Max Toys war 2019 finale Quiz 2020 true crime tv talk First Reviews Syfy Song of Ice and Fire Disney Channel Disney Plus CNN Women's History Month El Rey APB cartoon Disney streaming service DC Comics The Witch The Purge Schedule video GIFs comics Musicals TIFF Tumblr Warner Bros. Apple TV Plus medical drama witnail kids Arrowverse FOX ESPN Drama 2017 cancelled TV series renewed TV shows Britbox MSNBC GoT Mary Poppins Returns PaleyFest screenings dceu 007 strong female leads Spring TV latino President Awards Tour Disney Endgame cooking Christmas adaptation DGA Turner Classic Movies 71st Emmy Awards cops Sci-Fi game show Turner Kids & Family New York Comic Con Showtime space TCA Winter 2020 BBC America based on movie Rom-Com foreign Spectrum Originals Television Academy Film Festival TV Land Superheroes Shudder Crackle Star Wars cancelled television Marvel Studios MTV festivals Acorn TV Red Carpet Netflix joker jamie lee curtis Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sundance TV Adult Swim USA Lucasfilm SXSW Super Bowl Netflix Christmas movies Extras Country Reality crime thriller Emmy Nominations Starz ITV Captain marvel TruTV Countdown WarnerMedia BET Marathons teaser adventure Emmys PBS crossover zero dark thirty Peacock Rock game of thrones cats ratings Trivia Bravo Comics on TV disaster Comic Book Ghostbusters robots quibi X-Men Mary poppins Universal reboot A&E Discovery Channel Tomatazos Spike GLAAD Amazon Ovation psycho mutant television YouTube Premium werewolf harry potter Funimation Nickelodeon unscripted streaming sitcom blockbuster FX Biopics Video Games golden globes comic LGBTQ Holidays Podcast Nat Geo Marvel Television NBC police drama SundanceTV 20th Century Fox Logo Rocketman sequel Stephen King spanish language spinoff MCU richard e. Grant Year in Review theme song directors Sundance Now movies Best and Worst Writers Guild of America TV renewals Calendar social media singing competition Elton John cars dramedy American Society of Cinematographers Pop Tarantino Disney+ Disney Plus Cannes discovery Vudu The Arrangement hispanic vampires natural history 2018 Summer Esquire CBS All Access Sundance indie TNT scary movies biography series Freeform Heroines OWN supernatural miniseries Grammys A24 christmas movies Election versus Interview serial killer Anna Paquin The CW cancelled TV shows Amazon Prime VH1 universal monsters RT History Creative Arts Emmys Apple TV+ Black Mirror Certified Fresh historical drama technology 2015 Chernobyl anime Dark Horse Comics LGBT sports VICE Mary Tyler Moore sag awards breaking bad HBO Mindy Kaling Fall TV Shondaland Action Western book revenge E3 RT21 Trailer NYCC Animation crime History IFC toy story Apple documentary Paramount Network spider-man doctor who Avengers period drama Rocky comiccon Black History Month Watching Series Pride Month docudrama Fox News Mystery rotten movies we love National Geographic San Diego Comic-Con Comedy Central YA SDCC Paramount FXX aliens cancelled