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) 83%

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

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