Critics Consensus

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Misses on Magnificence

Plus, Zombieland: Double Tap is worth the second dip. See what the critics are saying about this week's movies!

by and | October 17, 2019 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a misunderstood sorceress (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning) and apocalypse survivors (Zombieland: Double Tap, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone). What are the critics saying?

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) 39%

Disney’s efforts to reinterpret their classic animated films as live-action fare have been a little hit-or-miss with critics, as we saw as recently as this past summer, but they still do pretty well at the box office. This was the case when the current remake trend kicked off with 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and continued with the studio’s next effort, 2014’s Maleficent, which only scored 53% on the Tomatometer but made over $750 million and became Angelina Jolie’s highest-grossing movie ever. It’s unclear if this week’s follow-up, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, will be as big of a commercial success, but critics say it’s about on par with its predecessor. This time around, Jolie’s titular misunderstood Disney villain finds herself at odds with her goddaughter Princess Aurora’s (Elle Fanning) future in-laws, who seek to separate the worlds of human and fairies for good. Co-stars Imelda Staunton, Sam Riley, and Juno Temple all return to reprise their roles, joined by newcomers Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Ed Skrein, and critics say they do admirable work with the material. But the fact remains that the storytelling feels rather perfunctory, and the film makes only feeble attempts to grapple with some of the weightier themes it evokes. The visuals are as spectacular as they were the first time around, and Jolie and Pfeiffer in particular are fun to watch, but this may please only the biggest fans of Maleficent’s recent realignment as someone to root for.

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) 68%

It’s been 10 years since the end of the long-running Zombieland saga, which had seen its empire rise to one movie, and one failed Amazon pilot. But the media landscape has changed a lot in the intervening decade: The Walking Dead premiered, Resident Evil games got bad, and then good again, and Brad Pitt solved World War Z. Frankly, we are up to here with zombies. And just as the dead keep coming back in some half-baked metaphor, so too does a quality comedy sequel script rise to the top in this biz, insisting to be given life. Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergEmma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are back reprising their geographically-named zombie slayer roles, who have all moved into the White House and transformed it into an impregnable fortress. But when love’s many splendored machinations threaten to tear the group asunder, it’s back on the road for more misadventures, involving powered-up undead, doppelganger crews, Rosario Dawson as an Elvis-loving hotel proprietress, and Zoey Deutch’s scene-stealing ditz. Critics can be tough on comedies, especially their sequels, but here’s one zombie follow-up that works, even if it’s got less teeth in its bite. Zombieland: Double Tap has the creative “survival rules” graphics. It’s got splatter, and it’s got slapstick. The chemistry between the four leads is just as top-shelf as in the first, but the expanded cast is push-and-pull. Some new characters not only get the laughs but also reveal new dimensions in the established crew, while others detract from the flow of the film. Nearly unanimous is praise for Deutch, as the improbable survivor Madison, with some calling her a comedy revelation. Also on everyone critic’s mind: Stick around during those credits. It’s a doozy.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Greener Grass (2019) , a surreal suburban satire about two friends engaged in a game of passive-aggressive one-upsmanship, is at 100%.
  • By the Grace of God (2018)François Ozon‘s drama about three men who join together to expose the priest who abused them as children, is at 95%.
  • The Lighthouse (2019)Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star in Robert Eggers‘ dark drama about two New England lighthouse keepers who appear to go mad from the isolation; it is Certified Fresh at 94%.
  • Cyrano, My Love (2018) , a period comedy about the inspiration behind and creation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, is at 86%.
  • The Elephant Queen (2018) , a documentary about an African elephant matriarch’s efforts to lead her herd across the savannah, is at 83%.
  • Jojo Rabbit (2019) , starring Scarlett JohanssonTaika Waititi‘s World War II satire about a Hitler Youth who has a quirky, friendly version of the Führer as an imaginary friend, is at 81%.

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

Tag Cloud

slashers Film Festival Nat Geo Infographic politics satire rt archives revenge History TV movies diversity best ratings Tubi Amazon Tokyo Olympics festival Sundance TV Adult Swim Columbia Pictures king kong 71st Emmy Awards Hallmark OWN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt facebook gangster ABC Family TV One Best Picture olympics supernatural slasher Trophy Talk children's TV international cults science fiction 4/20 Esquire 2019 cats zombies Nominations spinoff WGN classics Crunchyroll PBS toy story 2020 Reality Competition black BBC biopic ID crime drama Paramount Pictures elevated horror spy thriller Endgame TNT high school DC Comics composers toronto The Academy directors BAFTA telelvision Captain marvel social media SXSW 2022 Spring TV nbcuniversal adenture Spike cops New York Comic Con Black History Month rom-coms technology 21st Century Fox critics stand-up comedy justice league cars reviews razzies Instagram Live Dark Horse Comics streaming blockbusters king arthur IFC Cosplay cinemax Valentine's Day child's play vs. space live event Turner Classic Movies women Western 2017 Disney Winter TV boxoffice strong female leads romance VH1 leaderboard Best Actor USA Network E! singing competition Food Network 2021 Tags: Comedy Hear Us Out sequel Kids & Family Indigenous Holiday First Reviews Netflix monster movies green book comic book movies Calendar The CW YouTube Premium DC Universe Disney Plus rt labs critics edition Fox News comedies Paramount Plus Superheroes cancelled TV series heist movie screenings HBO Max scary Super Bowl Amazon Studios Musicals docudrama zombie Video Games psycho Photos discovery Box Office Amazon Prime Video canceled TV shows Women's History Month streaming movies Character Guide casting Hallmark Christmas movies PlayStation Ovation Rock HBO Go Crackle spider-verse aapi E3 doctor who RT21 video on demand The Arrangement Mary Poppins Returns BET Awards SXSW documentary legend period drama parents Holidays Image Comics Wes Anderson asian-american art house LGBT suspense medical drama golden globe awards Mary Tyler Moore political drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 Interview Winners animated game show GIFs teaser Television Critics Association finale scorecard batman Horror A24 Trivia kong Epix jamie lee curtis sequels President quibi 007 Black Mirror independent SundanceTV scene in color Lifetime GLAAD PaleyFest ITV lord of the rings Podcast television christmas movies Sundance Now deadpool emmy awards marvel comics cancelled TV shows renewed TV shows 79th Golden Globes Awards Logo cancelled remakes 24 frames basketball Discovery Channel TBS historical drama dceu reboot trailers criterion Neflix obi wan Reality broadcast Year in Review CBS All Access Teen Set visit See It Skip It A&E crime thriller robots YouTube Red Pop TV twilight new zealand natural history Apple Comedy 73rd Emmy Awards LGBTQ Peacock book Marvel Television RT History TCA thriller Sci-Fi vampires ABC Signature Tarantino ViacomCBS Grammys spanish language Emmys Alien Brie Larson scary movies genre Comedy Central Superheroe breaking bad mission: impossible Hulu police drama chucky scene in color series Animation Election Mudbound Best Actress dragons Baby Yoda TCA Winter 2020 Stephen King Trailer Summer debate prank war french concert spider-man National Geographic NBC stop motion Mary poppins Marathons indie japan comic books blockbuster The Walking Dead hollywood Country AMC Plus Action Showtime Ghostbusters TCA Awards fresh Exclusive Video a nightmare on elm street Travel Channel Countdown summer preview mockumentary hist FXX nature Certified Fresh CW Seed based on movie young adult Thanksgiving talk show die hard Focus Features American Society of Cinematographers worst Classic Film Britbox FX Binge Guide james bond Fantasy archives Syfy Family Arrowverse Apple TV+ The Witch Masterpiece japanese MGM posters X-Men free movies stoner Vudu TCA 2017 ABC dreamworks kids 2016 Quiz halloween tv 94th Oscars docuseries Hollywood Foreign Press Association superman Pop San Diego Comic-Con new york hispanic streamig Paramount true crime Pet Sematary Best Director cartoon Freeform fast and furious MSNBC serial killer VICE romantic comedy disaster tv talk Christmas Ellie Kemper Sneak Peek comics CBS Lifetime Christmas movies BET Disney+ Disney Plus universal monsters Bravo mob feel good venice series BBC America movie DirecTV foreign SDCC halloween know your critic Chernobyl Tomatazos cooking zero dark thirty trophy screen actors guild Biopics NYCC Comics on TV movies sopranos Cartoon Network IFC Films Star Wars Celebration festivals BBC One Pacific Islander worst movies anime critic resources AMC Oscar ghosts Awards new star wars movies witnail Chilling Adventures of Sabrina binge FOX crime anthology Fall TV golden globes indiana jones DC streaming service spain Paramount Network football Song of Ice and Fire kaiju Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals Native Comic Book Watching Series Geeked Week book adaptation Starz Film mcc Tumblr Academy Awards comiccon Extras 99% Rom-Com ESPN spanish 93rd Oscars Mindy Kaling comic book movie unscripted dc transformers pirates of the caribbean hidden camera IMDb TV 2018 dexter rt labs films WarnerMedia scene in color film series Premiere Dates MCU GoT rotten USA rotten movies we love 90s Turner Star Wars name the review El Rey hispanic heritage month Drama 2015 australia summer TV First Look TCM all-time south america joker jurassic park adaptation Music Mystery Broadway Best and Worst Toys TV Fargo adventure marvel cinematic universe popular game of thrones Pixar news Creative Arts Emmys Sony Pictures latino Elton John theme song Shondaland Opinion cancelled television sitcom travel superhero APB Legendary sports Universal Pictures godzilla canceled comic mutant target scene in color OneApp live action FX on Hulu Oscars interviews NBA 1990s Amazon Prime HBO TIFF Universal Writers Guild of America Disney Channel TV renewals VOD video richard e. Grant biography crossover Rocky Prime Video Avengers miniseries Disney streaming service CNN TLC Fox Searchlight DGA franchise psychological thriller The Walt Disney Company nfl Sundance YA harry potter Emmy Nominations YouTube Marvel Studios Warner Bros. what to watch Polls and Games Awards Tour Netflix Christmas movies Red Carpet aliens Sony Cannes obituary boxing black comedy Anna Paquin action-comedy summer TV preview Pirates Shudder saw Apple TV Plus 45 Walt Disney Pictures Marvel blaxploitation Acorn TV italian HFPA TV Land Schedule Lionsgate 72 Emmy Awards South by Southwest Film Festival TruTV versus The Purge documentaries Musical werewolf Rocketman target CMT Martial Arts Pride Month Heroines laika 20th Century Fox MTV Lucasfilm Television Academy Star Trek 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards royal family dramedy Funimation sag awards award winner wonder woman dogs dark