Critics Consensus

Miss Bala Is A Rocky Remake

Plus, Russian Doll and I Am the Night are solid TV series and They Shall Not Grow Old is Certified Fresh.

by | January 31, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got just one new wide release, a remake of a Certified Fresh crime thriller (Miss Bala, starring Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackie). What are the critics saying?

Miss Bala (2019) 22%

In 2011, Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo released a thriller based on true events called Miss Bala about an aspiring beauty queen who is swept into the criminal underworld, and while it was a hit with critics (Certified Fresh at 87%), it didn’t quite sear itself into the pop culture consciousness at the time. That said, Hollywood saw fit to remake the film for English-speaking audiences with Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez in the lead, and the result is this week’s Miss Bala. The new film takes a few extra liberties with the story, as Rodriguez’s Gloria is a U.S. citizen whose close friend’s disappearance prompts a frantic search that leads to her being kidnapped by a drug cartel and forced to act as an unwilling mule. Critics say the new interpretation is a far cry from its predecessor that heavily sanitizes its story for a PG-13 rating and suffers from bland action and predictable story beats. Gina Rodriguez does her best in the role and showcases her potential to be a bigger movie star, but the rest of the film may be a disappointment for anyone looking for something weightier.

What’s New on TV

Russian Doll: Season 1 (2019) 97%

Russian Doll may be stuck in a time loop, but this endlessly inventive series never repeats itself as it teeters on a seesaw of shifting tones — from fatally funny to mournfully sad — that is balanced with exhilarating moxie by an astonishing Natasha Lyonne.

I Am the Night: Miniseries (2019) 75%

Chris Pine inhabits I Am the Night with the roguish gravitas befitting a noir — even if this entry into the pulp genre is more straightforward and languidly paced than some viewers would like.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • They Shall Not Grow Old (2019)Peter Jackson‘s colorized restoration of never-before-seen footage from World War I, is Certified Fresh at 98%.
  • The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) , a Turkish drama about a struggling writer who returns to his hometown and clashes with his past, is Certified Fresh at 92%.
  • The Golem (2019) , a period horror film about a woman who summons an evil creature to help protect her village from invaders, is at 92%.
  • Braid (2019) , a thriller about two women who agree to play dangerous game of make believe in order to rob a disturbed childhood friend, is at 90%.
  • Daughter of Mine (Figlia mia) (2019) , about a 10-year-old girl torn between her birth mother and the woman who raised her, is at 90%.
  • The Unicorn (2019) , a comedy about a young couple who discover the strange secret to the successful marriage of the wife’s parents, is at 86%.
  • Arctic (2019) , starring Mads Mikkelsen in a survival thriller about a man stranded in the titular wilderness after a plane crash, is at 85%.
  • Piercing (2019) , starring Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott in a thriller about a serial murderer who meets his match in a mysterious call girl, is at 76%.
  • Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) , starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Dan Gilroy‘s satirical thriller about the world of fine art — and some deadly paintings — is at 71%.
  • Then Came You (2019) , about two teens suffering from different ailments who bond over a bucket list, is at 67%.
  • A Breath Away (Dans la brume) (2019) , about a married couple trying to save their daughter from a deadly mist that has engulfed Paris, is at 50%.

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