Critics Consensus

Moana is Certified Fresh

Plus, Allied offers old-fashioned intrigue, Bad Santa 2 is just bad, and Search Party and Gilmore Girls are also Certified Fresh.

by | November 23, 2016 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a Polynesian princess who can indeed smell what a certain demigod is cooking (Moana, with voice work from Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson), a pair of impossibly good-looking spies (Allied, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard), the return of a bad Santa (Bad Santa 2, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates), and the return of Warren Beatty (Rules Don’t Apply, starring Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich). What do the critics have to say?


Moana (2016) 96%

For families heading to the cineplex with young ones in tow this weekend, the choice is simple: Disney’s Moana, starring Auli’i Cravalho as a Polynesian chieftain’s daughter tasked with  a quest that sends her in search of the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) in an effort to save her tribe. Just about any old family-friendly release has good odds of making money this time of year, but happily, critics say Moana is really something special — a release that not only boasts the visual splendor Disney audiences expect, but subverts the studio’s standard princess-in-peril storyline in some genuinely refreshing ways. Reviews point to an animated adventure you can feel good about taking the kids to see — and one you might want to take in even if you’re child-free.


Allied (2016) 60%

A sweeping World War II spy epic starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, and directed by Robert Zemeckis? On paper, Allied looks like exactly the kind of lavishly assembled absorbing drama starring beautiful people that critics and audiences swoon for during awards season — yet as we all know far too well by now, a movie that looks great in theory doesn’t always add up on the screen. There’s certainly no arguing its pedigree, or the fact that the sheer talent assembled can’t help but add up to a certain amount of entertainment value, and ultimately, Allied‘s old-fashioned Hollywood grandeur helps compensate for its inability to recreate the level of epic wartime drama achieved by the classic films it affectionately emulates.


Bad Santa 2 (2016) 22%

Almost exactly 13 years to the day after Bad Santa gave fans of yuletide-themed black comedy something to ho-ho-ho about, Billy Bob Thornton is back with the sequel. This weekend’s appropriately titled Bad Santa 2 reunites Thornton with original cast members Tony Cox and Brett Kelly, and boasts direction from Mean Girls vet Mark Waters; unfortunately, none of the above is enough to keep critics from lumping coal all over the end result. Reviews describe a second installment with little of the charm of the first — and a comedy that tries too hard to shock while neglecting to tell an involving story. Plenty of people loved the first one, and holiday movies that avoid going overboard with sentimentality are hard to come by, so you might be tempted to see Bad Santa 2, but it sounds like you’ll be better off just watching the original again.


Rules Don't Apply (2016) 55%

It’s been a long time since we had a new Warren Beatty movie — and even longer since we had one he directed. Rules Don’t Apply ends that long drought by fulfilling his decades-long ambition to make a Howard Hughes biopic of sorts that zeroes in on a story in which the reclusive billionaire (Beatty, who also wrote the screenplay in addition to directing) looms over the would-be relationship between one of the actresses in his stable (Lily Collins) and her driver (Alden Ehrenreich). This is obviously a movie with a fairly stellar pedigree, and it would be wonderful if we could say Beatty’s passion project is being greeted with critical adulation; alas, reviews describe a romantic dramedy that, while definitely not without its moments, is ultimately more of a pleasant curiosity than a must-see release. See it because it’s a Beatty production (and to get a look at Ehrenreich in action before he goes supernova in the “young Han Solo” movie), but it might be a good idea to adjust your expectations.


What’s New on TV

Search Party: Season 1 (2016) 100%

Search Party is an engaging, weird, dark, funny mystery elevated by exceptional performances throughout.


Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2017) 87%

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life provides a faithful and successful revival of the quirky, sweet, and beloved series fans fell in love with over a decade ago.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Baden Baden (2016) , about a young woman’s summer spent taking stock of her life, is at 94 percent.
  • Always Shine (2016) , about two old friends on a getaway that throws long-dormant fissures in their relationship into stark relief, is at 89 percent.
  • Seasons (Les saisons) (2016) , a documentary look at European flora and fauna, is at 89 percent.
  • Lion (2016) , about a man’s Google Earth-assisted quest to find the family he lost as a boy, is at 78 percent.
  • Evolution (2016) , about a boy who discovers troubling secrets in his matriarchal society, is at 78 percent.
  • Miss Sloane (2016) , starring Jessica Chastain as a high-powered D.C. lobbyist in the professional fight of her life, is at 72 percent.
  • Kill Command (2016) , about a squad of futuristic Marines on a fateful mission, is at 67 percent.

Tag Cloud

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