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) 95%

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) 23%

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 (2016) 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

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