Critics Consensus

Pacific Rim: Uprising Is Not That Good

Plus, Paul, Apostle of Christ is a holy mess, Sherlock Gnomes and Midnight Sun weren't screened for critics, and Unsane and Isle of Dogs are Certified Fresh.

by | March 22, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have mankind making one more last stand against one more giant monster invasion (Pacific Rim: Uprising, starring John Boyega, and Rinko Kikuchi), the return of cinema’s top-grossing animated gnomes (Sherlock Gnomes, featuring the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt), star-crossed teen lovers (Midnight Sun, starring Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger), Steven Soderbergh‘s smartphone thriller (Unsane, starring Claire Foy and Joshua Leonard), and a Bible hero in the hoosegow (Paul, Apostle of Christ, starring Jim Caviezel and James Faulkner). What are the critics saying?

Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) 44%

After you’ve racked up hundreds of millions in box office grosses by pitting giant robots against giant monsters, what’s your mandatory next move? A sequel, of course — and that leads us to Pacific Rim Uprising, which finds Steven S. DeKnight taking the reins from Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro for another round of large-scale mayhem with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance. While the original Rim wasn’t exactly a critical darling, reviews promised a cheerfully undemanding good time; unsurprisingly, Uprising delivers more of the CGI-fueled set pieces that drew crowds the first time around, with the added benefits of a pair of likeable leads in John Boyega and Cailee Spaeny. Unfortunately, none of that is enough to counter an unfortunate drift toward assembly-line action that lacks its predecessor’s signature del Toro quirk and leaves all that high-stakes, end-of-the-world drama feeling awfully loud and ordinary. On the other hand, it’s got giant robots and giant monsters punching each other into oblivion, so if you’re in the mood for that, everything else might not matter.

Sherlock Gnomes (2018) 27%

It took half a decade for Pacific Rim fans to get a sequel, but that’s nothing compared to the long wait endured by anyone who walked out of Gnomeo & Juliet hoping for a second installment. After seven long years, Sherlock Gnomes has arrived, reuniting members of the original voice cast (including James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, and Ozzy Osbourne) for an adventure involving the titular detective (voiced by Johnny Depp), his ex-girlfriend (Mary J. Blige), and his fellow sleuth Gnome Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Was it worth the wait? We wish we could tell you what the critics think, but reviews haven’t started posting yet, so we’ll all just have to wait and see. In the meantime, how about a round of Guess the Tomatgnometer?

Midnight Sun (2018) 23%

Ah, young love. Chances are you remember your teenage romances as being fairly ordinary, albeit occasionally melodramatic; in the movies, however, two fresh-faced teens can’t so much as smooch without life-threatening stakes rising up to thwart their hormones. Such is the case with Midnight Sun, starring Bella Thorne as Katie, a 17-year-old with a life-threatening allergy to the sun. She compensates by heading outside after dark, but when one fateful night finds her crossing paths with her neighbor crush (Patrick Schwarzenegger), it’s clear our lovebirds — and the audience — are headed for hankie-dampening heartache. By and large, this sort of thing tends not to play very well with critics, which is probably why Midnight Sun didn’t screen early for the scribes. Guess that Tomatometer!

Unsane (2018) 80%

For decades, Steven Soderbergh has been known as a filmmaker with an uncommon knack for using technical gimmickry in service of a solid story. That streak continues with his latest outing, Unsane, a mystery thriller about a young woman (Claire Foy) who’s institutionalized against her will and undergoes major trauma — perhaps real, perhaps imagined — while she’s locked up. It’s a straightforward enough story, but Soderbergh has told it in somewhat unusual fashion; instead of filming with the traditional array of professional gear, he opted to shoot the picture on the sly with an iPhone. Unsane isn’t the first mainstream release to be made this way — Sean Baker‘s Tangerine is another example of smartphone technology being brought to bear on modern filmmaking — but given the resources at Soderbergh’s command, this was clearly a creative choice not purely driven by financial need. For the most part, the reviews agree it’s a move that paid off here: the movie’s intimate aesthetic works well with the story, adding to the overall creepy tone and making it harder to draw the line between fantasy and reality. Like last year’s Logan Lucky, this is a project that’s left critics cheering the end of Soderbergh’s short-lived — and obviously premature — retirement.

Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018) 46%

Easter Sunday is right around the corner, which makes this weekend a perfectly fine time for a faith-based drama — and writer-director Andrew Hyatt is here to oblige with Paul, Apostle of Christ, a look at the last days of the titular biblical figure (played by James Faulkner) as he reflects on his life while awaiting execution in the prisons of Roman emperor Nero. While serving his sentence, he’s visited in his cell by Luke (Passion of the Christ vet Jim Caviezel), who vows to record Paul’s story — and we all know how that turned out. Of course, as Rogue One proved, knowing how a story ends doesn’t necessarily make it any less enjoyable as long as it’s well told; unfortunately, critics say that’s where Paul stumbles, focusing on a section of its subject’s life that’s overall ill-suited to explore the movie’s desired themes in a truly meaningful or compelling way. For filmgoers who are in the mood for a Bible story at the cinema, it might still be worth the price of a ticket, but all in all, this looks like an example of the book being better than the movie.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

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