Critics Consensus

Patriots Day and Silence Are Certified Fresh

Plus, Monster Trucks, Live By Night, and The Bye Bye Man are mediocre, and Sleepless wasn't screened for critics.

by | January 12, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a real-life terrorist attack dramatized (Patriots Day, starring Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons), monsters and trucks (Monster Trucks, starring Lucas Till and Jane Levy), a Prohibition rum-runner (Live by Night, starring Ben Affleck and Elle Fanning), pure evil (The Bye Bye Man, starring Douglas Smith and Lucien Laviscount), Jesuits in Japan (Silence, starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), and some bad cops in trouble (Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan). What do the critics have to say?

Patriots Day (2017) 80%

Mark Wahlberg loves himself a thriller based on actual events, especially if director Peter Berg is along for the ride. With this weekend’s Patriots Day, the duo cap a trilogy of action movies ripped from the headlines, following Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon — and given that this outing dramatizes the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in Wahlberg’s hometown, expectations were high for a particularly powerful film. While critics admit Patriots Day has its flaws — and a number of scribes have their issues with turning real-life tragedy into entertainment so soon — the consensus says the end result is still a fast-paced drama that manages to be respectful (and largely accurate) while keeping you glued to your seat.

Monster Trucks (2017) 32%

Countless times over the years, we’ve seen studios take what seems like a crass concept and turn it into a perfectly entertaining picture, so there was reason to believe that Monster Trucks — hatched from a four-year-old’s idea about trucks overtaken by, y’know, monsters — might actually turn out okay. Sadly, that isn’t the case: critics say this is one family-friendly outing that’s just as dunderheaded as its title would suggest, with thinly conceived characters deployed at the mercy of flashy but ultimately insufficient CGI. If you really want to see a monster at the wheel of a truck, go grab a ticket; otherwise (ahem), steer clear.

Live By Night (2017) 35%

Ben Affleck’s taken his lumps as an actor over the years, but he’s proven himself a pretty capable director, as his Best Picture Oscar for Argo can attest. On paper, it looked like Live by Night was just the thing to soothe the recent critical barbs from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — not only was Affleck directing himself, he was working from a novel by Dennis Lehane, the same bestselling author who wrote the Affleck-adapted Gone Baby Gone. Unfortunately, the reality is far less compelling: critics say this Prohibition-set gangster drama, about a police chief’s son falling into a life of crime, is nowhere near as narratively hefty as its epic scope would suggest. Although it demonstrates some visual growth from Affleck as a director, he could have been tougher on himself as a leading man — and he really let himself down as a screenwriter.

The Bye Bye Man (2017) 18%

January has a reputation as a dumping ground for Hollywood’s dregs, which isn’t always entirely deserved; why, just this week, we have a couple of Certified Fresh movies entering wide release. But when you see a horror movie on the calendar this time of year, you can pretty much guess it won’t be a critical winner — and such is unfortunately the case with The Bye Bye Man, which imagines the bloody campaign of terror wrought by a nefarious being capable of controlling the actions of anyone who so much as thinks his name. Critics say it’s all fairly derivative stuff, and in spite of a talented cast (including Faye Dunaway and Doug Jones), it adds up to considerably less than the sum of its parts.

Silence (2017) 83%

For film buffs, every Martin Scorsese movie is an event, but even in the context of this great director’s distinguished filmography, Silence is something special. An adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel about the perilous journey taken by Jesuit priests to 17th century Japan in order to find a missing member of the order, it’s been a passion project of Scorsese’s for decades, and it comes to the screen boasting a talented cast that includes Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, and Andrew Garfield — as well as a hefty 161-minute running time. Fortunately, critics say the end result is worth the wait in both senses: reviews describe a thought-provoking, emotionally absorbing work that probes worthy themes with grace and intelligence, and rewards the patient filmgoer with enough payoff to justify the investment.

Sleepless (2017) 25%

Finally, we have Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx and T.I. as a pair of crooked cops whose livelihood — and one of their sons — is threatened when they’re caught pilfering a druglord’s stash. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you more because it wasn’t screened for critics, so you know what that means: time to play Guess the Tomatometer!

What’s New on TV

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 (2017) 94%

Enjoyably dark, A Series of Unfortunate Events matches the source material’s narrative as well as its tone, leaving viewers with a wonderfully weird, dry, gothic comedy.

Taboo: Season 1 (2017) 76%

After a sluggish start, Taboo takes hold as a mysterious, dark, and often brutal period drama with plenty of promise as a series — most notably evident in Tom Hardy‘s exceptionally watchable performance.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

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