Critics Consensus

Pete's Dragon Is Certified Fresh

Plus Florence Foster Jenkins and Sausage Party are also Certified Fresh.

by | August 11, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a boy and his monster (Pete’s Dragon, starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford), anthropomorphic food (Sausage Party, with voice performances by Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig), and a famously lousy singer (Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant). What do the critics have to say?


Pete's Dragon (2016) 87%

The original Pete’s Dragon is definitely not without its charms, but it’s arguably better remembered for its technical achievements than the rest of its agreeably corny contents — which is exactly what made it an intriguing choice for Disney’s ongoing series of remakes, reboots, and reimaginings. Rather than living up to a classic, director David Lowery just needed to do a better job of telling the original story, and let the special-effects wizards do the rest. According to critics, that’s exactly what the new Pete’s Dragon represents: with a strong cast led by Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard, a breathtaking CGI title character, and a thoroughly heartwarming take on the tale of a lost boy and his awe-inspiring pal, this is the rare remake that most reviews describe as vastly superior to the original. In a summer that’s already featured a couple of big kid-friendly winners, Pete’s Dragon offers one more opportunity for families to take a trip to the cineplex together and come away satisfied.


Sausage Party (2016) 83%

Cartoons that act and talk dirty can be inherently funny simply because of the dissonance in seeing kids’ stuff in a grown-up context. But once the novelty wears off, what’s the point? Critics say Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg provide a satisfactory answer with Sausage Party, which imagines a world in which our food talks — like sailors — and enjoys sexcapades that would make Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger blush. But underneath all the ribaldry, reviews describe an animated effort with some surprisingly thought-provoking things on its mind — including humanity’s relationship with religion. If that sounds like an awful lot to (ahem) bite off for a cartoon, it only underscores how deftly Sausage Party brings an unexpected medium (and an all-star voice cast that includes Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, and Salma Hayek) to bear on its surprising themes. Just make sure you leave the kids at home.


Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) 87%

Florence Foster Jenkins’ real-life singing career (so to speak) has long been the butt of jokes for music geeks of a certain stripe; her collected works, issued most popularly on the novelty record The Glory (????) of the Human Voice, represent a surreal example of how badly things can go awry when recording technology falls into the wrong hands. What’s funny through the speakers can seem awfully pointless and mean-spirited on the screen, however — a problem Florence Foster Jenkins circumvents by treating its subject with dignity. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, Florence surveys Jenkins’ life and legacy with enough self-awareness to give viewers some laughs, but critics say the end result is also quite poignant — due in no small part to Streep and Grant’s performances, which lend genuine human feeling to a story that’s too often been played for laughs.


What’s Hot on TV

The Get Down: Season 1 (2015) 77%

The Get Down‘s vibrant music and energetic young cast help to elevate its meandering narrative.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Hell or High Water (2016) , a politically tinged heist thriller about two bank robbers and the Texas Ranger on their trail, is Certified Fresh at 100 percent.
  • Blood Father (2016) , starring Mel Gibson as a father who sheds a fair amount of blood, is at 93 percent.
  • Disorder (Maryland) (2016) , about a bodyguard who may or may not be a danger to the family he’s looking after, is at 74 percent.
  • My King (Mon roi) (2016) , about a woman’s struggle to come to grips with a pivotal relationship after a serious accident, is at 74 percent.
  • Joshy (2016) , about an uncomfortable bachelor party thrown after the bride-to-be commits suicide, is at 71 percent.
  • Anthropoid (2016) , which dramatizes a real-life World War II mission, is at 54 percent.
  • The Lost Arcade (2016) , a documentary about a legendary New York gamers’ paradise, is at 50.
  • Edge of Winter (2016) , about a hunting trip that impacts a divorced father’s troubled relationship with his sons, is at 43.

Tag Cloud

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