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) 88%

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

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