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) 88%

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) 76%

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

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