Critics Consensus

Rampage Is Exactly What You Think It Is

Plus, Truth or Dare is too safe, Isle of Dogs goes wide, and Killing Eve, Howards End, and Borg vs. McEnroe are all Certified Fresh.

by | April 12, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have Dwayne Johnson saving the world from giant monsters (Rampage, co-starring Naomie Harris), Blumhouse’s latest spine-tingling franchise in waiting (Truth or Dare, starring Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey), another acclaimed stop-motion effort from Wes Anderson (Isle of Dogs, featuring the voices of Bryan Cranston and Liev Schreiber), the animated adventures of a real-life canine war vet (Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Gérard Depardieu), and a political thriller in Lebanon (Beirut, starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike). What are the critics saying?


Rampage (2018) 51%

It really wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of making a movie out of an arcade game about giant monsters smashing buildings (and/or each other) would have seemed preposterous, if not completely beyond the range of special effects technology. Times have changed in a multitude of ways, however, and modern Hollywood is all about finding franchises even if you have to look in the unlikeliest of places — or turn the wildest of scenarios into lifelike blockbuster entertainment. Case in point: Rampage, a Dwayne Johnson-led adaptation of the coin-op classic that asked players to smash cities to rubble as a giant lizard, gorilla, or werewolf. Obviously, that setup is a little light on the narrative side, so a team of screenwriters have conspired to imagine a scenario in which a trio of innocent animals are embiggened and embark on a spree of destruction that can only be stopped by a kind-hearted primatologist (Johnson) and a genetic engineer (Naomie Harris). Pretty much par for the course with Johnson, in other words — and the critical response is more or less also what you’d expect, with reviews running the gamut between “big dumb fun” and just “dumb.” If you were waiting to see what the critics thought about Rampage before buying a ticket, then you may want to steer clear… but who are we kidding? You almost definitely weren’t.


Blumhouse's Truth or Dare (2018) 16%


Add up the grosses and average out the Tomatometers for Blumhouse’s latest handful of low-budget horror outings, and it’s clear that they’re on a pretty incredible tear: Split, Get Out, and Happy Death Day all hit paydirt last year, and that winning streak continued with the box office success of Insidious: The Last Key in January. The studio rides that hot hand into this weekend’s Truth or Dare, about a group of college seniors (including Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey) who make the ill-fated decision to engage in a round of the titular game… with freaky supernatural results. When all else fails, “kill a bunch of pretty young people” is always a reliable fallback setup for a horror movie, so genre enthusiasts may get a few thrills out of the end results; unfortunately, critics are typically harder to impress, and they say this is all standard stuff — neither inventive nor scary enough to set Truth or Dare apart from the decades of dreary slashers that came before it. If you’re really in the mood to listen to people scream in the dark for an hour and a half, go for it — but all things considered, the box office fate suffered by Battleship is still probably a scarier game-related Hollywood story.


Isle of Dogs (2018) 90%


Wes Anderson has never made what most people would consider children’s movies, so when he ventured into the traditionally kid-friendly arena of stop-motion animation with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, it came as something of a surprise. As it turns out, the medium is a perfect fit for the writer-director’s gentle whimsy and attention to detail — and he’s back with Isle of Dogs, now entering wide release. Anderson’s latest outing tells the story of Atari (Koyu Rankin), a Japanese boy determined to rescue his dog (voiced by Liev Schreiber) from an island where the animals have been quarantined during an outbreak of canine flu — again, not your average setup for an animated movie, but one that critics say provides rich creative ground for a cinematic experience that’s deeply enjoyable on a number of levels. Another acclaimed addition to Anderson’s filmography, Isle ranks among 2018’s best-reviewed movies thus far, and offers one of your safest destinations at theaters this weekend.


Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (2018) 89%


If you’re like most people, then an animated movie about a dog who served with honor in the trenches during World War I probably doesn’t rank high on your cinematic wish list — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make a good one, and Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero is here to offer proof. Although a good many filmgoers are likely unfamiliar with the real-life Stubby’s military exploits, his story is legitimately incredible, and critics say it’s been told here with sensitivity and charm by director/co-writer Richard Lanni. Viewers with young children may balk at the prospect of taking the family to see a movie about a dog whose life was repeatedly in mortal danger — or raise a skeptical eyebrow at the notion of a well-reviewed animated release from a studio that isn’t one of the usual suspects — but if you’re looking for a worthy cartoon diversion, it looks like this Stubby stands tall.


Beirut (2018) 82%


It’s tough to jump from TV star to marquee idol, and even most of the Hollywood vets who’ve been lucky enough to make the leap — like George Clooney and Bruce Willis — needed a few mulligans before they really found their footing on the big screen. It’s far from unusual, in other words, that the film industry hasn’t really seemed to know what to do with Jon Hamm since he started focusing on movies after Mad Men went off the air; although he certainly looks like a movie star, he’s spent the last few years waiting for his breakout film role. The sober-minded and relatively complex Beirut may not be the project that truly marks that transition, but critics say this is the type of stuff Hamm really needs more of — a movie that takes advantage of his ability to play charismatic yet damaged individuals, set against the backdrop of a gripping conflict. He stars here as Mason Skiles, a former diplomat who’s lured back into his old trade as part of an operation to help save the life of a friend he left in the titular city, and reviews describe a Tony Gilroy-scripted drama that should satisfy fans of Tony Gilroy-scripted dramas — even if this one doesn’t quite do justice to the thorny real-life conflicts that fuel its plot. Absorbing despite its flaws and elevated by strong work from Hamm and Rosamund Pike, Beirut looks like the place to be for fans of grown-up political intrigue this weekend.


What’s New on TV

Killing Eve: Season 1 (2018) 96%

Seductive and surprising, Killing Eve‘s twist on the spy vs. spy conceit rewards viewers with an audaciously entertaining show that finally makes good use of Sandra Oh‘s talents.


Howards End: Miniseries (2018) 87%

A superbly-mounted adaptation of E.M. Forster’s tale of British class tension, with exceptional performances all round, Howards End ranks among the best of Merchant-Ivory’s work.


Lost in Space: Season 1 (2018) 68%

Lost in Space‘s production values are ambitious enough to attract sci-fi adventure fans, while the story’s large heart adds an emotional anchor to all the deep space derring-do.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Judge (2018) , a documentary about Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first female Sharia judge, is at 100%.
  • The Rider (2018) , based on the true story of a rodeo rider putting his life back together after a career-ending injury, is at 98%.
  • Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2018) , a documentary about artist Grace Jones‘ life and singular career, is at 90%.
  • Hitler's Hollywood (2018) , a documentary look at the many varied films produced by the Nazi regime, is at 89%.
  • Zama (2018) , a drama about the travails of a bureaucrat hung out to dry in South America by the Spanish crown, is at 88%.
  • Bye Bye Germany (Es war einmal in Deutschland...) (2018) , a dramedy about the efforts of a group of Jewish friends to migrate out of Germany after World War II, is at 86%.
  • Wildling (2018) , a bit of werewolf horror starring Liv Tyler as a corrections officer who finds herself in the midst of some supernatural trouble after taking in a young girl, is at 82%.
  • Borg Vs. McEnroe (2018) , starring Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf as the titular tennis superstars whose 1980 Wimbledon match captivated fans around the world, is Certified Fresh at 81%.
  • Jet Trash (2018) , in which a pair of friends flee London for southern India in order to escape the homicidal attention of a gangster, is at 67%.
  • Flock of Four (2018) , a period drama about white 1950s teens on a pilgrimage to see a legendary jazz artist perform, is at 60%.
  • Marrowbone (2018) , about four siblings whose lives go from bad to worse when they seek refuge in the wrong house after the death of their mother, is at 44%.
  • An Ordinary Man (2018) , starring Ben Kingsley as a war criminal in hiding, is at 25%.
  • Submergence (2018) , starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander as star-crossed lovers who meet in Normandy, is at 17%.
  • Aardvark (2018) , starring Zachary Quinto as a man whose deep-seated sibling rivalry with his brother (Jon Hamm) leads him to seek the care of a therapist (Jenny Slate), is at 12%.
  • Krystal (2018) , starring Rosario Dawson as the unattainable fixation of a sheltered teen, is at 0%.

Tag Cloud

Walt Disney Pictures Nat Geo Tumblr Superheroe Year in Review latino FXX documentary Holiday aliens NYCC cinemax spanish language Extras Song of Ice and Fire TCA 2017 AMC Spike Ellie Kemper Sundance Now Box Office Mary Tyler Moore toy story ESPN Amazon Studios A24 Freeform Writers Guild of America Classic Film award winner Musical The CW crime drama 72 Emmy Awards Summer YouTube Mindy Kaling Sundance docudrama Sundance TV sag awards Musicals hispanic Pride Month 2016 obituary Rom-Com jamie lee curtis cancelled TV series slashers politics Amazon CW Seed GoT Sneak Peek cops critics CNN MSNBC game of thrones romantic comedy game show sequel spider-man YouTube Premium Awards Tour Tomatazos supernatural Emmys dc Warner Bros. Discovery Channel spain thriller comiccon Rocky Television Academy WarnerMedia blockbuster Syfy Fall TV Awards historical drama Heroines werewolf football Apple TV+ Paramount joker CMT Amazon Prime Video TruTV MTV TCM Lucasfilm unscripted adventure Lionsgate RT21 Nominations dragons Film Festival VH1 PlayStation canceled USA Opinion GIFs NBC 71st Emmy Awards hollywood TLC Vudu Star Wars Spectrum Originals TBS BBC America Chernobyl social media Cannes Cosplay Set visit Biopics chucky Britbox 45 movie Holidays diversity crime casting natural history Best and Worst based on movie TV 2017 YouTube Red TCA Winter 2020 crime thriller Dark Horse Comics The Purge anime Calendar Teen Ghostbusters Star Trek dogs tv talk Comic Book Netflix mission: impossible TIFF TV Land Comedy Central Masterpiece 21st Century Fox ghosts Academy Awards Character Guide mutant child's play independent anthology witnail golden globes best Sci-Fi 2019 First Look RT History boxoffice Apple Peacock all-time satire Emmy Nominations BBC One Netflix Christmas movies Infographic singing competition Disney Plus El Rey halloween Columbia Pictures venice strong female leads Bravo IFC Brie Larson Avengers worst movies Disney laika Universal Pixar Valentine's Day cats Crackle Women's History Month sitcom LGBT emmy awards Travel Channel Endgame Podcast television Winter TV 20th Century Fox nature The Arrangement medical drama what to watch Crunchyroll festival Acorn TV Drama cooking dark hist Family vampires space adaptation police drama harry potter DC Comics See It Skip It political drama facebook spy thriller Disney Channel Spring TV Rock films HBO Go Trivia Red Carpet Black Mirror TNT technology VICE Ovation Reality Competition Election Lifetime Christmas movies Shudder Captain marvel war Mudbound ITV binge OneApp Trailer E! DirecTV a nightmare on elm street Mary poppins stoner canceled TV shows cars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina IFC Films news PaleyFest south america travel APB universal monsters versus Premiere Dates series DC Universe Disney+ Disney Plus Mystery Toys Pop screen actors guild President crossover Hulu Adult Swim scary movies transformers animated Television Critics Association San Diego Comic-Con sequels Thanksgiving remakes richard e. Grant festivals video VOD comics TV renewals cartoon LGBTQ PBS documentaries screenings worst Comedy robots stand-up comedy Interview die hard serial killer X-Men Trophy Talk National Geographic green book twilight Hallmark Action revenge Fox News Sony Pictures miniseries Shondaland reviews 2018 First Reviews SXSW OWN A&E ABC Family Polls and Games FX toronto SundanceTV foreign Pirates nbcuniversal Showtime Countdown directors Esquire Film Marvel renewed TV shows teaser justice league Logo indiana jones 2020 WGN Tubi 4/20 ratings TCA Turner BBC Apple TV Plus Amazon Prime concert Schedule batman Tarantino book The Walking Dead Hear Us Out Elton John Lifetime finale Kids & Family The Witch mockumentary comedies Paramount Network Baby Yoda composers zero dark thirty TCA Awards children's TV Mary Poppins Returns Music Reality rotten movies we love franchise quibi Turner Classic Movies Photos Nickelodeon comic breaking bad HBO Max Creative Arts Emmys New York Comic Con Disney streaming service indie BET Awards Arrowverse zombie Watching Series 007 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FX on Hulu reboot Marvel Television BET YA stop motion rotten Hallmark Christmas movies kids Rocketman sports cancelled television streaming BAFTA ABC psychological thriller History parents Marathons MCU theme song true crime Starz fast and furious Martial Arts Stephen King Marvel Studios romance classics Epix period drama Anna Paquin CBS All Access DC streaming service Quiz USA Network Black History Month American Society of Cinematographers elevated horror Pop TV CBS discovery doctor who Binge Guide asian-american Western biography Superheroes Grammys Super Bowl Fantasy Horror cults dramedy SDCC Oscars E3 dceu Winners free movies nfl scorecard Cartoon Network disaster cancelled Funimation GLAAD 24 frames Country Certified Fresh Pet Sematary blaxploitation Christmas FOX cancelled TV shows video on demand DGA HBO christmas movies talk show criterion 2015 spinoff science fiction psycho Video Games movies Food Network Comics on TV superhero name the review zombies Animation