Critics Consensus

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Collateral Beauty is a sappy mess, Manchester by the Sea is Certified Fresh, and Star is sloppy and cartoonish.

by | December 15, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have sad Will Smith (Collateral Beauty, co-starring Helen Mirren), even sadder Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea, co-starring Michelle Williams), and Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, starring Felicity Jones and Diego Luna). What are the critics saying?


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) 85%

Not content to rule this year’s box office with a string of hits that already includes Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, Zootopia, Moana, and — oh yeah — a pair of Marvel blockbusters, Disney tops it all off this weekend with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which officially marks the spot where the company’s stewardship of the storied franchise shifts from saga revival to annual event. This standalone feature takes a look at the fledgling Rebellion’s life-or-death quest to steal the Empire’s plans for the first Death Star, and introduces viewers to a (mostly) new cast of characters while making room for a few major cameos from the original trilogy. It’s pretty much a guaranteed smash, in other words — and fortunately for those of us who won’t be able to resist seeing it, critics say it’s also a pretty great time at the movies. While Rogue One may not quite stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best entries in the Star Wars series, reviews describe a thrilling, poignant, and surprisingly dark chapter that honors its predecessors while suggesting intriguing new avenues for its inevitable follow-ups.


Collateral Beauty (2016) 13%

For those in search of a more earthbound time at the movies, there’s Collateral Beauty, starring Will Smith as a high-powered executive whose friends hatch a scheme to draw him back from the emotional abyss after he’s crippled by grief. With that heartstring-tugging premise and a cast rounded out by an ace ensemble that also includes Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, and Edward Norton, this looks like a holiday season winner; unfortunately, looks can often be deceiving, and critics say this is definitely an example. While even its harshest detractors admit the movie’s affecting in spots, it’s fatally undermined by thinly sketched characters and a plot that’s far too obvious with its emotional manipulations. There are far better options if you’re in the mood for a really good cry this weekend — including pretending you’re Smith while reading Collateral Beauty‘s reviews.


Manchester by the Sea (2016) 96%

Speaking of sob-worthy cinema, here’s Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams in the tale of a guy whose seemingly aimless drift hits a rocky patch when his older brother (Kyle Chandler) passes away, leaving him custody of his nephew (Lucas Hedges) — and sending him back to the hometown where a painful past still haunts him. In a lot of ways, it’s decidedly a downbeat story, but critics say writer-director Kenneth Lonergan does a brilliant job of walking the line between sobering drama and dismal wallow, aided and abetted by a cast that brings his characters vividly to life. One of the year’s more passionately acclaimed films, it’s already gathering awards buzz — and while it lacks the laser dogfights of its marquee competition this weekend, Manchester by the Sea exerts its own unique, lingering impact.


What’s New on TV

Star: Season 1 (2016) 32%

Despite Queen Latifah‘s strong performance, Lee Daniels’ Star is weighed down by sloppy melodrama and overly cartoonish stereotypes.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Neruda (2016) , an homage to the Nobel-winning poet from director Pablo Larraín, is Certified Fresh at 100 percent.
  • Barry (2016) , a dramatized look at President Barack Obama’s life as a young college student, is at 86 percent.
  • The Hollow Point (2016) , starring Patrick Wilson and Ian McShane in a drama about two border town police officers investigating a drug deal gone wrong, is at 43 percent.
  • A Kind of Murder (2016) , starring Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson in a drama about an architect and a crime novelist who become obsessed with an unsolved murder, is at 33 percent.
  • Solace (2016) , starring Anthony Hopkins as a psychic drawn into a police investigation, is at 26 percent.

Tag Cloud

Biopics docudrama Trivia VICE Calendar cinemax Emmys discovery Pop Comedy Central Cosplay The Arrangement composers Rocky President Ghostbusters technology zombie E! 2015 BBC America Fantasy History Comedy Fox News TIFF 24 frames dramedy Character Guide Countdown Ellie Kemper Kids & Family comiccon Musical boxoffice Hulu Schedule cops FXX cats Disney Amazon PBS ESPN Spring TV Trailer Sci-Fi Holidays aliens Masterpiece Logo YA NYCC Year in Review Marvel TBS Set visit thriller Awards crime thriller Starz ITV Box Office war Tomatazos GIFs CMT Syfy science fiction political drama Netflix crime Esquire Thanksgiving Certified Fresh historical drama Adult Swim Marathons Superheroes Cartoon Network sitcom LGBTQ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt singing competition TLC Rock based on movie GLAAD vampires Reality HBO Music TCA adventure Tumblr Photos Valentine's Day Video Games E3 supernatural transformers MSNBC Oscars Food Network BET period drama Pirates TNT Summer Extras TV Land Mystery Interview 007 Country The CW Watching Series ABC Star Trek sports Animation NBC X-Men 2016 Comic Book DC Comics Freeform ABC Family 2017 FOX Lifetime Red Carpet USA cooking APB IFC VH1 social media biography Universal Super Bowl RT History Disney Channel Fall TV Writers Guild of America Sundance Lionsgate harry potter Mary Tyler Moore politics Nat Geo Drama BBC SundanceTV SDCC Crackle diversity Premiere Dates MTV American Society of Cinematographers Infographic TCA 2017 Reality Competition Martial Arts Mindy Kaling Opinion travel Nickelodeon Grammys CNN Winter TV Podcast PaleyFest Star Wars Election GoT FX police drama OWN TV Best and Worst psycho El Rey Polls and Games Toys Winners CBS Bravo Sneak Peek DirecTV WGN TCM TruTV Teen Horror A&E serial killer Showtime Musicals First Look Dark Horse Comics AMC Action crime drama Nominations CBS All Access Rom-Com