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) 15%

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) 95%

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) 33%

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

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