Critics Consensus

Shazam! Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Pet Sematary is better the second time around, Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone is appropriately thought-provoking, and The Best of Enemies should be better.

by | April 4, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a silly superhero (Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi and Mark Strong), a cursed graveyard (Pet Sematary, starring Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz), and an unlikely partnership (The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell). What are the critics saying?


Shazam! (2019) 90%

If the critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman and Aquaman wasn’t quite enough to convince some moviegoers that Warner Bros. and DC were headed in the right direction, maybe their latest big-screen effort will seal the deal. Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Mark Strong star in this part-superhero origin story, part-coming-of-age comedy about a teen named Billy Batson, who is recruited by a wizard who bequeaths him the power to transform into an adult with superpowers. As Billy learns to control his newfound abilities, he draws the attention of an evil man who wants Shazam’s powers for himself. Critics say Shazam!, directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation — weird choice, we know, but it worked!), is a blast, full of childlike wonder, genuine laughs, and an abundance of heart that grounds it. This is about as pure as fantasy wish fulfillment can get, and it’s a rock-solid piece of blockbuster entertainment.


Pet Sematary (2019) 57%

It only took six years from the time Stephen King published Pet Sematary to see it adapted for the big screen, but it took another 30 — and a misguided 1992 sequel — before anyone decided to give it another go. Taking the reins this time are directing duo Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, who previously helmed the well-received indie thriller Starry Eyes, and who make a few changes to the original story. In the updated version, a Boston doctor (Jason Clarke) relocates with his wife (Amy Seimetz) and two children to Maine, where he learns about a mysterious burial site behind their new home that’s rumored to bring the dead back to life. When tragedy hits the family, he decides to test those rumors, and things begin to spiral out of control. With regard to the critics, not everyone is on board with the new interpretation, and those who aren’t feel that the narrative fails to do enough to justify remaking the original. That said, the overall reaction has been positive, with reviews touting the performances for selling their grief with authenticity and the directors for effectively harnessing the more disturbing elements of the source material.


The Best of Enemies (2019) 53%

By now, most of us have seen our fair share of films that essentially serve as odes to racial reconciliation, heartfelt dramas and dramedies that pit a pair of unlikely partners against each other and gradually bring them into agreement. One of those movies just won Best Picture at the Oscars. This week, we get a new entry in the genre, and critics say it’s earnest but all too familiar. Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell anchor Best of Enemies as civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Ku Klux Klan leader C.P. Ellis, respectively, who were both called up on to lead their North Carolina community in a decision over school segregation in 1971. In the process of co-chairing the summit, the two of them came to terms with each other and learned something about mutual respect. If that sounds like a template you’ve heard before, it’s because you have, and critics are largely split on whether the rest of the film — the acting, the period-accurate trappings — is enough to make up for that. Critics say Best of Enemies is a noble effort buoyed by strong performances, but its by-the-numbers narrative is a little tired, the film fails to portray its characters with much nuance.


What’s New on TV

The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (2019) 74%

The Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling‘s winning formula, creating a thought-provoking — if not always spine-tingling — showcase for Jordan Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Amazing Grace (2019) , a concert documentary of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 Los Angeles performance of the titular gospel album, is at 97%.
  • High Life (2019) , starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche in Claire Denis‘ sci-fi drama about the lone survivor of a dangerous mission in space, is Certified Fresh at 89%.
  • Suburban Birds (Jiao qu de niao) (2019) , a mystery about a team of surveyors investigating a small neighborhood slowly sinking into the ground, is at 78%.
  • The Wind (2019) , a horror film about a 19th century man and woman living on the American frontier who are terrorized by an unseen force on their homestead, is at 70%.
  • Storm Boy (2019) , about a successful, aging man recalling his isolated childhood for his granddaughter, is at 64%.
  • Peterloo (2019) , director Mike Leigh‘s recounting of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 in England, is at 63%.
  • The Public (2019)Emilio Estevez‘s drama about a showdown between a library’s employees and the homeless who have taken shelter there during a particularly frosty night, is at 63%.
  • The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019) , starring Hilary Duff as the titular actress, who sees premonitions of her fate and comes face to face with Charles Manson, is at 23%.

Tag Cloud

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