Critics Consensus

The Disaster Artist Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Just Getting Started wasn't screened for critics, Happy! is a gritty dark comedy, and I, Tonya is also Certified Fresh.

by | December 7, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a dramatized look at the making of an outsider cinema classic (The Disaster Artist, starring James and Dave Franco) and a trio of Hollywood vets in an old-fashioned comedy caper (Just Getting Started, starring Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rene Russo). What are the critics saying?

The Disaster Artist (2017) 91%

What are the ingredients necessary for a compelling story? What constitutes a compelling performance? Do “good” and “bad” really exist, or are they merely arbitrary concepts designed to be tossed around like the ol’ pigskin in your average everyday game of tuxedo football? These are just some of the questions posed by Tommy Wiseau‘s The Room, the indie production whose thoroughly inscrutable intentions went on to spawn a thousand midnight screenings (and cries of “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”) after its 2003 debut — and while few of those questions will ever receive a definitive answer, Room-bedeviled cineastes have now been gifted with more food for thought in the form of The Disaster Artist. Directed by and starring James Franco as Wiseau, it’s an affectionately tongue-in-cheek look at the story behind the scenes of a so-bad-it’s-good cinema classic — and although it would be impossible for any movie to truly get inside Wiseau’s artistic process, critics say this Disaster is still an effortlessly entertaining dramatization. Of course, it’ll be more entertaining if you’ve actually seen The Room beforehand, but either way, this is one of Franco’s proudest moments, and a pat on the back for anyone who ever aimed for the creative moon, only to end up sailing into a different galaxy.

Just Getting Started (2017) 4%

Countless ingredients go into making a successful motion picture, and a lot of them boil down to dumb luck — but if you can get a talented writer-director on one side of the camera and a terrific cast on the other, you’ve won at least half the battle. This weekend’s Just Getting Started, starring Morgan Freeman as a Palm Springs resort manager whose razzle-dazzle existence is thrown into disarray by a murder plot and the arrival of an ex-military man (Tommy Lee Jones) and a lovely guest (Rene Russo), would certainly seem to have a solid head start: aside from that talented ensemble, it boasts the involvement of writer-director Ron Shelton, whose previous credits include Bull Durham and Tin Cup. So what about the rest of the movie? Unfortunately, we don’t know yet — Just Getting Started wasn’t screened for critics, so we’ll all just have to wait and see. In the meantime, how about a round of Guess the Tomatometer?

What’s New on TV

Happy!: Season 1 (2017) 81%

Happy! certainly isn’t for everyone, but its appealingly oddball concept and strong performances from Chris Meloni and Patton Oswalt make for a gritty, dark comedy with definite — albeit unusual — appeal.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Quest (2017) , a documentary look at the experiences of an African-American family during the Obama administration, is at 100 percent.
  • The Rape of Recy Taylor (2017) , a documentary about a young woman’s life-threatening quest for justice, is at 94 percent.
  • I, Tonya (2017) , starring Margot Robbie in a biopic of disgraced professional skater Tonya Harding, is Certified Fresh at 90 percent.
  • Hollow in the Land (2017) , starring Dianna Agron as a woman pushed to extreme lengths to protect her family after her brother is accused of a crime, is at 83 percent.
  • The White King (2016) , about the upheaval a man’s family faces after he’s branded a traitor and arrested by their country’s oppressive regime, is at 72 percent.
  • Kaleidoscope (2016) , starring Toby Jones as an ex-con whose first faltering efforts to put his life back together are complicated by the reappearance of his mother, is at 70 percent.
  • Bullet Head (2017) , starring Adrien Brody and John Malkovich in a crime thriller with an anti-animal cruelty agenda, is at 50 percent.
  • The Pirates of Somalia (2017) , a fact-based drama about a journalist’s efforts to learn about modern-day pirates by embedding himself in their crew, is at 44 percent.

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