Critics Consensus

The Divergent Series: Allegiant is a Sci-Fi Snooze

Plus, Miracles from Heaven is a decent tearjerker, The Americans is Certified Fresh, and Daredevil is solid.

by | March 16, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got teenage rebels (The Divergent Series: Allegiant, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller) and a heartsick mother (Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner and Martin Henderson). What do the critics have to say?

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016) 11%

The critical knock on the Divergent franchise has tended to be that it’s little more than a second rate Hunger Games, and while that assessment might seem reductive to its legion of teenage fans, it essentially holds true for the latest chapter. Critics say Allegiant — in which a band of teenage revolutionaries, led by Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), escapes post-apocalyptic Chicago, only to discover a eugenics proponent leading a community on the outskirts  — is top-heavy with exposition and special effects, stranding its talented cast in a place-holding installment that’s unlikely to lure any newbies to the series.

Miracles From Heaven (2016) 45%

Even though it’s based on a true story, Miracles from Heaven is the kind of thing you’ve seen before; it’s the story of a mother who refuses to give up hope, even after her daughter has been diagnosed with a rare, untreatable disease. What elevates this faith-based drama, critics say, is the committed, commanding performance of Jennifer Garner, who lends urgency to a film that could have otherwise been merely a collection of melodramatic clichés.

What’s Hot on TV

The Americans: Season 4 (2016) 99%

With its fourth season, The Americans continues to deliver top-tier spy drama while sending its characters in directions that threaten to destroy their freedoms – and their lives.

Marvel's Daredevil: Season 2 (2016) 81%

Bolstered by some impressive action, Daredevil keeps its footing in Season two, even if the additions of Punisher and Elektra can’t quite fill the void left by Wilson Fisk.

Crowded: Season 1 (2016) 32%

A talented cast is left with no room to flourish in Crowded, a misfire whose dated feel is compounded by a pronounced lack of laughs.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Fireworks Wednesday (2006) , Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi‘s drama about a housekeeper who becomes embroiled in her employers’ toxic marital conflict, is at 100 percent.
  • Krisha (2015) , a drama about a troubled woman who receives a weary reception when she joins her family for thanksgiving festivities, is at 96 percent.
  • Too Late (2015) , starring John Hawkes in a neo-noir drama about a private eye searching for a person from his past, is at 88 percent.
  • My Golden Days (2015) , a coming-of-age drama about a French teenager’s troubled family life and misadventures in the Soviet Union, is at 87 percent.
  • A Space Program (2015) , a documentary about artist Tom Sachs’ attempt to create a simulated trip to Mars in New York’s Park Avenue Armory, is at 86 percent.
  • Midnight Special (2016) , starring Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst in a sci-fi drama about a man trying to protect his supernaturally gifted son from both a cult and the federal government, is at 83 percent.
  • The Confirmation (2016) , starring Clive Owen and Maria Bello in a drama about a carpenter who searches for his stolen toolbox with his eight-year-old-son, is at 82 percent.
  • Take Me to the River (2015) , starring Logan Miller and Robin Weigert in a drama about a gay teenager whose presence at a Midwestern family reunion ruffles feathers, is at 82 percent.
  • The Program (2015) , starring Ben Foster and Chris O’Dowd in Stephen Frears’ fictional retelling of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, is at 60 percent.
  • The Bronze (2015) , starring Melissa Rauch in a comedy about a malevolent former Olympic gymnast, is at 26 percent.
  • I am surprised by how little Shailene Woodley’s acting has improved since “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Only three good films on her resume (The Descendants, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars) and she’s not even the best part of them. Every time she takes up a movie role, she is just offering proof that the writers and directors behind those three films are the real geniuses. Woodley, who is also incredibly stupid and boring, can burn in Hell for all I care!

  • I think the reason why I enjoyed this film so much is because I haven’t watched or read The Hunger Games. Cool drone tech paired up with Joseph Trapanese on film score made this movie an entertaining one, for me at least.

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