Critics Consensus

The Last Witch Hunter Doesn't Cast A Spell

Plus, Steve Jobs, The Knick, and Supergirl are all Certified Fresh.

by | October 22, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a slayer of the supernatural (The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood); a tech icon (Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet); contagious, outrageous musicians (Jem and the Holograms, starring Aubrey Peeples and Juliette Lewis); a desperate rock manager (Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis); and a relentless spirit (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, starring Katie Featherston and Hallie Foote). What do the critics have to say?


The Last Witch Hunter (2015) 17%

First Abraham Lincoln killed vampires, then Hansel and Gretel pursued witches. Now, along comes another legendary figure — Vin Diesel — on a quest to rid the world of evil forces. Unfortunately, critics say The Last Witch Hunter is a seriously muddled fantasy adventure weighted down with dull exposition and mediocre action set-pieces. Diesel stars as Kaulder, an immortal witch hunter who seeks revenge after a close friend is killed. The pundits say The Last Witch Hunter is too dark and brooding to entertain as either a popcorn flick or as a campy lark.


Steve Jobs (2015) 86%

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is able to take seemingly unfilmable true stories — about the founding of Facebook, say, or the front office of the Oakland A’s — and turn them into the stuff of riveting drama. But critics say what really makes Steve Jobs something special is Michael Fassbender’s uncanny performance in the title role — he captures the tech mogul’s charisma as well as his less attractive attributes. Set around three of Jobs’ major product launches, the film also veers into the Apple head’s sometimes rocky interpersonal relations, and the pundits say that while Steve Jobs is occasionally stagey and overly talky, it’s magnificently crafted and wonderfully acted.


Jem and the Holograms (2015) 22%

Glamour! Glitter! Fashion! Fame! What more does a movie need? Well, critics say Jem and the Holograms could use more (and better) music; while the film has solid performances and flashes of energy, it too often feels like a Disney Channel showbiz drama. Based upon the popular 1980s cartoon show — but updated for the viral video era — Jem and the Holograms follows the titular band as it tries to become musical superstars. The pundits say the movie is bright and inoffensive, but also predictable and — at two hours — way too long.


Rock the Kasbah (2015) 8%

Directed by Barry Levinson,  starring Bill Murray, and featuring a bunch of big names in small roles, Rock the Kasbah has the kind of pedigree that most films would envy. Too bad, then, that, critics say the film is a serious miscalculation on many levels, from its inconsistent tone to its simplistic politics. Bill Murray stars as a down-on-his-luck music manager who finds himself stranded in Afghanistan after his only remaining act bails on a USO tour. While traveling through a small village, he discovers a young woman with a terrific voice, and decides to try to get her into a televised singing competition. The pundits say Rock the Kasbah is an off day for all concerned, though it might inspire viewers to check out its loose inspiration — the Certified Fresh 2009 documentary Afghan Star.


Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015) 14%

The first Paranormal Activity made oodles of cash and kicked off a craze of found footage horror films, but the franchise has been bumpy ever since. Critics say this latest incarnation — in which an eight-year-old is bedeviled by a malevolent spirit, necessitating the installation of security cameras — is mostly tired and predictable, with a few inventive wrinkles and a lot of rote jump scares.


What’s Hot on TV

The Knick: Season 2 (2015) 97%

The Knick delivers an addictive second season with stunning visuals, knockout performances, and disturbing moments adding up to a period drama that’s anything but dated.


Supergirl: Season 1 (2015) 92%

Melissa Benoist shines as Superman’s plucky little cousin in Supergirl, a family-friendly comic-book adaptation that ditches cynicism for heart.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Top Spin (2015) , a documentary about three young competitive ping pong players, is at 100 percent.
  • Heart of a Dog (2015) , Laurie Anderson‘s cinematic essay about the death of her beloved pooch, is at 95 percent.
  • Bone Tomahawk (2015) , starring Kurt Russell and Matthew Fox in a Western about a ragtag posse attempting to rescue its fellow townsfolk from cannibals, is t 84 percent.
  • Difret (2015) , a drama based on the true story of an Ethiopian teenager who killed the man who abducted her, is at 80 percent.
  • Suffragette (2015) , starring Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter in a historical drama about the fiery campaign for women’s voting rights in Great Britain, is at 79 percent.
  • Nasty Baby (2015) , starring Kristen Wiig in a dark comedy about a gay couple attempting to impregnate their close friend, is at 65 percent.
  • I Smile Back (2015) , starring Sarah Silverman and Josh Charles in a drama about a suburban mom in the throes of profound depression, is at 48 percent.
  • Tokyo Tribe (2015) , a gonzo Japanese hip-hop musical action film,  is at 48 percent.
  • Dan Franzen

    Having seen the new Paranormal Activity, I believe the 20% figure to be way too high. It’s a terrible rehash that, unfortunately, leaves the door open for yet another sequel (yes, I know this is purported to be the last one).

    • Jason Young

      Franchises like that care far more about ticket sales than critic scores. As long as 11th graders take their dates in hopes she’ll cozy up on you when the jump scare comes, they can keep cranking them out

      • Dan Franzen

        Even so, it’s not going be a high grosser. It didn’t cost much to make, I believe, so it’ll turn a profit (maybe?), but even fans of the found-footage subgenre will dislike it.

        • Jason Young

          We can only hope

  • Tenshi Ippikiookami

    if you don’t take into account steve jobs, which is getting wide, of the four new releases, the best rated right now is “Jem and the hologramas”…

  • Crockett

    I want to see a review of Bone Tomahawk here. Maybe next week?

Tag Cloud

anime Captain marvel FXX series The CW nature A&E NYCC PBS Premiere Dates Academy Awards Fox News streaming dogs Sundance anthology DC Universe Avengers festivals Toys IFC YouTube Premium Quiz crime thriller Heroines zero dark thirty BET BBC America FX on Hulu true crime Sundance Now Extras Esquire DC streaming service Year in Review 2018 police drama National Geographic WGN TCA 2017 Film Festival mockumentary Pride Month 71st Emmy Awards E! Oscars discovery CNN WarnerMedia GoT Grammys Sony Pictures composers Comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Stephen King Television Academy Marvel Studios OneApp Certified Fresh LGBT TCA DGA reviews war Box Office Turner Classic Movies cartoon Brie Larson El Rey Baby Yoda breaking bad psychological thriller franchise Cannes cults disaster MSNBC tv talk green book Country Classic Film Fall TV cinemax Holidays cops Set visit Comic Book Trailer VH1 ABC Family indie Video Games Mary Poppins Returns Spike Pixar APB reboot cancelled TV shows technology Disney aliens X-Men 2016 free movies Disney+ Disney Plus binge 2015 Shondaland Disney Plus Spring TV Emmys 2017 Lionsgate werewolf cats renewed TV shows Cartoon Network The Witch spinoff science fiction Mystery Dark Horse Comics Apple GIFs Shudder Black History Month biography Disney Channel Photos Thanksgiving casting docudrama YA spanish language spider-man American Society of Cinematographers Polls and Games TV TNT Netflix sequel TBS 45 Pirates CBS All Access television Awards unscripted psycho singing competition Infographic Sundance TV witnail finale Amazon Prime hist ratings Endgame Tumblr historical drama Family Watching Series quibi TruTV Martial Arts Syfy Winter TV Anna Paquin Paramount DirecTV Freeform Teen History independent facebook Lifetime Christmas movies DC Comics Hallmark Opinion screen actors guild 2019 Winners canceled Cosplay Awards Tour sag awards movies Fantasy Lucasfilm zombies Nat Geo Apple TV+ 2020 Valentine's Day universal monsters justice league natural history Creative Arts Emmys strong female leads VICE Musical SDCC Rock Walt Disney Pictures richard e. Grant Adult Swim transformers Chernobyl doctor who Kids & Family Holiday Elton John serial killer golden globes Columbia Pictures Best and Worst Pop Western Trophy Talk Peacock versus book The Purge MCU Ellie Kemper San Diego Comic-Con FOX spy thriller miniseries Music Schedule President HBO Max TCA Winter 2020 jamie lee curtis The Walking Dead crossover Nominations award winner Christmas comics latino Rom-Com IFC Films Turner Crackle stand-up comedy game of thrones screenings boxoffice TCM crime Sneak Peek dragons Animation New York Comic Con dramedy First Look USA Network BBC Black Mirror adaptation video Funimation Tomatazos zombie kids elevated horror 24 frames Comedy Central Showtime Red Carpet SundanceTV USA Women's History Month romance movie teaser YouTube Red Pop TV blaxploitation directors Masterpiece Acorn TV Drama spain TIFF dc Paramount Network Bravo Binge Guide sports cooking politics Marvel Television documentary ABC LGBTQ social media HBO CW Seed Spectrum Originals dceu Mary poppins Travel Channel blockbuster slashers cancelled television Ghostbusters hispanic OWN MTV Marathons CBS GLAAD talk show TV renewals Trivia sitcom Emmy Nominations Epix Netflix Christmas movies 20th Century Fox Song of Ice and Fire Arrowverse foreign halloween NBC travel based on movie RT History Election TLC romantic comedy comic robots Food Network Pet Sematary 21st Century Fox medical drama Logo period drama RT21 Action Comics on TV First Reviews thriller ESPN Biopics Summer Nickelodeon Tubi joker Discovery Channel Superheroes batman vampires Sci-Fi Hallmark Christmas movies Britbox The Arrangement Star Wars Tarantino Interview ITV AMC Mindy Kaling 007 Lifetime supernatural theme song cancelled Starz Reality Competition Mary Tyler Moore christmas movies Horror toy story Countdown E3 space Mudbound SXSW Amazon mutant children's TV crime drama Crunchyroll Amazon Prime Video YouTube FX name the review adventure rotten movies we love comiccon See It Skip It game show Character Guide Warner Bros. Universal Reality TV Land political drama cancelled TV series Star Trek Ovation Hulu south america animated what to watch cars ghosts Marvel Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Rocky Apple TV Plus canceled TV shows revenge A24 Super Bowl Superheroe Disney streaming service Calendar scary movies diversity Writers Guild of America Film harry potter Musicals Amazon Studios CMT PaleyFest Podcast Rocketman Vudu