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) 18%

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) 85%

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) 7%

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 (2014) , 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 (2014) , 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 (2014) , 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

Election Lifetime Christmas movies popular psychological thriller Walt Disney Pictures psycho Cannes VICE black italian casting comic books Heroines mockumentary TV Land Drama critic resources football streaming TCA Fantasy Valentine's Day 99% emmy awards spinoff doctor who SDCC Comic-Con@Home 2021 Cosplay science fiction tv talk Set visit Warner Bros. australia boxoffice Year in Review TCA 2017 period drama Vudu Winter TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Creative Arts Emmys kong LGBT screenings french DGA video on demand Marvel Film Festival die hard Tubi disaster Paramount Plus Avengers comedies sports finale Character Guide Exclusive Video RT History Marvel Studios Comedy Central composers diversity dragons aapi cars live action Biopics Toys The Witch name the review Acorn TV pirates of the caribbean ABC Family 2019 Adult Swim WGN Esquire Horror spanish Kids & Family See It Skip It The Walking Dead olympics new zealand Podcast nfl APB monster movies TV renewals zero dark thirty TV Disney streaming service TLC Music Awards Holiday satire Apple revenge rotten Amazon godzilla halloween south america Martial Arts target best latino dark hispanic heritage month AMC Superheroe cooking sequels The Arrangement TCM crime Film Amazon Studios Hulu First Look hispanic FOX Western cancelled aliens The Purge Lifetime Epix 2017 PlayStation fast and furious Showtime Turner Classic Movies Masterpiece venice Disney+ Disney Plus transformers DC Comics ViacomCBS green book Lucasfilm rt labs critics edition 2015 24 frames stoner Sony Pictures stop motion spain Sneak Peek stand-up comedy CBS All Access Pop TV romantic comedy CMT superhero independent book indie spanish language trailers politics 2020 marvel cinematic universe feel good based on movie book adaptation rotten movies we love festivals Rocky golden globes Marvel Television Disney Plus Classic Film Trophy Talk toronto discovery Stephen King Netflix Christmas movies GoT HBO Go new star wars movies talk show foreign Television Critics Association 2016 richard e. Grant Mary poppins SXSW ratings telelvision OneApp Interview spider-man Sci-Fi Ellie Kemper documentaries all-time Video Games series toy story Bravo Action Polls and Games hidden camera gangster Rom-Com slashers universal monsters Paramount Network San Diego Comic-Con a nightmare on elm street teaser blockbuster Box Office Food Network 71st Emmy Awards BBC historical drama harry potter Pride Month Amazon Prime comics nature NBC criterion YouTube Black History Month video Mindy Kaling canceled TV shows Mystery Crackle james bond dogs Logo Sundance quibi Shondaland 2021 king arthur A24 MSNBC mutant singing competition sequel docuseries Baby Yoda versus 20th Century Fox cancelled television NBA werewolf FX on Hulu ABC The CW Hallmark Christmas movies Teen Anna Paquin movies 21st Century Fox Spike 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Peacock Arrowverse archives indiana jones dramedy comiccon BAFTA royal family cinemax MCU VOD HBO social media action-comedy elevated horror adenture Rocketman halloween tv king kong spy thriller Tokyo Olympics rt labs A&E Opinion Pacific Islander Chilling Adventures of Sabrina anthology American Society of Cinematographers BET children's TV CNN game show laika blockbusters Broadway hollywood PBS Writers Guild of America LGBTQ Academy Awards TNT concert japan Photos renewed TV shows Summer scene in color Schedule Oscars The Walt Disney Company Comics on TV theme song Sundance TV NYCC ghosts crime drama dexter Women's History Month Winners Britbox directors posters Apple TV Plus TIFF ID basketball blaxploitation New York Comic Con YA comic book movie Mudbound hist Thanksgiving Starz 45 GLAAD Musicals Fox Searchlight Syfy Super Bowl worst FXX Countdown GIFs Christmas Musical Fall TV Legendary Rock anime news binge Awards Tour thriller legend Quiz Ovation batman cancelled TV shows medical drama Paramount Lionsgate Best and Worst E! police drama classics Elton John Premiere Dates zombie high school 90s Animation PaleyFest films critics Chernobyl jamie lee curtis Brie Larson political drama Emmy Nominations RT21 Mary Poppins Returns technology adaptation game of thrones justice league supernatural TruTV joker japanese 2018 Reality marvel comics Spring TV Watching Series sitcom Hear Us Out IFC 73rd Emmy Awards Song of Ice and Fire Comedy facebook scary movies Sundance Now YouTube Red CBS USA Network biopic E3 Ghostbusters dceu strong female leads Marathons FX suspense jurassic park BET Awards lord of the rings Tomatazos crime thriller war fresh movie worst movies cancelled TV series mcc crossover Funimation OWN asian-american award winner Nickelodeon prank reviews Pet Sematary obituary Apple TV+ documentary slasher Image Comics festival dc First Reviews young adult Extras Tumblr Star Wars adventure comic book movies biography El Rey TV One Pirates DC Universe cats sag awards Trivia women IFC Films canceled CW Seed Comic Book Nominations Mary Tyler Moore TCA Winter 2020 Captain marvel chucky Endgame BBC One Black Mirror 4/20 romance space Certified Fresh mission: impossible animated 1990s miniseries free movies Nat Geo BBC America zombies Netflix natural history what to watch rom-coms nbcuniversal remakes witnail TCA Awards Dark Horse Comics Columbia Pictures 93rd Oscars History scorecard robots 007 ESPN debate golden globe awards Travel Channel Tarantino Superheroes cartoon Red Carpet ITV SundanceTV 72 Emmy Awards cults Alien DC streaming service TV movies Country Television Academy Discovery Channel Universal National Geographic superman MTV kaiju Cartoon Network travel Amazon Prime Video VH1 child's play X-Men HBO Max serial killer boxing Crunchyroll Hallmark Pixar know your critic Star Trek Family breaking bad vampires razzies deadpool Reality Competition ABC Signature cops streaming movies international rt archives twilight Holidays DirecTV Grammys Infographic Turner President reboot Wes Anderson TBS YouTube Premium true crime Shudder Freeform franchise comic Binge Guide television docudrama Spectrum Originals unscripted saw Trailer new york Disney Channel WarnerMedia kids Pop wonder woman Calendar USA Emmys Fox News The Academy screen actors guild parents Disney heist movie christmas movies