Critics Consensus

The Meg Isn't Ridiculous Enough

Plus, Dog Days is a passable rom-com, Slender Man is thin on scares, and BlacKkKlansman, A Prayer Before Dawn, and season 4 of Better Call Saul are all Certified Fresh

by | August 9, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got  Jason Statham versus a giant shark (The Meg, co-starring Li Bingbing), puppy pals versus loneliness in Los Angeles (Dog Days, starring Nina Dobrev and Vanessa Hudgens), some Massachusetts teens versus a spindly menace (Slender Man, starring Joey King and Julia Goldani Telles), and Spike Lee versus The Man (BlacKkKlansman, starring John David Washington and Adam Driver). What are the critics saying?

The Meg (2018) 46%

Giant sharks and Jason Statham can both be pretty darn entertaining up on the big screen. Put ’em both together and you ought to have yourself a rollicking good time, right? We now have what would seem to be the definitive answer with The Meg, and unfortunately, critics say it never really hits that B-movie sweet spot the way you might expect. An adaptation of the 1997 Steve Alten bestseller, it stars Statham as Jonas Taylor, a rescue diver whose previous experience with sharks happens to come in extra handy when he winds up in an underwater research station under attack by a 75-foot Megalodon. It’s the type of preposterous setup begging for ladles full of action thriller cheese, but reviews describe the end results as rarely more than just okay. As a home viewing experience, it isn’t hard to see this attracting a cult following over the years. For the price of a ticket to the theater, however, it sinks.

Dog Days (2018) 63%

If our culture’s ever-expanding collection of internet memes is anything to go by, people love Love Actually almost as much as they love dogs, so why not just go ahead and put them together? Critics say that’s pretty much what director Ken Marino has done with Dog Days, in which an ensemble cast (including Eva Longoria, Nina Dobrev, Adam Pally, and Finn Wolfhard) play Los Angelenos whose intertwining lives and loves are fluffed up by a menagerie of canine companions. As one might expect of a rom-com titled Dog Days and released in the dog days of August, reviews describe a movie made of decidedly undemanding stuff; if you’re expecting much more than an air-conditioned interlude with a handful of heartwarming moments, you may come away disappointed. On the other hand, from its poster on down, one could hardly accuse this movie of pretending to be anything it isn’t — which is to say that if you’re in the market for Dog Days, you know exactly what you’re getting. In the context of the genre, it might be a bit of a mutt, but you’ve probably seen mangier.

Slender Man (2018) 7%

Studio tussles, release delays, pleas for common decency — all manner of obstacles conspired to keep Slender Man from reaching theaters, but his creeping advance cannot be denied. Perhaps the only thing capable of finally thwarting this internet-inspired, true crime-adjacent horror outing is the utter lack of interest it seems to be generating among the critical set: if the number of early reviews are anything to go by, there isn’t much in the way of anticipation for the movie, which attempts to turn a freaky-looking meme into the basis for a chilling tale about teenagers in supernatural peril. If you’re into horror movies, critics say you’ve almost certainly seen worse — but there really isn’t much about any of this that’s honestly scary, or even terribly memorable. Add in the staunch (and understandable) opposition of family members involved in the real-life 2014 assault inspired by the character, and you’re left with a fairly long and compelling list of reasons to beware this Slender Man.

BlacKkKlansman (2018) 96%

Spike Lee has dabbled in a number of genres over the years, but he’s typically best remembered as a filmmaker with a strong social conscience — one that returns to center stage with his new release, this weekend’s BlacKkKlansman. Inspired by the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police detective who infiltrated his local Ku Klux Klan in 1979, Lee’s latest joint blends purely entertaining drama and pointed social commentary as only his films can — and critics say it’s one of the writer-director’s best, seething with a potent fury that’s brought powerfully to life by a solid ensemble led by John David Washington as Stallworth and rounded out by Laura Harrier, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace. It may not be the type of thing you’ll want to seek out if you’re in the mood for mindless entertainment, but BlacKkKlansman has a lot to say about America’s past, present, and future, and it proves one of modern cinema’s most singular visionaries hasn’t lost a step.

What’s New on TV

Better Call Saul: Season 4 (2018) 99%

Well-crafted and compelling as ever, Better Call Saul‘s fourth season deftly balances the show it was and the one it will inevitably become.

Insatiable: Season 1 (2018) 13%

Broad stereotypes, clumsy social commentary, and a failed attempt at “wokeness” make Insatiable hard to swallow.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) , starring Joe Cole as a young British boxer trapped in the hell of the Thai prison system, is Certified Fresh at 93%.
  • Madeline's Madeline (2018) , an unusual exploration of a young woman’s theater work intertwined with her relationship with her mother, is at 92%.
  • Skate Kitchen (2018) , in which a teenage girl makes fateful friendships with an all-female skateboarding crew, is at 92%.
  • Euthanizer (Armomurhaaja) (2018) , about the increasingly fraught conflict brewing between a dog euthanizer and the former owner of a pet he refused to put down, is at 92%.
  • BuyBust (2018) , about a special ops mission gone violently awry in Manila, is at 78%.
  • Summer of '84 (2018) , a period horror outing about neighborhood kids tracking a serial killer, is at 67%.
  • The Swan (Svanurinn) (2018) , in which a young Icelandic girl is sent to the country for a summer, is at 67%.
  • Elizabeth Harvest (2018) , a modern retelling of Bluebeard in which a young woman’s marriage may not be quite what it seems, is at 50%.

Tag Cloud

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