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) 45%

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) 62%

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) 8%

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) 11%

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

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