Critics Consensus

The Upside Doesn't Have Much of One

Plus, True Detective season 3 is a welcome improvement, A Dog's Way Home is heartfelt if familiar, On the Basis of Sex is inspirational but a bit too safe, and If Beale Street Could Talk is Certified Fresh.

by | January 10, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got an unlikely friendship (The Upside, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart), a canine tale (A Dog’s Way Home, starring Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos), an early triumph for RBG (On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer), a James Baldwin romance (If Beale Street Could Talk, starring Kiki Layne and Stephan James), and sad Keanu (Replicas, starring Keanu Reeves and Alice Eve). What are the critics saying?

The Upside (2019) 42%

It isn’t uncommon for Hollywood to snatch up a popular film produced in another country and put its own spin on it for English-speaking audiences, and sometimes the process can yield fantastic results (think Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia or Martin Scorsese’s The Departed). That was likely the thought behind The Upside, a remake of the 2011 comedy The Intouchables, which was a wildly successful hit in its native France. Kevin Hart stars as an ex-con who stumbles into a job interview to be the full-time caretaker of a wealthy quadriplegic (Bryan Cranston). He accepts the position, and as the two get to know each other, an unexpected bond begins to form between them. Critics say the film’s talented leads give it everything they’ve got, but they’re unable to escape the by-the-numbers execution and overly sentimental, cliche-ridden script. Fans of Hart and Cranston may find it worth a watch, but you’re likely better off catching the original.

A Dog's Way Home (2019) 59%

We love puppies as much as anyone, but seriously, what’s with all the dog-themed movies lately? Last summer, we saw Dog DaysAlpha, and A.X.L. all open within a span of two weeks, and this week, we get A Dog’s Way Home. To be fair, they haven’t all been bad — Alpha was surprisingly Certified Fresh — and when it comes to entertaining young audiences, the bar is typically set pretty low. That said, A Dog’s Way Home, which follows the adventures of its titular lost canine as it treks 400 miles across Colorado wilderness to return to its owner, isn’t half bad, according to the critics. They say it’s appropriately adorable and heartfelt, even if it’s surprisingly a little dark for its target audience and feels like something we’ve seen before. It should make for a solid night at the movies for the family, as long as you bring enough tissues for everyone.

On the Basis of Sex (2019) 73%

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is enjoying a unique moment in the spotlight right now, and not necessarily for any reason pertaining to one of her famous dissents. After the book about her exploits, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, became a New York Times bestseller in 2015, a documentary titled simply RBG was released last year to widespread acclaim. In addition, we also got a biographical drama called On the Basis of Sex, which follows a young Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) during her years in law school, her professorship at Rutgers, and her earliest efforts to battle gender discrimination through legal means. This week, On the Basis of Sex expands into wide release, and critics say it’s an inspiring portrait of an endlessly fascinating woman during a watershed moment in her career, even if it plays it fairly safe and relies a bit too heavily on familiar storytelling beats. It isn’t particularly deep, but it’s well-acted and probably worth a watch for anyone curious about Ginsburg’s early career.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) 95%

In 2016, director Barry Jenkins took home a slew of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture (botched announcements aside), for his romantic drama Moonlight. That film was based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who also took home an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the script. Following on the heels of that, Jenkins brings us another romance based on existing material, If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from the novel by celebrated writer James Baldwin. Newcomer Kiki Layne plays Tish Rivers, a young woman in early 1970s Harlem working to free her wrongly imprisoned fiancé Fonny (Stephan James) before their child is born — the story jumps from the present to flashbacks of their courtship and the events leading to Fonny’s arrest. Another film expanding to wide release this week after a limited opening in late 2018, Beale Street has already racked up all kinds of awards, including a Golden Globe win for supporting actress Regina King, and critics say it’s a powerful, thought-provoking love story buoyed by incredible performances. Look for this one to continue picking up trophies as the awards season continues.

Replicas (2019) 11%

There are those who say Keanu Reeves doesn’t age, that he’s some sort of supernatural being sent to bless us with exceedingly friendly fan interactions, meme-worthy candid photos, and feature films of frequently unpredictable quality for as long as Hollywood will allow. Reeves may or may not be immortal, but his on-screen family in the new film Replicas certainly is not. They perish tragically in a car accident, and this fuels his character’s obsessive quest to grow clones of his wife and three kids in order to re-implant facsimiles of their consciousness and bring them back to life, as it were. It’s a personal take on a frequently explored sci-fi theme, and we’d love to tell you what the reviews are saying about it, but Replicas wasn’t screened for critics. Stay tuned as reviews begin to come in, and if you feel so inclined, guess the Tomatometer!

What’s New on TV

True Detective : Season 3 (2019) 85%

Driven by Mahershala Ali‘s mesmerizing performance, True Detective‘s third season finds fresh perspective by exploring real world events — though it loses some of the series’ intriguing strangeness along the way.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Pledge (2019) , a horror film about three friends who endure a deadly fraternity hazing, is at 88%.
  • Perfectos Desconocidos (2019) , about a dinner party game that exposes secrets among a group of friends, is at 83%.
  • Buffalo Boys (2019) , a Western with an Asian twist about a trio of Javanese brothers out for revenge, is at 79%.
  • Touch Me Not (2019) , an experimental drama that explores the nature of intimacy, is at 50%.
  • The Aspern Papers (2019) , a drama about a writer’s obsession with romantic letters purportedly written by a famous poet, is at 9%.

Tag Cloud

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