Critics Consensus

Thor: Ragnarok Is Certified Fresh

Plus, A Bad Moms Christmas earns yuletide jeers, LBJ is a banal biopic, and Alias Grace is also Certified Fresh.

by | November 2, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have a Norse god on an adventure with his friend from work (Thor: Ragnarok, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston), a subpar matriarchs yuletide (A Bad Moms Christmas, starring Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell), and a presidential biopic (LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Jason Leigh). What are the critics saying?


Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 93%


The Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s decade of box office domination has been pretty much all-around impressive, but not all superhero blockbusters are created equal, and the Thor franchise has been the de facto black sheep among the studio’s growing roster of critical and commercial hits. That looks likely to change with the third installment, Thor: Ragnarok, which sees acclaimed indie director Taika Waititi taking the reins for a colorful adventure that bears witness to the destruction of Asgard, the exile and enslavement of Thor, and a Norse doomsday prophecy — and somehow manages to make it all a lot of fun. Critics say Waititi’s loose, improv-friendly approach brings out the best in leading man Chris Hemsworth, who gets an able assist from Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, and the cast lives right up to the MCU tradition of stocking its ensembles with respected veterans — in this case Jeff Goldblum, who appears as the Grandmaster, and Cate Blanchett, who strides into the Marvel Universe as the nefarious Hela. Nearly 20 movies into the MCU, the mythology is more unwieldy than ever, but Marvel keeps managing to find a way to balance its rich history against good old-fashioned popcorn fun — and Thor: Ragnarok looks like it’s even more fun than most.

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) 32%


Last year’s Bad Moms wasn’t really anyone’s idea of a critic’s favorite. It united an extremely talented cast in pursuit of mildly transgressive comedy honoring an underserved audience, however — and it made plenty of money in the bargain, so a sequel was basically a foregone conclusion. It arrives in the form of A Bad Moms Christmas, which reunites leads Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn in an appropriately holiday-themed follow-up that, following the grand sequel tradition, ladles on another helping of the original ingredients while managing to somehow raise the stakes. In this case, it’s by introducing the bad moms’ bad moms — played by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon — who show up to visit their daughters and threaten to derail our harried heroines’ holidays. Throw in some petty theft, day drinking, and a little yuletide twerking, and you’ve got yourself an appropriately bawdy time; unfortunately, critics say none of it is really all that amusing. The cast definitely has comedic chops, and their efforts are good for a chuckle or two, but reviews describe a movie more focused on raunchy gags than an engaging story — and one that splits up its engaging leads far too much of the time. Here’s hoping that A Bad Moms Fourth of July hits more often than it misses; in the meantime, you might as well wait to watch this until you’ve got a tall mug of high-proof eggnog to help pass the time.

LBJ (2016) 57%


A nation divided! A White House in turmoil! No, it isn’t a documentary about the aftermath of the 2016 election — that’s 11/8/16, also opening this week. We’re talking about LBJ, the new Rob Reiner release starring Woody Harrelson as the cantankerous Texas senator who ascended to the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. You don’t have to be a historian to know Johnson’s legacy is a fascinating blend of ambition and ideals, and by all rights, this should be a brilliantly entertaining biopic, especially with an old pro like Reiner directing a star who’s recently delivered some of the best work of his career. Alas, critics say it just wasn’t to be: at its best, LBJ merely skims the surface of its subject’s story, and even though it benefits from focusing on a narrow period in his political career, the end result is neither as illuminating nor as hard-hitting as it should have been — flaws thrown into even starker relief by the mounds of latex altering Harrelson’s appearance. If you want to watch a solid movie about our 36th president this weekend, your best bet is still last year’s HBO release All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston as Johnson.

What’s New on TV

Alias Grace: Miniseries (2017) 99%

Biting social commentary and Sarah Gadon‘s hypnotic performance make Alias Grace a worthy addition to the Margaret Atwood adaptation catalog.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Lady Bird (2017) , a dramedy from writer-director Greta Gerwig about the tumultuous relationship between a teenager (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother (Laurie Metcalf), is Certified Fresh at 100 percent.
  • Most Beautiful Island (2017) , about a New York immigrant in the midst of a singularly bad day, is at 100 percent.
  • A Gray State (2017) , an investigation into the life and mysterious death of director David Crowley and his family, is at 100 percent.
  • The Light of the Moon (2017) , starring Stephanie Beatriz as a woman struggling to make her way back to normal after being raped, is at 100 percent.
  • No Dress Code Required (2017) , a documentary about one couple’s work to legalize gay marriage in Baja California, is at 100 percent.
  • A River Below (2017) , a documentary look at efforts to save the Amazon pink river dolphin from extinction, is at 100 percent.
  • Gilbert (2017) ,  a documentary about comedian Gilbert Gottfried, is at 100 percent.
  • 1945 (2017) , a drama observing the socioeconomic aftermath of World War II in a European village, is at 92 percent.
  • Princess Cyd (2017) , a coming-of-age drama about the budding attraction between two teenage girls, is at 91 percent.
  • Blade of the Immortal (2017) , a new samurai epic from director Takashi Miike, is at 79 percent.
  • My Friend Dahmer (2017) , a drama imagining the infamous killer’s unsettling adolescence, is at 75 percent.
  • Last Flag Flying (2017) , a spiritual sequel to The Last Detail starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as friends coming together to bury Carell’s son, is at 69 percent.
  • 11/8/16 (2017) , a postmortem on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is at 63 percent.
  • Frank Serpico (2017) , a look at the real-life policeman whose crusade against corruption inspired an Al Pacino-led cop drama, is at 60 percent.
  • It Happened in L.A. (2017) , about the ups and downs of the relationship between a Los Angeles couple, is at 55 percent.

Tag Cloud

007 blaxploitation lord of the rings sports Film Festival 73rd Emmy Awards zombie GLAAD Discovery Channel leaderboard travel book adaptation Music HFPA Emmys Best Picture Avengers Paramount Pictures worst movies Sundance kids Best Director anthology 71st Emmy Awards Mary Tyler Moore toronto Winners spider-man asian-american Bravo scene in color cancelled television critic resources 20th Century Fox SXSW game show TV FX on Hulu summer TV preview Christmas Universal Alien Heroines die hard streaming movies critics Shondaland Apple TV+ Walt Disney Pictures TCM rt labs Fox News Columbia Pictures casting Tumblr The CW Winter TV telelvision Ellie Kemper Crackle concert docuseries Rock Disney sequel Paramount Plus YouTube Premium serial killer CBS All Access festivals new york Masterpiece The Walt Disney Company Epix rt archives See It Skip It Baby Yoda Western TNT Nominations Disney+ Disney Plus screenings TCA biography king kong action-comedy SDCC BET Awards Comic-Con@Home 2021 superhero trailers tv talk kaiju Brie Larson debate ViacomCBS Prime Video OneApp period drama animated Shudder Amazon nbcuniversal Apple dragons nfl CMT Reality Competition Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Summer GIFs comic book movies Dark Horse Comics TV One Fargo fresh 45 Super Bowl doctor who reviews feel good obituary deadpool japan Comedy Central Funimation laika hispanic cancelled TV shows Netflix psychological thriller nature PBS First Look TV renewals Film 2017 Travel Channel BBC America wonder woman rom-coms BET Turner Classic Movies mutant Podcast green book Disney Channel YouTube slasher Acorn TV San Diego Comic-Con black broadcast Emmy Nominations Lucasfilm political drama renewed TV shows National Geographic Mindy Kaling best Musicals video on demand Spectrum Originals DGA 2019 dark APB Crunchyroll Rom-Com spy thriller adenture stop motion criterion aliens TBS dreamworks emmy awards television Interview 72 Emmy Awards Marvel Lifetime Christmas movies TCA 2017 E3 transformers obi wan Neflix justice league Kids & Family CW Seed movie ABC Family finale werewolf 2018 live event dexter Mary Poppins Returns films live action war CNN space Britbox HBO Awards Cannes boxing ITV spain royal family trophy Thanksgiving Disney streaming service composers 2016 DC Universe japanese Grammys Sundance Now streaming hist Mystery science fiction prank Horror rotten Trailer ID strong female leads The Walking Dead Superheroe Holiday RT History 79th Golden Globes Awards james bond rotten movies we love Hollywood Foreign Press Association 93rd Oscars australia razzies Sci-Fi dogs Fall TV Mudbound 2015 Warner Bros. know your critic Paramount Binge Guide genre gangster crime drama Song of Ice and Fire Lionsgate high school Vudu ratings docudrama MTV italian ESPN Showtime adaptation Oscars romantic comedy cartoon sequels singing competition comic books El Rey LGBT American Society of Cinematographers Adult Swim stoner Paramount Network game of thrones unscripted Amazon Studios Photos Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BBC A&E Marathons jurassic park children's TV 94th Oscars marvel cinematic universe series Writers Guild of America HBO Max based on movie zero dark thirty canceled TV shows 21st Century Fox IMDb TV ghosts Freeform dceu Family basketball archives Sneak Peek mission: impossible blockbuster indiana jones Pop TV streamig Sundance TV all-time Hallmark Christmas movies spanish language comic book movie medical drama Nat Geo anime suspense 99% PlayStation Netflix Christmas movies mob Calendar new zealand Trophy Talk olympics screen actors guild quibi Rocketman pirates of the caribbean Animation aapi Tags: Comedy Set visit YA Tomatazos Women's History Month AMC Pride Month Comics on TV Toys ABC Signature movies chucky South by Southwest Film Festival WGN AMC Plus First Reviews facebook comiccon 90s hidden camera Election child's play Star Trek TLC Biopics 2021 Arrowverse Certified Fresh stand-up comedy SundanceTV dramedy MSNBC Best Actress toy story ABC cats Starz Year in Review Marvel Studios summer preview The Arrangement Trivia Nickelodeon Television Academy spider-verse Pixar Focus Features Pacific Islander MGM popular new star wars movies Pirates Cartoon Network witnail godzilla a nightmare on elm street french TCA Awards MCU venice Holidays Captain marvel E! Sony Pictures documentaries canceled spanish Hulu news women Hear Us Out cars Academy Awards target TV Land zombies independent universal monsters politics vs. Wes Anderson video kong reboot sitcom true crime rt labs critics edition Watching Series Classic Film Lifetime TIFF heist movie New York Comic Con Stephen King 2020 jamie lee curtis Drama crime thriller Elton John USA DC streaming service biopic police drama RT21 PaleyFest cancelled TV series VOD Turner Universal Pictures NBC hollywood hispanic heritage month DC Comics Spike joker 1990s Best Actor supernatural Awards Tour USA Network X-Men parents award winner golden globes sag awards IFC Best and Worst VICE BBC One saw mcc Television Critics Association Marvel Television cancelled latino crossover thriller Amazon Prime Video young adult scary movies The Purge theme song revenge GoT Premiere Dates scary OWN art house Musical Tokyo Olympics Reality Pop Red Carpet remakes Disney Plus comedies Esquire robots Countdown directors Peacock Superheroes Martial Arts Polls and Games historical drama indie YouTube Red Ghostbusters DirecTV President football technology Exclusive Video FXX blockbusters superman Video Games psycho Legendary christmas movies HBO Go Fox Searchlight comic TruTV VH1 binge FOX fast and furious king arthur cooking cinemax harry potter international twilight batman Chernobyl Valentine's Day NBA breaking bad disaster 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Creative Arts Emmys Star Wars Tubi Infographic Mary poppins Syfy crime what to watch Image Comics foreign BAFTA comics name the review monster movies CBS Endgame vampires talk show Fantasy satire Oscar halloween halloween tv Quiz Cosplay Anna Paquin Amazon Prime Ovation IFC Films FX free movies documentary cops legend History black comedy richard e. Grant versus Opinion Schedule Tarantino natural history social media Logo Spring TV elevated horror Character Guide Extras miniseries Food Network cults WarnerMedia Apple TV Plus Comic Book Comedy book Rocky diversity discovery classics Hallmark teaser marvel comics NYCC franchise Black Mirror posters summer TV south america Instagram Live SXSW 2022 festival Broadway The Academy 4/20 Pet Sematary A24 Black History Month sopranos Country Box Office mockumentary scorecard dc slashers golden globe awards Teen LGBTQ boxoffice TCA Winter 2020 TV movies worst The Witch adventure 24 frames spinoff romance Action