Critics Consensus

War for the Planet of the Apes Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Wish Upon is schlocky horror, and Certified Fresh The Big Sick expands to wide release.

by | July 13, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have Woody Harrelson and some angry primates (War for the Planet of the Apes, starring Andy Serkis), a cautionary tale about mysterious artifacts (Wish Upon, starring Joey King and Ryan Phillippe), and a rom-com inspired by real-life events (The Big Sick, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoey Kazan). What are the critics saying?

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 94%

By the time most franchises reach their third installments, the laws of diminishing returns have definitely started setting in — and while there isn’t exactly a large sample size to work from, it seems safe to say that rule is probably even more applicable to film series about talking simians. All of which is to say that this weekend’s War for the Planet of the Apes is a delightful surprise: with the third chapter in the rebooted Apes franchise, director/co-writer Matt Reeves delivers a film that not only lives up to the lofty standard set by its two immediate predecessors, it manages to round out the trilogy with a suitably epic installment that’s narratively hard-hitting and visually thrilling. With Andy Serkis’ Caesar heading up his band of mo-capped apes against a human army led by the ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson) — and the future of the planet in the balance — the stakes for this era of the franchise have never been higher, and critics say the end results definitely don’t disappoint. Whatever happens with subsequent installments, one thing is clear: Reeves has set the bar incredibly high, and in this War, the audience wins.

Wish Upon (2017) 19%

Careful what you wish for: it’s a maxim old as time, but it’s still a fairly sturdy premise for a horror movie about a sad teen (Joey King) given a music box that bestows upon her the ability to make her deepest desires reality. With relatable characters, a few twists, and a generous helping of jump scares, this weekend’s Wish Upon could have been a perfectly trashy summer horror diversion; alas, critics say its lack of originality is compounded by a near-total absence of truly frightening moments. On the bright side, a number of reviews suggest Wish Upon is destined to become an ironic late-night favorite for fans of so-bad-it’s-good cinema — but even if you fit that description, you’ll probably want to wait until it shows up on home video.

The Big Sick (2017) 98%

When was the last time you watched a romantic comedy that felt like it took place in the real world? The much-maligned genre is full of movies that prize formula over common sense, but The Big Sick proves there’s still room for delightful exceptions. Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (and based on the couple’s real-life courtship), Sick stars Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan as Kumail and Emily, a couple of crazy kids whose budding love affair is threatened by cultural complications — which take a sudden back seat to Emily’s health when she falls victim to a mysterious illness and is placed in a medically induced coma. Rounded out by a series of supporting turns from a talented ensemble cast that includes Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily’s parents, it’s the rare rom-com that’s earned almost universal critical praise; whether you’re in the mood for a good love story or just want to watch a movie that’ll make you laugh, cry, and think, the pundits say The Big Sick ranks among 2017’s best movies.

What’s New on TV

The Defiant Ones: Miniseries (2017) 100%

The Defiant Ones is a compelling, comprehensive portrait of two visionaries that illuminates both their colorful pasts and their historic influence on the music industry.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Chasing Coral (2017) , a documentary about the environmental challenges faced by the world’s coral reefs — and the potentially devastating impact of their absence — is at 100 percent.
  • Endless Poetry (2016) , the latest from writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky, is at 96 percent.
  • Swallows and Amazons (2016) , a new adaptation of the Arthur Ransome novel about the wilderness adventures of four siblings, is at 93 percent.
  • Lady Macbeth (2016) , a period drama about a young bride (Florence Pugh) whose marital confinement takes some dark turns, is Certified Fresh at 89 percent.
  • Man Underground (2016) , about the increasingly strange goings-on that ensue after a conspiracy theorist convinces two acquaintances to help him make a movie about his life, is at 88 percent.
  • Almost Sunrise (2016) , a documentary about war veterans on a unique journey to deal with the lingering emotional effects of combat, is at 83 percent.
  • To the Bone (2017) , starring Lily Collins as a woman who enters a group home in order to try and control her anorexia, is at 81 percent.
  • Footnotes (2016) , a musical comedy about a woman’s efforts to stay financially afloat in the French job market, is at 71 percent.
  • The Loner (2016) , about an Iranian man whose past as a child soldier draws him into a life of crime in Los Angeles, is at 57 percent.
  • Bronx Gothic (2017) , a look at the life and work of writer and stage performer Okwui Okpokwasili, is at 50 percent.
  • Blind (2017) , starring Demi Moore as a woman who falls into an affair with a blind widower (Alec Baldwin), is at zero percent.

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