Critics Consensus

Zootopia is Certified Fresh

Plus, London Has Fallen is largely preposterous, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is uneven save for Tina Fey.

by and | March 3, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an urban jungle (Zootopia, with voice performances by Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman), a city under siege (London Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart), and a reporter under fire (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, starring Tina Fey and Margot Robbie). What do the critics have to say?

Zootopia (2016) 98%

“Talking animals learning how to accept one another’s differences and get along” might sound like a storyline for the worst kind of lowest-common-denominator family-friendly fare, but for Disney’s Zootopia, it’s the springboard into one of the best-reviewed movies of the year — animated or otherwise. Ginnifer Goodwin stars as Judy Hopps, a bunny (don’t call her cute) whose dreams of a fulfilling career on the police force are foiled by a narrow-minded chief (Idris Elba) and an aggravating con artist fox (Jason Bateman). Judy finds herself embroiled in a missing-animals case that sends Zootopia bounding into noir territory, all while imparting an inclusive message in an admirably non-didactic way. The pundits say this Certified Fresh film is worlds deeper than your typical family film, and it’s sure to delight children and adults alike.

London Has Fallen (2016) 27%

Olympus Has Fallen might not be a masterpiece, but it was a better-than-average president-in-peril action flick with a terrific cast. Well, many of the principal stars — including Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, and Melissa Leo — are back for London Has Fallen, but critics say this middling sequel distinguishes itself mostly with absurd plotting and excessive jingoism. This time out, a terrorist group has mounted an attack on Britain’s  landmarks, and it’s up to Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) to protect an assemblage of world leaders. The pundits say London has Fallen is preposterous, cliched, and excessively brutal, but fans of 1980s grade-B action films might find it passable.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) 67%

In Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Tina Fey plays an inexperienced war correspondent embedded in Afghanistan. It’s a setup that promises sharp satire, but critics say that despite a hilarious performance from its star, the film is sometimes a bit too glib for its own good. Loosely based upon a memoir by journalist Kim Barker, the film follows Fey’s misadventures through a war zone, in which she deals with culture shock, sexism, and ever-present danger. The pundits say Fey’s portrait of an intelligent woman dealing with self doubt helps ground a film that too often suffers from tonal uncertainty.

What’s Hot on TV

Hap and Leonard: Season 1 (2016) 88%

While the plot could be more concise, Hap and Leonard benefits from engaging characters and an absorbing, offbeat atmosphere.

The Real O'Neals: Season 1 (2016) 67%

Funny writing and a solid cast save The Real O’Neals from traditional sitcom perils.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Cemetery of Splendor (2015) , Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s drama about a military hospital that’s the site of otherworldly activity, is at 100 percent.
  • They Will Have to Kill Us First (2015) , a documentary about seven Malian musicians who fled from a jihadist takeover in the north of the country, is at 100 percent.
  • Trapped (2016) , a documentary about efforts by anti-abortion legislators to profoundly inconvenience providers and patients, is at 100 percent.
  • Road Games (2015) , a thriller about a Brit who encounters danger while hitchhiking in the French countryside, is at 100 percent.
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) , an observational drama about a young man who dreams of leaving his hometown but fears for his younger brother, is at 93 percent.
  • The Wave (2015) , a Norwegian thriller about a fjord collapse and the subsequent danger to a sleepy tourist town, is at 83 percent.
  • Emelie (2015) , a thriller about a babysitter who is not what she seems, is at 83 percent.
  • Colliding Dreams (2015) , a documentary about the history of Zionism, is at 83 percent.
  • The Boy and the Beast (2015) , an animated film about an orphan who becomes the apprentice of a fantastical beast, is at 82 percent.
  • Ava's Possessions (2015) , starring Louisa Krause and Jemima Kirke in a horror/comedy about a woman recovering from demonic possession, is at 75 percent.
  • Mekong Hotel (2012) , another drama from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in which a young woman is visited by her vampire-like mother, is at 67 percent.
  • Knight of Cups (2015) , starring Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett in Terrence Malick‘s moody drama about a beleaguered Hollywood screenwriter, is at 53 percent.
  • The Other Side of the Door (2016) , starring Sarah Wayne Callies and Jeremy Sisto in a horror film about a family haunted by the spirit of a deceased child, is at 43 percent.
  • Hunted (2015) , starring Zoe Bell in the tale of a photographer who stumbles into the crossfire of a dangerous conflict, is at 40 percent.

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