This week at the movies, we’ve got fairy tale creatures (Strange Magic, with voice performances from Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood), an eccentric adventurer (Mortdecai, starring Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow), and a troubled teacher-student relationship (The Boy Next Door, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman). What do the critics have to say?

Strange Magic


On paper, an animated musical inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream sounds reasonably promising. Unfortunately, critics say Strange Magic could use a whole lot more pixie dust — along with visual inspiration and interesting characters. It’s the story of Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood), a fairy princess who’s been jilted by her Prince Charming. The cad then discovers a love potion, which sets off a series of battles and daring rescues. The pundits say Strange Magic is oddly charmless, and its few clever ideas are smothered by a plot that’s both patchwork and overly busy.



What’s the deal with Johnny Depp? With the exception of the animated Rango, the man who was once the biggest star in Hollywood hasn’t had a critically approved starring vehicle since Public Enemies in 2009. The critics say Mortdecai is a stunning misfire, a tonally-jarring would-be caper comedy that reduces its talented cast to broad, goofy caricatures. Depp is Charlie Mortdecai, a mustachioed, anachronistic rogue who’s tasked with recovering a stolen Goya painting; hilarity, in the form of pratfalls and double-entendres, ensues. The pundits say Mortdecai is visually sharp but comically dull; it’s an attempt at satire that seems unsure of what exactly it’s lampooning. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of Johnny Depp’s wildest looks through the years.)

The Boy Next Door


The divide between trashy fun and plain ol’ trash is often razor thin. Critics say The Boy Next Door falls on the wrong side of the line, promising campy thrills that it can’t ultimately deliver. Jennifer Lopez stars as a high school English teacher who’s taking a break from her husband when she has a tryst with a teenager. Naturally, he becomes obsessed and possessive, threatening our heroine’s security and peace of mind. The pundits say The Boy Next Door simmers but never reaches full boil, so its silly dialogue and ludicrous plotting are never quite as entertaining as they could be. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Lopez’s best-reviewed movies, as well as director Rob Cohen’s Five Favorite Films.)

What’s Hot On TV:

Critics say Justified (100 percent) returns to form for its endgame, rebounding with crisp storytelling and colorful characters who never take themselves too seriously.

The critics say the high quality execution and cool characters are top-notch, but the nonsensical time-travel scenarios make 12 Monkeys (54 percent) less watchable than its original source material.

The pundits say the stale cop humor of Backstrom (33 percent) is a cop-out, availed little by the talented cast’s attempt to make the best of its sloppy schtick.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Red Army, a documentary about the legendary Soviet hockey team, is at 100 percent.
  • The Duke Of Burgundy, a drama about an erotic relationship between two entomologists in a lavish country estate, is at 97 percent.
  • Mommy, a drama about a single mother dealing with her difficult teenage son, is Certified Fresh at 91 percent.
  • Salvation Army, a coming-of-age drama about a gay Moroccan teenager dealing with complex family and societal dynamics, is at 83 percent.
  • Killers, a thriller about a serial killer and a vigilante who each record videos of their bloody deeds, is at 83 percent.
  • Black Sea, starring Jude Law and Scoot McNairy in a thriller about a submarine crew searching the deep for rumored treasure, is Certified Fresh at 78 percent.
  • Son of a Gun, starring Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites in a drama about a small-time crook who falls under the influence of a seasoned criminal, is at 59 percent.
  • The Humbling, starring Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig in a drama about an emotionally fragile actor who is rejuvinated by a much younger woman, is at 56 percent.
  • Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston and Anna Kendrick in a drama about a woman suffering from chronic physical and emotional pain, is at 38 percent.
  • Song One, starring Anne Hathaway and Mary Steenburgen in a drama about aspiring New York City folkies, is at 37 percent.
  • Manny, a documentary about the champion prizefighter and politician Manny Pacquiao, is at 25 percent.
  • We’ll Never Have Paris, starring Melanie Lynskey and Simon Helberg in a romantic comedy about a passive guy who chases the ex he dumped when she relocates to the City of Lights, is at 20 percent.
  • Americons, a drama about the rise and fall of a shady real estate investment firm, is at 17 percent.

A fresh press release from Universal informs us that there will soon be a "Bring It On 3" to enjoy, but also reminds us that, hey yeah, there WAS a direct-to-video "Bring It On" sequel that we never saw.

"Bring It On 3" (working title), the highly anticipated third installment of the wildly successful Universal Pictures film franchise about status and rivalry in the cheerleading world, began principal photography on Monday, October 24th in the Los Angeles area. Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions and Beacon Pictures present "Bring It On 3," a Universal DVD Original slated for release in 2006.

Following the tremendous success of its ever-popular predecessors, "Bring It On 3" marks the latest effort from Universal’s newly established DVD Original strategy to aggressively develop, produce or acquire superior family-branded fare for the explosive made-for-DVD market.

"Bring It On 3" stars talented young performers Hayden Panettiere ("Ice Princess," "Raising Helen," "Racing Stripes") and Solange Knowles Smith ("Johnson Family Vacation," "The Proud Family") and features gifted newcomers Gus Carr, Marcy Rylan, Cindy Chiu, Giovonnie Samuels, Francia Almendarez, Gary Leroi Gray, Danielle Savre and Jessie Fife. Also on board in a special appearance is Def Jam Records music sensation Rihanna, whose smash dance hit "Pon de Replay" from her debut album "Music Of The Sun" dominated the charts this summer.

"Bring It On 3" is directed by Steve Rash ("American Pie Presents Band Camp," "Can’t Buy Me Love") from a screenplay by Alyson Fouse ("Scary Movie 2," UPN’s "Everybody Hates Chris") and produced by David Roessell ("The Lizzie McGuire Movie," "Inspector Gadget 2"). Jon Kuyper ("Tremors 4: The Legend Begins," "Happy Endings") serves as line producer and unit production manager. The film is executive produced by Armyan Bernstein, Charlie Lyons and Zanne Devine.

The filmmakers have assembled a top production team for "Bring It On 3," including veteran director of photography Victor J. Kemper ("Dog Day Afternoon," "The Jerk," "Pee-wee’s Big Adventure"), production designer Simon Dobbin ("Slipstream," "Kingdom Come"), costume designer Shawn Barton ("Soul Plane," "A Man Apart") and editor Danny Saphire ("Good Advice," "American Pie Presents Band Camp").

The team also includes some of the country’s most accomplished choreographers who collaborate with the filmmakers and cast to present state-of-the art cheer/dance segments, including Tony Gonzalez ("Bring It On Again," "The Hot Chick," "Haunted Mansion," numerous music videos) Eric Little (acclaimed cheer choreographer), Tanisha Scott (music videos for Sean Paul, the Pussycat Dolls, NAS) and the Emmy®-nominated team, Richmond Talauega & Tone Talauega (RIZE-Producers/Music Producers; MTV Video Award nominees for Jennifer Lopez’ "Get Right").

Shake your pom poms! "Bring It On 3" is a sassy and spirited production with new moves, new music and eye-popping dance sequences. Britney Allen (Hayden Panettiere) is living the dream — the cheerleader’s dream. At the elite seaside campus of Pacific Vista High School, Britney is captain of the cheerleading squad and the envy of everyone at school-including one overly-ambitious teammate. When Britney hears about a forthcoming audition for a top cheer squad to appear in recording star Rihanna’s upcoming television special, she is determined that her Pirates cheer squad will capture the coveted spot.

But Britney’s life turns from cheer-topia to cheer-tastrophe when her father’s job takes her family to Crenshaw Heights, a multi-ethnic working-class neighborhood east of Los Angeles. At her new school, Britney is viewed with suspicion by most of the students, especially by Camille (Solange Knowles Smith), the overly confident and acerbic leader of the Crenshaw Heights Warriors cheerleading squad. No one is more surprised than Camille, however, when Britney proves herself and secures a spot on the Warriors’ cheer squad. Britney and her new teammates work feverishly to prepare for the audition for Rihanna, incorporating some edgy new moves into their performance. Now the pressure is on, as the Warriors find themselves locked in a high-stakes cheer-off with Pacific Vista, Britney’s old school! During the climactic, no-holds-barred fight to the finish, friendships, loyalties and talents are tested-but only one team can come out on top."

Tag Cloud

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