With the fall movie season upon us, sifting through the fluff to find the right film for you can be a daunting task. This weekend, new movies starring Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Aniston, and Denzel Washington hit theaters, and EW’s Critical Mass guide is here to help steer you in the right direction.
Scroll down to see what the critics are saying about this week’s hottest new titles in the reviews below.
Opens Sept. 23.
EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:
Having duly assembled his homicide squad, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Southpaw) allows for several breezy, too-brief scenes of team-building before steering the story toward its gleefully bloody and bullet-riddled climax. Though there are a few clever turns in all the methodical mayhem, the final hour ultimately feels like a waste of his charismatic actors and the easy chemistry they share. And as heartening as it is to see a wild bunch so genuinely diverse on screen — the days of the otherwise great Eli Wallach playing the 1960 film’s villain in blatant brownface are far behind us, thankfully — its color-freed casting turns out to be more a tease than a revelation. While the slick script provides some ace one-liners, most go to Washington and Pratt; why not allow Vasquez more than tossed-off muchacho jokes, or give Red Harvest a tenth as many lines as he has arrowheads? A movie like that could have been magnificent. But this Seven’s just silly, solid entertainment: multiplex fun by numbers. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Opens Sept. 23.
EW’s Devan Coggan says:
There’s a delightfully madcap pace to Storks, and most of the rapid-fire jokes land, whether our heroes are running from a frenzied wolf pack who keep transforming themselves into suspension bridges and submarines, or silently battling a sinister penguin gang to avoid waking a sleeping baby. Less interesting is a subplot about the kid’s intended family, an overworked couple (Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell) who largely ignore their existing son. Add in Tulip’s quest to find her own family, and an annoying, bro-ish pigeon antagonist (Stephen Kramer Glickman), and Storks starts to feel a little stuffed. Still, the film’s lesson about finding your family never comes off as saccharine, and although there’s nothing particularly innovative about its message, Storks is a little bundle of joy. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Opens in limited release on Sept. 23.
EW’s Joe McGovern says:
The movie continually breaks down when it attempts to build dramatic conflict — whether in the stiff, canned dialogue among the chess team, or Robert’s acquiescent wife, or the stock roadblock characters. One of those is the sullen, glowering Harriet (Nyong’o), Phiona’s mother, whose gnashing disapproval of her daughter’s hobby never reads in her dialogue as convincing or compelling. Nair would have been wiser to put the camera on Nyong’o and just let her vivid, extraordinary face speak volumes of truth. C+
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:
Still, the reason why the movie works at all is Hanks. I can’t imagine it airing anywhere but on Lifetime without him. On the page, Sullenberger is a pretty vanilla, one-dimensional character. A cipher with wings pinned to his chest. There’s nothing inherently cinematic about him. But Hanks, of course, brings a career’s worth of excellence, depth, good will, and trust-me assurance to the story that isn’t necessarily in Todd Komarnicki’s script. As in last year’s equally hagiographic Bridge of Spies, he doesn’t give a flashy performance or go big in the way most actors would. He knows there’s power in subtlety, in quiet, in the unspoken gesture — the words that aren’tspoken. He knows that less can often be more. Like Sully, he’s the kind of guy you want behind the controls. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
EW’s Kevin P. Sullivan says:
Anyone familiar with The Blair Witch Project already knows how the new film is structured. The group gets increasingly more lost as the scares get bigger and bigger. But a nice feature of Blair Witch is the expansion of the original’s underlying mythology, featured most prominently in the Sci-Fi Channel special Curse of the Blair Witch. The new film maintains the same tenor of modern-day folklore, adding a sense of dread that feels almost naturalistic and born of the land. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
EW‘s Kevin P. Sullivan says:
The script contains some genuinely uproarious laughs and is sharper than it needs to be, even if some of the jokes feel as old as Bridget’s condoms. (Admittedly, the conversation about “Gangnam Style” does end in a genuinely funny place.) But Bridget Jones’s Baby is a welcome return for the character and a more fitting ending than Edge of Reason… for now at least. In another 12 years, who knows? B+
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:
But the movie goes wrong, alas, almost from the moment Gordon-Levitt opens his mouth. Literally: Whatever timbre he’s aiming for — presumably something in the realm of the real Snowden — he sounds almost cartoonishly odd, like a kid doing his rec-room version of Buffalo Bill’s monotone from Silence of the Lambs. And there’s about as much nuance in everything that follows: We learn quickly and clumsily that Snowden is next-level gifted, even among the pointy-headed prodigies of the CIA training program; that the government sometimes does very bad things in the name of security and freedom; and that the performances of Rhys Ifans and Nicolas Cage are only as good, approximately, as the hairpieces provided for their roles. C
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
EW’s Christian Holub says:
Alvarez appears to have consciously toned down the gore from his blood-saturated Evil Dead remake, trusting unnerving visuals and foreshadowing what terrors are about to unfold. When the group first enter the house, the camera pans all the way around to show the hidden implements and traps they’re obliviously missing. But playing on this ambitious scale — trying to make a statement about modern society while meeting the demands of a modern thriller — costs the movie some consistency, and the stakes start to erode after a few too many narrow escapes. The result is thought-provoking but rather lacking in the second-by-second scares genre fans tend to expect. B+
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%