Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: "Flags" Flies High; "The Prestige" Is Magic; "Flicka" Is A Pretty Good Ride; "Marie Antoinette" Spared Critical Guillotine

by | October 19, 2006 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a complex tale of heroism (Clint Eastwood‘s "Flags of Our Fathers," starring Ryan Phillippe), a story of dueling magicians (Christopher Nolan‘s "The Prestige," starring Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman), a yarn about a girl and her horse ("Flicka," starring Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw), and a post-punk-scored period piece about the least punk human being ever (Sofia Coppola‘s "Marie Antoinette," starring Kirsten Dunst). What do the critics have to say?

Is America a great country? Yes. Do the soldiers who fought in WWII, the Greatest Generation, deserve our utmost praise for their sacrifices? Without a doubt. Is the truth often more complicated than the myth? Definitely. Clint Eastwood‘s latest, "Flags of Our Fathers," tells the story of that famous photo of the servicemen raising the flag atop Iwo Jima, and the trials and tribulations their celebrity caused. Critics say the film is so rich with historical information and inherent drama that it’s occasionally a little too much, but strong performances and Eastwood’s sure directorial hand keep things on track. At 69 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flags" may not reach the heights of Eastwood’s last film, "Million Dollar Baby" (92 percent), but it’s still flying pretty high. (Check out our feature on Clint’s filmography here.)


Clint Eastwood pays tribute to the Greatest Generation.

With "Memento," Christopher Nolan made a name for himself by holding his secrets close to the vest to the bitter end. Now comes "The Prestige," in which the director again serves up a brain-teaser, this time involving a pair of public manipulators in their own right. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as bitterly competitive magicians in turn-of- the-century London who play a deadly game of one-upmanship. While some scribes say the movie is uneven in spots, "The Prestige" is winning praise for its remarkable production design, sharp performances, and more than enough cinematic sleight-of-hand to keep audiences interested. At 68 percent, this is Nolan’s worst reviewed film, and it’s still getting its share of prestige.


"Headlines don’t sell papes. Newsies sell papes."

There is no shortage of stories involving adolescents and their beloved equine friends, from Steinbeck‘s "The Red Pony" to "The Black Stallion" to last year’s "Dreamer." Critics say "Flicka," itself a remake, is a strong and affecting entry into this sub-genre. The film stars Alison Lohman as a 16-year-old who loves her untamed horse and the freedom of the open range, and Tim McGraw as her father, a man with different ideas about her future. Some critics say "Flicka" is an old-fashioned, solid family drama with a notable lack of schmaltz, but others say the material is too well-trodden to really hit home. At 60 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flicka" ain’t Secretariat, but it’s not ready for the glue factory, either.


"Flicka": Full of horsing around!

In the song "Natural’s Not In It," the socialist British post-punk band Gang of Four sarcastically lamented "the problem of leisure / what to do for pleasure," words that are especially resonant if you’re a teenage monarch ruling a country you know little about, and your subjects are calling for your head. Sofia Coppola‘s long-awaited (and already controversial) "Marie Antoinette" tells the story of the queen (Kirsten Dunst), her inattentive husband, Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), her gossipy, silver-tongued court, and all the empty fun she had before she gets her head chopped off. Critics say Coppola’s film offers a wealth of visual riches and makes Marie’s hardships somewhat empathetic, but they’re split over its apparent lack of substance, as well as the anachronistic use of music by the likes of New Order, the Strokes, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this is definitely a cut (pun intended) below Coppola’s last feature, "Lost in Translation" (95 percent), but it’s still a pretty tasty piece of cake.


"A new royal family / A wild nobility / We are the family."

Also opening this week in limited release: "51 Birch Street," a documentary exploring the hidden lives of the filmmaker Doug Block’s parents, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "Requiem," a German tale of epilepsy/demonic possession, is at 100 percent; Tim Burton‘s stop motion anti-holiday classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas," getting a re-release, is at 96 percent; "Sweet Land," a sweeping tale of the American immigrant experience, is at 93 percent; "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple," a documentary about cult leader Jim Jones and his flock, is at 92 percent; "Hair High," a perverse animated comedy about a strange high school, is at 63 percent; "Sleeping Dogs Lie," Bobcat Goldthwait‘s sweet, taboo-busting rom-com, is at 59 percent; and "Running with Scissors," a tale of therapy and growing pains starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow, is at 17 percent.

Recent Clint Eastwood-Directed Movies:
————————————————-
92% — Million Dollar Baby (2004)
86% — Mystic River (2003)
56% — Blood Work (2002)
78% — Space Cowboys (2000)
50% — True Crime (1999)

Recent Kirsten Dunst Movies:
————————————–
28% — Elizabethtown (2005)
62% — Wimbledon (2004)
7% — Kaena: The Prophesy (2004)
93% — Spider Man 2 (2004)
93% — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Recent Christian Bale Movies:
————————————
59% — The New World (2005)
84% — Batman Begins (2005)
85% — Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)
72% — The Machinist (2004)
68% — Laurel Canyon (2003)

Tag Cloud

Tubi BBC crossover festivals 45 Walt Disney Pictures child's play ratings USA Masterpiece Fox News cinemax Netflix Christmas movies Toys Fall TV Paramount Network nature screen actors guild VH1 stand-up comedy award winner best Vudu chucky dark IFC animated HBO Go Character Guide television A24 travel Rocketman mockumentary Premiere Dates kids cancelled Mary Poppins Returns zero dark thirty Comic Book 21st Century Fox supernatural diversity 2019 ABC Anna Paquin Tarantino book TCA Esquire war Pop BET Awards casting ABC Family Disney Plus Lucasfilm indie 4/20 Set visit IFC Films YouTube Red spain TruTV Cannes batman romance Writers Guild of America psychological thriller Opinion Endgame slashers Spring TV Christmas Lifetime video on demand TCA Awards halloween The Purge Food Network Amazon Prime rotten movies we love BET facebook docudrama cooking TCA Winter 2020 Fantasy Adult Swim documentary Musicals TV tv talk PBS Television Critics Association Rock universal monsters political drama Winter TV Pixar teaser Nominations comic Britbox Drama TBS DirecTV Extras VICE Ghostbusters Sci-Fi MSNBC A&E concert screenings based on movie a nightmare on elm street TIFF social media 2018 children's TV Discovery Channel joker Lifetime Christmas movies CBS psycho spider-man Super Bowl Brie Larson jamie lee curtis sitcom MTV Disney Comedy Central video Film Festival natural history binge series Acorn TV Turner canceled TV shows independent comics Trophy Talk christmas movies Television Academy Awards Tour Marathons twilight Grammys strong female leads First Reviews renewed TV shows WarnerMedia Elton John Marvel Studios transformers Marvel Television Spike TV renewals green book Animation critics richard e. Grant National Geographic all-time OneApp NBC Pride Month GIFs streaming blaxploitation cults Avengers dc Year in Review science fiction Reality Dark Horse Comics Countdown Superheroes Heroines Certified Fresh CNN asian-american harry potter YouTube E3 movie Sneak Peek BBC One Holidays doctor who Song of Ice and Fire discovery Sundance TV SXSW serial killer criterion technology what to watch south america Thanksgiving The Witch indiana jones true crime Stephen King comedies historical drama PaleyFest comiccon sequel Freeform sag awards Mystery Universal revenge DGA Cosplay disaster TCM Summer Pet Sematary aliens Holiday RT21 RT History Quiz dogs blockbuster Rocky Box Office thriller free movies dragons Trailer Schedule See It Skip It game show Nat Geo Lionsgate biography Ellie Kemper SundanceTV spinoff breaking bad theme song Best and Worst Funimation Captain marvel Western Action Binge Guide justice league Chernobyl Epix 24 frames Women's History Month 71st Emmy Awards Disney+ Disney Plus Classic Film reviews FXX 007 Martial Arts Sundance 2020 YouTube Premium elevated horror cats Chilling Adventures of Sabrina El Rey HBO Bravo SDCC cartoon Emmys Star Trek singing competition President documentaries Paramount quibi Watching Series versus Nickelodeon Valentine's Day Apple TV Plus The Walking Dead Sony Pictures Tomatazos WGN Podcast CMT Mary Tyler Moore hispanic finale CW Seed composers Syfy Academy Awards DC Universe TCA 2017 Pirates 2015 hist police drama dceu romantic comedy ESPN TNT satire zombie AMC Shondaland Hulu films robots dramedy Starz Ovation Family 2017 Reality Competition movies Rom-Com Emmy Nominations medical drama Turner Classic Movies crime thriller USA Network directors Shudder miniseries foreign Interview VOD canceled Spectrum Originals Crunchyroll talk show werewolf Election Red Carpet cancelled TV series E! BBC America Oscars Mary poppins Music Photos spanish language DC streaming service space The CW zombies Winners Hallmark Christmas movies Disney Channel politics Mindy Kaling Apple Comedy crime Country franchise Marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Black Mirror Horror Logo adaptation Film boxoffice Awards cops Disney streaming service Black History Month APB die hard NYCC History crime drama sports cars Crackle BAFTA Pop TV game of thrones The Arrangement toy story First Look ghosts HBO Max Calendar DC Comics cancelled television Baby Yoda mutant scary movies ITV TLC San Diego Comic-Con mission: impossible X-Men Comics on TV New York Comic Con Infographic Polls and Games FX TV Land Musical spy thriller reboot FX on Hulu 2016 PlayStation Hallmark Star Wars Tumblr CBS All Access Warner Bros. parents name the review LGBT Kids & Family Travel Channel Amazon Prime Video golden globes American Society of Cinematographers Netflix Video Games witnail vampires Hear Us Out news Mudbound 20th Century Fox MCU Amazon Studios Creative Arts Emmys anthology Columbia Pictures GoT Biopics latino FOX Showtime Superheroe stoner adventure Arrowverse YA Trivia cancelled TV shows period drama Apple TV+ OWN Cartoon Network Amazon GLAAD unscripted LGBTQ Teen Sundance Now Peacock anime