Critics Consensus

Annabelle: Creation Is a Potent Prequel

Plus, The Glass Castle is a bumpy biopic , critics aren't down with Nutty by Nature, and Mr. Mercedes Season 1 is Certified Fresh.

by | August 10, 2017 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got an origin story for an evil toy (Annabelle: Creation, starring Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto), an adaptation of an incredible memoir (The Glass Castle, starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson), and a squirrel fighting City Hall (The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, featuring the voices of Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl). What are the critics saying?


Annabelle: Creation (2017) 70%


For filmgoers old enough to remember the days of regularly issued Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the idea of a horror franchise that retains its spine-tingling effectiveness as it goes along — to say nothing of actually improving — might sound more than a little absurd. There’s an exception to every rule, however, and the spookily consistent Conjuring series seems ready to keep making bumps in the night (and at the box office) for the foreseeable future: while 2014’s Annabelle spinoff failed to resonate with critics, it scared up enough ticket receipts to warrant a sequel — and as reviews for this weekend’s Annabelle: Creation attest, this is one creepy-looking doll who’s far from finished making filmgoers scream. Critics say this prequel story doesn’t do much audiences haven’t seen before, but for once, the old genre tropes are trotted out in service of a well-told story whose effective scares are bolstered by strong atmosphere and acting. Grab a few friends and get ready for a solidly undemanding horror outing — and maybe plan on sleeping with the lights on for a few nights too.


The Glass Castle (2017) 52%


For those in search of a sadly more realistic brand of horror this weekend, there’s The Glass Castle, which reunites director Destin Daniel Cretton with his Short Term 12 star Brie Larson in a dramatization of author Jeannette Walls’ bestselling autobiography. Starring Larson as Walls opposite Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as the mother and father of the family, Castle details the peripatetic lifestyle and abject poverty in which the four Walls children grew up, as well as their painful path to adult independence from their dysfunctional parents. It’s undeniably compelling material for a memoir, let alone a screen adaptation; unfortunately, critics say The Glass Castle doesn’t quite do it justice, setting out to split the difference between harrowing and heartwarming and failing to fully hit either mark. Still, there’s a tremendous cast here, united in service of one heck of a real-life story, and Castle‘s stronger elements aren’t always overpowered by its flaws. If you’re in the mood for adult drama or in need of a good cry, this just might hit the spot.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017) 14%


Much of the time, being a movie critic seems like a pretty sweet gig: You get to see the big films before everyone else, you’re being paid to do something most people do for fun, and if you’re lucky and/or talented enough to reach an audience, you enjoy a certain measure of cultural gatekeeper status. There’s a downside to everything, however, and for many film critics, it takes the shape of releases like The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. A follow-up to the 2014 original — which amassed a grim 10 percent on the Tomatometer but raked in more than $120 million worldwide — this installment reunites members of the voice cast (including Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl) for another colorfully animated adventure about talking critters facing a crisis. Will Surly and the gang be able to foil the mayor’s plan to turn their home into an amusement park? We’re pretty sure you can guess how it’ll all turn out, just as you could have predicted critics wouldn’t exactly be enthused about having to turn out for a Nut Job sequel. Like a lot of poorly reviewed cartoons, Nutty by Nature should prove reasonably diverting for the youngest audience members, but there’s no shortage of clearly superior alternative options.

What’s New on TV

Mr. Mercedes: Season 1 (2017) 86%

Mr. Mercedes propels its tense, creepy narrative with quick-witted dialogue, strong characters, and terrifying surprises.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Farthest (2017) , a documentary about the incredible journey of the spacecraft Voyager, is at 100 percent.
  • After Love (L'économie du couple) (2017) , a French dramedy about the fallout endured by a family after a husband and wife decide to split up but both refuse to leave their home, is at 97 percent.
  • In This Corner of the World (Kono sekai no katasumi ni) (2017) , an animated drama about a young Japanese girl’s experiences during World War II, is at 97 percent.
  • Whose Streets? (2017) , a documentary look at the civil unrest that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri after the killing of Michael Brown, is at 97 percent.
  • Good Time (2017) , starring Robert Pattinson as a failed bank robber trying to work his younger brother and himself out of a desperate situation, is Certified Fresh at 90 percent.
  • Ingrid Goes West (2017) , starring Aubrey Plaza as a woman who befriends her celebrity stalking obsession, is Certified Fresh at 85 percent.
  • The Trip to Spain (2017)Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon‘s latest chatty travelogue, is at 82 percent.
  • Nocturama (2017) , in which Parisian teens plot to carry off a violent act, is at 80 percent.
  • The Ghoul (2017) , about a police detective whose latest case draws him to the brink of a total breakdown, is at 76 percent.
  • Pilgrimage (2017) , about the perilous journey undertaken by 13th-century monks transporting a holy relic, is at 74 percent.
  • The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) , about a Cairo cop pursuing a case that could expose widespread political corruption, is at 60 percent.
  • The Only Living Boy in New York (2017) , about a young man whose first uncertain steps into adulthood are thrown off by the discovery of his father’s affair, is at 25 percent.
  • The Summoning (Planetarium) (2017) , starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp as a pair of fortune tellers lured into a businessman’s world of intrigue, is at 13 percent.

Tag Cloud

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