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) 71%


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

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