Critics Consensus

Black Mass Is Certified Fresh

Plus, The Scorch Trials lacks stong characters, and You're the Worst is Certified Fresh.

by | September 16, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a notorious mobster (Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch), teenage adventurers (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario), and a desperate criminal (Captive, starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara). What do the critics have to say?

Black Mass (2015) 73%

Black Mass isn’t the first feature film about brutal gangster-turned-slippery fugitive Whitey Bulger — he’s the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary and the loose inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed. Critics say Black Mass explores well-trodden crime movie territory as well, but the film is elevated by Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing lead performance — and excellent work from a solid supporting cast. The movie follows Bulger’s rise from petty hood to violent mob boss; Whitey’s rise in Boston’s demimonde is assisted by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), who enlists him as a confidential informant, and his politician brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), who uses his office  to protect him. The pundits say Black Mass often feels familiar, but it’s still a well-crafted film that finds Depp giving his best performance in years.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) 47%

As dystopian sci-fi adventure films based on young adult novels go, The Maze Runner was pretty solid, if decidedly a cut below The Hunger Games series. Unfortunately, critics say its sequel, The Scorch Trials, is mostly a run-of-the-mill action yarn with a few decent set pieces and little-to-no character development. This time out, our heroes, led by Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), have left the maze behind; instead, they must navigate harsh landscapes and avoid not just the evil WCKD but also hoards of zombies. The pundits say Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is briskly paced and occasionally exciting, but its overabundance of  plotting makes for limited emotional involvement.

Captive (2015) 27%

Based on an astonishing true story, Captive recounts the tale of an escaped criminal (David Oyelowo) who takes a hostage (Kate Mara) and eventually surrenders after she encourages him to read the Christian self-help book The Purpose-Driven Life. Critics say Captive is enlivened by its excellent leads, but it never quite generates a necessary sense of tension.

What’s Hot on TV

You're the Worst: Season 2 (2015) 97%

Expertly balancing character growth against edgy humorYou’re the Worst elevates the show’s excellent writing and talented cast to a new level.

Project Greenlight: Season 4 (2015) 88%

Project Greenlight makes a welcome return, retaining many of the qualities that helped make it a reality TV favorite.

The Bastard Executioner: Season 1 (2015) 46%

Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner doesn’t want for dark thrills, but it unfortunately has more enthusiasm for brutality and gore than necessary narrative focus.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Peace Officer (2015) , a documentary about the increase in military weapons and tactics among police officers, is at 100 percent.
  • Sicario (2015) , starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro in a thriller about a straight-arrow FBI agent whose mission to bring down a drug cartel kingpin is compromised by her allies’ opaque motives, is at 91 percent.
  • The New Girlfriend (2015) , a psychological dramedy about a man whose gender fluidity comes to light after the death of his wife, is at 82 percent.
  • Prophet's Prey (2015) , a documentary about the abuses of power by the leader of a breakaway Mormon sect, is at 80 percent.
  • () , starring Chow Yun-Fat in a musical satire of the modern workplace, is at 80 percent.
  • Pawn Sacrifice (2015) , starring Tobey Maguire and Peter Sarsgaard in a fictional retelling of the famous showdown between chess masters Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, is at 76 percent.
  • Everest (2015) , starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke in an adventure film based on the true story of a group of climbers who were trapped in a blizzard while ascending the world’s tallest mountain, is at 71 percent.
  • Being Canadian (2015) , a documentary about the quirks and characteristics that define our neighbors to the North, is at 60 percent.
  • The Man Who Saved the World (2015) , a documentary about the Soviet Army colonel whose calm under pressure likely averted a nuclear war, is at 60 percent.
  • Some Kind of Hate (2015) , a horror film about a bullied teen who is protected by a vengeful ghost, is at 50 percent.
  • The Cut (2015) , a drama about a man who goes searching for his missing daughters after fighting in World War I, is at 40 percent.
  • Cooties (2015) , starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson in a horror comedy about a group of teachers who fight to survive a plague of grade-school zombies, is at 37 percent.
  • Hellions (2015) , a horror film about a pregnant teenager bedeviled by malevolent trick-or-treaters, is at 31 percent.

Tag Cloud

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