Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: American Gangster is Certified Fresh, Bee's a B-, Martian Alienates

What are the critics saying about this week's crop of movies?

by | November 1, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got crime lords (American Gangster,
Denzel Washington and
Russell Crowe), busy bees (Bee Movie,
starring Jerry Seinfeld), and kids from another planet (The Martian Child,
starring John Cusack). What do the critics have to say?

It’s a crime flick starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe that’s directed
by Ridley Scott. How could this possibly go wrong? According to critics, it
American Gangster
tells the story of a low-level criminal
(Washington) who moves up the ladder when his boss dies; Crowe plays an
outcast cop on his trail. Pundits say Gangster is a remarkable entry into
the crime genre, with excellent performances, a compelling sense of moral
ambiguity, and an outstanding eye for 1970s period detail. At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, American Gangster is Certified Fresh. (Check out
this week’s Total Recall, where we examine some notable organized crime films from the

"Pour your salt like this from now on or you’re out of the gang."

Jerry Seinfeld lends his distinctive brand of observational humor to
Bee Movie
, a CGI feature about our
pollen-producing pals and their interactions with people. Seinfeld stars as the voice of a recent bee graduate
looking for a purpose in life. Leaving the hive for the first time, he comes
into contact with a human (Renée Zellweger) and becomes concerned over
humanity’s rampant consumption of honey. Critics say Bee Movie is
elevated by Seinfeld’s witty humor, but otherwise, this is an amiable but
forgettable affair. At 57 percent on the Tomatometer, this is no killer Bee.
(Check out RT’s interview with Seinfeld

That’s gold, Jerry, gold!

On a good day, John Cusack is one of the most likeable actors in the movies. Unfortunately, he can’t sell a middling script. In
The Martian Child, Cusack
stars as a widowed sci-fi writer who forms a bond with a boy who hides in an box and claims to be an extraterrestrial; strange events lend
credence to his claims. Critics say that Cusack and 10-year-old

Bobby Coleman
are excellent, but they bemoan the film’s story, which takes an intriguing premise and weighs it down with clichés and
sappiness. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, this Martian is lost in

"I emailed Amazon. We can send him back for a Nintendo Wii!"

Also opening this week in limited release:
Diva, a
re-release of the 1981 French action classic, is at 100 percent;
Joe Strummer: The Future is
, a documentary about the late, great singer of the Clash, is at
94 percent on the Tomatometer (check out our interview with director Julien
here); Sharkwater,a documentary that explains the importance of are sharp-toothed friends in the
global ecosystem, is at 75 percent;
Fat Girls
, an indie comedy about a
pair of high school outcasts, is at 60 percent; and
Darfur Now
, a doc
about efforts to end the genocide in Sundan, is at 45 percent.

"The power of indie compels you…The power of indie compels

Finally, props to
unbreakable_samurai, who, like
Toshiro Mifune in
defeated all challengers in correctly guessing
Saw IV
‘s 17 percent

Recent Denzel Washington Movies:
87% — Inside Man (2006)
57% — Déjà Vu (2006)
82% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
66% — Out of Time (2003)

Recent John Cusack Movies:
77% — 1408 (2007)
46% — The Ice Harvest (2005)
36% — Must Love Dogs (2005)
72% — Runaway Jury (2003)
63% — Identity (2003)

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