Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Looper Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Hotel Transylvania is giddy but thinly-scripted, and Won't Back Down is impassioned but bland.

by | September 27, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a futuristic hitman (Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a monster bash (Hotel Transylvania, with voice work by Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg), and a pair of education advocates (Won’t Back Down, starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal). What do the critics have to say?



The fanboy anticipation for Looper has grown to a fever pitch over the last few months. It appears the wait was worth it; critics say Rian Johnson‘s third feature pulls off that rarest of trifectas — it’s at once a provocative head trip, a tense thriller, and an intriguing character study. It’s 2044, and control of time-travel technology is in the hands of the mob; when they want somebody rubbed out, they send them back 30 years for an assassin to kill. But when one such “looper” (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is tasked with killing a future version of himself (Bruce Willis), he finds himself on the run from perhaps fate itself. The pundits say that despite the occasional narrative stumble, the Certified Fresh Looper is such an exciting, heartfelt, and ambitious sci-fi tale that it’s sure to imspire plenty of conversation after the lights come up. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Willis’ best-reviewed films.)

Hotel Transylvania


They may look scary, but all the famous movie monsters are just like us on the inside. That’s the clever premise of Hotel Transylvania, but while critics say the movie looks great and has moments of comic inspiration, it largely fails to balance the yuks with its attempts at sincerity. At a remote hotel, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, and a bunch of other horror VIPs gather for Dracula’s daughter Mavis’ birthday celebration. But the ghoulies’ placid idyll is threatened when Mavis falls for a human and her dad gets really overprotective. The pundits say Hotel Transylvania has a buoyant, giddy tone that may please children, but it’s also loud and thinly-scripted. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames, an image gallery of legendary creatures in animation.)

Won’t Back Down


If you’ve seen one inspirational story of underdogs taking on the system, you’ve seen ’em all, right? Not necessarily, though critics say Won’t Back Down feels awfully familiar — not to mention simplistic — despite the best efforts of stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Davis and Gyllenhaal play a teacher and a single mom, respectively, who become so disillusioned by the bureaucratic rigidity of the local public school system that they start a grass-roots movement to wrest control from the teachers union. The pundits say Won’t Back Down is well-acted, but its script fails to lend dramatic heft or sophistication to the hot-button issue of education reform.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Other Dream Team, a documentary about the politics surrounding the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, is at 86 percent.
  • The Waiting Room, a documentary about the workings of a public hospital in Oakland, is at 86 percent.
  • Joe Dante‘s The Hole, a horror film about a pair of middle-schoolers who discover a bottomless pit in the basement of their new house, is at 81 percent.
  • Tales of the Night, an animated collection of vignettes featuring fantastic tales from around the world, is at 80 percent.
  • Pitch Perfect, starring Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow in a comedy about a new girl on campus who encourages the school’s a cappella group to get hip, is at 76 percent.
  • Solomon Kane, an action/fantasy hybrid about an English mercenary who goes to war with the devil, is at 64 percent.
  • The Thai import Headshot, an action/thriller about a cop-turned-hitman with vision problems, is at 56 percent.
  • Vulgaria, a comedy about a movie producer who must make a bizarre pornographic film in order to pay alimony to his ex-wife, is at 43 percent.
  • Stars In Shorts, a collection of seven short films featuring an all-star cast, is at 38 percent.
  • Bringing Up Bobby, starring Milla Jovovich and Bill Pullman in a comedy about a con artist who tries to create a stable environment for her son, is at 14 percent.

Finally, props to Bently Lyles for coming the closest to guessing House at the End of the Street‘s 11 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

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