Critics Consensus

Dark Waters Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Playmobil is flashy but underwhelming, while Portrait of A Lady on Fire, In Fabric, and The Aeronauts are all also Certified Fresh.

by | December 5, 2019 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a man on a mission (Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway) and an animated adventure (Playmobil: The Movie, featuring the voices of Anya Taylor-Joy and Daniel Radcliffe). What are the critics saying?


Dark Waters (2019) 89%

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to be fed up with gigantic, multinational corporations, director Todd Haynes‘ drama Dark Waters reminds us there’s plenty more to keep the fires stoked. Based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article, the film recounts how a corporate attorney named Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo), whose firm represented corporations like the DuPont chemical company, transformed into an environmental crusader when he discovered what DuPont’s production of Teflon was doing to farm cattle — and later, humans — in West Virginia. Part mystery, part courtroom drama, Dark Waters has earned high praise from critics, who call the film a powerful, timely, and ultimately infuriating condemnation of predatory corporate practices. Not prone to extravagant dramatic touches, Haynes manages to craft a heady underdog story that maintains a steady course, sticks to the facts, and pulls an understated but moving performance from Mark Ruffalo. If you’re looking for fireworks, you won’t get those here, but this story is an important one, and it manages to shine all the same.


Playmobil: The Movie (2019) 18%

In 2014, The LEGO Movie proved it was possible, however improbable, to craft an engaging, entertaining film from source material that isn’t inherently narrative in nature. That film wasn’t the first to make the attempt, and it certainly won’t be the last, as evidenced further by this week’s Playbmobil: The Movie. Adapted from the popular German toy line first introduced in the 1970s, the film centers on a young woman (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) whose younger brother (Gabriel Bateman) is magically transported to an animated dreamland, compelling her to follow him and traverse landscapes populated by pirates, gladiators, and other fanciful creatures to rescue him. Unfortunately, critics say Playmobil is a regrettably mediocre outing that offers little aside from a barrage of colorful images and a brisk but ultimately generic and uninspired story. Never mind that Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) lends his voice to James Bond-like secret agent, or that singers like Meghan Trainor and Adam Lambert are on hand to belt out musical numbers; according to the reviews, Playmobil is a whole lot of flash and glitter with very little behind it.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Midnight Family (2019) , a documentary about a family running a private ambulance business in Mexico City, is at 100%.
  • The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) , a documentary about Italian actress, model, and activist Benedetta Barzini by her son, Beniamino Barrese, is at 100%.
  • After Class (Safe Spaces) (2019) , starring Justin Long in a comedy about a family learning to cope when their matriarch is suddenly hospitalized, is at 100%.
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) , a period drama about a woman hired to secretly paint the portrait of a reluctant bride, only for the two to fall in love, is Certified Fresh at 98%.
  • In Fabric (2019) , a comedic supernatural thriller about a woman who slowly succumbs to the sinister powers of a new dress she’s purchased, is Certified Fresh at 95%.
  • Daniel Isn't Real (2019) , a psychological thriller about a college freshman whose childhood imaginary friend suddenly reappears and begins to take over his life, is at 84%.
  • The Aeronauts (2019) , starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in a historical drama about the pioneering 19th century meteorologists who utilized hot air balloons to learn more about the weather, is Certified Fresh at 78%.
  • Knives and Skin (2019) , a mystery chronicling the way a suburban own unravels in the wake of a teenage girl’s disappearance, is at 75%.
  • Little Joe (2019) , a sci-fi thriller about a scientist who develops a therapeutic flower species and quickly discovers its unexpected side effects, is at 69%.
  • I See You (2019) , a twisty thriller about a small-town detective and his family, who are plagued by unseen forces in their home that may or may not be real, is at 69%.
  • The Wolf Hour (2019) , starring Naomi Watts in a thriller about a reclusive woman suffering from paranoia during a citywide black out in New York in 1977, is at 67%.
  • A Million Little Pieces (2019) , starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a drama based on the controversial memoir of James Frey, is at 26%.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

aapi American Society of Cinematographers E! Walt Disney Pictures Black History Month Peacock HBO Go Paramount Plus Heroines 2018 hist romance children's TV comics Comics on TV WarnerMedia Freeform 99% CBS mutant CW Seed Apple spanish language X-Men stoner Lifetime Christmas movies Dark Horse Comics dark San Diego Comic-Con Pride Month CMT ESPN ratings robots cars scorecard sag awards 2016 cults Star Wars new star wars movies Quiz TNT Masterpiece Super Bowl Drama TV animated halloween tv thriller Sci-Fi monster movies breaking bad reboot Rocky TV movies japanese PBS technology heist movie Calendar BAFTA Food Network FX on Hulu worst 4/20 Discovery Channel richard e. Grant Spike Amazon Prime Video Awards Tomatazos ABC BET Marvel Studios universal monsters independent Mary Tyler Moore Country The Purge biography sequel Christmas Endgame vampires kaiju Ovation witnail Fox Searchlight composers king kong serial killer Comedy Central unscripted President true crime 24 frames crime drama live action spider-man Trailer versus golden globes Spring TV dogs Crunchyroll news war Best and Worst screenings Oscars Bravo Turner Classic Movies a nightmare on elm street psycho Tumblr History television medical drama Valentine's Day Film Festival rt archives werewolf kids TCA Binge Guide 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards talk show Syfy documentaries MSNBC Epix NBA Funimation adaptation GoT diversity Marvel 2017 21st Century Fox harry potter chucky Pixar APB video on demand 45 travel Watching Series international italian Anna Paquin blaxploitation nature OWN dragons video FX rotten movies we love ViacomCBS political drama finale Holidays cinemax directors Toys Pet Sematary comedies Tarantino Marathons Britbox telelvision 2019 Kids & Family boxing The Witch MCU boxoffice fast and furious venice DC Comics natural history Infographic Hallmark YouTube Red razzies canceled TV shows scene in color Logo Mindy Kaling WGN game of thrones Thanksgiving E3 Sneak Peek streaming movies twilight Star Trek french toy story ABC Family Disney streaming service LGBTQ Tokyo Olympics 72 Emmy Awards science fiction fresh Musical Cartoon Network The CW cats disaster stop motion elevated horror Opinion romantic comedy AMC adenture Teen Animation Broadway DirecTV Shondaland remakes Comedy spy thriller SundanceTV A24 nbcuniversal TV One Disney Emmys TCA Winter 2020 Wes Anderson Holiday Awards Tour batman Trivia Hulu MTV PlayStation Elton John Polls and Games Classic Film Sundance TV Action politics cops Pop TV The Walking Dead comiccon Election First Reviews singing competition sports FOX TCM satire latino women Lifetime VH1 Extras El Rey PaleyFest james bond Box Office CBS All Access new zealand TV Land Horror Comic Book NBC TCA Awards Columbia Pictures target Schedule Writers Guild of America nfl TBS japan Women's History Month NYCC SDCC Rom-Com asian-american worst movies Disney Plus Musicals hidden camera Warner Bros. rotten quibi Premiere Dates indiana jones Alien halloween The Walt Disney Company movie ghosts Tubi best Academy Awards mockumentary cooking hispanic spain Netflix transformers Hear Us Out supernatural mission: impossible films book Nickelodeon casting deadpool high school crime thriller YouTube Premium anime SXSW hollywood Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt jurassic park Trophy Talk documentary 20th Century Fox child's play marvel cinematic universe Set visit zero dark thirty cartoon lord of the rings ABC Signature TCA 2017 Superheroes emmy awards Travel Channel comic books crossover book adaptation New York Comic Con Baby Yoda renewed TV shows classics psychological thriller Amazon Film saw Video Games Lionsgate Chilling Adventures of Sabrina slashers blockbusters Amazon Prime USA Network IFC Films crime Pop BBC One TV renewals strong female leads Fox News all-time FXX Martial Arts First Look Photos basketball Disney Channel black justice league Showtime police drama Television Critics Association Arrowverse Summer TLC historical drama concert golden globe awards Spectrum Originals DGA 2021 Reality Competition DC streaming service Ghostbusters National Geographic 1990s dc Rock indie free movies Paramount Network franchise comic TIFF Winners zombie football LGBT Chernobyl theme song sequels critics Mystery Crackle CNN USA Nominations Pacific Islander series docuseries 2020 Turner die hard jamie lee curtis know your critic GLAAD Captain marvel toronto A&E Cosplay Western Starz Acorn TV ID Netflix Christmas movies 71st Emmy Awards Fall TV space movies miniseries Biopics YA game show 93rd Oscars period drama Image Comics olympics binge The Academy Mudbound Song of Ice and Fire blockbuster prank IFC Sundance Now Shudder Creative Arts Emmys Sony Pictures sitcom new york ITV pirates of the caribbean 2015 HBO Max cancelled television stand-up comedy RT History TruTV OneApp Mary Poppins Returns trailers Music Superheroe docudrama archives Fantasy legend social media Adult Swim zombies obituary canceled VOD 90s dramedy The Arrangement dceu adventure GIFs Pirates cancelled name the review BBC America Grammys award winner Countdown Character Guide cancelled TV series Ellie Kemper revenge streaming anthology aliens superman cancelled TV shows Apple TV+ VICE HBO Comic-Con@Home 2021 christmas movies Cannes Mary poppins popular parents kong festival Esquire RT21 Year in Review Sundance Stephen King Disney+ Disney Plus festivals Brie Larson laika Vudu Nat Geo joker Television Academy Winter TV Marvel Television YouTube suspense criterion rom-coms doctor who based on movie Avengers See It Skip It spanish foreign Paramount tv talk reviews Red Carpet Exclusive Video DC Universe screen actors guild godzilla what to watch Black Mirror australia Interview spinoff Emmy Nominations BET Awards teaser discovery 007 Hallmark Christmas movies Reality Legendary south america Family green book Lucasfilm Podcast BBC Certified Fresh superhero facebook Rocketman Amazon Studios Apple TV Plus Universal scary movies