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) 90%

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) 17%

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

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