Critics Consensus

Stuber Is a Bumpy Ride

Plus, Crawl is satisfying schlock and The Farewell and Ray & Liz are Certified Fresh.

by | July 11, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a perilous cab ride (Stuber, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista) and an amphibious home invasion (Crawl, starring Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper). What are the critics saying?

Stuber (2019) 41%

If you ever thought a hybrid of The Big Sick and Michael Mann’s Collateral sounded like a terrific idea, this week’s Stuber might be the ride for you. Like The Big Sick, Stuber stars Kumail Nanjiani as a mild-mannered Uber driver — named Stu, of course — who is roped into a frequently violent wild goose chase across Los Angeles in search of a murderous drug dealer. The large, imposing man responsible for said roping is LAPD detective Vic Manning (played by Dave Bautista), who requires Stu’s services because he’s recovering from a Lasik operation. Will the two of them learn to put aside their differences and work together in harmony? Will they help each other confront some hard truths about themselves? Will cars be chased and heads be busted? The answer to all of those questions is likely to be “yes,” and critics say it’s a little disappointing that Stuber doesn’t do more with its talented cast, which also includes Karen Gillan, Mira Sorvino, and Betty Gilpin. There’s also quite a bit of violence and a some tonal inconsistencies, but if you don’t mind that, there may some fun to be had here.

Crawl (2019) 83%

Director Alexandre Aja cut his teeth on horror remakes like 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes and 2010’s Piranha, as well as thrillers like High Tension and Mirrors, so he knows his way around a good scare or two. In Crawl, he combines a few different common fears — of drowning, of small spaces, of… alligators — into a disaster survival thriller, and early reviews say it’s schlocky, to be sure, but it’s also satisfying and a lot of fun. Kaya Scodelario plays Haley, a Florida woman who makes a beeline for her father’s home to help evacuate him (Barry Pepper) before a massive hurricane makes landfall. As the storm hits and flood waters begin to rise, the two of them become trapped inside the house, where a few hungry gators have decided to poke around for a snack. Crawl is clearly not an attempt at high art, but the film recognizes this and, according to critics, makes good on the simple promises of its premise. If you come looking for some gleeful mayhem and outrageous thrills, that’s exactly what you’re going to get, and you’ll probably have a pretty good time getting it.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Farewell (2019) , starring Awkwafina in a comedy-drama about a young woman who returns to China when her grandmother is diagnosed with a terminal illness — and isn’t told about it — is Certified Fresh at 100%.
  • Sword of Trust (2019) , starring Marc Maron and Jillian Bell in Lynn Shelton‘s comedy about a woman who inherits a potentially historically significant sword and attempts to pawn it off, is at 96%.
  • Ray & Liz (2019) , a family drama about an alcoholic who tries to win back his ex-wife, is Certified Fresh at 94%.
  • Firecrackers (2019) , about two friends whose plans to flee their small-town life are thwarted by an assault by one of their exes, is at 94%.
  • Sea of Shadows (2019) , a documentary about a team of scientists, journalists, and undercover agents fighting to halt the destructive poaching of a rare fish, is at 93%.
  • Rojo (2019) , about a small-town lawyer in 1970s Argentina who is drawn into a confrontation with life or death consequences, is at 92%.
  • The Art of Self-Defense (2019) , starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots in a dark comedy about an insecure man who joins a karate dojo and discovers more than he bargained for, is at 88%.
  • Summer Night (2019) , a drama centering on the relationships between a group of teen friends that unfold over a single, music-filled night, is at 86%.
  • Armstrong (2019) , a documentary portrait of the famed astronaut’s life, is at 83%.
  • Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (2019) , a documentary about the professional surfer who lost an arm to a shark attack in 2003, is at 75%.
  • Trespassers (2019) , a thriller about two couples on a vacation getaway whose relationships are tested by the appearance of a mysterious woman, is at 71%.
  • Darlin' (2019) , a horror thriller about a feral teenager who is sent to a convent to be reformed, is at 64%.
  • The Sweet Requiem (Kyoyang ngarmo) (2019) , about a Tibetan woman who confronts the mountain guide who abandoned her and her family on a trek through the Himalayas years earlier, is at 43%.

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