Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Battle: Los Angeles Loses The Fight

Plus, Mars Needs Moms is so-so, but Red Riding Hood misses the mark.

by | March 11, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a war of the worlds (Battle: Los Angeles, starring Aaron Eckhart and Ramon Rodriguez); an interplanetary quest (Mars Needs Moms, starring Seth Green and Joan Cusack); and a lupine love story (Red Riding Hood, starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman). What do the critics have to say?

Battle: Los Angeles


The extraterrestrial invasion movie never seems to go out of style. Still, it helps if we have heroes we can root for and a strong storyline, two things that critics say are generally lacking in Battle: Los Angeles. Aaron Eckhart stars as a marine who must lead his charges into battle to protect Santa Monica after hostile outer space visitors have attacked many of the world’s major cities. The pundits say Battle: Los Angeles has a few kinetic action sequences, but those can’t make up for a lack of three-dimensional characters, an overabundance of shaky cam, and a feeling that we’ve seen this kind of thing before. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some noteworthy cinematic alien invasions.)

Mars Needs Moms


There’s nothing wrong with a kids’ film espousing the timeless message that your parents love you. It’s too bad, critics say, that beyond that handy reminder, Mars Needs Moms is something of a mixed bag; its technology is sometimes impressive, but the script isn’t particularly original. Seth Green stars as a nine-year-old who has an argument with his mom, but realizes the error of his ways when he sees her being abducted by a UFO. Our pint-sized hero stows away on the craft in an effort to extricate his mother from the Martians’ clutches. The pundits say Mars Needs Moms has some decent laughs and a good message, but they’re mixed on the animation and largely find the story lacking.

Red Riding Hood


The tale of Little Red Riding Hood is loaded with potential for an irreverent retelling, one that expands on the dark implications lurking on the edges of this most famous of stories. However, Twilight is popular these days, and critics say what we end up getting with Red Riding Hood is a badly executed drama featuring a love triangle and werewolves. Amanda Seyfried stars as a young woman in an arranged betrothal to a boring guy; soon, she falls in love with the village bad boy, while a series of mysterious wolf attacks create suspicion among the townsfolk. The pundits say Red Riding Hood amounts to a strange miscalculation: the clothes may be from days of yore, but the dialogue is oddly contemporary, and the plot seems like little more than an attempt to cash in on conventions that theoretically make teenage girls swoon.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Desert Of Forbidden Art, a documentary about a man who rescued priceless works of art by hiding them in the Uzbek desert, is at 100 percent.

  • I Will Follow, an indie drama about a successful woman at life’s crossroads, is at 100 percent.

  • Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in a new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, is at 90 percent.

  • Certified Copy, starring Juliette Binoche as a woman who pretends to be married to a man she just met while on a tour of rural Italy, is at 86 percent.

  • Black Death, about a medieval knight who embarks on a journey to save his village from the plague, is at 79 percent.

  • 3 Backyards, starring Edie Falco in a drama of three stories that occur on the same day in a suburban neighborhood, is at 71 percent.

  • Kill the Irishman, starring Ray Stevenson and Val Kilmer in the based-on-true-events tale of a notorious Cleveland mobster, is at 70 percent.

  • Elektra Luxx, starring Carla Gugino and Timothy Olyphant in a comedy about a retired porn star in a new phase of her life, is at 31 percent.

  • Monogamy, an indie drama about a wedding photographer who’s hired to take more voyeuristic pictures, is at 20 percent.

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