Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Conan the Barbarian is a Bloody Mess

Plus, Fright Night scares up some laughs and chills, but Spy Kids and One Day strike out.

by | August 19, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a heroic strongman (Conan the Barbarian, starring Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols), pint-sized agents (Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, starring Jessica Alba and Joel McHale), scary neighbors (Fright Night, starring Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell), and part-time lovers (One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess). What do the critics have to say?

Conan the Barbarian

25%

The 1982 Conan the Barbarian became a seminal entry in the sword-and-sorcery subgenre, maiking Arnold Schwarzenegger a star in the process. And although critics say Jason Momoa does his best with the title role, this new Conan the Barbarian eschews pulpy swashbuckling for non-stop action, and the result is a numbing barrage of blood, guts, and noise. The titular warrior is out for vengeance against the warlord who killed his family. On the trail of his foe, he encounters the beautiful Tamara (Rachel Nichols), and together, they leave a mountain of dead bodies strewn about the countryside. The pundits say Conan the Barbarian has a decent look and some thrills, but it’s mostly just a brutal, hyperactively-edited gore-fest that barely pauses to develop the characters or the plot. (Check out co-star Rose McGowan’s Five Favorite Films here.)

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

23%

Throughout his career, director Robert Rodriguez has led a seemingly incongruous double life: when he’s not making stylistically bold neo-grindhouse films, he’s helming impish adventure tales for the kiddies. Unfortunately, critics say the fourth installment of his venerable Spy Kids franchise, All the Time in the World in 4D, is tired, juvenile stuff that isn’t improved by gimmicky 3D and scratch ‘n’ sniff cards. Jessica Alba stars as retired spy who’s lured back into action when a maniacal super villain threatens the free world. She’s joined in her mission by some newly recruited spy kids. The pundits say Spy Kids 4 is almost entirely bereft of the charm and excitement of the series’ first two entries, with mediocre special effects and an overabundance of sophomoric humor. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Rodriguez’s best-reviewed movies.)

Fright Night

72%

On paper, a remake of Fright Night sounds like an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the current vampire craze — especially since the original, a minor genre classic that deftly (and self-referentially) mixed laughs and scares, still holds up pretty well. However, critics say this new Fright Night is surprisingly effective, thanks to some terrific performances and a solid script that captures — and occasionally expands upon — what worked the first time around. Anton Yelchin stars as Charley, a too-cool-for-school teen who notices that something’s not quite right about Jerry (Colin Farrell), the guy who moved in next door. As it turns out, Jerry’s a vampire who’s preying on the neighborhood, and it’s up to Charley to stop him. The pundits say that while Fright Night doesn’t always match the mischievous appeal of its source material, the script is sharp and clever, and the cast — particularly Farrell, who oozes sly menace — is uniformly excellent.

One Day

36%

The premise of One Day is undeniably intriguing: it’s a romantic dramedy featuring two mismatched would-be lovers whose tentative relationship stretches for decades. Unfortunately, critics say the execution is a bit off; we’re never quite convinced our heroes are meant to be together, and the annual check-in conceit alluded to in the title seems contrived after a while. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are the couple, who meet at the end of college and are attracted to one another despite class and personality differences. Every subsequent June 15, we get glimpses of their lives, loves, and careers, as the pair maintains a friendship that might someday become something more. The pundits say One Day deserves credit for attempting to upend the traditional structure of the movie romance, and the stars’ repartee is fitfully amusing, but the characters are too ill-defined to make much of an impression.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Summer Pasture, a documentary about the harsh lives of Tibetan nomads, is at 100 percent.

  • The Last Circus, a dramedy about a clown whose life is upended by the rise of Fascism in Spain, is at 92 percent.

  • The Hedgehog, a drama about a morose 12-year-old who befriends the grumpy concierge in her apartment building, is at 83 percent.

  • Mozart’s Sister, a historical drama about the great composer’s talented older sibling, is at 80 percent.

  • Griff the Invisible, a comedy/romance about a shy working stiff who moonlights as a superhero, is at 78 percent.

  • Atrocious, a lo-fi horror film about a family that films its investigation into a terrifying urban legend, is at 67 percent.

  • The Journals Of Musan, a drama about a North Korean defector awkwardly adjusting to his new life in South Korea, is at 60 percent.

  • John Sayles‘s Amigo, a drama about a village torn apart by the Philippine-American War, is at 59 percent.

  • 5 Days Of War, starring Rupert Friend and Emmanuelle Chriqui in a drama about an American reporter caught in the crossfire of the 2008 Georgian conflict with Russia, is at 55 percent.

  • A Horrible Way to Die, an indie thriller about an escaped serial killer who’s looking for his ex-girlfriend, is at 40 percent.

  • Flypaper, starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd in a crime comedy about a would-be bank robber who develops a bond with a teller, is at 22 percent.

  • Programming The Nation?, a documentary about subliminal messages in politics and advertising, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

spy thriller Logo video worst Black History Month TV movies justice league TV renewals travel Native ID Trailer Superheroe Tokyo Olympics Vudu Podcast sequel Cosplay comics 90s Mystery DC streaming service critics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Travel Channel Elton John based on movie Best and Worst comic book movie Turner Classic Movies composers Sundance Now gangster Comics on TV versus CBS AMC Paramount Pictures Women's History Month prank black streaming historical drama obituary LGBTQ Certified Fresh Reality Sony Pictures police drama History AMC Plus BBC America boxing The Arrangement nfl japan toy story scorecard target live action 2021 DirecTV HBO spinoff comic book movies First Look TNT suspense Black Mirror 007 Amazon king kong renewed TV shows Musical comic streamig nbcuniversal finale PaleyFest festival golden globes VOD NBA Drama south america El Rey Song of Ice and Fire kaiju Focus Features slashers ABC Family period drama NYCC Adult Swim marvel comics Set visit Thanksgiving Animation New York Comic Con Interview high school Fall TV Cartoon Network MCU Turner Epix Photos Apple TV Plus biography Exclusive Video 79th Golden Globes Awards discovery sports TCA Syfy fast and furious screenings wonder woman ABC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Red Carpet Video Games game of thrones Endgame mcc Schedule Brie Larson twilight Writers Guild of America halloween dceu Image Comics Biopics blockbuster sopranos A24 reviews Best Actress indie TV Land name the review Comedy Central Shondaland blaxploitation GIFs Best Picture fresh basketball Character Guide Shudder Sony Disney+ Disney Plus teaser Spike BET ratings Holiday 72 Emmy Awards ABC Signature scene in color cops stop motion Best Director Film Festival National Geographic HBO Max The Academy spider-verse independent cancelled television Star Wars Celebration A&E Disney golden globe awards political drama jurassic park ghosts APB Summer 94th Oscars cooking Quiz Food Network science fiction royal family LGBT Year in Review Awards marvel cinematic universe cancelled directors Pixar Crackle Mudbound cinemax stoner Trivia reboot dark documentary romance international Polls and Games olympics Marvel Television streaming movies 2020 Oscar MSNBC Wes Anderson Tubi Universal Pictures Best Actor FX on Hulu Star Wars Heroines women jamie lee curtis 2016 Prime Video films See It Skip It legend scene in color film series Disney Channel Funimation TIFF Creative Arts Emmys Walt Disney Pictures book adaptation cats 24 frames 2017 Rocketman Pride Month Martial Arts scary Columbia Pictures IFC Films anime doctor who tv talk Kids & Family black comedy Instagram Live nature Pirates aliens rt labs talk show Teen asian-american slasher psycho Pop SXSW 20th Century Fox Horror Masterpiece james bond venice Bravo Neflix diversity USA Network psychological thriller San Diego Comic-Con foreign First Reviews popular Winter TV summer preview HBO Go batman transformers PlayStation Acorn TV Crunchyroll Baby Yoda 99% Tags: Comedy vampires dogs Ovation Hallmark Christmas movies summer TV preview Marathons Rock Tomatazos remakes Nat Geo children's TV Reality Competition Nominations TV 2019 movies Warner Bros. Nickelodeon french WGN disaster live event 71st Emmy Awards Mary poppins die hard toronto Rom-Com TBS OWN Country Sneak Peek YouTube Marvel Studios Anna Paquin crime thriller Fox News Broadway FOX latino Amazon Prime Video war unscripted series Countdown 21st Century Fox dreamworks TV One young adult Holidays Comedy Stephen King pirates of the caribbean FXX technology japanese video on demand Paramount Plus Mary Poppins Returns deadpool Watching Series concert cancelled TV series Comic-Con@Home 2021 Toys archives Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comiccon Academy Awards TCA Winter 2020 Alien President hispanic heritage month Freeform PBS X-Men 45 Chernobyl Arrowverse spanish Fox Searchlight Disney Plus The Walking Dead Marvel crime feel good E3 ViacomCBS sequels biopic South by Southwest Film Festival halloween tv Classic Film criterion Showtime facebook what to watch 2018 binge rotten movies we love Britbox Music interviews RT21 IFC GoT SundanceTV robots Sundance TV quibi miniseries docudrama Election Mary Tyler Moore Spectrum Originals Apple TV+ vs. Discovery Channel 73rd Emmy Awards sitcom kong FX dc satire BBC One screen actors guild new star wars movies romantic comedy hollywood GLAAD Cannes genre Hulu godzilla italian universal monsters Premiere Dates TLC chucky Super Bowl revenge harry potter Pacific Islander indiana jones saw rt archives 93rd Oscars CNN 2015 Legendary telelvision Apple rt labs critics edition debate Dark Horse Comics book Binge Guide Netflix Sundance Infographic The Purge worst movies Awards Tour HFPA Box Office space all-time DC Universe heist movie game show OneApp docuseries Spring TV 1990s Superheroes The CW CMT politics NBC hispanic rotten supernatural Trophy Talk animated king arthur crossover Oscars Television Critics Association Film razzies movie Emmy Nominations dexter Geeked Week crime drama Pop TV Fantasy blockbusters spain VH1 award winner spanish language cartoon Tarantino mission: impossible singing competition Western TCM football Hollywood Foreign Press Association DGA target scene in color IMDb TV MGM CW Seed BBC mob rom-coms Tumblr green book canceled elevated horror summer TV spider-man superhero TruTV monster movies festivals Universal Netflix Christmas movies natural history zombie ITV Pet Sematary action-comedy USA trailers Family 4/20 serial killer American Society of Cinematographers RT History Hear Us Out Avengers Amazon Studios Lionsgate free movies TCA 2017 obi wan medical drama Hallmark The Witch Ellie Kemper dragons Paramount Peacock YouTube Red ESPN strong female leads aapi BET Awards Lucasfilm emmy awards comedies Valentine's Day SDCC know your critic social media breaking bad YouTube Premium adaptation VICE zombies Esquire cults werewolf parents Mindy Kaling classics adventure a nightmare on elm street Winners news Musicals Star Trek kids Fargo sag awards Paramount Network cars Action Amazon Prime DC Comics dramedy zero dark thirty critic resources E! YA cancelled TV shows SXSW 2022 joker trophy new zealand franchise Extras anthology true crime Opinion MTV witnail documentaries Comic Book superman hist mockumentary lord of the rings Emmys television mutant BAFTA Captain marvel Starz Ghostbusters new york Rocky casting CBS All Access The Walt Disney Company posters broadcast scary movies best hidden camera laika art house Television Academy child's play Grammys christmas movies Lifetime stand-up comedy Calendar scene in color series TCA Awards boxoffice Sci-Fi australia thriller Lifetime Christmas movies leaderboard Disney streaming service Christmas richard e. Grant canceled TV shows Indigenous comic books adenture WarnerMedia theme song