Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Gangster Squad Is Style Over Substance

Plus, Zero Dark Thirty is Certified Fresh, and A Haunted House wasn't screened -- guess the Tomatometer!

by | January 10, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got tough cops (Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling), a tenacious CIA agent (Zero Dark Thirty, starring Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton), and a bedeviled couple (A Haunted House, starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins). What do the critics have to say?

Gangster Squad


Gangster Squad has a lot of promise: it’s a true crime tale with a star-studded cast bathed in the dark shadows of film noir. Unfortunately, critics say the film is largely a case of style over substance, and beneath its stylish veneer lies a shopworn script and an excessive amount of violence. It’s the late 1940s, and Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the Los Angeles underworld with help from a cadre of crooked cops. That is, until straight-arrow lawmen John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) assemble a clandestine crew of LAPD officers to take Cohen down. The pundits say Gangster Squad looks terrific, and its actors inhabit their roles well, but its script apes older gangland classics without bringing much new to the table. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Gosling’s best-reviewed films, as well as our video interviews with the cast.)

Zero Dark Thirty


The story of the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden was so dramatic — and so fraught with political import — that it required a great filmmaker to bring it to the screen. Critics say Kathryn Bigelow, who won a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker, is up to the task, and Zero Dark Thirty is a pulse-quickening thriller that presents the nuts and bolts of the operation with complexity and smarts. Jessica Chastain stars as Maya, a young CIA operative who relentlessly pursues leads into the whereabouts of the terrorist mastermind, which eventually result in a raid on bin Laden’s secret compound in Pakistan. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Zero Dark Thirty is an urgent piece of moviemaking, one that captures not only the milieu of driven professionals but also the national mood after the traumatic effects of 9/11.(Check out our interviews with stars Chastain and Jason Clarke.)

A Haunted House


January is often a dumping ground for mediocre movies, and the lack of pre-release screenings for A Haunted House indicates that it’s probably pretty bad. A Haunted House is a cameo-laden parody of found footage horror films like Paranormal Activity. Once again, it’s time to guess the Tomatometer! (And take a look through our gallery of memorable 3D horror movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • In Another Country, a dramedy starring Isabelle Huppert as three different women who visit a beachfront bed-and-breakfast, is at 80 percent.

  • Quartet, starring Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay in a dramedy about the arrival of a famous opera star at a residence for retired musicians, is at 78 percent.

  • Uprising, a documentary about the pro-democracy protests in Egypt during the Arab Spring, is at 71 percent.

  • Fairhaven, a drama about a former high school football star who returns to his hometown, is at 56 percent.

  • Clandestine Childhood, a coming-of-age drama about the son of revolutionaries working to overthrow the Argentinian government in the late 1970s, is at 50 percent.

  • High Tech, Low Life, a doc about two bloggers that cover underreported news in contemporary China, is at 50 percent.

  • Storage 24, a sci fi/horror hybrid about a group of friends stuck in a storage facility overrun by extraterrestrial critters, is at 44 percent.

  • Struck by Lightning, starring Chris Colfer in a comedy about a recently deceased high school senior looking back on his recent misadventures, is at 32 percent.

  • Let My People Go!, a French farce about a gay man who moves in with his neurotic family after a series of mishaps, is at 29 percent.

  • My Best Enemy, a dramedy about a man who attempts to commandeer priceless artworks in Nazi-occupied Austria, is at 25 percent.

  • The Baytown Outlaws, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria in a comedy about a woman attempting to rescue her son from her violent ex-husband, is at 13 percent.

  • Horrid Henry: The Movie, a kiddie flick about a mischievous rascal whose failure to submit his homework leads to a series of wacky events, is at 10 percent.

Finally, props to George Patchell for coming the closest to guessing Texas Chainsaw 3D‘s 21 percent Tomatometer.>

Tag Cloud

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