Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: One Direction: This Is Us is Lightweight But Entertaining

Plus, Getaway crashes and burns, and Closed Circuit is well-acted but not quite suspenseful enough.

by | August 29, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a popular boy band (the concert documentary One Direction: This Is Us), a desperate ex-racecar driver (Getaway, starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez), and attorneys under surveillance (Closed Circuit, starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall). What do the critics have to say?

One Direction: This Is Us


If you’re a diehard fan of English/Irish pop sensations One Direction, no movie reviewer is likely to dissuade you from seeing One Direction: This Is Us. If, however, you’re a parent or significant other who gets dragged to the theater, critics say there’s a decent chance you’ll find this slick, well-shot, admittedly skin-deep concert documentary to be reasonably entertaining. Directed by Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame), the film follows the group from its X-Factor beginnings to the big time, capturing the lads on stage in full 3D splendor. The pundits say that while One Direction: This Is Us is hardly muckraking (or even revelatory), it’s a well-assembled and visually striking look at one of pop’s hottest contemporary acts. (Take a look at this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of music documentaries.)



Rarely does a film’s title serve as an inadvertent warning, but critics say that’s pretty much the deal with Getaway –audiences should get away from this borderline incompetent chase thriller at all costs. Ethan Hawke stars as an ex racecar driver whose wife has been abducted; to save her, he must follow the orders of the kidnapper (Jon Voight) and drive around Sofia, Bulgaria with a would-be carjacker (Selena Gomez) in tow. The pundits say Getaway is an implausible, suspense-free mess, and its chase sequences are ineptly staged and photographed. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Voight’s best-reviewed movies.)

Closed Circuit


The time would seem ripe for a smart thriller about government surveillance; unfortunately, critics say Closed Circuit, while well-acted, is smart without being particularly thrilling. Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star as attorneys and former sweethearts who find their loyalties tried and their lives in danger when they join the defense team of an accused terrorist; as they investigate the case, they find themselves under constant scrutiny. The pundits say Closed Circuit raises some interesting issues, but its plot is alternately predictable and far-fetched. (Watch our video interviews with Bana, and director John Crowley.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Our Nixon, a documentary utilizing footage shot by staffers during Nixon’s administration, is at 91 percent.

  • I Declare War, an action comedy about a group of 13-year-olds participate in a militaristic daily game of capture the flag, is at 79 percent.

  • Brian DePalma‘s Passion, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in a thriller about the fraught relationship between a advertising executive and her ambitious assistant, is at 40 percent.

  • American Made Movie, a documentary about the state of domestic manufacturing, is at 40 percent.

  • Afternoon Delight, starring Juno Temple and Jane Lynch in a dramedy about an affluent mom who hires a stripper as a nanny, is at 35 percent.

  • The Lifeguard, starring Kristen Bell and Mamie Gummer in a dramedy about a thirtysomething woman whose professional and romantic failings lead her to try to relive her teenage years, is at 12 percent.

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