Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Cloud Atlas Is a Beautiful Mess

Plus, Fun Size is likeable but bland, Chasing Mavericks is a so-so sports flick, and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D wasn't screened -- guess the Tomatometer!

by | October 25, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got time-spanning connectedness (Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry); a Halloween escapade (Fun Size, starring Victoria Justice and Chelsea Handler); a legendary surfer (Chasing Mavericks, starring Jonny Weston and Gerard Butler); and a demonic town (Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, starring Adelaide Clemens and Sean Bean). What do the critics have to say?

Cloud Atlas


The Wachowskis have never been short on ambition; they’ve been blowing minds (or trying to) ever since The Matrix put them on the map. Now they’re back with Cloud Atlas, and critics are divided — some say it’s an awe-inspiring work of visual and emotional daring, while others say it’s muddled, pretentious, and overlong. It’s a series of interconnected vignettes that follows a variety of characters (played by, among others, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent) across centuries, as seemingly small actions and events have monumental repercussions. The pundits agree that Cloud Atlas is a singular film, but while some are thrilled by its monumental scope and big ideas, others say it’s too undisciplined and disjointed to realize its outsized aims. (Check out this week’s Total recall, in which we count down Hanks’ best-reviewed films, as well as our 24 Frames gallery of epic sci-fi movies.)

Fun Size


Most Halloween releases feature mad slashers and teens in distress, so it’s refreshing that Fun Size offers a more mirthful take on All Hallows Eve. Unfortunately, critics say the movie is a slight, middling romp that’s breezily likable but mostly forgettable. Victoria Justice stars as Wren, a high school senior tasked with watching her little brother Albert on Halloween. However, the little guy gets lost while trick-or-treating, and Wren must round up a posse to track him down; hilarity ensues. The pundits say Fun Size is pleasant but innocuous, decent teen fare with a few laughs and a lot of predictability.

Chasing Mavericks


Chasing Mavericks doesn’t stray too far from the inspirational sports movie playbook: it’s got a talented kid, a wise mentor, and a big obstacle to overcome. And that’s part of the problem, critics say: while the film features some remarkable images and strong performances, it can’t quite muster the strength to break free from formula. Jonny Weston stars as real-life surfing star Jay Moriarity who discovers that a legendary wave can be found close to his home. In order to gain the skills necessary to ride such a dangerous patch of water, Jay teams up with Frosty (Gerard Butler), an experienced surfer who acts as both a coach and father figure for the wave-riding prodigy. The pundits say Chasing Mavericks‘ surfing scenes feel authentic, and Weston and Butler share an easy chemistry, but the film’s devotion to sports movie cliches and inspirational platitudes sap it of its power.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D


It appears the folks behind Silent Hill: Revelation 3D were afraid their film wouldn’t be worth a trip, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. After a series of vivid nightmares, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) finds herself bedeviled across dimensions by the inhabitants of Silent Hill. Hey everyone, put down your game controllers and guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Revisionaries, a documentary about ideological battles over science education, is at 88 percent.
  • The Loneliest Planet, starring Gael García Bernal in a drama about a young couple whose vacation takes a shattering turn, is at 86 percent.
  • Sleep Tight, a thriller about a Barcelona doorman obsessed with wrecking the life of an unsuspecting woman, is at 86 percent.
  • The Other Son, a drama about an Israeli and a Palestinian child switched at birth, is at 71 percent.
  • Pusher, a remake of Nicolas Winding Refn‘s thriller about a drug dealer pursued by a crime boss after a botched deal, is at 53 percent.
  • The Black Tulip, a drama about an Afghan family that opens a café and encourages free expression, is at 40 percent.
  • Dinotasia, featuring CGI dinosaurs going about their daily business, is at 33 percent.

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