Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Drive is Certified Fresh

Plus, Straw Dogs falls short of the original, and I Don't Know How She Does It is too predictable.

by | September 15, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a lonely stuntman (Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan), home invaders (Straw Dogs, starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth), and a hard-working mom (I Don’t Know How She Does It, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan). What do the critics have to say?



On paper, Drive sounds like a pretty standard action flick. However, it all comes down to execution, and critics say Drive is an artful, tense genre picture with outstanding performances and a moody tone that’s all its own. Ryan Gosling stars as a stuntman who moonlights as a criminal getaway driver. He falls in love with a down-on-her-luck single mother (Carey Mulligan), but in the process of protecting her from underworld forces, he too is caught in the crossfire. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Drive is a smart, stylish, unnerving thrill ride that recalls the existential road movies of the 1970s, with Gosling giving a magnificent, career-defining performance in the lead and director Nicolas Winding Refn making an impressive American debut. (Check out our interview with Gosling here, as well as our list of the greatest movie car chases.)

Certified Fresh

Straw Dogs


Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 shocker Straw Dogs was one of the great director’s most visceral provocations, a blunt psychological thriller in which a nominal pacifist finds his breaking point. Critics say this remake has moments of raw power as well, but it falls short of the original’s bleak vision, and ends up being a decent revenge tale rather than a cinematic descent into barbarism. James Marsden and Kate Bosworth star as David and Amy, a pair of Hollywood types who retire to her Deep South hometown so he can work on his screenplay. Soon, however, the locals are needling them because of their flashy ways, and Amy’s old flame makes his menacing presence felt. The pundits say Straw Dogs has moments of real suspense, but it lacks Peckinpah’s sense of dark ambiguity, and its red state/blue state conflict feels too pat. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star James Woods’s best-reviewed movies.)

I Don’t Know How She Does It


I Don’t Know How She Does It has a premise that plenty of people can relate to: its protagonist feels pressured to maintain her professional and family duties without losing her mind. Unfortunately, critics say the movie doesn’t do its subject justice, instead relying too heavily on screwball humor and wish-fulfillment fantasies in place of insight. Sarah Jessica Parker stars as a high-powered executive who’s trying her best to balance the responsibilities of work, marriage, and child-rearing. She’s working on a big project with an attractive colleague (Pierce Brosnan), and finds that her career is taking up far more time than her family. The pundits say I Don’t Know How She Does It‘s strong cast does its best, but for the most part they’re given types, not characters, to play, and the plot is too predictable to fully resonate.

The Lion King


The Lion King was one of the crown jewels of Disney’s late-1980s-to-mid-1990s animation renaissance, and if you missed it the first time around, you’re in luck — it goes wide this weekend in glorious 3D. The Lion King is the tale of Simba, a cub who grows up to follow in the footsteps of his murdered father King Mufasa while battling his evil uncle Scar. This two-time Academy Award winner wowed the critics upon its release in 1994, and it’s easy to see why — it’s by turns tender and thrilling, and it’s filled with toe-tapping tunes and breathtaking visuals.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Silent Souls, a drama about a man who journey across Russia with his best friend in order to bury his deceased wife, is at 89 percent.
  • Happy, Happy, a deadpan Norwegian comedy about a pair of married couples who share awkward secrets, is at 80 percent.
  • My Afternoons with Marguerite, starring Gérard Depardieu as a nearly illiterate man who forms a bond with a well-read and highly intelligent elderly woman, is at 79 percent.
  • The Mill and the Cross, starring Rutger Hauer and Charlotte Rampling in a cinematic recreation of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting The Way to Calvary, is at 75 percent.
  • The Weird World of Blowfly, a profile of the legendary X-rated songwriter, is at 57 percent.
  • Jane’s Journey, a documentary portrait of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, is at 50 percent.
  • 3, a drama about two married people who are each powerfully attracted to the same man, is at 50 percent.
  • Gus Van Sant’s‘s Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska in a drama about a love affair between two damaged young people, is at 42 percent.

Finally, mad props to The Dude, filmfanatic, Kadeem S., and KnowledgeReigns for correctly guessing Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star‘s zero percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

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