Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: John Wick is Certified Fresh

Plus, Ouija is dull, 23 Blast is earnest but predictable; and new episodes of The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy

by | October 22, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an avenging hitman (John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves and Adrianne Palicki), a bedeviled board (Ouija, starring Olivia Cooke and Douglas Smith), and an inspirational gridiron tale (23 Blast, starring Mark Hapka and Alexa Vega). What do the critics have to say?

John Wick


He’s taken some lumps over the years, but when it comes right down to it, Keanu Reeves is one of our most dependable action stars. Time will tell if John Wick will join Speed and The Matrix in the action movie pantheon, but critics say this is a stylish, briskly-paced thriller with terrific fight scenes and some sly humor. Reeves stars as a retired hitman reeling from the death of his wife when mob-affiliated hoods break into his house and kill his dog. Soon, our hero is back in the game — and practically every gangster in town is in fear for his life. The pundits say the Certified Fresh John Wick is the kind of muscular, full-throttle action flick that’s made with such skill and energy you’ll barely notice how thin the plot is. (Watch our video interview with Reeves.)



Ah, the mysterious Ouija board. Imbued with alleged occult powers, it’s been used to add spice to plenty of frightfests over the years, from 13 Ghosts to The Exorcist to Paranormal Activity. Now, everybody’s favorite board is ready for its close-up, but critics say Ouija fails to conjure much excitement aside from a few jump-scares. When a teenager dies in an accident, her friends attempt to contact her in the great beyond, awaking a malevolent spirit in the process. The pundits say Ouija is competently made but thoroughly bland and decidedly short on creepiness.

23 Blast


Made with the best of intentions and based upon a remarkable true story, 23 Blast would seem to have all the pieces in place to wring tears from even the most hardened pigskin fans. Unfortunately, critics say the movie could use a lesson in clock management; despite fine acting from a group of seasoned pros, the film’s narrative is a little too slack. Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) is a high school football player who loses his vision from an inflammation of meningitis, but with the help of his family and friends, he eventually returns to the field. The pundits say 23 Blast has a nice sense of place and a few touching moments, but it’s awfully predictable.

Certified Fresh on TV:

After a rollicking, action-packed premiere, The Walking Dead mellowed out a bit for its second episode; critics say “Strangers”(100 percent) settles into a more deliberate, dialogue-heavy groove while still maintaining suspense.


Critics were mixed (but mostly positive) for the latest episode of Sons of Anarchy, saying that while it relied too heavily on brutal plot twists for effect, saying goodbye to a familiar face gives “Greensleeves”(70 percent) some emotional weight.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Heart Machine, an indie thriller about a Manhattanite who suspects his long-distance girlfriend may be catfishing him, is at 100 percent.
  • Citizenfour, a documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is Certified Fresh at 98 percent.
  • Force Majeure , a black comedy about a Swedish family on a ski trip in the Alps dealing with the fallout from a powerful avalanche, is at 97 percent.
  • 1,000 Times Good Night , starring Juliette Binoche and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in a drama about an idealistic war photographer whose family fears for her safety, is at 65 percent.
  • Laggies, starring Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz in a drama about an aimless woman in her late 20s who befriends a teenager as an escape from adult responsibility, is at 62 percent.
  • Stonehearst Asylum, starring Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley in a period thriller about a young doctor who discovers the inmates are literally running the asylum, is at 57 percent.
  • White Bird in a Blizzard, starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green in a dark dramedy about a teenager’s response to the disappearance of her overbearing mother, is at 53 percent.
  • Alain ResnaisLife of Riley, a drama about a group of close friends dealing with the news that one member of their circle has a terminal illness, is at 50 percent.
  • Exists, a found-footage horror film about a group of friends trying to find evidence of Bigfoot while on vacation in rural Texas, is at 29 percent.
  • Low Down, starring John Hawkes and Elle Fanning in a drama about a heroin-addicted jazz pianist and his daughter, is at 18 percent.
  • Revenge of the Green Dragons, a thriller about a gang member who targets his old comrades after a love affair goes wrong, is at 14 percent.

Tag Cloud

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