Critical Mass: Bridget Jones, Blair Witch return to screens
See what the critics are saying about this week's hottest releases
Want a blast (or two) from the past? Look no further than your local movie theater. This week, the big openers include two sequels (Bridget Jones’s Baby, Blair Witch) and a biopic of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower.
While you can revisit Helen Fielding’s beloved British heroine or get lost in the ominous Black Hills Woods, there are plenty of other offerings to choose from, and we’re here to help you pick what should go with that popcorn at your local theater.
See below to find out what critics are saying about all the latest releases.
Bridget Jones’s Baby
Opens Sept. 16.
EW‘s Kevin P. Sullivan says:
The script contains some genuinely uproarious laughs and is sharper than it needs to be, even if some of the jokes feel as old as Bridget’s condoms. (Admittedly, the conversation about “Gangnam Style” does end in a genuinely funny place.) But Bridget Jones’s Baby is a welcome return for the character and a more fitting ending than Edge of Reason… for now at least. In another 12 years, who knows? B+
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Opens Sept. 16
EW’s Kevin P. Sullivan says:
Anyone familiar with The Blair Witch Project already knows how the new film is structured. The group gets increasingly more lost as the scares get bigger and bigger. But a nice feature of Blair Witch is the expansion of the original’s underlying mythology, featured most prominently in the Sci-Fi Channel special Curse of the Blair Witch. The new film maintains the same tenor of modern-day folklore, adding a sense of dread that feels almost naturalistic and born of the land. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Opens Sept. 16.
EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:
But the movie goes wrong, alas, almost from the moment Gordon-Levitt opens his mouth. Literally: Whatever timbre he’s aiming for — presumably something in the realm of the real Snowden — he sounds almost cartoonishly odd, like a kid doing his rec-room version of Buffalo Bill’s monotone from Silence of the Lambs. And there’s about as much nuance in everything that follows: We learn quickly and clumsily that Snowden is next-level gifted, even among the pointy-headed prodigies of the CIA training program; that the government sometimes does very bad things in the name of security and freedom; and that the performances of Rhys Ifans and Nicolas Cage are only as good, approximately, as the hairpieces provided for their roles. C
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:
Still, the reason why the movie works at all is Hanks. I can’t imagine it airing anywhere but on Lifetime without him. On the page, Sullenberger is a pretty vanilla, one-dimensional character. A cipher with wings pinned to his chest. There’s nothing inherently cinematic about him. But Hanks, of course, brings a career’s worth of excellence, depth, good will, and trust-me assurance to the story that isn’t necessarily in Todd Komarnicki’s script. As in last year’s equally hagiographic Bridge of Spies, he doesn’t give a flashy performance or go big in the way most actors would. He knows there’s power in subtlety, in quiet, in the unspoken gesture—the words that aren’tspoken. He knows that less can often be more. Like Sully, he’s the kind of guy you want behind the controls. B
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
EW’s Christian Holub says:
Alvarez appears to have consciously toned down the gore from his blood-saturated Evil Dead remake, trusting unnerving visuals and foreshadowing what terrors are about to unfold. When the group first enter the house, the camera pans all the way around to show the hidden implements and traps they’re obliviously missing. But playing on this ambitious scale — trying to make a statement about modern society while meeting the demands of a modern thriller — costs the movie some consistency, and the stakes start to erode after a few too many narrow escapes. The result is thought-provoking but rather lacking in the second-by-second scares genre fans tend to expect. B+
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:
Writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch) skillfully sets up the film, introducing each of the crazies with caffeinated comic-book energy. But their mission — to take down Cara Delevingne’s undersketched witch, Enchantress, and her giant golem-like brother — is a bit of a bust. The stakes should feel higher. As someone who isn’t fluent in Suicide Squad lore, I can’t imagine there wasn’t a better villain in its back catalog. Still, it’s nothing compared with how wasted Leto’s scene-stealing Joker is. With his toxic-green hair, shiny metal teeth, and demented rictus grin, he’s the most dangerous live wire in the film. But he’s stranded in the periphery. For DC, which blew it with Batman v Superman last spring, Suicide Squad is a small step forward. But it could have been a giant leap. B–
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%