The Verdict on This Weekend's Movies: "Elm Street", "Furry Vengeance", and More

  • Publish Date: April 29, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 9 user comments

Updated 5/1 at 8:00a

This Week's Major Releases, Head to Head
Movie Release Rating Genre Metascore Critic Grades Users
Furry Vengeance WIDE PG Family/Comedy 23 0,5,15 3.3
A Nightmare on Elm Street WIDE R Horror 33 1,12,9 5.4
Harry Brown LIMITED R Drama 56 10,8,2 7.5
Please Give LIMITED R Comedy 75 12,3,1 n/a
Compare to the "best" wide releases from recent weeks:
Oceans 4/23 NR Documentary 75 17,4,0 6.5
Kick-Ass 4/16 R Action 66 27,7,4 8.3
Date Night 4/9 PG-13 Comedy 56 20,15,2 5.0

A nightmarish end to spring

In the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street that opens this weekend, a group of young people try not to fall asleep, for fear of being haunted by a homicidal maniac in their dreams. Audience members may find themselves trying not to stay awake, for fear of having to continue watching a terrible movie. And, yet, Nightmare isn't even the week's worst major release; those honors go to the misguided family comedy Furry Vengeance. The good news? The summer movie season kicks off next week, with the arrival of Iron Man 2.

Here are the details on this week's major new releases:

Furry Vengeance 23

Furry Vengeance (2010) 23
Brendan Fraser's Last 5 Films
Extraordinary Measures (2010) 45
Inkheart (2009) 47
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The (2008) 31
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (2008) 57

No, it's not what you think it is. This live-action family comedy stars Brendan Fraser as a real estate developer who encounters spirited (and physical) resistance from an enterprising group of animals when he attempts to build a housing subdivision in their wilderness. (It is, however, as bad as you think it is.)

What the critics like: Entertainment Weekly is grateful that the animals themselves don't speak. Very young children might -- might -- get some enjoyment out of the film.

What they don't like: Pretty much everything about the movie, which is receiving some of the worst reviews for a major release this year. The comedy is appallingly unfunny, the animation for the animals is both cheap and disturbing, and the movie could not be more obvious about its pro-environment message (and could not present it in a less appropriate manner). Many critics also appear to feel sorry for Fraser.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 33

Music video director Samuel Bayer (Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) makes his feature debut with this darker and louder remake of Wes Craven's 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, with Jackie Earle Haley stepping into the shoes (or should we say razor gloves) of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. The buzz from early test screenings was negative, and this week's critical response isn't any better. (Be sure to check out our look at the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series if you haven't already.)

What the critics like: While its hard to replace the iconic Englund, Haley's performance appears to be a bright spot. There are also a few scary moments. Some of the visuals are slick.

What they don't like: It's routine, generic, stale, and unimaginative, which is especially troublesome given that the original film was anything but. The movie is also boring enough that audiences may have as much trouble staying awake as the on-screen characters do. Many of the scares are so mild that they are more likely to induce laughter than fright.

Harry Brown 56

An older man (Michael Caine) in present-day Britain reaches his breaking point when his best friend is murdered by a hooligan.

What the critics like: Caine's performance, for starters. Actually, that's about the only thing that critics are finding universally agreeable about the film. Some reviewers find the movie gripping and effective.

What they don't like: This tale of revenge is highly derivative of older movies such as Death Wish and the Dirty Harry oeuvre (or even Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino). Several critics despise the film; without Caine, the film has little to offer other than exploitation and unjustified violence, and it veers wildly from realism to sensationalism. A detective played by Emily Mortimer is also a liability, although critics are divided as to whether that is due to the actress or the character itself.

Please Give 75

Please Give (2010) 75
Nicole Holofcener's 4 Films
Friends with Money (2006) 68
Lovely & Amazing (2002) 75
Walking and Talking (1996) 67

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener is known for making intelligent, adult-oriented, female-centric comedies starring Catherine Keener, and Please Give -- about a New York married couple with neighbor problems -- continues that trend. In addition to Keener, the ensemble cast includes Amanda Peet and Oliver Platt.

What the critics like: The performances are strong; the film is well-crafted, smart, funny, sharply observational, honest, and a welcome departure from typical Hollywood fare.

What they don't like: The New York Observer's Rex Reed finds the film downright boring, and even the critics who enjoy it admit that there isn't a whole lot happening in terms of story or drama. Several critics compare it to a good short story, which we don't necessarily think of as a compliment, seeing as how the film itself isn't short.

Next week in Metacritic

Opening wide next Friday, May 7th, are the summer's most anticipated film, Iron Man 2, and the appropriately-titled documentary Babies. The Naomi Watts-Annette Bening drama Mother and Child will also screen in limited release.

Full Movie Release Calendar

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Comments (9)

  • sam  

    you guys are so unbelievably stupid. u cant see the good in modern remakes of original pieces of crap. the original Nightmare and Friday movies were horrible. the newer more realistic views on them are top notch.

  • chris  

    Sam, did you see the original Nightmare on Elmstreet when it came out in theatres? Or did you watch it 15 years later? The original did things that were not done in horror movies, and in terms of special effects, was inventive. It may not hold up to modern standards, but do you think Avatar will still be considered gorgeous in 25 years? The new Elmstreet movie doesn't do anything new, and stays squarely within the generic box of modern day horror movies. Your opinion is like the opinion of a younger person who has seen 20 horror movies in his lifetime, and thinks that is enough. Go watch 250, from the days of silent movies to now, and maybe you can have an educated opinion.

  • You have got to be k  

    Sam - you are an idiot. Full stop.

  • Kai  

    you're absolutely right, chris. hindsight is always 20/20. i'm sad this elm street was terrible. i had a faint glimmer of hope in my heart. but now it's gone.

  • RJ  

    They left out Wes Craven so what did they really expect? Someone new guy is going to remake his original nightmare and make it better? Yea right! I'm glad to hear Haley was successful in his portrayal (lots to live up to) but Robert Englund will always be the man.

  • Tylerr  

    I'm glad someone else was able to take the helm of Freddy successfully. Robert Englund's character was starting to become more and more like a perverted old man than anything else with every new installment.

  • Cory  

    Sam, no, I do not see the good in modern remakes. Actually, many movies, besides remakes, are truly letting me down, because they are focusing more on wowing us with pretty colors and pictures, than with storyline. Examples of this, I believe, start with the new Star Wars movies - episodes 1, 2, and 3 (not remakes, but these help my point, I believe). Perhaps you want to say that 4, 5, and 6 stank? They revolutionized films. 1, 2, and 3 turned into gimmicks by Lucas to get more money. But those were a little while ago. Let's try something recent.

    Alvin and the Chipmunks were recently brought back to life. If you are like me, and used to watch the show when you were younger (I am now 20), you would believe that the new movies are atrocious.

    But let's get to remakes. I haven't yet seen nightmare on Elm Street - either one - so I can't say yay or nay to either. But let's try The Day the Earth Stood Still. The old one was fantastic. But the only good thing about the new one was the special effects. Once again, movies are focusing more on computer animation, rather than story. It's very aggravating.

    However, following your logic, you would think The Day the Earth Stood Still from the 50's is awful because it is in black and white, and does not have loads of wowie special effects. Maybe it's because I love to watch movies, and I am studying to get into film, but I prefer old speccial effects and stunt doubles, not computer animation. It really takes away from the feel of the world the movie is making. The Dark Knight was mostly special effects (Two-face was computer animation, though). When Joker was walking out of the hospital, that was actually a hospital exploding. Those were atual people being pushed out of a window and having their feet caught in a rope. It goes on. The Dark Knight got it right. That made me happy.

    I wish more movies would focus on special effects and not computer animation.

  • leon101  

    I haven't seen the new Nightmare movie, but I pray it's better than the Friday remake, that was terrible.

  • Matt  

    Anyone who thought the original Nightmare was horrible is an f'ing dumba** and that's all there is to it.

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