This Week in Metacritic: Did You Hear About Avatar?

  • Publish Date: December 17, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 0 user comments

This week in Movies

ImageWhy so blue?

There are two movies opening nationwide on Friday: the one you've heard of, and that other one.

Quite possibly the most expensive film ever made, Avatar (PG-13) is a 3D science fiction epic from writer-director James Cameron, who hasn't released a major film since 1997's Titanic. OK, so if anyone knows how to make a blockbuster film, it's this guy. But with a steady stream of buzz building for a long period of time (Cameron first developed the concept 15 years ago, and the production incorporated a number of breakthrough technologies), Avatar has a lot to live up to.

Fortunately for Cameron and 20th Century Fox, the early reviews are almost exclusively positive -- some effusively so. Nearly all reviewers praise the look of the film, and many critics feel that Avatar lives up to its hype as a new type of moviegoing experience. The negatives all involve the film's story, but with visual effects at this level, "the narrative seems almost beside the point," as USA Today's Claudia Puig states. And even famed Titanic-hater Kenneth Turan (the Los Angeles Times' senior film critic) has praise for Avatar:

“Avatar’s” shock and awe demand to be seen. You’ve never experienced anything like it, and neither has anyone else. ... [Cameron] restores a sense of wonder to the moviegoing experience that has been missing for far too long.

So it appears that rather than deciding whether or not to see Avatar, your only choice is the format: RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, Digital 3D, or 2D (otherwise known as "normal"). Our advice: stay away from the 4D.

There is another major release this week: Did You Hear About the Morgans? No, you didn't, and you probably won't. This romantic comedy stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker as a married couple who attempt to save their rocky relationship while in the federal witness relocation program. There are only a handful of reviews published so far, but the movie has "ordinary" written all over it.

In limited release, two award contenders debut on a few screens in Los Angeles and New York. Crazy Heart, about an aging country music singer, is generating plenty of Best Actor buzz for star Jeff Bridges, and reviews have been very strong so far. And Rob Marshall's Nine is a musical based on a stage musical based on a play based on Federico Fellini's film 8½. Reviews are mixed, but the film has already earned several Golden Globe nominations. It opens wide on Christmas.

This week in Music

Fall Be Kind is a new EP from indie faves Animal Collective, and the music press had its usual kind things to say about group for its effort on the five-song disc, resulting in a very high Metascore of 87. Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys released her fourth album, The Element Of Freedom, to mostly positive press, although a few critics found it a little too low-key. And if the idea of a Sting album filled with winter-themed songs excites you, then you have reached a momentous week in your life.

This week in Television and Games

Thanks to the holidays, you won't find any new games on retailers' shelves this week, and your TiVo won't have much to do. Did we mention that Avatar opens this week?

This week on DVD

Perhaps the year's top comedy, The Hangover (73) unleashed Zach Galifianakis on the world at large, and now can be yours to watch again and again. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (69) entertained plenty of critics (if not their spellcheckers), although the war adventure failed to reach the critical heights of some of his previous films.

A few less-successful comedies also arrived in video stores this week: Ang Lee's gentle period piece Taking Woodstock (55), and the R-rated and poorly-reviewed The Goods (39), about a group of car salesmen led by Jeremy Piven.

Next week in Metacritic

For those of you keeping score at home, there will be no This Week in Metacritic next week due to the holidays, but our weekly summary will return in the new year.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (0)

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/may-2015-movie-preview Image
    Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in May
    April 29, 2015 - 1 comment
    1. LamontRaymond : Aloha looks like it has all the component parts of a great movie, but I'm guessing it's going to fall short. It's... Read »
  2. /feature/metascore-predictions-for-summer-movies-2015 Image
    Metascore Predictions for Summer Movies
    April 28, 2015 - 7 comments
    1. sebastianglz : I guess Southpaw and Ricki and the Flash are going to be the acclaimed movies of the summer. Read »
    2. aSoFaI : 45 for Hot Pursuit, 43 for Pixels, 39 for Agent 47! Proof that the users are going to be way high as a whole, these 3... Read »
  3. /feature/music-releases-for-the-week-of-april-27-2015 Image
    Music Monday (4/27): This Week's New Albums + Videos
    April 27, 2015 - 1 comment
    1. jeffreyglenn : screwed up the videos once again Read »
  4. /feature/renew-cancel-odds-for-bubble-shows-april-2015 Image
    TV Cancellation Watch: Renewal Odds for Remaining Bubble Shows
    April 21, 2015 - 8 comments
    1. martinex : Man am I out of touch. I can't sit through five minutes of any of the CSIs or NCISs CBS keep shoving up our... Read »
  5. /feature/best-of-march-2015 Image
    Best of March 2015: Top Albums, Games, Movies & TV
    March 31, 2015 - 6 comments
    1. loadstone007 : You died Read »
  6. /feature/best-movies-of-the-21st-century Image
    The Best Movies of the 21st Century (So Far)
    March 26, 2015 - 9 comments
    1. Christopher_G2 : Big winners include Richard Linklater (overall places 1, 10, 49) Kathryn Bigelow (8,12) Pixar (5,14,31, 47, 49, 96)... Read »
  7. /feature/reviews-and-results-of-the-87th-academy-awards Image
    2015 Oscars: Full Winners List + Reviews of the Show
    February 23, 2015 - 4 comments
    1. lukechristiansc : With Neil Patrick Harris as a host a blabbing jokes and sappy okay humor as the host he did not make it enjoyable... Read »
  8. /feature/25-best-ps4-games Image
    Quarterly Report: The 25 Best PlayStation 4 Games
    March 31, 2015 - 7 comments
    1. MisterBirdy : This list is nonsense Read »
  9. /feature/best-albums-of-2013 Image
    The Best Albums of 2013
    December 19, 2013 - 9 comments
    1. vicyamusicgreat : Delighted to see the Pet Shop Boys's Electric, as indeed it was very fine. I woulda' thought that the Vampire Weekend... Read »