Another week, another batch of critics who just can't be pleased.
Nearly everyone loved "The Master," but the Scientology-inspired film didn't go over as well at AMNY, where a writer found the movie satisfying in some pretty significant ways. That review notwithstanding, anything short of a Best Picture nomination is sure to come as a disappointment to the folks over at The Weinstein Company.
Josh Radnor's new movie, "Liberal Arts," received some favorable reviews, though one critic took some issue with Radnor's own character. But of the other new films at the cineplex, none was more disparaged than "The Last Ounce of Courage," a preachy project from the same folks who brought you "2016: Obama's America." The target this time: godless Americans who gleefully strip the holidays of any references to Christmas. This supposed sanitization of Christ's birthday provides the backdrop for what most critics agree is a pretty pitiful crusade.
Elsewhere in the review universe, Lil Wayne's latest mixtape, Dedication 4, earned a massive eyeroll from Pitchfork, where a writer questioned whether the aspiring skateboarder even gave a damn about rap anymore. Other musical acts who didn't fare so well: an aged DMX and an apparently uninspiring effort from The Raveonettes.
For all the harsh takes -- including what one critic found problematic with the latest installment of "Resident Evil" -- take a look at the gallery below. Who was fair? Which jabs missed their mark? Let us know in the comments.
'The Master' Couldn't Win Over AMNY
<a href="http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/movie-review-the-master-2-5-stars-1.3999676" target="_hplink">'The Master' Ultimately Failed AMNY</a>: <blockquote>Of course, the movie's had no trouble drumming up publicity. It's partially inspired by Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard, who is clearly being channeled by Hoffman's Dodd. But viewers seeking some sort of incendiary expose will be disappointed. Anderson is far more interested in exploring the turmoil of displacement and the ways it draws out the fundamental truth that man at his core is ruled by his emotions, not his capacity for reason. That's a strange notion for such a coldhearted movie but it perfectly sums up the conundrum that is "The Master."</blockquote>
'Liberal Arts' Had Some Fans, But...
<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/09/10/160892750/liberal-arts-a-lesson-in-arrested-development?ft=1&f=1045 " target="_hplink">NPR wasn't among them:</a> <blockquote>Most of the time, though, Radnor seems pretty impressed with the version of himself he's playing. This also was a problem with his other film, in which he played a would-be novelist who casually adopts a kid who gets lost on the subway. His character's relationship with a younger person isn't quite as reckless this time, but we're clearly supposed to love both characters for the way they pick up strays. "HappyThankYouMorePlease" was more of an ensemble piece, so Radnor didn't dominate. This time, the only character other than Jesse who gets much screen time is the underwritten, over-innocent Zibby. When Nat counsels that "Everything is OK," he appears to be affirming, well, everything. But Liberal Arts appears designed primarily to affirm Josh Radnor.</blockquote>
Does Lil Wayne Even Try Anymore?
<a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17159-dedication-4/" target="_hplink">Pitchfork votes "no": </a> Dedication 4, for its part, is the clearest transmission yet of a message he's been sending for a while: He'd rather not to be rapping anymore. From a beat selection so obvious that the word "selection" feels generous to Wayne's recycled punch lines to his unimaginative rhyme patterns, the mixtape is joyless clock-punching work from a rapper who has given some indications he doesn't even like his own music as much anymore. But a career's a career, and when you've gotten this famous, you don't just stop, even if maybe you'd prefer to. This is the spirit Dedication 4 comes to us in: Somehow, I don't think this is what 2005 Wayne meant when he promised us he'd only retire when he died.
The Raveonette's Stumble
<a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17027-observator/" target="_hplink">Pitchfork Bites Again:</a> <blockquote>A full album in this vein sounds promising, but unfortunately, <em>Observator</em> has no interest in teasing out that mood or even using that instrument again. The piano is quickly discarded and with it any sense of the album as a distinct entity in the Raveonettes' later catalog. They can still set a specific mood with just a few notes, and Wagner and Sharin Foo deliver some of their spryest hooks on "She Owns the Streets" and "The Enemy", but these songs sound suspiciously light, lacking the urgency or stakes of their best material. Especially on the second side, Wagner indulges a particular strategy of repeating lines until they resemble hooks without actually hooking you. Especially sequenced back to back, "Downtown" and "You Hit Me (I'm Down)" quickly become grating, making even a short album-- just over thirty minutes-- sound interminably long. </blockquote>
Not Even One Ounce Of Courage
<a href="http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/2012/09/13/little-bounce-this-ounce/WsUXfrCRj3S68hsNEsMD1H/story.html" target="_hplink">'Last Ounce of Courage' bored <em>The Boston Globe</em>:</a> <blockquote>The problem with this numbskull travesty isn't that it's fatuous and smug (which it is). It's that it's slack and dull. The storytelling is inept (that weird 14-year hiatus, for example), and any time Fred Williamson gives the most assured performance in a movie, that movie is in serious trouble. Worse than that, it trivializes the very issues it's supposedly promoting. The Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest decoration this nation has to bestow on its military, gets casually tossed in as a minor plot device, and Bob's idea of Christmas has about as much to do with the miracle of Jesus's birth as his ideas about citizenship have to do with the Constitution. Christmas, he says, is "a holiday that most of our citizens enjoy but a minority of soreheads don't." Protecting the rights of soreheads, who come in all shapes, sizes, and percentages, is a proposition the Founders were rather fond of. You'd think Bob would be doubly aware of that, being the exponent that he is of both patriotism and soreheadedness.</blockquote>
DMX Has Same Bark, Less Bite
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/dmx-undisputed-review-album_n_1880360.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment" target="_hplink">The AP was not a fan:</a> But "I Don't Dance," the first single that features hip-hop newcomer Machine Gun Kelly, is one of the album's most lackluster pieces of work - by DMX's standards. And there are more songs that sound just as bad. The veteran rapper's once powerful words are now hard to digest - on some songs he even mumbles - throughout most of his 17-track album. The production on "Undisputed" is respectable with Swizz Beatz, J.R. Rotem, Dame Grease and Tronzilla laying down the tracks. But their efforts don't help the overall quality.
'Resident Evil: Retribution' Falls Flat
<a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-resident-evil-retribution-review-20120915,0,3289929.story" target="_hplink">So says the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>:</a> <blockquote>As always, Jovovich's game face is admirable -- whether giving gunslinger shade or play-acting a protective mother storyline straight-outta-Cameron. But it can't be easy when all around her are line readings that recall the glory days of baroquely dull foreign-movie dubbing.</blockquote>
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