General Consensus: 127 Hours, Due Date & Paranormal Activity 2

I’ve been trying to think of a way that I can return some link love for all those critics/blogs that I love to read.  Since I love reading reviews of films that I’ve seen what I’ll do is each week whatever new release that I review here I will post what I think the General Consensus of the movie is by posting short snippets of many reviews here.  Check it out below:

So here’s how this is going to work.  Since I want to create an average score for the film (like my own blogosphere only version of RT or IMDB) I will only count reviews that have a rating.  If your rating is letter graded then I will convert it using High School style grades (i.e. A = 9/10, B = 8/10, C = 7/10, D = 5/10, F = 3/10).  I’ll definitely mention other, non-scaled reviews, but they won’t be calculated into the overall General Consensus.

127 Hours

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Written by: Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

Starring: James Franco

Reviews:

James Franco, on screen for almost every frame of the film (often in close-up), is forced to carry 127 HOURS and he hits it out of the park. For more than an hour, the audience is stuck in a hole along with the actor and the intensity of Franco’s performance, running a real spectrum of emotion, keeps us riveted. – Tom Stockman from WAMG. Grade: N/A

It’s not often that a movie gets a physical reaction out of me. Emotional, sure. That’s par for the course. But physical? Not so much. In 127 Hours there was a moment where I was curled into so tight a ball while sitting in my tiny theatre seat that my legs started cramping and my back got sore. All the while my gag reflex was working overtime. I’ve squirmed in movies before, but never like that. – Lauren Flanagan from Film School Rejects. Grade: A- (8.5/10)

Boyle, never a director who never ends up in the spot of repeating himself, once again pulls off an incredibly accomplished piece of filmmaking. Put into the hands of someone who wanted to just make a straight forward narrative of Ralston’s tale of persistence, 127 Hours would still have been a commendable film based solely on its harrowing narrative. – Jeremy Kirk from Firstshowing. Grade: 10/10

How do you make a movie about someone trapped alone in the desert for 127 hours? As amazing as the story is when you hear it on CNN, it doesn’t seem to lend itself to cinematic retelling. But Boyle (working from a screenplay he co-wrote with “Slumdog Millionaire” writer Simon Beaufoy) makes the most of it, ingeniously. – Eric D. Snider. Grade: A-(8.5/10)

“127 Hours” removes the filters. It implicates us. By identification, we are trapped in the canyon, we are cutting into our own flesh. One element that film can suggest but not evoke is the brutality of the pain involved. I can’t even imagine what it felt like. Maybe that made it easier for Ralston, because in one way or another, his decision limited the duration of his suffering. – Roger Ebert. Grade: 10/10

As a passive observer, you learn a lot about Ralston from what goes on in his head, how he exhausts every last conceivable option to escape and how he bides his time, and what might be the most amazing thing is that it all goes by in a flash. Didn’t check my watch once, doubt anyone else did either. Farthest thing from a snoozefest you’ll see all year. – Aiden Redmond from Cut The Crap Movie Reviews. Grade: 9.0/10

However, when the movie was coming to a close not only do you feel the triumph that Aron has made over the last five days but you just want to cry.  The final moments of the film was so emotionally engaging that I personally wanted to start crying in the theatre. – Andrew from GmanReviews. Grade: 9.0/10

Another factor that makes 127 HOURS unique is its intense rhythm. While much of the film is focused on one man in one locale, the movie isn’t content to just let the camera sweep and swivel through this one narrow crevasse. Instead, the story is told with an intensely frenetic energy – both when Ralston is in the present and especially when he’s thinking of the outside world. – The Mad Hatter from The Dark of the Matinee. Grade: 10/10

To pull us away from the canyon and delve deeper into Ralston’s life, Boyle takes us on a series of increasing hallucinations. From his childhood to his love life, each new existential trip fleshes out our deteriorating lead. – Jordan Raup from The Film Stage. Grade: 9.0/10

As Ralston, Franco brings more than enough youthfulness to the role, which is crucial in developing the character’s no-holds-barred personality. In one of the film’s first sequences, Ralston takes a serious dive over a rock while riding his bike, and while the audience is pausing to make sure the character isn’t seriously injured, Ralston is busy getting out his camera so that he can share his triumphant physicality with the rest of the world. – Danny King from The King Bulletin. Grade: 8.75/10

I only wish the film on the whole had the same impact as those isolated scenes. Boyle cobbles together what little conventional narrative he can from the five day ordeal, but it never fully ensnares. Flashbacks seem like a given, though the brief instances of escape we witness via dream or memory aren’t especially interesting until they began mingling with Ralston’s increasingly distorted reality. – Colin from FilmJunk. Grade: 7.5/10

Avg. Score: 9.0/10

Due Date

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Written by: Alan R. Cohen & Alan Freedland

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifanakis, Jamie Foxx & Michelle Monaghan

Reviews

What makes this movie work is that you don’t feel sympathetic to either of these guys as the film goes along, or at the very least the sympathy shifts from one character to the next throughout the film and you never are lambasting one character that doesn’t deserve it at that specific moment. – Andrew from GmanReviews. Grade: 7.0/10

I was probably more disappointed by the fact that I was expecting so much more from these two. I understand the whole odd-couple mismatch that the film was going for, but in order for that to work, you got to have two actors that can create a good chemistry that will last through out. This doesn’t have that at all. – Dan from Dan’s The Man’s Movie Reviews. Grade: 2.0/10

Zach Galifianakis’ character Ethan isn’t much more likable either and simply comes off as incredibly absurd and irritating despite the filmmakers’ attempts to make him appear vulnerable. His performance shows that he is probably more effective as a supporting actor rather than as the main dish. – Castor from Anomalous Material. Grade:C (7.0/10)

The best way to put it: it’s a poor screenplay with exceptional actors. Fortunately for this movie, the exceptional actors are able to take plenty of conversations and scenes and make them rather amusing, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. – Jonathan B. from Row Three. Grade: 6.0/10

You might well have met someone like Ethan in your life. He’s the sort of person you don’t get in an elevator with…the person who will make you consider sitting on the other side of the lunchroom…the person who causes your hand to instinctively dive into your pocket desperately searching for a pair of earbuds. – Mad Hatter from The Dark of the Matinee. Grade: 7.5/10

The best way to describe this film is as an unrealistic, realistic look at the standard Odd Couple comedy. It’s far more realistic because the two men aren’t reduced to sitcom levels of meanness. They’re actually mean. – Cole Abaius from Film School Rejects. Grade: C+ (7.5/10)

Peter’s nastiness may be adequate if he were dealing with a rapist or an axe murderer, but here it simply seems like he’s beating down a weaker human being due to his own egotism. Ethan’s intelligence level and social skills are so low, Peter’s treatment of him is akin to punching a baby. This is proven after Peter belittles Ethan to such a degree no human would ever seek an apology, yet Ethan comes back to him like a beaten down puppy. He may be pathetic, but Ethan has a heart, a heart Peter is likely to chew up and spit out. – Brad Brevet from Rope of Silicon. Grade: C- (6.5/10)

As seen last month in It’s Kind of a Funny Story, there is more Galifianakis has to offer than just laughs. Instead of the one-note character found in The Hangover, Phillips lets him expand to showcase this previously hidden dramatic talent. These skillful moments unfortunately don’t add up to much in the end, but the few that are there set this apart from aPlanes, Trains & Automobiles knockoff. – Jordan Raup from The Film Stage. Grade: 7.0/10

Phillips’ previous buddy flicks may not be masterpieces, but they consistently worked for a number of reasons – the most obvious being that they were populated with characters that, though flawed, were not insufferable assholes. – Kate Erbland from GATW. Grade: 3.0/10

It’s not as funny, but few films could be, and it does have some very big laughs. Unfortunately, the story holding them together isn’t as successful. – Roger Ebert. Grade:6.25/10

On that flip side of that coin however is Zach Galifianakis. Unlike The Hangover where Galifianakis’s character was an idiot savant, his character in Due Date, Ethan Tremblay is just and idiot. There’s no real redeeming quality to him. And that isn’t to say the film didn’t’ try to give him heart felt moments. The issue is that those moments felt forced and unnatural at their best, and just annoying at their worst. – Merrill Barr. Grade: 5.5/10

Avg. Score: 5.9/10

Paranormal Activity 2

Directed by: Tod Williams

Written by: Michael R. Perry & Christopher B. Landon

Starring: Brian Boland, Molly Ephriam, Seth Ginsberg & Sprague Grayden

Reviews

I’m of two minds on Paranormal Activity 2. On the one hand I think it’s a really creative take on a sequel, it surprized me and I thought it was an interesting story – so I’ll give it credit for that. But, on the other hand I don’t think it’s as scary as the original nor does it use the vérité style better than the original. – Shannon the Movie Moxie. Grade: N/A

There is one thing that Paranormal Activity 2 has over the first film, and it’s that there is one character I actually liked. In the first film Micah was an unbearable douche and Katie, while very attractive, came across like a useless lump. None of the new humans in this film are particularly interesting (I don’t know that there’s an actual characteristic of any type that I can ascribe to Katie’s sister), but the dog Abbey is a wonder. Loyal, brave and caring, Abbey is someone you can really get behind. – Devin Faraci from Badass Digest. Grade: N/A

While the first film was more subtle and had a slow build, this one is much blunter and the scares start coming early and never relent. Yet it still works. – Bill Graham from ColliderGrade: N/A

The second instalment of the story is so well structured into the canon that is Paranormal Activity that I can’t help but be massively pleased. The film found a way of not only explaining why this film is a lot faster and more vicious than the original in the narrative that I just want to applaud all the writers of the film. They took the entire concept of the first film and encapsulated into a whole new story which didn’t feel like it was just rehashing all the same scares from the first movie, but rather explaining it and while keeping the same creepy unintentionally caught on tape vibe that the original introduced. – Andrew from GmanReviews. Grade: 8.0/10

That being said, the majority of the film is viewed from the vantage point of the mounted security cameras, which better serve the reality of the story. The sets are designed with the same attention to detail as the first — these are deep, cluttered spaces that keep you scanning the frame for signs of movement. Again, Paranormal 1 does it better, and the use of multiple locations, though novel, does admittedly kill some of the visual tension. – Colin from FilmJunk. Grade: 7.5/10

In all honesty if I noticed something completley bat shit going on in my house, my first stage wouldn’t be denial, it would be to get the hell out that house. Some characters in this film notice, but the dad is such a dick to the fact of there actually being demons, that when he sees all this shit happening on film, he just feels salty, and calls everybody crazy. – Dan from Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews. Grade: 9.0/10

The director Tod Williams did a superb job setting framing the shots and playing to the viewer’s instincts.  Just as you look one direction, something unexpected comes at you from another.  While I did enjoy this film for what it did in contrast to the original, the ending was a bit expected and uneventful. – Joshua Blackburn from The Film Stage. Grade: 7.0/10

Were both Katie and her sister attacked by something demonic? Surely there is a connection, and there is, and it’s a bit out there. However, one of the biggest strengths of found footage films is that their style makes the story feel real, even though it may have plot points that seem a bit silly. – Rusty Gordon from GATW. Grade: 8.0/10

The universe of the first Paranormal Activity is expanded by the sequel in ways far more significant than just making the protagonist Katie’s sister. The playful chronology actually weaves the events of the sequel in with those of the first brilliantly and effectively makes Paranormal Activity 2simultaneously a sequel and a prequel. It also enhances the first one by adding an interesting subtext to the paranormal events of both films so that the original no longer appears as a random haunting, but instead hints at the tale of a cursed family whose misfortune dates back generations. – Brian Salisbury from Film School Rejects. Grade: A- (8.5/10)

People go to “Paranormal Activity 2″ with fond memories of the original film, which was low-tech and clever in the way it teased our eyes and expectations. It scared them. They want to be scared again. They will be. When there’s a loud unexpected bang it will scare you. The structural task of the Gotcha! Movie is to separate the bangs so they continue to be unexpected. – Roger Ebert. Grade: 3.75/10

In addition to being tense and scary, the film actually complements the first one, enhancing the story without having to retrofit too many of the details. Katie’s backstory makes a little more sense now, but isn’t so over-explained that it loses its mystique. - Eric D. Snider. Grade: B (8.0/10)

Legitimacy was the greatest aspect of the first film, and what made it so good. There seemed to be reason for why things were being recorded and it added value to have the film’s characters watch what they had recorded, allowing them to see exactly what the audience was seeing. Unfortunately, in the sequel the cameras are merely there to capture the story until it’s necessary they take a more active role, such as the REC-style finale. Paranormal Activitymade the audience part of the haunt while the sequel loses the intimacy and turns you into an impartial and detached observer. – Brad Brevet from Rope of Silicon. Grade: C+ (7.5/10)

Avg. Score: 7.5/10