The Founder

On VOD:
The Founder

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The Founder.  Rating:  4 (out of 5).  The film examines the true story of Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, who managed to pull the company from under brothers Mac and Dick McDonald and create a billion-dollar fast food empire. The movie will premiere on VOD on Tuesday, April 18.  The New York Observer says, “A saucy, twinkling star performance by Michael Keaton make this one of the must-see entertainments of the year.”

Starring: B.J. Novak, John Carroll Lynch, Justin Randell Brooke, Katie Kneeland, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini, Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, Patrick Wilson
Director: John Lee Hancock
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Biography, Drama, History

 

REVIEWS

USA Today gives the film 3 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “An intriguing take on the genre that veers wildly away from its initial feel-good nature, The Founder has its flaws — though not as many as its main subject — yet is an insightful look at the history of an iconic institution that doubles as a cautionary tale.”

The Hollywood Reporter says, “Hancock’s apparently irrepressible penchant for folksy Midwestern types and perky montages dilutes any cynicism or misanthropy that might have given this material the edginess it deserves.”

New York Post finds, “It’s too bad that Keaton plays Kroc as a grasping, alcoholic sleaze as he builds the McDonald’s brand into an all-American empire, but I forgive the movie’s cheap shots because this is one of the most thorough and satisfying depictions of business — everything from quality control to cost-cutting and branding — ever put on film.”

According to Boston Globe, “The Founder is a solid, smart, worthwhile film and the only remaining mystery is why the Weinstein Company is burying it with a quiet January release rather than pushing its much-loved star into the awards race with the usual fanfare.”

The Seattle Times thinks, “The details of the story are often fascinating (you’ll learn a lot about burger production), and the cast find plenty of moments to shine.”

Los Angeles Times observes, “[Hancock] turns the unlikely subject of a fast-food chain into a quasi-religious satire, a parable of American striving and, ultimately, a study of artisanal integrity gradually caving in to commercial compromise.”

New York Observer says, “A saucy, twinkling star performance by Michael Keaton make this one of the must-see entertainments of the year.”

Variety says, “Keaton plays Kroc as a man both pathetic and singularly possessed, cannily resisting lovability at every turn, while delivering the internalized self-help speak of his sales pitches with chillingly glib precision.”

The New York Times thinks, “Ray remains an unanswered, not especially compelling, question, but Mr. Keaton comes close to making you believe there’s soul to go with the fries and freneticism.”

Chicago Sun-Times gives the movie 4 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “It’s a great slice of Americana — a classic, red-white-and blue success story in more ways than one, with Keaton embodying everything admirable and not so admirable and despicable about Ray Kroc’s climb to the top of Hamburger Mountain. It’s some of Keaton’s finest work. It’s also the first great movie I’ve seen in 2017. “

According to Village Voice, “The Founder slowly reveals itself as a don’t-let-the-devil-into-your-house parable, one that uses all the techniques of inspirational moviemaking to disguise that devil’s intentions, even from the devil himself.”

New York Magazine (Vulture) notes, “Michael Keaton is sensational as Kroc.”

Chicago Tribune finds, “Certain things get fudged in The Founder, among them Kroc’s middle marriage, and director Hancock can’t completely resolve the warring strains in what he sees as Kroc’s personality. But that’s what gives the movie its tension, and it works.”

The New Yorker observes, “Layer by layer, this dumbfounding movie devises its magical recipe, and dares us to resist it: ketchup, mustard, two slices of pickle, and hold the irony. Delicious.”

Wall Street Journal says, “Mr. Keaton’s performance is fascinating from beginning to end, and the movie around him is entertaining in fits and starts. Ultimately, though, it’s a tough sell, a biopic with an uncertain tone that doesn’t know what to make of its subject.”

According to Christian Science Monitor, “The Founder remains fascinating largely because Keaton is so good at guile and bile. Not once does he wink at the audience or overplay the obvious. His Kroc is magnetically repellent – more so, I venture to guess, than the filmmakers intended him to be.”

San Francisco Chronicle finds, “Keaton is fun to watch — fun and a little bit eerie. He plays Ray as all drive and no soul.”

New York Daily News thinks, “The details of how the McDonalds literally invented the fast-food concept are fascinating. The period details feel right. All in all, the film’s a slick, good-looking package. But it still feels empty. Where’s the message? Where’s the meaning? Where’s the beef?”

Philadelphia Inquirer says, “Michael Keaton has this incredible, I’m-at-the-edge-of-the-abyss look that should be taught as “the hangdog” in drama school.”

Washington Post observes, “In the end, The Founder is little more than a deflating reminder, as if we needed one, that the winner takes all, and integrity isn’t always the key to success.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “Not just another biopic, The Founder is a morality tale that raises provocative questions about consumer culture, its benefits and its consequences. You won’t look at a Big Mac the same way again.”

According to Arizona Republic, “The Founder, John Lee Hancock’s film about Ray Kroc, is kind of a mess, which makes it perfect for the current political climate.”

Tampa Bay Times gives the film a B+ rating, and further notes, “Even in repetitive or undernourished moments Keaton, Offerman and Lynch always entertain. Their performances have fallen through the cracks of awards season. All that glitters on Oscar night won’t be golden arches, and that’s a minor shame.”

Austin Chronicle finds, “An actor most at home playing devilish, Keaton’s got the last-reel Machiavellian shrug down cold. But neither he nor the filmmakers do much to illuminate the neural pistons fired from brain to bodily shrug.”

The Telegraph thinks, “It’s eye-opening, well acted and darkly entertaining.”

The Globe and Mail says, “As limp and cold as The Founder is as a movie, it contains one of the finest Keaton performances of his entire career, maybe the one he’s been working his whole life toward.”

The Guardian gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “The Founder is an absorbing and unexpectedly subtle movie about the genesis of the McDonald’s burger empire.”

According to CineVue, “The Founder is a solid biopic but not one that will go down in history – unlike the multi-million dollar-making fast food chain at its core.”

Consequence of Sound says, “There’s just no subtlety to any of the proceedings and while there’s an argument to made in how the film’s fairly transparent about these intentions, none of it rises above being anything more than an average historical recap.”

Indiewire finds, “If The Founder comes up short of providing a satisfactory dramatization of its main storyline, at least it peels back the veil with sufficient intrigue. Yet it still leaves the sour impression that Kroc got the last laugh. Even in this less-than-flattering portrait, he remains its brightest star.”

Movie Nation gives the film 3 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “A feel-good movie like “The Founder,” pitched somewhere between “Big Eyes” and “The Master” in tone, is proof that even though Keaton has yet to win the Oscar he so craved for “Birdman,” his real victory is landing roles in “Spotlight” and “The Founder.” Like Ray Kroc, he’s a talent whose greatest strength may be on that salesman’s self-help LP Kroc listens to in dinky motel rooms, struggling for a break.”

MTV News observes, “We’re stuck with Hancock’s vanilla saga about a soulless businessman who failed until he won big, a story that might have worked in the cynical ’90s but today has a moral obligation to say something with its two-hour running time.”

ReelViews thinks, “The Founder represents two hours well-spent, especially for anyone with a fascination for complex characters or an interest in the shenanigans that transformed an unpretentious local restaurant into a global force. You probably won’t ever again think of McDonald’s in quite the same way.”

RogerEbert.com gives the film 3 stars, and further writes, ““The Founder” is mesmerized by its hero, McDonald’s chain founder Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), but horrified by how he built his empire. That kind of ambivalence is great; in fact it’s a hallmark of good drama. But there are too many moments when “The Founder” becomes a business-drama variant of that war film problem identified by Francois Truffaut: it’s hard to make a truly anti-war film because war is inherently cinematic, and when you show it, people get swept up in the action anyway.”

Rolling Stone notes, “Like Apple founder Steve Jobs, Kroc – who died in 1984 – had a genius for marketing the talent of others. Is that a lesser gift? Not in these United States. Not then. And not in the age of Trump. Set more than a half century ago, The Founder proves to be a movie for a divisive here and now. Step right up. You might just learn something. God help us.”

The Film Stage gives the movie a C rating, and further notes, “It certainly is dramatic material, but The Founder presents it as a generic “rise to the top” story without even the decency to suggest Kroc lost his soul along the way.”

Screen International finds, “The extent of Kroc’s greed is The Founder’s unique playing card, and John Lee Hancock delivers it with a depressingly special sauce.”

ScreenCrush says, “This movie offers very few insights, and has no apparent point beyond mythologizing the early days of a company that doesn’t exactly need assistance in the self-mythologizing department.”

According to Slant Magazine, “Michael Keaton’s powerful performance in The Founder is marooned in a wishy-washy story.”

A.V. Club gives the movie a B rating, and further writes, “Hancock is not the ideal fit for the queasy mix of fascination, sympathy, and discomfort that Siegel brought to movies like The Wrestler and Big Fan. The Founder is drier than either of those movies, which means it’s less funny but also has even less potential for sentiment.”

The Playlist says, “The Founder certainly does not reinvent the meal, but as a bite sized, consumable snack (that feels like 90 minutes though is actually much longer), its lively and entertaining spirit does often hit the spot. And surprisingly, though traditionally told, the narrative does unwrap a deceptive bite along the way.”

The Verge finds, “Faults aside, The Founder is remarkably entertaining, and it brings a caustic mirth and an even-handed fascination to a behind-the-scenes business story that may not initially sound interesting to viewers.”

Total Film gives the film 3 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Keaton sells the crap out of Kroc’s filet-o-fishy business, but sauce overrides substance: it needed tougher meat.”

TheWrap observes, “The Founder never steps up to become the biting satire of American capitalism it so begs to be. The film is not here to praise Ray Kroc, but neither is it here to bury him.”

Time writes, “The Founder is so entertaining, it scans like a tongue-in-cheek satire. But processing it is a little like taking a watch apart — suddenly, you get a sense of how complicated the world’s inner workings are, even today. It’s all there in Keaton’s watchful, calculating eyes. The world has changed a lot in 60 years. But the art of the deal hasn’t.”

Time Out New York thinks, “Like the product that inspired it, The Founder is tasty enough while it lasts but never quite fills you up.”

We Got This Covered gives the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “The Founder unwraps a much darker story than anticipated, as Michael Keaton bites into the cut-throat takeover that granted Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s brand its infamous reputation.”

 

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