Generally speaking, Richard Kelly's latest dark sci-fi film, 'The Box,' has been widely labeled as a middle-of-the-road effort: that is, not nearly as bad as his poorly received last movie, 2006's apocalyptic 'Southland Tales,' but also not nearly as inspired by his breakout cult classic, 2001's 'Donnie Darko.'

The film, based on a short story by prolific sci-fi writer Richard Metheson, and starring Cameron Diaz, 'The Box' is simultaneously being talked up by critics for intricate, detailed story-telling and bashed for moving too slow.

Read the reviews after the jump and tell us what you think.
Generally speaking, Richard Kelly's latest dark sci-fi film, 'The Box,' has been widely labeled as a middle-of-the-road effort: that is, not nearly as bad as his poorly received last movie, 2006's apocalyptic 'Southland Tales,' but also not nearly as inspired by his breakout cult classic, 2001's 'Donnie Darko.'

The film, based on a short story by prolific sci-fi writer Richard Metheson, and starring Cameron Diaz, 'The Box' is simultaneously being talked up by critics for intricate, detailed story-telling and bashed for moving too slow.

Read the reviews below and tell us what you think.

The New York Times: "Richard Kelly, the writer and director of the much-loved 'Donnie Darko' and much-loathed 'Southland Tales,' has a thing for the apocalypse. Like those films, his latest, 'The Box' is sincere and sinister and inevitably ambitious, a serious work that insists on its own seriousness even when it edges toward the preposterous. As in his earlier films, he is again using genre (and pretty actors) as a vehicle to ask questions about the human condition (and conditioning) amid a thicket of high, low and trash cultural allusions and against a backdrop of impending doom. But the end isn't nigh in Mr. Kelly's world. It's here."

The Los Angeles Times: "Have you ever actually tried watching paint dry? A sloth walk? Grass grow? You can have all the 'thrills' with none of the chills courtesy of 'The Box,' the painfully sluggish new sci-fi morality play from 'Donnie Darko' creator Richard Kelly. It's as if its stars, Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as the financially strapped yuppie couple Norma and Arthur, were on a continuous, prime-time-mandated 10-second delay."

MSNBC: "'The Box' is like a magician's prop: It gives the illusion that it's full of stuff -- ideas, portents, clues, meaning -- when actually, it's as empty as the heroines' heads in Diaz's 'Charlie's Angels' flicks."

'The Box' Trailer

'The Box' showtimes and tickets


Hollywood Reporter: "OK, there is really only one box, but as a convoluted yet unconvincing story evolves, metaphorical boxes get pulled out of boxes as the plot winds its way through suspense, psychological thriller, science fiction, conspiracy theory and horror genres with an overlay of Christian religious motifs and a dab of existentialism. Oh, there's also a lot of nose bleeding."

Newark Star-Ledger: "Yet even as Kelly adds unnecessary detail, he takes the story on interesting tangents. There's a man struck by -- and changed by -- lightning (a nod, perhaps, to the Matheson story 'One for the Books'). There's some murky doings at NASA, a dose of old Jean-Paul Sartre, and lots of groovy sideburns and wallpaper (the story is set in '76)."

Screen International: "Richard Kelly's third feature is more accessible than his second, the impenetrable and financially disastrous 'Southland Tales,' but less arresting than his first, cult classic 'Donnie Darko.' Playing like an over-extended if well-mounted 'Twilight Zone' episode, 'The Box' has more commercial potential than its writer-director's earlier efforts, thanks to the casting of Cameron Diaz and the popularity of a new wave of 'Zone'-influenced TV shows ('Lost,' 'Fringe,' et al). Yet it still seems unlikely to appeal much beyond its limited core audience of weird-loving fantasy/sci-fi fans."

Variety: "Pushing a few of the right buttons and plenty of the wrong ones, 'The Box' reps a dicey mainstream effort by enfant terrible Richard Kelly following the doomed exploits of 2006's 'Southland Tales.' Expanding a Richard Matheson story into a '70s-set thriller in which a couple is besieged by space-age conspiracies, nose-bleeding zombies and quotations from Jean-Paul Sartre, the pic reveals the hazards of taking 'Twilight Zone' material too far and too seriously. Still, Kelly's trademark mix of sci-fi, surrealism and suburbia occasionally entertains, while Cameron Diaz should carry the cult helmer into more commercial playpens."