Joe Baltake

Agrees with the Tomatometer 71% of the time.

Biography:
Growing up, I wiled away my time at the movies. I'd sit through a movie two, three times and, at night, my dreams invariably would be about movies and the people in them. While other kids were out in the sun, I'd be committing movie dialogue to memory. A fair amount of time was spent either at the local theater (called the Liberty, which, in my case, was apt, as it liberated my mind) or reading about movies, talking about movies, analyzing them. Every school essay somehow was twisted into a movie review. Life, as far as I was concerned, was simply a grand excuse to go to the movies and then sit around and just think about them. When you're 10, no one bothers you if you stare at the ceiling all day, connecting the cracks. My personality was shaped largely on my parents' living room floor. Later, when I became a professional movie critic (for Gannett, Knight-Ridder and McClatchy Newspapers), I realized that making a living out of looking at movies in the afternoon is another way of connecting the cracks in the ceiling. Everyone does it and I've a hunch that the way a person connects the lines, the way he or she analyzes a movie, says a lot about them. My passion now is those films that have been neglected, overlooked, underrated, hastily dismissed, unfairly maligned and generally forgotten -- and that are just about impossible to see anymore. In short, definitely not the usual suspects. Check out http://thepassionatemoviegoer.blogspot.com/ for assorted observations, pronouncements and viewpoints on such films.
Favorites:
Billy Wilder's The Apartment and Ave in a Hole, Mervyn LeRoy's Gypsy, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, Jean Renoir's Le Grand Illusion/The Grand Illusion, Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo and Marnie, Charles Chaplin's City Lights, Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout de Souffle/Breathless, Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love, Richard Quine's Bell Book & Candle and The Notorious Landlady, Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod/Destiny, Morton DaCosta's Auntie Mame, John Ford's The Searchers, Brian DePalma's Blow Out, Hal Ashby's The Landlord and Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running
Publications:
Passionate Moviegoer , Sacramento Bee
Total Reviews:
1735
Total QuickRatings:
2

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

Showing 1 - 50 of 1735
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Rating T-Meter Title | Year Add Date
81% Flight of the Navigator (1986) " The brain-assaulting sci-fi second half of Flight of the Navigator is made palpable by Cramer, who deftly conveys anguish during the first half. Now, he wants to go home and his gung-ho attitude makes every dumb effect exciting." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Apr 1, 2014
61% About Last Night... (1986) " Odious." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Feb 13, 2014
93% Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) " This gifted ensemble works hard to make Hannah and Her Sisters the best movie of the year so far, perhaps the best that Allen has ever made." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Feb 10, 2014
91% The Fly (1986) " It is a fright film, a morality play about being devoured by one's work and, most powerfully, a sad, sad love story of doomed partners." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Aug 4, 2013
84% Back to School (1986) " Back to School is furious fun." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Aug 1, 2013
94% Ruthless People (1986) " The people who made Ruthless People probably expect us to laugh... at the pushy people who populate their story. And they're right: We will laugh -- not because we have lousy taste (and wicked thoughts) ourselves, but because their film is genuinely funny." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Jul 31, 2013
98% Aliens (1986) " The idea behind Aliens remains the scariest, dirtiest, most perversely funny one for a monster film, and the Rambo action further gooses us." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Jul 30, 2013
91% Stand by Me (2000) " It is about the evolution of a writer, his relationship with his three closest friends and a situation that formed his talent -- and morbid fascination." — Philadelphia Daily News
Posted Jun 26, 2013
3/4 42% Beyond the Sea (2004) " You have to hand it to Spacey. He gets by on sheer willfulness. He believes so much in his cockeyed dream that we come to believe in it, too." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 30, 2004
3/4 87% The Aviator (2004) " A film that's extremely well-made but tantalizingly or clumsily (take your pick) oblique." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 24, 2004
3/4 55% The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) " This movie is so odd, so uncommercial and so unformulaic, particularly for something produced by a major studio (Disney, in this case), that I can't imagine how Anderson got his idea for it past the front office and in front of cameras." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 24, 2004
2.5/4 38% Meet The Fockers (2004) " Meet the Fockers is not much of a movie -- just a lot of comic situations barely held together by the semblance of a plot -- but it is genuinely funny in a crass way." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 22, 2004
3.5/4 78% A Very Long Engagement (2004) " War, it says, is what separates love from hate, life from death and the beautiful from the ugly -- and Jeunet's film says it with great invention and artistry." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 22, 2004
3/4 33% The Phantom of the Opera (2005) " Given the overall weakness of the material, director Joel Schumacher works beyond the call of duty to pull us into his musical fable." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 22, 2004
3/4 56% Rosenstrasse (2004) " The film is anchored in particular by the dual performances of Schade as the 90-year-old Lena and the magnificent Riemann as her younger counterpart." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 17, 2004
2/4 30% Flight of the Phoenix (2004) " Loud, noisy, chaotic and overall unpleasant." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 17, 2004
4/4 53% Spanglish (2004) " An unusually observant film marked by dry, acerbic humor." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 17, 2004
3.5/4 55% Ocean's Twelve (2004) " Rarely has crime seemed so glamorous, what with these mostly well-dressed, largely attractive, immature scamps languishing in posh surroundings." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 10, 2004
4/4 84% Gloomy Sunday (Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod) (2003) " A superior soap opera not unlike what Douglas Sirk might have churned out in the 1950s." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Dec 3, 2004
3/4 77% The Machinist (2004) " It would be easy to accuse Bale of a warped kind of egomania if his performance wasn't so mesmerizing." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 29, 2004
4/4 90% Kinsey (2004) " The remarkable Liam Neeson does an affectingly self-effacing turn in the title role." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 24, 2004
1/4 5% Christmas with the Kranks (2004) " This one is a veritable celebration of intolerance, disguised as a joyous holiday film." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 24, 2004
2.5/4 16% Alexander (2004) " Ultimately stumbles and falls, much like the horses in the battle scenes. But it is an interesting failure, always brimming with life." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 24, 2004
4/4 83% Finding Neverland (2004) " Guided by Depp's gentle performance, Winslet's wistfulness and Macdonald's intense Pan, Finding Neverland will send you out of the theater crying and saying, 'I do believe!'" — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 19, 2004
3/4 76% Being Julia (2004) " This is a choice role, and Bening tears into it with the broadest smile and widest eyes you ever saw." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 19, 2004
3.5/4 44% National Treasure (2004) " Plays a lot better than it sounds. Trust me." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 19, 2004
4/4 96% Sideways (2004) " The film's Cassavetes-style aimlessness (think of it as a West Coast Husbands) gets a jolt when each of the guys pairs up with a willing woman." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 12, 2004
3/4 55% Undertow (2004) " A crackling good, low-down noir thriller." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 12, 2004
2.5/4 27% Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason (2004) " The film is a narrative mess, a cut-and-paste job of random ideas and pointless incidents that are barely related to each other, but this messiness is very much in keeping with the scattered personality of Bridget." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 12, 2004
2.5/4 56% The Polar Express (2004) " It's too mechanical in its perfection and too driven and premeditated in its attempts to impress us to muster the warmth and good cheer for which it's also striving." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 10, 2004
3/4 64% Stage Beauty (2004) " Has a lot to say and manages to say most of it in an unexpectedly entertaining way -- and also with no small amount of poignancy." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 5, 2004
3.5/4 97% The Incredibles (2004) " An exceptional film in many ways." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 5, 2004
3/4 49% Alfie (2004) " It lacks the harsh, biting punch of its memorable 1966 predecessor. And perhaps there was no other way to do it." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Nov 5, 2004
3/4 72% Primer (2004) " It's different, that's all, and it's good because it's different." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 29, 2004
4/4 92% Vera Drake (2004) " Mike Leigh, who seemingly has single-handedly revived kitchen-sink realism in modern British movies, hits something of a career high with the marvelous Vera Drake." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 29, 2004
2/4 28% Around the Bend (2004) " This is the male equivalent of the chick flick. It could have been titled Divine Secrets of the Da-Da Brotherhood." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 29, 2004
4/4 81% Ray (2004) " Let's just give him his Oscar now and be done with it." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 29, 2004
2.5/4 39% Birth (2004) " Its ridiculousness is exacerbated by how seriously it takes itself and also by its highfalutin pretensions." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 29, 2004
4/4 83% Red Lights (Feux Rouges) (2004) " Brings with it everything a movie goer would want in a bracingly adult film." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 22, 2004
1.5/4 7% Surviving Christmas (2004) " There's a desperation to Ben Affleck's mugging in Surviving Christmas that, depending on how you look at it, is either endearing or embarrassing." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 22, 2004
2.5/4 39% The Grudge (2004) " This material tries to camouflage its nagging repetitiveness with a lot of confusing flashbacks." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 22, 2004
3/4 62% I Heart Huckabees (2004) " Don't think about this loony metaphysical comedy too much. Just go with it and, chances are, you'll get it." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 15, 2004
2/4 15% Head in the Clouds (2004) " It's wonderfully terrible." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 15, 2004
2.5/4 77% Team America - World Police (2004) " The irreverent duo plays it surprisingly safe here." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 15, 2004
3.5/4 46% Shall We Dance (2004) " A treat on two counts. First and foremost, it is a wildly entertaining and companionable film. Second, it is blessedly unpretentious." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 15, 2004
3.5/4 61% The Last Shot (2004) " There's an eccentric enchantment and easy friendliness to screenwriter Jeff Nathanson's modest debut film." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 8, 2004
3.5/4 89% Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry (2004) " Here, he has assembled a single-minded, no-nonsense account of Kerry's stint in Vietnam, a subject that has been covered only superficially by the media and negated by his opponents." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 1, 2004
3/4 36% Shark Tale (2004) " A happy, fizzy film, splashed in brilliant colors." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 1, 2004
2/4 57% Ju-on: The Grudge 2 (Ju-on 2) (2003) " Turns into a joke -- a parody of its effective first few scenes." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 1, 2004
3/4 40% Ladder 49 (2004) " It's a good movie." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Oct 1, 2004
Showing 1 - 50 of 1735
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