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:
1730
Total QuickRatings:
2

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

Showing 51 - 100 of 1730
Rating T-Meter Title | Year Add Date
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
3.5/4 66% Bright Young Things (2003) " Its chief strength is the obvious deep-seated affection Fry has for each sedated, hung-over soul." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 24, 2004
3.5/4 48% Silver City (2004) " A juicy political lampoon that may be too close to reality for certain people to find amusing." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 17, 2004
2.5/4 57% Pauly Shore is Dead (2003) " It works as a throwaway joke -- occasionally funny and often shamelessly tasteless. And it also helps if you like Shore." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 17, 2004
3.5/4 90% Mean Creek (2004) " Works as a multiple character study, complemented by some of the best performances you are likely to see this year -- all of them from a cast of actors under the age of 20." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 17, 2004
3.5/4 72% Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) " Style over substance -- but what style!" — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 17, 2004
3/4 69% Criminal (2004) " It's a good film, suitably entertaining, but there's the nagging question of why everyone bothered." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 10, 2004
3/4 19% She Hate Me (2004) " If you're truly adventurous in your movie-going and fed up with movies that play by the numbers, play it safe and come with audience-fawning reassurances, then She Hate Me just might be the harsh cinematic tonic you crave." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 3, 2004
3.5/4 73% Stander (2004) " A crackling good yarn." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 3, 2004
2/4 65% We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004) " A terribly slim, pretentious movie that wallows in the monotonous, far-from- fascinating angst of its self-involved characters." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 3, 2004
3.5/4 51% Vanity Fair (2004) " Few other young actresses can jut out their jaw in ambitious determination as charmingly as Witherspoon -- and remain sympathetic." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Sep 1, 2004
4/4 95% Hero (2004) " A film of one memorable movie moment after another." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 27, 2004
3.5/4 85% Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004) " As hugely entertaining as it is informative." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 27, 2004
3.5/4 86% Intimate Strangers (Confidences trop intimes) (2003) " While other would-be Hitchcock imitators limit themselves to seeing only the mayhem or violence in his works, Leconte has picked up on the fascinating psychology, the subtle moodiness and his obsessive interest in the dark side of people." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 27, 2004
3/4 74% The Hunting of the President (2004) " The filmmakers here don't rely on their own personal opinions and biases as much as they deal with simple facts and statistics documented in archival news footage, freely available in the public domain." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 27, 2004
2.5/4 18% Suspect Zero (2004) " The kind of by-the- numbers psychological/ action thriller that Paramount Pictures routinely makes with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 27, 2004
4/4 72% Open Water (2004) " An unnerving 'What if?' scenario that you won't be able to shake -- from either your dreams or your waking thoughts." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 20, 2004
3.5/4 49% A Home at the End of the World (2004) " Vastly enjoyable, nicely shocking and genuinely touching." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 20, 2004
3.5/4 86% Garden State (2004) " Sweet, fuzzy and quirky in a good way -- much like the cracked friendships it engagingly depicts." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 20, 2004
2.5/4 14% Without A Paddle (2004) " A larky, throwaway movie." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 20, 2004
4/4 93% Riding Giants (2004) " In some ways, Riding Giants overlaps Step Into Liquid. The two complement each other." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 13, 2004
2.5/4 34% What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004) " Weirdly entertaining." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 13, 2004
3/4 25% The Princess Diaries 2 - Royal Engagement (2004) " Starts out rather awkwardly but succeeds almost in spite of itself." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 11, 2004
3.5/4 97% Maria Full of Grace (2004) " Marston and Moreno make us stop and look, and to see Maria Alvarez as not just another face in the crowd but as an individual person, someone nice. Someone worth knowing." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 6, 2004
3.5/4 96% Festival Express (2003) " Shows us what we lost -- and what we may never see and hear again." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 6, 2004
4/4 86% Collateral (2004) " A genuinely original modern thriller." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Aug 6, 2004
1/4 19% Thunderbirds (2004) " The people who made Thunderbirds took a unique property and made it utterly commonplace." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 30, 2004
2.5/4 81% The Manchurian Candidate (2004) " Demme's variation on Condon's work emerges as little more than a craftsmanlike film with occasional flashes of intelligence and brilliance." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 30, 2004
2/4 43% The Village (2004) " This movie is as big a hoax as the notorious Sci Fi Channel faux documentary The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 30, 2004
2.5/4 67% The Door in the Floor (2004) " In many ways, despite its adult sheen, it's as foolish as any other disposable summer film." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 23, 2004
2/4 48% De-Lovely (2004) " It is stiff, lifeless and incomprehensibly dull." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 23, 2004
1/4 9% Catwoman (2004) " Here's a movie that has nothing going for it except good bone structure." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 23, 2004
2/4 58% I, Robot (2004) " This movie is blatant when it should have been subtle, and this is never more evident than in the unpleasant performance of its star, Will Smith." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 16, 2004
4/4 95% Before Sunset (2004) " I found myself hoping that Linklater, Hawke and Delpy would revisit these characters in another 10 years. And perhaps again in 20 years." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 16, 2004
3/4 64% Coffee and Cigarettes (2004) " An oddball tribute to the art of conversation -- you know, just hanging out and talking with friends." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 9, 2004
2/4 43% The Clearing (2004) " They all look good, and they carefully recite their dialogue, but not one of them is alive. Or worth caring about." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 9, 2004
3/4 66% Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004) " There isn't a second that goes by without Ferrell filling it with some form of comic shtick - a well-turned punch line, a goofy facial expression, a pratfall or some other kind of physical comedy business." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 9, 2004
2/4 32% King Arthur (2004) " We've reached a sad point when everything in movies has to be masculine -- when it's considered weak (and uncommercial) to be soft and feminine." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 7, 2004
4/4 94% The Story of the Weeping Camel (2004) " This movie is for everyone." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jul 2, 2004
4/4 94% Spider-Man 2 (2004) " The closest thing to an art-house action film since Tim Burton's original Batman in 1989." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 29, 2004
3/4 91% Baadasssss! (2003) " Works alternately as a weird kind of biopic, a movie about moviemaking and a film about a certain era in Hollywood." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 25, 2004
3/4 77% The Mother (2004) " What sets The Mother apart from your typical daytime serial is the caliber of both the writing and the acting." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 25, 2004
2.5/4 52% The Notebook (2004) " The movie may be highly disposable, but the individual scenes of Gosling and McAdams just acting and just connecting are wonderful to watch." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 25, 2004
3.5/4 83% Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) " [Moore] lets the disturbing images and even more disturbing statistics carry the film more than his own opinion." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 25, 2004
3/4 15% White Chicks (2004) " As affectionate as it is witty." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 23, 2004
2.5/4 61% Valentin (2004) " Occasionally charming, but it's as manipulative as it is heartfelt." — Sacramento Bee
Posted Jun 18, 2004
Showing 51 - 100 of 1730
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