Paul Tatara

Agrees with the Tomatometer 73% of the time.

Paul Tatara was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 17, 1963. Tatara and his family moved to Arab, Alabama (pop. 6,800) when he was 4 years old. During his formative years, he focused almost solely on playing baseball, basketball, and football. Though he's still a Cleveland sports fanatic -- the return of the Browns in 1999 made him cry -- movies have been Tatara's guiding passion since the age of 14. He graduated from Auburn University in 1985. After graduation, he lived in Gainesville, Florida for 5 years, where he managed a record store. Music is another driving force in his life, with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan serving as his Holy Trinity. (Thelonious Monk, Randy Newman, and Frank Sinatra would also squeeze in there, given more than three slots). The highlight of his Florida retail career came when rock icon Bo Diddley (a regular customer) plugged up in front of the store, hit a groove, and proceeded to jam on the same whump-a-thump riff for about 5 hours. Eventually, Tatara had to tell him to beat it. If only movies worked this way. Tatara moved to New York City in 1990 to pursue a career in writing. He has written several spec screenplays, as well as an unproduced script for 20th Century Fox. He also adapted "The Thrill of the Grass," a short story by W.P. Kinsella, for an episode of a future TV series to be produced by Kennedy/Marshall Productions. His original screenplay, "The Almost Perfect Game" (based on the career of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee), is currently in development at Paramount Pictures, with Woody Harrelson set to star and produce. Since January 1997, he's been trying to entertain and inform people by daring to write what he actually thinks about movies for CNN Interactive. He has also been covering movies and pop culture for since late 1999. He is endlessly amazed at how often this honesty irks some readers. Tatara is a traditionalist, preferring steak and potatoes to elaborately seasoned seaweed, and stories about recognizable human emotions to shots of screaming extras outrunning the umpteenth fireball. He says he'll apologize for the things he writes in his movie reviews as soon as the studios make amends for completely selling out what could still be a thriving art form. He suggests something on the order of the blanket settlement by the tobacco industry. Considering how many lousy films he's watched over the years, this would leave him sitting pretty.
Total Reviews:

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

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Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
87% The Blair Witch Project (1999) " Whenever night falls, the movie takes off, but in a slow creep, with all your childhood fears of the dark suddenly revealing themselves as absolutely reasonable. " ‐
Posted Sep 29, 2014
94% The Truman Show (1998) " The Truman Show will probably be the most thought-provoking "big" movie to come out this summer, and that says a whole lot more about other movies than it does about this one. You should, however, see it for Carrey's newly unveiled charms. " ‐
Posted Aug 18, 2014
92% Men in Black (1997) " Men in Black is the wryest, sharpest, most entertaining special effects film in recent memory, a simultaneous participant and mocking parody of the more-bang-for-your-buck behemoth genre. " ‐
Posted Aug 12, 2014
10% Woo (1998) " The whole thing is rude and pathetic, more like a lengthy episode of a bad sitcom than a movie, chock full of the kind of sexual innuendoes that are guaranteed to please horny eighth-graders or people who laugh at those Playboy party jokes. " ‐
Posted Jul 26, 2014
6% A Smile Like Yours (1997) " After a while, I could smell the jokes coming like Grandma's two-day-old stuffed cabbage. " ‐
Posted Jul 22, 2014
8% Almost Heroes (1998) " All of the guys on the expedition are dumb, and they say and do dumb things in dumb ways, dumbly. " ‐
Posted Jul 15, 2014
99% L.A. Confidential (1997) " The multi-layered plot keeps you riveted for the best possible reason -- you can't start to imagine where the story is leading you, and the fiercely intense payoffs are repeatedly worth the extra concentration. " ‐
Posted Jun 4, 2014
88% Titanic (1997) " Cameron has devised a tender love story between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio that serves as the main focus of Titanic's storyline, and it works beautifully. " ‐
Posted Feb 25, 2014
92% Shakespeare in Love (1998) " I just wish that the script wasn't so insistent on showing off. Shakespeare, even when he kowtowed to the peasants, knew when to quit. " ‐
Posted Feb 11, 2014
88% Chasing Amy (1997) " There is a lot of frank conversation about the technical aspects of sex between women, but Holden and Banky are written more like sniggering eighth graders than inquisitive adults. " ‐
Posted Feb 7, 2014
97% The Iron Giant (1999) " The Iron Giant is not only the best animated feature to be released this summer, it's the single best film to hit our screens so far this year. " ‐
Posted Aug 4, 2013
93% Out of Sight (1998) " Easily the best film I've seen in 1998. " ‐
Posted Aug 4, 2013
93% Saving Private Ryan (1998) " Spielberg accomplishes these goals with a technical virtuosity that no other director, arguably in the history of the cinema, can even approach. " ‐
Posted Aug 2, 2013
4% Gone Fishin' (1997) " I don't even know where to start. " ‐
Posted Jun 14, 2013
23% A Thousand Acres (1997) " Cry, cry, cry. Hug, hug, hug. Yadda, yadda, yadda. " ‐
Posted Jul 3, 2008
74% Dark City (1998) " This is one of those movies that's more concerned with set design motivation than anything that's going on inside the characters' heads. " ‐
Posted Apr 28, 2008
33% Gummo (1997) " C'mon, Harmony. Mano a boyo. What are you really trying to prove here? " ‐
Posted Apr 28, 2008
73% Cop Land (1997) " It's pretty funny, actually, that Stallone gained 40 pounds to play this role, and what the movie needs more than anything else is to eat a salad and do some sit-ups. " ‐
Posted Apr 9, 2008
80% Soul Food (1997) " An overt desire to please often leaves Tillman relying on force-feeding techniques. " ‐
Posted Mar 17, 2008
62% The Impostors (1999)
Posted Jul 1, 2006
49% Under Suspicion (2000) " Too tawdry to be completely entertaining, and too static to generate much excitement. " ‐
Posted May 1, 2003
7% I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) " It's not a bad film for what it is. " ‐
Posted Nov 15, 2002
2/5 51% Halloween H2O (1998) " I'm currently stuck watching the revival of a movie form that appalled me the first time around, then disappeared from view after a torrent of thoughtless re-workings that resembled bloody tape loops. " ‐
Posted Nov 15, 2002
77% The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) " For a movie that's so full of anger and confusion, there sure aren't many memorable clashes, aside from the ones that take place in the kids' imaginations. " ‐
Posted Jun 21, 2002
32% Windtalkers (2002) " No amount of burning, blasting, stabbing, and shooting can hide a weak script. " ‐
Posted Jun 15, 2002
44% Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) " It practically lies down and wallows in its mega-hammy 'I Am Woman' tone. " ‐
Posted Jun 7, 2002
77% Undercover Brother (2002) " A spy movie-blaxploitation picture spoof that repeats itself so often, and hits its targets so erratically, you'd swear it was adapted from a Saturday Night Live skit. " ‐
Posted May 31, 2002
92% Insomnia (2002) " Nolan is a craftsman who joins the ranks of Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, Curtis Hanson, and M. Night Shyamalan as an individual voice working within the Hollywood system. " ‐
Posted May 24, 2002
67% Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones 3D (2002) " It's a mixed bag, but not as dreadfully mixed as the last one. " ‐
Posted May 15, 2002
49% Unfaithful (2002) " The audience when I saw this one was chuckling at all the wrong times, and that's a bad sign when they're supposed to be having a collective heart attack. " ‐
Posted May 9, 2002
47% Hollywood Ending (2002) " Though it draws several decent laughs, it's low-cal Woody at best. " ‐
Posted May 3, 2002
62% The Salton Sea (2002) " If you're determined to see this one, don't forget to bring a soapy washcloth. " ‐
Posted Apr 26, 2002
31% Murder by Numbers (2002) " At 118 minutes, the running time allows for too much dawdling and not enough legitimate tension. " ‐
Posted Apr 19, 2002
49% Human Nature (2002) " Give this one a try, if for no other reason than to convince Hollywood that 'something different' doesn't automatically mean throwing away good money. " ‐
Posted Apr 12, 2002
31% High Crimes (2002) " High Crimes, an often pedestrian courtroom drama reteaming Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, is like a symphony played on cell phones. " ‐
Posted Apr 5, 2002
25% Showtime (2002) " It's getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that Hollywood isn't laughing with us, folks. It's laughing at us. " ‐
Posted Mar 14, 2002
29% The Time Machine (2002) " ... surprisingly inert for a movie in which the main character travels back and forth between epochs. " ‐
Posted Mar 7, 2002
38% 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002) " It comes dangerously close to being America's first sex comedy without comedy. " ‐
Posted Mar 1, 2002
7% Dragonfly (2002) " Costner's warm-milk persona is just as ill-fitting as Shadyac's perfunctory directing chops, and some of the more overtly silly dialogue would sink Laurence Olivier. " ‐
Posted Feb 21, 2002
23% John Q (2002) " Director Nick Cassavetes and screenwriter James Kearns make Washington look silly for the first time in his career. " ‐
Posted Feb 14, 2002
42% Big Fat Liar (2002) " The overall effect is less like a children's movie than a recruitment film for future Hollywood sellouts. " ‐
Posted Feb 8, 2002
10% Slackers (2002) " The footage seems to have been tossed into the air and randomly reassembled when it hit the ground. " ‐
Posted Feb 2, 2002
85% Monster's Ball (2001) " Although director Marc Forster pulls decent performances from both Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, coincidence-filled plotting, lame dialogue, and ham-fisted symbolism repeatedly undermine his best intentions. " ‐
Posted Feb 2, 2002
73% The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) " An unexpectedly entertaining slice of old-fashioned swashbuckle, the kind of sweeping, periodically absurd picture that was cranked out on an assembly line in the 1940s. " ‐
Posted Jan 25, 2002
46% Orange County (2002) " One of the smartest idiotic teen comedies you'll ever see. " ‐
Posted Jan 18, 2002
99% Apocalypse Now (1979) " ...the movie still has the power to floor you with its stunning sounds and imagery. " ‐
Posted Jan 17, 2002
32% Charlotte Gray (2002) " Blanchett is an extraordinary actress, and she does what she can to flesh out the material. But Charlotte is one of the least active underground operatives in movie history. " ‐
Posted Jan 11, 2002
76% Black Hawk Down (2001) " Look out, everybody: Two of the most pandering, tactless filmmakers in Hollywood history are now teaching us about honor among soldiers. " ‐
Posted Dec 28, 2001
67% Ali (2001) " If you have any interest at all in the subject, Ali is worth your time. " ‐
Posted Dec 24, 2001
50% Kate & Leopold (2001) " Cute or not, Ryan is starting to seem like a stubborn homecoming queen who refuses to surrender her tiara. " ‐
Posted Dec 24, 2001
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