Authors

Shared Darkness

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 93%

Mistaken for Strangers (2014)

"An engaging work of many colors, at once funny and heart-piercing. There may not be a better film this year about adult sibling jostling, rivalry and affection."

Posted Apr 11, 2014

Brent Simon

2 77%

Noah (2014)

"Poised somewhere between a film of pure wonder and a more explicitly religious action text, Noah is a big and interesting and evocative and at times sigh-inducing work, for a variety of reasons."

Posted Apr 1, 2014

Brent Simon

3 84%

Cheap Thrills (2014)

"A tense, knotty (in more ways than one) valentine of leaching amorality -- a satisfyingly warped walk on the wild side."

Posted Mar 31, 2014

Brent Simon

4 90%

A Birder's Guide To Everything (2014)

"Instead of pandering to one and only one sentiment, this engaging offering -- poised pleasantly between quaint and quirky -- does entirely right by adolescent feeling."

Posted Mar 30, 2014

Brent Simon

5 43%

Cold Comes The Night (2014)

"A tightly wound crime drama about desperate, on-the-margin characters [that] never dims as an engaging actor's showcase, even as it fumbles away some of the unpleasantness that would help it stake its claim as a contemporary neo-noir classic."

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Brent Simon

6 40%

Divergent (2014)

"Attractively mounted and boasting some nice performances, but also peddling a thunderously stupid conceit whose dodgy details ask viewers to ignore all they know of basic human psychology."

Posted Mar 21, 2014

Brent Simon

7 60%

Non-Stop (2014)

"Starts off intriguingly but runs out of interesting little character quirks and recognizable faces stuffed into supporting roles, succumbing to less interesting, jerry-rigged thrills and payoffs that leave one feeling a bit empty."

Posted Mar 4, 2014

Brent Simon

8 24%

Pompeii (2014)

"Elicits a genuine curiosity to learn more about Pompeii, since one has so much free time to ponder the story's historical underpinnings whilst letting waves of inanity wash over them."

Posted Feb 21, 2014

Brent Simon

9 ——

Down And Dangerous (2014)

"There's a weirdly dirty charm to this curio, which has more going for it than not."

Posted Feb 19, 2014

Brent Simon

10 22%

That Awkward Moment (2014)

"An awkward mash-up [that] in the end will represent nothing more than a momentary, wholly understandable blip on the respective filmographies of its talented young cast."

Posted Feb 10, 2014

Brent Simon

11 91%

12 O'clock Boys (2014)

"An arresting nonfiction look at a subculture of young African-American dirt-bike enthusiasts who view their hobby as a ride-or-die proposition -- a dangerous way to act out proxy battles with authority."

Posted Feb 4, 2014

Brent Simon

12 80%

Charlie Victor Romeo (2014)

"An unique and unsettling piece of minimalist experimental cinema [that] blends low-fi technique with high-tension situations, and wrings a real rooting interest out of viewers."

Posted Jan 30, 2014

Brent Simon

13 25%

The Grounded (2014)

"Passion is outstripped by incoherence in this homeopathic doc, whose aims and claims remain so hazy as to circumvent embrace from even the most sympathetic and open-minded viewers."

Posted Jan 25, 2014

Brent Simon

14 80%

If You Build It (2014)

"A bittersweet exploration of outreach and advocacy [that] illustrates the benefits of the practical application of alternative education, and the ripple effects it can create for a community."

Posted Jan 24, 2014

Brent Simon

15 13%

Reasonable Doubt (2014)

"A ramshackle delivery vehicle for Dominic Cooper's misadventures in accent and the sort of disinterested glowering that Samuel L. Jackson reliably pulls out for paycheck gigs."

Posted Jan 17, 2014

Brent Simon

16 77%

Venus And Serena (2013)

"Engaging enough, but also inherently safe, polite and timid... too afraid to ask tough questions about patriarch Williams, either directly of him or its title subjects."

Posted Jan 1, 2014

Brent Simon

17 96%

The Crash Reel (2013)

"The Crash Reel simply swells one's heart; the Pearce family is a smart and loving one, and the lessons sprinkled throughout this amazing documentary are multitude."

Posted Dec 25, 2013

Brent Simon

18 75%

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013)

"It ably delivers scenes the sort of which the series' most ardent fans wish to see, [but] for those who aren't hardcore Tolkien enthusiasts it can be a bit of a slog."

Posted Dec 17, 2013

Brent Simon

19 81%

Lenny Cooke (2013)

"Lazy, fly-on-the-wall filmmaking. The Safdie brothers have the benefit of some rare extant footage, but absolutely no idea how to shape it into an interesting narrative."

Posted Dec 15, 2013

Brent Simon

20 31%

Crave (2013)

"An artful if overlong howl of urban lamentation that puts an intriguingly melancholic top-spin on notions of vigilantism."

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Brent Simon

21 42%

Oldboy (2013)

"Part knuckle-bruising revenge thriller and part dark mystery, Lee's streamlined genre offering achieves a certain level of idiosyncratic hold without ever planting deeper roots of its own."

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Brent Simon

22 ——

Sarah Silverman: We are Miracles ()

"The inimitable stamp of Silverman's dark, tart personality is again on rich display in her latest stand-up comedy offering."

Posted Nov 25, 2013

Brent Simon

23 61%

Dear Mr. Watterson (2013)

"A big-hearted but overly fawning documentary that -- despite some great interview material -- feel like a soggy toss-off, and missed opportunity."

Posted Nov 22, 2013

Brent Simon

24 85%

Seduced And Abandoned ()

"An entirely odd but nonetheless endearing sort of valentine to the madness of movies in general and the dizzying swirl of Cannes much more specifically."

Posted Oct 31, 2013

Brent Simon

25 42%

Men at Lunch (2013)

"Men at Lunch loses sight of its lede and fumbles away viewer interest. The photo itself says more than this muddled documentary."

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Brent Simon

26 57%

Escape From Tomorrow (2013)

"Part black-and-white student thesis film, part subversive attack on corporate-peddled American fantasy, Moore's film casts a spell -- until it doesn't."

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Brent Simon

27 10%

Cassadaga (2013)

"Cassadaga flirts with conventions of both paranormal horror films and more traditional serial killer thrillers, but is marked by listless characters and indistinct dialogue."

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Brent Simon

28 63%

Broadway Idiot (2013)

"A film about both [creative] challenges and choices... Broadway Idiot does a good job of tapping into the source material's thick veins of feeling."

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Brent Simon

29 97%

Gravity (2013)

"An immersive masterwork -- a game-changer, both for the sci-fi genre and Hollywood filmmaking as a whole."

Posted Oct 4, 2013

Brent Simon

30 64%

Herb & Dorothy 50x50 (2013)

"Defined more by its inessential nature than any of the updates it provides."

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Brent Simon

31 68%

Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (2013)

"There's a gut-punch sadness to the movie -- a melancholic dawning. While enlightening as it relates specifically to the Fed, its chief lesson is evident in other walks of life: money talks, and a well-heeled elite class has a private line."

Posted Sep 21, 2013

Brent Simon

32 34%

Hell Baby (2013)

"A slog through improv run amok -- a film that seems allergic toward anything that might be construed as a legitimate throughline, lest that somehow be interpreted as 'selling out,' and not subversive enough."

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Brent Simon

33 85%

Hawking (2013)

"Smartly crafted. An engaging, inspirational portrait of as unlikely an iconic figure as the last half-century has produced."

Posted Sep 16, 2013

Brent Simon

34 ——

Mara (2013)

"The story here is yawningly thin and the acting immature and not fully formed at best, which immediately and effectively undercuts any attempted stabs at chilly, orchestrated atmosphere."

Posted Sep 15, 2013

Brent Simon

35 ——

Everyone Must Die! (2013)

"Nothing in the way of performance, execution or imagination to distinguish it from the attempted giallo homage you and your stoner pals put together over the course of three summer weekends in 2007."

Posted Sep 15, 2013

Brent Simon

36 89%

Informant (2013)

"It suffers from a slow start, but blossoms into a rather fascinating piece of nonfiction psychological portraiture."

Posted Sep 14, 2013

Brent Simon

37 32%

A Teacher (2013)

"Despite a deeply invested lead performance, A Teacher gives off strong vapors of phoniness; it's an exercise in lazy minimalism."

Posted Sep 14, 2013

Brent Simon

38 13%

The Lifeguard (2013)

"With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again; The Lifeguard just proves that sometimes it's not the best course of action."

Posted Aug 30, 2013

Brent Simon

39 59%

The Frozen Ground (2013)

"A true crime period piece that somewhat interestingly eschews a lot of investigatory grind in favor of moral certitude and throwback, cat-and-mouse tension."

Posted Aug 23, 2013

Brent Simon

40 62%

Scenic Route (2013)

"Lined with a certain bruised grace... a spare, streamlined, desert-set psychological thriller that doubles as a study in masculine relationship drift."

Posted Aug 23, 2013

Brent Simon

41 80%

We the Parents (2013)

"A fascinating look at the new frontier of America's public education crisis -- a timely, relevant snapshot of a cause in active motion."

Posted Aug 22, 2013

Brent Simon

42 27%

Jobs (2013)

"A serviceable little amuse-bouche [which] trades readily on the tremendous native interest that attaches itself to and drives this story, given the significant role Apple products play in so many modern lives."

Posted Aug 22, 2013

Brent Simon

43 92%

In a World... (2013)

"So alive, identifiably clumsy and deliciously complicated -- so of the real world -- as to put a smile on viewers' faces."

Posted Aug 17, 2013

Brent Simon

44 96%

The Social Network (2010)

"Fincher keeps the movie's tech-y elements on the periphery, focusing instead on the time-honored dramatic elements of isolation, determination, avarice and betrayal."

Posted Aug 17, 2013

Brent Simon

45 52%

Clear History (2013)

"There's enough here to still merit a curious click, but Clear History may not be what hardcore David acolytes most crave. "

Posted Aug 15, 2013

Brent Simon

46 83%

Prince Avalanche (2013)

"Deeper meaning rises sneakily to the surface in the offbeat, austere Prince Avalanche, writer-director David Gordon Green's re-imagined, loose adaptation of a 2011 Icelandic film."

Posted Aug 13, 2013

Brent Simon

47 46%

Off Label (2013)

"Acute moments of heartbreak punctuate Off Label, a collage-type snapshot of runaway pharma-culture which otherwise struggles to find a topic sentence or cultivate a cogent point-of-view."

Posted Aug 9, 2013

Brent Simon

48 92%

Casting By (2013)

"Informative and enormously entertaining in equal measure, Casting By throws a warm, deserving spotlight on casting directors, charting the overlooked profession's inception and growth."

Posted Aug 7, 2013

Brent Simon

49 52%

The To Do List (2013)

"Nothing about this lackluster comedy's potentially rich conceit is handled in an emotionally honest or resonant manner."

Posted Jul 26, 2013

Brent Simon

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