A.A. Dowd

A.A. Dowd
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: AV Club, Time Out Chicago

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
C+ 63% Eternals (2021) Despite the depth of the ensemble (and the acting talents assembled to bring it to life), these Eternals really only come in three varieties: brooding, quippy, and both. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2021
A- 74% The French Dispatch (2021) The key to The French Dispatch's sneaky resonance, tucked into the spaces between its moving parts, is Anderson's balancing act of reverence and irreverence. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2021
B 86% The Last Duel (2021) There's a power to this film's blunt era-crossing outrage. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2021
B- 93% V/H/S/94 (2021) We get muted colors, flutter, static, pop lines, scrolling wrinkles, and head-switching noise-all the glitches guaranteed to inspire a Pavlovian response in anyone who spent their Saturdays wandering the aisles of a Blockbuster. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2021
C 84% No Time To Die (2021) No Time To Die is forgettable in all the places that usually count -- it's a Bond movie with little excitement or panache. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2021
C 73% The Many Saints of Newark (2021) Unfortunately, what [Chase] comes up with in this over-plotted Sopranos prequel is much less interesting than what he planted in our heads over six seasons. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2021
B+ 96% I'm Your Man (2021) I'm Your Man's charms are real, and steeped in a lightly inquisitive, even philosophical engagement with the meatier matters of smart science fiction and smart relationship drama. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2021
B- 73% The Guilty (2021) Gyllenhaal [gives] it his volcanic all in a film which keeps him at the center of nearly every frame. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2021
B 76% Malignant (2021) There's no way to watch this deranged follow-up and not conclude that Wan's back where he belongs. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2021
B- 37% Reminiscence (2021) Enjoyably dense but a little plodding. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2021
B+ 98% Days (Rizi) (2021) The beauty of Tsai's approach, a taste worth acquiring, is the way he builds empathy for his characters by pulling us into their geographic, temporal, and by extension emotional space. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2021
C+ 80% Free Guy (2021) There's nothing especially specific about either the action or the comedy of this action-comedy: It's all just "amusingly" reproduced clichés-a super jump here, a motorcycle crashing through glass there. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2021
B+ 88% The Green Knight (2021) A spectacle of contradictions: as grandiose as the canon of tales to which it belongs but also oddly intimate in focus, with a modern psychology that clashes productively with its squalid evocation of the far bygone yesteryear. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2021
B 50% Old (2021) Proves this wizardry multiplex craftsman knows a thing or two about the human condition, even as the basics of human conversation continue to elude him. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2021
C+ 90% Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) The most pleasant of the surprises lurking like a masked killer in the final Fear Street movie is that Netflix's teen-horror saga has actually worked its way to a fairly satisfying conclusion. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2021
C- 26% Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) Space Jam: A New Legacy takes almost nothing but wrong turns, all leading to a glittering CGI trash heap of cameos, pat life lessons, and stale internet catchphrases. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2021
C+ 88% Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) That's why the gore feels like scant reward: There's plenty of blood but no heart put into pumping it. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2021
C+ 83% Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021) Forget the middle-aged fans it might irk. Don't today's kids deserve some trash of their own, instead of a tasteful substitution? - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2021
B- 79% Black Widow (2021) Casting is maybe the primary strength of this mega-franchise, and the film's familiar bantering dynamic gets a strong assist from new hires. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2021
B- 86% Werewolves Within (2021) The film possesses a strong touch of Edgar Wright in how it manages both the humor and horror of its conceit... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2021
C+ 83% Gaia (2021) Even when the story takes on biblical overtones, the melodrama never blossoms. And in terms of suspense, Gaia doesn't so much tighten the screws as endlessly turn them in the wrong direction. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2021
B 96% The Amusement Park (2019) It's really more of a wild curiosity, though-a footnote on a towering career. All the same, to receive even a minor work from this major artist feels like a blessing... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2021
B- 91% Luca (2021) Something cute and slightly indistinct and on Pixar model: a tropical blur of minor whimsy and carpe diem platitude. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2021
C 16% Infinite (2021) What Infinite fatally lacks is personality. It's all sci-fi table setting all the time, racing through introductions and plot points at a mercenary pace, its wheel manned by a star whose default mode for this kind of movie is hunky frowning. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2021
D 27% The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021) The impression is of a creative team laughing that they're getting away with this again, like a group of bank robbers howling as they round the block in their getaway car, then circling back to nonchalantly knock off the same place again. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2021
C 55% The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Chaves has none of Wan's malevolent mojo, his talent for wringing shivery joy-by-way-of-fear from every spring-loaded appearance by the franchise's growing roster of apparitions. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2021
B- 91% A Quiet Place Part II (2021) A Quiet Place Part II is finely prepared leftovers, still tasty but with a faint staleness cutting into the flavor. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2021
B- 61% Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) Agreeably straightforward, Those Who Wish Me Dead is also thin as kindling: It threatens to disperse into embers as you watch it. And there are limits to its ruthless economy. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2021
B 67% Army Of The Dead (2021) Mostly... Zack Snyder just seems to be having genuine fun. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2021
D 7% Separation (2021) [T]his bargain-basement thriller approaches both its jack-in-the-box scares and its domestic scenario with the negligence of an unfit parent... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2021
B 90% Together Together (2021) It's an ode to the way that even impermanent relationships can be profoundly meaningful. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2021
C 79% In The Earth (2021) In The Earth feeds the indiscriminate appetites of gorehounds and bong-rippers alike. Everyone else may find it as ghastly boring as the violence is just plain ghastly. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2021
B- 25% Voyagers (2021) Voyagers is slick and diverting enough and even occasionally artful in its vision of a future put in the hands of kids wrestling with the burden of their importance to it. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2021
C+ 59% Malmkrog (2020) Was it possible, [ filmmaker Cristi] Puiu purportedly asked, to make something dramatically compelling out of a collection of dense, highbrow conversations? Malmkrog suggests the answer may be a resounding "Nyet." - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2021
D+ 26% The Unholy (2021) The Unholy has the stately aura (and endless speechifying) of a sermon, but it's really a creaky nothing of a B-movie, like a chintzy Halloween exhibit set up inside an old church. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2021
B- 83% Nobody (2021) Make no mistake, this is pure caveman bullshit. Yet it's caveman bullshit made with style and wit, qualities that extend from its screenplay to its performances to its staging. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2021
C 71% Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) [A] superior cut of Justice League remains out of reach, unreleased. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2021
D 37% Cherry (2021) Yet it's been made with all the restraint and nuance you'd expect from-in the immortally narrated words of Ron Howard-a rigidly formulaic popcorn movie. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
C+ 76% The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021) Every day is exactly the same. That's how it goes in time-loop stories, and how it can feel to write about them, too. The writers of these stories must also get bored. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
B+ 98% Time (2020) This is a beautifully shot film that's as interested in studying the changing faces of its subjects as laying out their struggle from end to end. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
B+ 96% First Cow (2020) Just don't mistake the lightness of step for a softness of philosophy. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
B- 67% A Glitch in the Matrix (2021) If none of this is as gripping as Ascher's past investigations into the labyrinth of the mind, it's largely because the filmmaker is this time doing more summarizing than probing. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
68% Human Factors (2021) Human Factors keeps threatening to tilt in a genuinely provocative direction-is it really about anti-immigrant sentiments in Europe? Is it an Östlund-style probing of male cowardice?-only to drop the thread. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
B+ 59% John and the Hole (2021) You've seen these techniques before. Yet John And The Hole, for all the familiarity of its spooky remove, is no empty knockoff. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
89% Censor (2021) It hits the same note of vague unease ad nauseam, even as the semblance of a mystery plot takes gradual shape. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
66% One for the Road (2021) Drags out the conflict between two generally unlikable, thinly sketched bar bros to an unconscionable 136 minutes. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
96% CODA (2021) Too much of the film feels more informed by other movies than any real experience. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
B- 45% The Little Things (2021) To enjoy the film on its own cookie-cutter terms depends on finding pleasure, guilty or otherwise, in tropes recycled with total straight-faced conviction. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2021
B- 85% Our Friend (2020) Our Friend spares us the gory details at almost every turn, cleaning up a story whose power stemmed, heavily, from its willingness to be gruelingly truthful about what cancer can do to the body. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
B+ 93% Some Kind of Heaven (2021) It's like a movie set the size of Manhattan-a Hollywood facsimile of the midcentury high life you can actually move into. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021