A.A. Dowd

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B+ 88% 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
B+ 100% The Father (2020) The final scenes of the movie are among the most heartbreakingly vulnerable of Hopkins' whole career. You can scarcely believe it's him. Which is probably the point. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
B- 87% News of the World (2020) Ultimately, News Of The World lives and dies on the presence of its iconic headliner, on the Hanks of it all. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2020
B+ 97% Gunda (2020) The message comes through loud and painfully clear, no dubbed voices required. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
B 93% Another Round (Druk) (2020) [Vintergerg] made the rare movie about getting shitfaced that's somehow neither a wallow in the gutter nor a fantasy of life without hangovers. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
B 95% Soul (2020) It's overflowing, like a bright portal into a new reality, with gorgeous details. So what if they don't quite add up to a deeper whole? - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
C 35% The New Mutants (2020) Even a mangled bit of Whedonese about a toad struck by lightning could benefit a superhero story this starved for character. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
A- 89% The Climb (2020) There are no sentimental easy answers or shortcuts to uplift in this unusually prickly buddy comedy. Like Kyle and Mike, it just keeps peddling forward, in the hope that some kind of clarity might materialize at the top of the hill. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
B 56% Come Play (2020) As a horror movie... it's often diabolical fun: a PG-13 funhouse ride of peekaboo jolts. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
C 49% The Witches (2020) This movie is as much an imposter as its titular attractions; what it's pretending to be is a story that wasn't afraid to spook the readers who loved it. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
B 50% Crimewave (1986) At the very least, the film is fascinating for the way it merges the dueling sensibilities of its creative masterminds, investing a quintessentially Coen plot with Raimi's love of broad physical comedy. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
B 61% Nocturne (2020) Nocturne, like its brittle protagonist, is good enough at what it does to make you wish it were a little better. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
C- 44% The Lie (2020) Still, after roughly 90 minutes of unbelievable behavior and botched suspense, the twist ending is too audaciously ridiculous to entirely resist. You'll scream, but not in fear. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
C 49% Evil Eye (2020) There's a faint, unfortunate whiff of Tyler Perry melodrama to the deadly dull Evil Eye. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
B- 73% Black Box (2020) Athie... sensitively navigates the film's games of identity hide and seek; he provokes our full sympathy, which the film then subverts and complicates with a decent second-act twist. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
C 73% French Exit (2021) DeWitt's zingers hit and miss, some sticking in the actors' mouth as proof that not every bon mot is as easily delivered as it is read. But then, maybe Jacobs is the mismatch. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2020
B+ 93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) The role's a perfect fit for Riseborough, a consummate character actor who slides so skillfully into a part that you'd swear you're seeing someone brand new each time she appears on screen. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
B 86% On The Rocks (2020) Who among of us wouldn't want to go through a life crisis with Bill Murray seated on the other end of the table? - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2020
C+ 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) The Trial Of The Chicago 7 wants to bottle the revolutionary spirit of its setting-the take-to-the-streets idealism of the '60s-but its snappy montage-glimpses of demonstrations verge on costume-party kitsch. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
B 92% Wildfire (2020) McGuigan and Noone's believable bond and naturalistic performances as troubled "Irish twins" would make Wildfire an engrossing watch. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
C 53% Joe Bell (2021) [T]he film has its heart in the right place, but its head is foggy and possibly concussed... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
C+ 63% Get the Hell Out (Tao Chu Li Fa Yuan) (2020) So while the specifics may be lost on Westerners, if you go with the flow, Get The Hell Out's broad strokes are great fun. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
B 100% The Truffle Hunters (2020) On paper, there was no reason to get especially excited for a doc about the business of Italian truffle harvesters... The Truffle Hunters is more eccentric and lyrical than its logline might suggest. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
B+ 99% MLK/FBI (2021) [I]t's a useful reminder not just that this American hero was a widely vilified figure during his lifetime but also that he accomplished everything he did despite nonstop resistance from intelligence agencies, the media, and the public alike. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
B 100% 76 Days (2020) [T]hat it's possible to laugh at this subject matter at all is a testament to its matter-of-fact presentation and maybe also to the extent that this virus has completely seeped into every corner of life. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
B 100% City Hall (2020) City Hall, in other words, may sometimes try the patience of even a Wiseman devotee. Still, there's method to its patches of mild tedium... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
B- 100% Beginning (Dasatskisi) (2020) Beginning is alienating by design, but that doesn't make it easier to engage with as more than an exercise in meticulously composed despair. Still, those compositions! - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
A- 96% Nomadland (2020) [A] lean, sad, richly textured portrait of life on the American outskirts. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2020
B+ 95% The Disciple (2020) Anyone who's ever devoted themselves fully to a craft, only to suspect that the rest of the world barely gives a shit, will relate to The Disciple. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
B- 89% Limbo (2020) While there's little disputing Sharrock's empathy for his dislocated, stranded characters... there's something rather limited about his alteration of dry fish-out-of-water gags and scenes of people staring forlornly into the barren middle distance. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
B- 100% Apples (Mila) (2020) [T]he droll Twilight Zone absurdism is not without its pleasures, many of them comic. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
C+ 75% Lacci (2020) The Ties, which Luchetti adapted from a Domenico Starnone novel, is so concerned with its big picture... that it largely neglects to explicate the feelings of its characters, even when they're, say, melodramatically leaping out of windows. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
B+ 98% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Lee knows what to look for in American Utopia (he keys in on winks and gestures), and knows which angles-like a Busby Berkeley overhead of the band marching in a circle around Byrne-will best clarify the design of the choreography. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2020
A- 81% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Kaufman, sneakily altering visual details from frame to frame, revives the grim absurdism of his brilliantly morose directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
C+ 70% Tenet (2020) It's a shiny clockwork contraption with a hollow center: a convoluted Rubik's Cube blockbuster that, once solved, reveals little more than the complexity of its own design. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
C- 48% Unhinged (2020) It's a wait-for-Redbox programmer, promoted by default into the (only) multiplex event of the summer. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2020
B- 81% Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (2020) The film is actually perhaps most interesting-and most valuable to the initiated-as a piece of criticism-by-creator. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2020
B+ 100% Sunless Shadows (2020) What [Oskouei] mostly captures is camaraderie and commiseration, the solace these girls have found in each other's company, even as they reckon with the events that landed them there. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2020
C+ 75% The Rental (2020) This setup is so credible, in fact, that it's doubly disappointing when the thriller elements do finally materialize and then promptly fail to thrill... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
C+ 82% The Painted Bird (2020) The film's emotional spectrum, a flat line of unyielding despair, is as limited as its color palette. And it settles into a pattern so dispiritingly repetitive (and repetitively dispiriting) it begins to resemble self-parody... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2020
C+ 74% Family Romance, LLC (2020) Like those eerily blinking robots manning the concierge desk, it's stuck in an uncanny valley. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2020
C 40% Irresistible (2020) The problem isn't with Stewart's message but with his delivery system... - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
C 40% You Should Have Left (2020) But the movie itself turns out to be a much shoddier bit of carpentry... it builds a ponderous Blumhouse haunted house-one whose "scares" are just hints of a secret the audience will figure out faster than intended. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2020
C 72% Becky (2020) Green Room did it better. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2020
C+ 87% The Trip to Greece (2020) At least everyone seems self-aware about how much they're repeating themselves yet again. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
C+ 40% Capone (2020) [I]t's a commanding physical performance in search of a richer characterization, of any sense of who Capone was - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2020
C+ 87% Spaceship Earth (2020) We get only an abstract sense of what life within Biosphere 2 was really like. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2020
B- 74% The Wretched (2020) If this really was some lost relic of the VHS era, it'd pass the blind rental test: There is a witch, and she's as creepy as the box art would surely promise. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 4, 2020
B- 86% Sea Fever (2020) Sea Fever becomes a horror movie about someone trying to convince people to stay in quarantine for the sake of everyone else. It's science fiction mostly in the possibility that she could succeed. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
B- 75% The Other Lamb (2020) Set in some indeterminate time and place rarely betrayed by modern technology or dress, The Other Lamb mostly operates in the realm of allegory. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020