Adam Fendelman

Adam Fendelman
Tomatometer-approved critic
Location: Chicago

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4.5/5.0 93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) Masterfully marrying new with nostalgia, this is the one we've been waiting for. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2015
4.0/5.0 92% Sicario (2015) One of the best films of 2015, "Sicario" does more than just lift the dirty, clandestine rug on the Mexican drug war. It poses harrowing moral questions many of us are too nervous to be asked let alone prepared to actually answer. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2015
4.0/5.0 87% Meet The Patels (2015) "Meet the Patels" dares to buck the traditional documentary film formula. Its unscripted story bridges the cultural divide with a cinéma vérité style that Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock can learn from. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2015
3.5/5.0 91% The Gift (2015) An "R"-rated warning of the dangers of childhood bullying, Australian actor Joel Edgerton's tense directorial debut shows promise for both the modern psychological thriller genre and for himself as a legitimate filmmaker. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2015
2.0/5.0 65% Ricki And The Flash (2015) "Ricki and the Flash" is an uninspired story from an Oscar-winning screenwriter who used her influence to tell an inspired-by story about her no-name mother-in-law rather than a real unknown musician who deserved it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2015
2.5/5.0 27% Vacation (2015) "Vacation" attempts to recreate the charm of the classic with actors who know how to read the lines but don't embody the characters. And they're forced to speak within a lazily written story that doesn't add enough to justify coming back. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2015
2.0/5.0 17% Pixels (2015) The epitome of an idea that far outweighs its execution, "Pixels" is a bittersweet blunder that had all of the elements to be geeky great but ends up being cheesy mediocre. I could literally feel its potential, but the film ultimately fails to realize it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2015
4.0/5.0 82% Ant-Man (2015) Thanks to a perfectly cast leading role by Paul Rudd​ and a hilarious supporting choice in Michael Peña​, "Ant-Man​" is a much funner-than-expected summer blockbuster that's as kid-friendly as it gets for the superhero genre. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2015
3.5/5.0 14% The Gallows (2015) Despite the production power of the trite Blumhouse horror machine, "The Gallows" harnesses real originality from new filmmakers (in a genre that's been lacking it) and effectively creates genuine scares because of it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2015
2.0/5.0 65% Magic Mike XXL (2015) Showing little differentiation from a substanceless soft porn with cheesy dialogue and a non-existent story, the nichely entertaining "Magic Mike XXL" treats you like you're a dumb monkey just wanting a jiggling banana. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 70% Jurassic World (2015) "Jurassic World" doesn't buck blockbuster trends. Rather, it cleverly plays into them. More than a visual feast to marvel at, its new Indominus villain leaves us with a human lesson to heed: there's a price to pay for overmeddling with nature. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2015
2.5/5.0 49% San Andreas (2015) When the story is as weak as the film's fault lines and the character development never develops, the problem with blowing $100 million mostly on special effects is all you're left with is unintelligent disaster porn. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2015
4.5/5.0 97% Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) The epitome of a badass thrill ride and what a reboot should really be, I'll patiently wait another 30 years for someone to achieve what George Miller has pulled off here. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2015
4.0/5.0 75% Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Hitting society's central nervous system through the real fear of AI gone horribly rogue, this complete sequel package weaves together a rich story, rousing special effects and the sacrificial duality of being a superhero versus the layman. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 82% Furious 7 (2015) A tactful and touching legacy for Paul Walker, "Furious 7" is a relentlessly action-packed thrill ride that actually has a story, too. Its fun is propelled by characters you give a frick about even if you've never called yourself a franchise fan before. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2015
4.0/5.0 65% The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) Often motivated by financial greed, many sequels satiate businesspeople while disappointing moviegoers. But "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" manages to buck the often-botched sequel trend with yet another naturally charming film. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2015
4.0/5.0 60% The Last 5 Years (2015) Telling the tough truth instead of being lied to with a glamorized version of theatre through rose-colored glasses, "The Last Five Years" establishes Anna Kendrick as a serious singer through Jason Robert Brown's naturally flowing, unpretentious music. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2015
2.0/5.0 24% Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Beneath its curious surface, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is an uninformed and unrealistic "romance" set in the BDSM world that dangerously dramatizes sexual violence and glamorizes domestic abuse. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2015
2.0/5.0 12% Seventh Son (2015) "Seventh Son" wastes a promising cast with unfocused and incoherent story decisions, unusual-but-not-in-a-good-way acting, unfortunate choices with gender roles and one-sided depiction of people with color. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2015
2.5/5.0 80% Black Sea (2015) While "Black Sea" physically dives deep, the story is shallow, the character's motivations are irrational and the drama is forced. The star of the film is the old, rickety submarine and the tension only she provides. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2015
4.0/5.0 48% Cake (2015) More than just a vehicle for awards, "Cake" features an overdue, career-growing, award-worthy, emotionally honest role for Jennifer Aniston anchored by a patient script written by real humans about real humans. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2015
3.0/5.0 72% American Sniper (2015) Entertaining, tense and thrilling, "American Sniper" devolves into glorification -- sugarcoating the truth and creatively changing details to assure we see the hero Chris Kyle was without most of the much darker anti-hero he also was. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2015
3.5/5.0 71% Into the Woods (2014) Neither Hollywood nor purely Broadway, Disney's big-screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" finds an imperfect but charming, family-friendly home on Hollyway. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2014
3.5/5.0 59% The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) One of Hollywood's best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three, Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He now concludes a trilogy in traditional too-long but epic fashion after spending 513 screen minutes on only 445 pages. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2014
2.5/5.0 68% The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) Weak source material split into two films for no creative advantage only results in a disappointing artistic decision ruled by financial greed. The film anti-climatically makes us wait and leaves us asking: "For what?" - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2014
4.0/5.0 72% Interstellar (2014) Marrying the brains of "Inception" with the epic splendor of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" asks vastly important brain-scratching questions, inspires your forward thinking and treats you to one hell of a mind-altering thrill ride. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2014
4.0/5.0 95% Nightcrawler (2014) You can't stop watching the demented, sociopathic, narcissistic but refreshingly blunt Jake Gyllenhaal in the razor-sharply written and visually exquisite "Nightcrawler". - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2014
1.0/5.0 6% Ouija (2014) I don't blame the actors or filmmakers for "Ouija" being the worst horror film of 2014. It's the 11 narcoleptic producers who Hollywood's allowing to slap together this same tired formula. No wonder they're too lazy to make a horror film actually scary. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2014
1.0/5.0 12% The Best Of Me (2014) The worst Nicholas Sparks film of the nine based on his novels, this is the epitome of disingenuous, manufactured and manipulative. The salt on the wound of an already bleeding heart is that the young adults outshine our artificial "A"-list lovebirds. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2014
2.0/5.0 25% Dracula Untold (2014) "Dracula Untold" is an artificial glorification lacking reason for the retelling. Even Dracula's wife outshines him in her supporting role. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2014
3.0/5.0 67% A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) While neither genre breaking nor a 2014 standout film, Liam Neeson nonetheless makes you want him yet again as your dad. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2014
2.0/5.0 44% This Is Where I Leave You (2014) The film's fatal flaw is it can't figure out who it is and do just one thing well. In the end, "This is Where I Leave You" is a failed comedy, a forgettable drama and a poor man's "August: Osage County" copycat. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2014
3.0/5.0 43% Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) Sex sells, but this film-noir sequel makes you feel dirty if you're left thinking that's enough. And if you count how many bullets are fired and compare it to how many holes you can shoot through its plot lines, the latter outnumbers the former. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2014
2.0/5.0 21% Into The Storm (2014) After overprioritizing its special effects and being barren of a story and characters who make you care, all you've got here is an exotic Lamborghini on the outside with a lawnmower engine failing to chug it along. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2014
2.5/5.0 58% Hercules (2014) The second the film cleanly wraps up with nowhere else to go, you move about your life. Perhaps all you might question later is what his bushy beard is made from. Then you'd have your first laugh once learning that it came from yak testicle hair. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2014
4.5/5.0 98% Life Itself (2014) "Life Itself" pulls you in not only as a fly on the wall but as a guest at his family's dinner table. The film isn't afraid of showing pain and doesn't apply makeup on Roger's degenerating face or about his story as a whole. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2014
4.0/5.0 81% The Fault In Our Stars (2014) "The Fault in Our Stars" returns us to the rare, gender-crushing ingredients in "The Notebook". It figures out how to put a guy and a girl together and actually release in them natural chemistry instead of artificially forcing them to feel it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2014
2.0/5.0 33% A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) "Django Unchained" already recently nailed it. By contrast, "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is an attempted copycat -- messily comprised of some comedic hits but more misses -- that we just didn't need. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2014
4.0/5.0 90% X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Blockbuster films so often blow so much of their budget on special effects but think of the plot as an afterthought. This one dares to reverse that mistake by investing heavily in its writing and allowing CGI to perfectly complement it. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2014
2.5/5.0 76% Godzilla (2014) Except for the clear purpose of cashing in on yet another "Godzilla" remake, everything is happening for no reason. Worst of all, what is ensuing misses and even mocks the reason why Ishirô Honda originated 1954's Godzilla in the first place. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2014
4.5/5.0 90% Locke (2014) Expensive Hollywood trickery often is superfluous filler for a film that is otherwise too weak at its very core. Character and story matter most, and "Locke" only needs one man in one car to keep you mesmerized for 85 straight minutes. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2014
3.0/5.0 74% Oculus (2014) "Oculus" wins with what it does inside its own mind, which incites yours without needing gore to bring about fear. But the most glaring problem is it doesn't need to be a "ghost story" to get you there. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2014
4.0/5.0 90% Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) If the original is anything to applaud, the sequel usually isn't. And even more rarely is the sequel actually better. But with this near-perfect comeback, we don't see so much of it coming, we enjoy nearly all of it and we can't ask for very much more. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2014
2.5/50 81% Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar (2014) It's challenging to enjoy this rushed and incomplete film purely for what it is rather than fault it for what it could have been. It feels like an elementary-school field trip rather than a film ready for nationwide IMAX distribution. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2014
2.5/5.0 48% RoboCop (2014) While entertaining at moments and lacking a more enjoyable RoboCop, the most grievous omission is a true villain. You get the feeling that RoboCop has nothing to do. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2014
2.5/5.0 54% Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Plagued by writers Adam Cozad and David Koepp, the result is a rookie/veteran script struggle that is selfishly directed by actor Kenneth Branagh. History will view it as the worst Jack Ryan film of the five. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2014
1.0/5.0 5% The Legend of Hercules (2014) It's a summer blockbuster wannabe that opened in January instead to recoup the piece of its $70 million budget that it can. The film self-professes its primary character as a legend without making him feel like one. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2014
4.5/5.0 79% The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Despite my bladder nearly not making it after 3 hours, thankfully the true story of Jordan Belfort kept me completely distracted and entertained at the behest of my bodily needs. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2013
2.0/5.0 40% Delivery Man (2013) Has Vince Vaughn peaked? While "Delivery Man" isn't his re-breakout role and it's not in nearly the same comedic league as its "Starbuck" inspiration, the film does show you a lesser-seen side: his drama instead of his comedy. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2013
2.5/5.0 66% Thor: The Dark World (2013) If "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry were alive today to witness "Thor: The Dark World," he'd tell it to focus on being a superhero film rather than failing to dabble in science fiction. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2013