Adam Kempenaar

Adam Kempenaar
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Filmspotting
Location: Chicago, IL

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 97% Booksmart (2019) As good as Feldstein and Dever are as a pair... Booksmart really soars when our heroines reach their destination and, separately, get to spread their wings. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
4/5 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) The MCU has generally successfully balanced planetary and personal stakes. Endgame is a worthy culmination of that storytelling approach. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
2.5/5 93% On the Town (1949) It's hard to make a good musical with mediocre songs... One exception... the sweetness and gracefulness [of Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen] in "Main Street." - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2019
4/5 84% Her Smell (2019) We basically don't get any escape [from Becky Something]. We are either right up in her face, with those close-ups and handheld camera, or they're employing a steadicam that follows her around as she stalks the rooms and corridors backstage. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2019
4/5 96% Opening Night (1977) Tying back to A Woman Under the Influence... [Cassavetes] explores what happens when women don't play their prescribed roles. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
4/5 94% Us (2019) ...the reason the humor is so effective... is that it's always borne out of family dynamics. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
3.5/5 81% The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) The genre elements are mostly subterfuge because otherwise [Cassavetes would] basically be bleeding on the screen. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 95% Transit (2019) Transit isn't untethered from history so much as it's unburdened, transforming a Holocaust story into a universal one of loneliness and longing. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 99% Apollo 11 (2019) That perspective - what a group of individuals can do when coming together for a collective good - shapes everything we see. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
4.5/5 93% A Woman Under the Influence (1975) 'Be yourself,' Nick implores Mabel. But how do you be yourself if you have no longer have a self? - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
4.5/5 88% The Matrix (1999) Neo offers Reeves the perfect combination of Ted Theodore Logan's curiosity and wonder, Johnny Utah's earnestness and the badassedness of Jack Traven. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
4/5 87% Faces (1968) In Faces, Cassavetes forces us to confront people - and, consequently, ourselves - at their most vulnerable. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
2/5 37% Glass (2019) What's disappointing isn't that Shyamalan chose not to make Unbreakable 2; it's that what began so successfully with Unbreakable has devolved into such thoroughly unsatisfying pulp, void of any real humanity. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019
3.5/5 84% Creed II (2018) ... refreshingly less concerned with trite triumphs than it is with fractured men forced to confront who they perceive themselves to be or aspire to be vs. who they are - and the fight to reconcile that. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
4.5/5 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) ... an unabashedly bleak yet oddly hopeful and entertaining meditation on the Coens' perennial preoccupations - the folly of human nature and death. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
4/5 91% Widows (2018) Really a film about power ... and the compromises that accompany those transactions, be they political, professional or personal. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2018
4/5 94% Wildlife (2018) ... a portrait of the artist as a young man, [the artist] just doesn't know it yet. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2018
2/5 61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Bohemian Rhapsody is made up almost entirely of contrived biopic signposts - a Queen's 'Greatest Hits' of ah-ha moments. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2018
3/5 66% Suspiria (2018) [The new element] that resonated with me the most was the sense of history and survival -- the strength and resolve of this [female] collective making quite political art for 30 years. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2018
3.5/5 71% Hold the Dark (2018) Holding the dark - embracing it within, or keeping it away - is what all of Saulnier's films are about. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/5 94% Private Life (2018) Kayli Carter bridges the ache and absurdity and becomes the movie's salvation, just as her character, Sadie, tries to be. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
4/5 84% Monrovia, Indiana (2018) Wiseman once again reveals his enduring inquisitiveness without being an inquisitor. There's no easily discernible - or dismissible - agenda or narrative, just curiosity, observation and discovery. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
4/5 95% Halloween (1978) What's crucial isn't that Laurie survives because she's the only virgin; it's that she's the only virgin and still almost doesn't survive. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2018
2/5 79% Halloween (2018) In the original, the killing has a certain [satisfying] logic to it ... Here, Michael Myers kills anyone he happens to cross paths with. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2018
4/5 87% First Man (2018) Chazelle's ambivalent portrait of Armstrong is a strength. I'm not looking for movies to further mythologize heroes; I need real heroes - imperfect people of action. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
3/5 90% A Star Is Born (2018) When this movie really hums, it's about Cooper the actor and director supporting those who are supporting him. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
4/5 87% The Sisters Brothers (2018) ...not precious about challenging tropes, and like so many Westerns, fundamentally about change ... How do men who make their living out of such brutality evolve - or not? - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2018
4.5/5 100% Minding the Gap (2018) The skateboarding footage is pretty stunning in its gracefulness ... a thrilling diversion from all the trouble we're witnessing, just as it is for the subjects themselves. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
1.5/5 32% The Predator (2018) Interesting ways people are being dismembered is never going to be enough for me. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
3.5/5 95% Blaze (2018) ..unconventional in its use of Foley's music to form the film's structure, and in the fascinating detours it takes focusing on peripheral characters. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
86% Tully (2018) Playing opposite ends of a spectrum -- one despairing and worn down, one so hopeful and youthful -- [Davis and Theron] could both have become caricatures of those people and never do. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3/5 83% Deadpool 2 (2018) ...no grand satire here, just self-awareness - and enough surprises, solid jokes and well-crafted action sequences to be entertaining. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
2/5 70% Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) How did we get an origin story where Han Solo is not only NOT the most interesting character in the movie, he's honestly maybe sixth or seventh? - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
4/5 94% Incredibles 2 (2018) What thrilled me the most ... watching these characters do the thing they were born to do [and] fully be themselves instead of repressing something fundamental about themselves. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
4/5 100% Leave No Trace (2018) The subtle ways we witness [Tom's] epiphany, her little flickers of rebellion, are striking. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) The injustice and dread at the core of the movie is overwhelming -- in the same way so many feel overwhelmed by it every day in real life. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) F. Scott Fitzgerald said "action is character" -- which, if true, means the Ethan Hunt we see in Fallout is the most complex movie character of all time. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) ...a movie that has to be reckoned with, about a subject that we seem doomed -- hopelessly -- to reckon with. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Constance Wu is a bona fide movie star ... She carries the emotional weight of the movie with sophistication and strength and vulnerability and humor. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
5/5 93% No Country for Old Men (2007) Javier Bardem's Chigurh is the embodiment of Sheriff Bell's exasperation -- a mythological, Grim Reaper-like figure whose existence makes order and civility implausible. - Filmspotting EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2008