Alissa Simon

Alissa Simon
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Variety, Sight and Sound

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
No Score Yet Out of Tune (2019) Aided by notable production and sound design and a spot-on score, Aspöck achieves a tricky balance of tone and sets a snappy pace. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
No Score Yet Aurora (2019) It poignantly addresses some big themes - including the plight of asylum seekers and female alcoholism - while capturing the feelings of restlessness derived from being stuck in a remote place with a lack of opportunity. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
86% Let Me Fall (2018) Like Z's two previous features, it is strongly acted and sensitively directed. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
No Score Yet The Little Comrade (Seltsimees laps) (2018) An affecting and richly visualized coming-of-age story set in Soviet Estonia during the Stalinist terror of the 1950s. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
78% The Last Suit (El último traje) (2018) [A] touching, albeit occasionally heavy-handed, drama... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2018
No Score Yet Smuggling Hendrix (2018) [A] delightful, droll, and intelligent comedy... captures the absurdity and tragedy of a complicated political situation with a consistently light touch. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2018
No Score Yet Love 1. Dog (Dragoste 1: Câine) (2018) The fact that the screenplay leaves so many things undefined allows attentive viewers to become more involved in the story and fill in the narrative gaps in their own minds. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2018
88% Ruben Brandt, Collector (2019) While Krstić is especially good at providing noir atmosphere (jazzy, smoke-filled dives, ominous shadows, and references to Mike Hammer films), he positively excels at high-octane action. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2018
100% One Day (Egy nap) (2018) [An] intense, intimate work... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2018
No Score Yet The Gentle Indifference of the World (2018) Although Yerzhanov tries something new by gussying up the narrative with allusions to French New Wave amour fou and gangster noir, "Gentle Indifference" still feels like a slight knock off of his earlier work. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
98% Border (Gräns) (2018) An exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
60% Ramen Heads (2018) "Ramen Heads" may be a tad lacking in visual excitement, but it succeeds in imparting the ineffable appeal of Japan's national dish. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2018
No Score Yet Adam (2018) It succeeds as a showcase for the thesping talents of the helmer's athletic son (a producer as well), who essays the eponymous lead. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
69% The Quest of Alain Ducasse (La Quête d'Alain Ducasse) (2018) Absorbing and cinematic, "The Quest of Alain Ducasse" offers the documentary equivalent of a memorable meal at one of the eponymous chef's three Michelin-starred restaurants. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2018
No Score Yet Dressage (2018) "Dressage" powerfully illustrates the consequences of growing social divisions within contemporary Iranian society and indicts a middle and upper class that have lost their moral center. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2018
60% Cuban Food Stories (2018) Eye-opening in every way, especially for those who may think that Cuban food is just rice and beans, the film makes extensive use of Soto's engaging voiceover narration. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2018
96% Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid) (2018) With a vibrant performance from fresh-faced Alba August as the lead, "Becoming Astrid" looks sure to become a hot seller and makes one eager for more episodes from Lindgren's astonishingly unconventional life. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
80% Genesis (Genezis) (2018) Csordás and Illési, the non-professional actors playing Ricsi and Virág, do a fine job, but the camera loves Illési, and it's her story that stands out whether it was meant to or not. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
No Score Yet Horizon (Horizonti) (2018) This accomplished, absorbing, even-handed look at the pain of a marital breakup should broaden the director's fan base on the festival circuit. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2018
71% Black Kite (2017) Certainly, multihyphenate Qayumi deserves credit for his deft use of archival footage and animation, which provide useful context and historical background. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2018
92% And Breathe Normally (2018) Although some might find the twists and turns of the narrative to occasionally defy credibility, others will be swept along with the gripping human dilemmas of the main characters. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2018
82% Scaffolding (2018) A troubled student is challenged by his literature teacher, who aims to open his narrow worldview to other possibilities. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
90% The Other Side of Everything (Druga strana svega) (2017) Director Mila Turajlić examines Serbia's political history through the eyes of her activist mother in this engrossing doc. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
78% What Will People Say? (Hva vil folk si) (2018) The kinetically shot film brims with authenticity and immediacy and benefits from a deeply sympathetic turn from sublime discovery Maria Mozhdah as the lead. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2017
15% Euphoria (2017) Plays as if it might have come from Yorgos Lanthimos' bin of discarded ideas. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2017
No Score Yet Granny's Dancing on the Table (2015) Both off-putting and engrossing, the pic marks [Hanna] Skold as an idiosyncratic talent. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2017
100% The Girl Without Hands (La Jeune fille sans mains) (2017) The vibrant, Fauvist color-washes and overlays represent the film's most impressive element, recalling the cut-outs of Henri Matisse or the decorative work of Raoul Dufy. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2017
No Score Yet Out (2017) Terhes makes palpable Ágoston's optimism, loneliness and frustration - and he gets viewers to care about the character's fate. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2017
95% Tempestad (2016) The beautifully crafted and creative documentary Tempestad traces the stories of two women whose lives, through no fault of their own, became utter, incomprehensible nightmares. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2017
100% A Man of Integrity (Lerd) (2017) Although the film will be banned in its home nation, fests and niche arthouse distributors in most territories will welcome this brave, underground production for the way it manages to resonate on both specific and universal levels. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2017
91% The Teacher (Ucitelka) (2017) Although dealing with weighty matters, Jarchovsky's script (which is based on a real-life incident he experienced during primary school) is leavened with welcome humor and irony. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2017
No Score Yet Ice Mother (2017) For the first time, older characters are at the heart of a Sláma film, and Kronerová and Nový repay the helmer-writer with warm, dignified turns that require both soul- and flesh-baring. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2017
No Score Yet Highway (2012) Low-budget, over-ambitious multi-strander from debuting helmer Deepak Rauniyar is more interesting for its glimpse of a politically tense, mixed-race society where tradition and modernity mingle uneasily than for the surfeit of uneven dramas. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2017
No Score Yet The Erlprince (2016) Gives an unorthodox spin to archetypes and confirms the helmer as a talent to watch. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2017
No Score Yet Fanny's Journey (Le voyage de Fanny) (2017) While the entire cast acquits themselves well, the impressive, nuanced camerawork by Pierre Cottereau (who also recently shot Christian Carion's WWII drama Come What May) is the film's strongest technical asset. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2017
97% 1945 (2017) A fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2017
100% My Happy Family (Chemi Bednieri Ojakhi) (2017) An interesting sociological perspective on a changing patriarchal society. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2017
96% The Women's Balcony (Ismach Hatani) (2017) A close-knit congregation fractures along gender lines after a catastrophe at their synagogue in this nicely observed dramedy. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2016
91% Window Horses (2017) An entertaining, educational, and poignant tale about identify and imagination that is filled with stories and poetry. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2016
93% All This Panic (2017) More remarkable for the way it looks than the actual, somewhat banal, girl-talk content. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2016
100% Wednesday, May 9 (Chaharshanbeh, 19 Ordibehesht) (2015) Three O. Henry-esque stories from contempo Tehran are woven together with mixed results in Wednesday, May 9, the debut feature of multihyphenate Vahid Jalilvand. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2016
71% Little Wing (Tyttö nimeltä Varpu) (2016) A tender-hearted coming-of-age story shot in a low-key, realist style ... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2016
No Score Yet Blindness (Zacma) (2016) Remarkable for its ability to put viewers inside the head of its complicated protagonist, "Blindness" is a high quality, old-style arthouse drama ... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2016
90% A Death in the Gunj (2016) Although Sensharma seems confident behind the camera, she directs her cast of name actors at too high a pitch. It becomes exhausting to watch their near-manic singing, dancing, and playing games. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2016
80% Past Life (2017) As the sisters lead them to desperately seek a path to forgiveness and peace for all concerned, Nesher expertly builds suspense while echoing and reinforcing their quest with the film's hauntingly beautiful musical choices. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2016
100% Barakah Meets Barakah (Barakah yoqabil Barakah) (2016) A smart, charming, and bittersweet tale about the Kingdom's millennial generation and their take on the social and political restrictions that stand in the way of meeting and mingling with the opposite sex. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2016
71% The Tenth Man (El rey del Once) (2016) This low-key romantic comedy marks a return to one of Burman's oft-repeated themes -- a son coming to grips with his relationship with his father -- and to the setting of one of his most successful features, Lost Embrace. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2016
71% The Model (2016) A shallow but good-looking soap opera-like drama set in the world of high fashion. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2016
No Score Yet Normal Autistic Film (2016) A beautifully crafted, intimate, and revealing observational portrait of five youngsters with Asperger's Syndrome. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2016
100% Wolf and Sheep (2016) Although more compelling on a visual level than a narrative one, the movie represents an enticing festival and niche event item, as well as a vision of Sadat's homeland that is far different from what the media normally depicts. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2016