Alissa Simon

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
86% The Sleepwalkers (Los Sonámbulos) (2019) As the leads, the fierce Rivas totally convinces as the concerned mother, as does the stunning D'elía as the conflicted daughter. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
56% The Moneychanger (Así habló el cambista) (2019) A continent-hopping dramedy that's not very funny and never catches fire. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
71% Wet Season (2019) Without artificial-seeming contrivance, Chen masterfully builds resonance through rhyming scenes, repeated images and reoccurring dialogue. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
71% The County (Héradid) (2019) "The County" is full of feisty female energy and imagery, and sprinkled with rousing "you go girl!" comic moments. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
80% Incitement (2019) By putting the killer at the center of the film and focusing on his motivation, it inevitably elicits understanding, empathy and, conceivably, admiration for the wrong character. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
63% Edie (2019) The only thing that does not disappoint is the ravishing and varied landscape, even if it is shot a bit like a tourist board advertisement. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
No Score Yet Those Who Remained (Akik maradtak) (2019) Perceptively directed by Barnabás Tóth, it taps into a deep well of honestly earned emotion as it tells the story of two traumatized survivors whose relationship helps them to heal and provides them with someone to live for. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2019
No Score Yet Let There Be Light (Nech je svetlo) (2019) Although some may be frustrated by former documentarian kop's observational rather than overtly critical view of his country's rising nationalism, the film raises important and provocative questions for which there are no easy answers. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
92% The Cat Rescuers (2019) While the production package is merely workman-like, the commitment, honesty and heart of the main interviewees makes the material compelling. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2019
69% The Other Story (2019) A smartly cast and smoothly directed drama... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
60% Homeward (Evge) (2019) In addition to being short on character development and narrative logic, the universe of the screenplay penned by helmer Aliev and Marysia Nikitiuk, from an idea by first A.D. Novruz Hikmet, is definitely a male chauvinist one. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
86% The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul) (2019) As a medium, animation suits this adaptation well; it would have been nearly impossible to shoot as live fiction or on location. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
92% The Unknown Saint (Le miracle du saint inconnu) (2019) A droll, entertaining, absurdist fable about spirituality and greed that signals an important new talent. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
100% A Regular Woman(Nur Eine Frau) (2019) Much more accomplished and watchable than Hormann's previous film about a real-life crime, "3096 Days," "A Regular Woman" owes much to its fine cast and impeccable technical package. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2019
80% Volcano (2018) An impressively shot drama marbled with welcome notes of absurdist comedy and wry humor... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
No Score Yet My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (Mijn bijzonder rare week met Tess) (2019) Straightforward youth cinema with surprising emotional depth. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
69% Ghost Fleet (2019) Kudos to Service and Waldron for their worthy efforts in bringing both a vile practice and an indispensable organization to public attention, but "Ghost Fleet" should not be considered the last word on either. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
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
100% 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
88% 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
80% 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
97% 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
76% 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
19% Euphoria (2019) 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
95% 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
100% 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