Andrea Gronvall

Andrea Gronvall
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Chicago Reader film critic.
Publications: Chicago Reader, Time Out

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2.5/4 86% 16 Shots (2019) Laquan McDonald deserved a better life, and he deserved a better memorial than a dashcam video, or, for that matter, 16 Shots. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
4/4 95% Transit (2019) ...a profound meditation on the dehumanizing condition of statelessness. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
78% Photograph (2019) This too-languidly-paced film lacks the emotional payoff of The Lunchbox, and rising newcomer Malhotra is not yet in Siddiqui's league. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
No Score Yet Babam Ve Oglum (My Father and My Son) (2005) Blatantly manipulative, broadly acted, and with a score that's about as subtle as a pit bull. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
57% Brightburn (2019) A cure for superhero movie fatigue, this lean, gory horror film...has a coherent narrative and pays off with a bang. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
100% Find Me (2019) The stunning landscapes and Huang's low-key persona are enchanting, as are the ethnically diverse free spirits he encounters during his quest. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
100% Penguin Highway (2019) Making his feature debut, 30-year-old director Hiroyasu Ishida confidently adapts Tomihiko Morimi's bestselling coming-of-age novel, gracefully segueing... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
89% Meeting Gorbachev (2019) Herzog can be forgiven for his hero worship of the statesman so instrumental in the reunification of Germany, a politician who was born to rural peasants and never forgot that the people come first. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
88% Satan & Adam (2019) ...surprisingly flat. Too bad, since their story would seem like a can't-miss... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
3/4 72% All Is True (2019) In All Is True Branagh and Elton do what the Bard did himself: take something-be it someone else's idea, an historical fact, or a recent event-and mash it up with original material, to fashion an entertainment that feels real. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
67% The White Crow (2019) It's astonishing that this is Ivenko's first movie role, because he projects Nureyev's drive, seductiveness, intellectual curiosity, imperiousness, vulnerability, and mercurial temper with a naturalism that seems effortless. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
3/4 No Score Yet Oh Willy... (2013) Just for fun, the directors throw in a yeti as well, a surreal element that nonetheless is the perfect capper for this oedipal tale. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
3/4 100% This Magnificent Cake! (Ce magnifique gâteau!) (2019) A feeling of surreal disconnection and an elliptical approach to storytelling distinguish This Magnificent Cake! - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
3/4 39% Man on Fire (2004) Washington has chosen wisely, and he hasn't had to wait long. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
53% The Best of Enemies (2019) Comparisons will inevitably be made to Green Book for its upbeat vibe, but in terms of serious craft and admirable aspirations, this film is more in the league of 42 and Selma. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
94% The Mustang (2019) This film was developed at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute lab for emerging talent; he certainly found one in French actress Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, here making an impressive feature directorial debut. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3/4 90% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) It's essential viewing for the ways in which it illuminates brutally hard lives many of us could otherwise not imagine, and for the craft of its nonprofessional performers. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
88% To Dust (2019) Shawn Snyder makes a strikingly original and winsome feature debut. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
3/4 77% Never Look Away (2019) Never Look Away becomes livelier after Kurt and Ellie escape to West Berlin and settle in culturally bustling Düsseldorf. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
22% Miss Bala (2019) Miss Bala offers a self-flattering vision of American strength, as one focused gun-toting gal strikes a blow for her gender while cleaning up a skirmish in the ongoing war on drugs. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
4/4 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) What the film is doing is recognizing their indelible life force and originality; it's a cri de coeur hurled toward an increasingly hidebound and emotionally stunted era of Western civilization. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
100% Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018) It makes you ponder, from the standpoint of cultural anthropology, the differences between then and now, with conglomerates today hell-bent on enriching shareholders by decimating workforces. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) James Laxton's cinematography is even more richly hued than his work on Jenkins's Moonlight, and the sound design and Nicholas Britell's score add to the movie's brimming sensory pleasures. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
65% Aquaman (2018) Veteran cinematographer Don Burgess's widescreen images beguile, and Bill Brzeski's production design impresses mightily, but next time, someone please give Momoa and company some memorable dialogue. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
4/4 93% The Favourite (2018) As the intrigue heightens in The Favourite, so do the film's surreal touches. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
69% Beautiful Boy (2018) The leads are superb, buoyed by Amy Ryan as Nic's mom, Maura Tierney as his stepmother, and LisaGay Hamilton in a moving cameo. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
No Score Yet Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse (2018) This Swiss-German romantic comedy delivers on its whimsical title. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
100% Retablo (2017) Alvaro Delgado Aparicio examines societal notions of masculinity, and how an artistic temperament can be both a vulnerability and a lifeline in a harsh world. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
92% The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018) Peter Bogdanovich brings his formidable knowledge of movies to bear in this incisive portrait of Buster Keaton... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
100% Before the Frost (Før frosten) (2018) To the movie's credit, writer-director Michael Noer and his cowriter, Jesper Fink, provide enough plot twists to upend viewer expectations about the nature of evil in this study of human savagery. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
96% Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid) (2018) Under Pernille Fischer Christensen's astute direction, the actors never descend into bathos. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
3/4 100% Mother's Day (2018) [Mays] is well matched by McClure, Wilmot, and Martin, who renders every gesture of her reticent character telling beyond words. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
2/4 94% Cardboard Gangsters (2017) ...any sympathy for our "hero" is severely taxed. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
2/4 14% Life Itself (2018) I've seen Life Itself twice already, and I may even watch it a third time someday, not because it's perfect-it isn't-but because just as with my own life, I like to revisit the high points. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
3/4 40% School of Life (L'école buissonnière) (2017) Although he presents several characters fondly, Vanier emphasizes seriousness of purpose over playfulness. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
79% Alpha (2018) A work of great imagination but devoid of wasteful excess, grounding his straightforward tale in recognizable human-and animal-behaviors. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Knockout visuals, a winning cast, and an irrepressibly feel-good vibe make this dazzling romantic comedy one for the ages. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2018
88% Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) The screenwriters (Rudd among them) frequently mock their own sci-fi jargon, their snarkiness the strong suit in a movie offering little else except souped-up car chases. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
100% Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018) This eerie and affecting feature debut from writer-director Mari Okada blends fantasy and coming-of-age stories. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
80% Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) This exuberant sequel easily tops the 2008 musical hit. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
86% Thoroughbreds (2018) Cory Finley uses the clipped dialogue of film noir to heighten the sense of menace. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2018
4/5 89% Hereditary (2018) Toni Collette is flawless. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
47% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) J.A. Bayona demonstrates a flair for the gothic... which has less pyrotechnics but more suspense. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
89% Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2018) Because Basquiat started as a graffiti artist, many of his earliest works were destroyed, so the rare photos here, provided by his friend Alexis Adler, are illuminating. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
92% Nossa Chape (2018) An extraordinary sports documentary and a compelling human-interest story, this documentary follows the rising Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense after the November 2016 plane crash that killed 19 players and the entire staff. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
No Score Yet Breath (Nafas) (2016) An unsentimental perspective distinguishes this 2016 Iranian drama from earlier youth-centered classics. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2018
100% White Sun (Seto Surya) (2017) [Deepak] Rauniyar gets the most out of the actors, a mix of pros and amateurs, and cinematographer Mark Ellam generates exhilarating images of this vertiginous corner of the world. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2018
89% Wait for Your Laugh (2017) Timing is everything in comedy, and according to this nostalgic documentary portrait of Rose Marie, she always knew when to jump to the next big thing. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2018
76% Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Like a video game, the narrative lacks any character development, relying on obstacles, chases, and the threat of elimination. Hart delivers his one-liners with precision and verve, and Johnson is sweetly funny as the muscular incarnation of a gawky nerd. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017
30% Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) The wafer-thin plot barely sustains the songs and romance. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017