Andrea Gronvall

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
95% 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 89% 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
89% To Dust (2019) Shawn Snyder makes a strikingly original and winsome feature debut. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
3/4 76% 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
68% 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 13% 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
80% 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
81% 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
48% 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
4/4 90% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri tells the story of a woman emulating God's vengeance when she might profit more by emulating his forgiveness, especially toward herself. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2017
98% BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute) (2017) [BPM] devotes significant screen time to philosophical debate but also appeals to the senses with graphic sex and a throbbing techno score by Arnaud Rebotini. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
92% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) This is a colorful mashup of Scandinavian myth, interplanetary sci-fi, Old Testament references, and crossover comic book characters. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
87% Novitiate (2017) Writer-director Maggie Betts balances the naturalistic exchanges of her sympathetic young cast with bravura set pieces for the seasoned actors. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
63% Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) The movie's focus on the caustic effects of celebrity make this narrative set in the first half of the 20th century particularly relevant for the media-frenzied 21st. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
92% Thelma (2017) [Thelma] links supernatural horror to repressed memories, raging hormones, and fundamentalist zealotry, crafting a sexy and unsettling brain-teaser. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
80% Marshall (2017) This real-life case makes for an entertaining courtroom drama that nonetheless reduces Marshall to the level of Perry Mason and consigns to the end credits his greater triumphs. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
64% The Foreigner (2017) Martin Campbell directed this twisty, bracing political thriller, giving Chan room to display his dramatic ability and letting Brosnan flesh out a vigorous, complex character who's surrounded by frenemies with secrets of their own. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
2/4 65% Victoria & Abdul (2017) Victoria & Abdul may capture the ugly side of Britain's colonial past, but its demeaning portrait of Abdul reinforces the Orientalism it purports to lampoon. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2017
39% The Mountain Between Us (2017) The movie works as far-fetched escapism with some genuinely moving moments. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2017
100% Against the Law (2017) This somber BBC production... intercuts eyewitness accounts from grizzled survivors of homophobia in postwar England with a dramatic treatment of the life of journalist and activist Peter Wildeblood. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
88% B&B (2018) the plot is overly reliant on such technology as smart phones and night goggles, gizmos that eventually hamper the paranoiac suspense. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
53% Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Exaggerated, cartoonish violence, deliberately cheesy CGI, and a buoyant pop soundtrack make this a stylish if overstuffed romp. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
33% Home Again (2017) Witherspoon lacks the abandon the May-December love angle requires, and the movie is so tidily formulaic that it feels as if it's been airbrushed; the send-up of Hollywood falls flat too. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
35% American Assassin (2017) Somewhere along the way Michael Cuesta morphed from a creator of thoughtful indie dramas... into an action director (Showtime's Homeland); if he ever wants to tackle a James Bond movie, this nonstop spy thriller should serve as his audition. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017