Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Audiences are left frustrated and susceptible to easy suasion; this superficial view of the past contributes to the national dismantling perpetuated by mainstream media. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
No Score Yet The Tree, The Mayor, and the Mediatheque (L'arbre, le maire et la médiathèque) (1998) Rohmer's mastery reveals characters speaking in the language of their times, then honestly confronting their own moral imperatives. The revelation is beautiful, beyond Hollywood's self-satisfied groupthink that passes for thoughtfulness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
98% Minari (2020) Patronizing reviewers misread Chung's informal style as eloquence or charm. But for alert movie-watchers, this lack of affect feels unimaginative. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
95% Soul (2020) Not since the Beat movement has "soul" been so easily sold to all (meaning white hipsters). - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Whether dealing with bureaucrats or student zealots, the film has a perspective on social turmoil that falls short of the insightful panorama in the French AIDS-activism epic B.P.M. Sorkin's right-side-of-history saga is the bent history. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2021
96% Sound of Metal (2020) Sound of Metal shows the millennium's avoidance of soulful self-examination. Merely a showy cinematic tattoo, a narcissistic desecration of the body, Sound of Metal is a work of spiritual vacancy. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
91% Promising Young Woman (2020) Dark comic nihilism like this has appealed to hipsters ever since Gus Van Sant's To Die For, but now it resembles regime change -- confirming a major fault of the indie film movement that traded populist sentiment for elitist cynicism. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
95% Nomadland (2021) Nomadland looks both sociological and touristy; it's a visual lecture teaching America to pity itself. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Instead of the fraternal interplay that [Robert] Altman and [Darnell] Martin were so good at, Wolfe and Washington aim for predictable tragedy. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2021
98% Time (2020) The film is predicated on deliberate, phony artiness... Nothing like liberal condescension to turn what might have been a sincere vow into 100 percent pure cliché. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2020
70% Tenet (2020) Fact is, Tenet should not be taken more seriously than a James Bond movie. As an action film, it isn't nearly as skillful as a Tom Cruise Mission Impossible commodity. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2020
59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) The tone of Wonder Woman 1984 wobbles from half-serious political satire to silly comedy. Jenkins parodies Back to the Future to depict Eighties kitsch, but her film ends up just being tacky like Richard Donner's 1978 Superman. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2020
79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) This pop-art method suggests Alex Cox crossed with Pier Paolo Pasolini. Kurzel has made a post-punk, post-hip-hop, post-neo-realist post-Western. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2020
No Score Yet With Drawn Arms (2020) Its arrangement of stock civil-rights clips leads to unoriginal conclusions, in fact twisting facts to fit an obvious agenda. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
83% Mank (2020) Mank is so bogus, and so lacks dramatic credibility, I'll skip the shoddy narrative to note the immediate offense of this folly. Fincher has chosen to honor Mankiewicz over director, co-writer, and lead actor Orson Welles as a celebrity-cult aberration. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
No Score Yet The Plot Against The President (2020) The Plot Against the President doesn't end with triumph and victory like Costa-Gavras's rousing Z. Neither does it end with vengeance like Red Dawn. Fact is, Milius has made a cliffhanger -- but with an informative explanation. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
88% THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020) The rich complexity of Coppola's vision was never fully appreciated -- not even by Coppola himself, who has altered it to fit contemporary negativity. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
31% Up Close & Personal (1996) Up Close and Personal isn't even a particularly good movie, but it's more revealing than most other films about the degradation of what used to be called "the press." - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
84% The Way I See It (2020) In his work and in this film, Souza conflates idolatry with history. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
55% Joan of Arc (Jeanne) (2019) For Dumont, revisionist history -- and revisionist filmmaking -- is not a matter of do-over. It's about starting over and for reasons that we must heed. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
25% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) The film shows shallow -- fake -- empathy with the Appalachian background that begins Vance's humble brag about leaving backwoods hollers and winding up at Yale University. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2020
68% Ammonite (2020) Ammonite's refinement merely lifts up the skirts of what is essentially romance-novel passion. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
83% Let Him Go (2020) Costner wears his familiar Western heartache, which was never any more fake. Bezucha's narrative comes down to this: superior but dissatisfied Americans vs. Hillary's "Deplorables" and Biden's "Chumps." - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
43% Native Son (2020) Every close-up, even when scaling the top of a water tower to evoke James Cagney at the end of White Heat, conveys the no-hope fatality of the novel's tragedy. It's not so much poetic or expressive as banal. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
87% On The Rocks (2020) Bill Murray makes it work... Murray walks around carrying his own bon vivant spotlight. He's the life of the party, but with actorly gravitas. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
No Score Yet What Killed Michael Brown? (2020) What Killed Michael Brown? is a rare doc that opposes the media's current trend of fabricating race and "justice." - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
85% Martin Eden (2020) This film's many literary and cinematic echoes may please the cognoscenti, but Jack London's heroic neophyte subject needs a more self-critical update. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
98% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) American Utopia fails as entertainment because it comes across as a political lecture about national consciousness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
28% Antebellum (2020) Antebellum is as risible as it is obvious exploitation. Its back-and-forth narrative is a Critical Race Theory bonanza, blending contemporary race-and-gender-awareness with disdain for American history. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2020
82% The Boys in the Band (2020) The Boys in the Band now exhibits the typical Millennial segregation of race, sex, and class experience. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
89% Kajillionaire (2020) It's a peculiarly class-based, bohemian ideology that Kajillionaire expresses with a perfectly oddball plot - the dreaded heist movie taken to philosophical extremes. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
96% The Human Voice (La Voz Humana) (2020) The way Almodóvar's formal delight replaces Cocteau's probe of his protagonist's psyche makes The Human Voice minor rather than emotionally powerful. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
68% I Am Woman (2020) Rebooted for Millennial consumption, I Am Woman remains a damnably catchy novelty tune, but this movie raises the cultural problem: Do we learn from the past or reinterpret it to suit the moment? - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
73% Mulan (2020) By now we've seen too many authentic, dynamic Chinese action movies, especially Zhang Yimou's recent Shadow and The Great Wall, to accept this dross. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2020
42% Guest of Honour (2020) Egoyan offers a clumsy intellectual exercise. These characters stand out like metaphors in New Yorker magazine short-story fiction. Each one is a stick figure in a narrative maze. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
99% On the Record (2020) On the Record is propaganda made on the divide-and-conquer principle of the progressive movement. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
77% Summerland (2020) Summerland epitomizes much of the lousy storytelling artifice in recent films. It may have something to do with "dramaturgy" also being a sociological term. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2020
96% Creem: America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine (2020) Give credit to writer-director Scott Crawford and the Creem-magazine veterans Jaan Uhelszki, Susan Whitall, and others for caring as much about putting the publication's history on film as they do about getting it right. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
98% The Go-Go's (2020) The Go-Go's have not yet been awarded their proper place [in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]... After the world sees Alison Ellwood's splendid documentary, that omission is bound to be put to rights. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2020
95% Black Is King (2020) It follows the coffee-table-book graphic appropriations of the music video genre's peak achievements only to illustrate how disoriented, misguided, and commercialized black identity has become. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2020
95% First Cow (2020) We sit and watch Reichardt play out her bitter thesis without being astonished. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
88% The Truth (La vérité) (2020) We're unlikely to witness such brutal honesty about the clash of art and politics in any other movie this year. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
98% Hamilton (2020) Miranda's unprepossessing lead performance depends on whiny hectoring, rather than brainy charisma; the role needs a star, and this film doesn't have one. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
88% Deerskin (2020) This slyly paranoid art film proposes what cannot be put back in order -- or, as an amateur filmmaker might think, rectified by pressing a rewind button. It defies back-to-roots, back-to-nature aspirations and so goes forward into murderous madness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2020
99% Miss Juneteenth (2020) Miss Juneteenth feels like the era's first black conservative movie. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
No Score Yet Right On! (1971) Right On! exposes the chasm between what used to be black pop consciousness and today's political attitudinizing. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
74% The King of Staten Island (2020) Apatow's glib narrative both sneers at and pities this working-class phenomenon, oblivious to the deep-seated social unease that defines America's lost generation. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2020
76% Tommaso (2020) Tommaso is not a slog through guilty self-hatred. Tommaso's marital jealousy exposes reasonable insecurity. More than a diaristic confession, it is an effort toward integrity and self-acceptance. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
60% Young Ahmed (Le jeune Ahmed) (2020) Despite their sophistication, the Dardennes offer sop to the new Europe, awash in liberal pity and sitting-duck weakness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
40% Capone (2020) British Hardy dramatizes the guilt that American actors avoid. As the most talented and charismatic actor of the millennium, Hardy displays his gifts modestly and shrewdly: Sickly pale Capone has a carrot stuck in his face where a stogie used to be. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020