Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
78% Fast Color (2019) By bringing lead singer Poly Styrene's eccentric musical and political wit into Ruth's already mysterious saga, Hart interprets the millennial black girl's plight in her own, fresh way -- as universal. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2019
32% Red Joan (2019) Red Joan's sentimental exoneration of one woman's treason and sedition fits with how today's media pay tribute to the kaffeeklatsch of political resisters. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
90% Sauvage / Wild (2019) Sauvage/Wild is surprising and compelling for scenes that constantly convince you of Leo's sympathetic humanity, whether he is being childlike, naïve, angry, tender, filthy, or troublesome. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
62% Native Son (2019) The fact that we cannot escape Bigger Thomas's ghost is partly due to Johnson and Park's fashionable decision to subvert Wright's cautionary book and turn out one more urban-tragedy scenario, now carrying the imprimatur of HBO slickness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2019
52% The Best of Enemies (2019) Atwater and Ellis's personal development is superficial but at least the movie doesn't drag the actors through trendy cynicism. Bissell and his performers admirably sentimentalize a small but historic accord. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
65% Peterloo (2019) Leigh's nearly great Peterloo succumbs to the derangement syndrome now common in British and American political rhetoric. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
94% Us (2019) Interpreting Peele's silliness doesn't go beyond his trivializing black American deprivation into junk-movie entertainment. And no intelligent moviegoer should be impressed by his tonier affectations, which are mere sketch comedy. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
47% Dumbo (2019) Now Dumbo, and the culturally unifying ideas that classic American movies once communicated, no longer take flight. Dumbo and our cultural heritage are forgotten and get chewed up in contemporary cynicism. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
73% Dragged Across Concrete (2019) Dragged Across Concrete presents a strangely naturalistic worldview. Instead of imagining how heartless -- or "cool" -- mankind can be, Zahler looks for hidden virtues in each situation, no matter how bizarre. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
78% Captain Marvel (2019) Captain Marvel gives political cartoons a bad name. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
94% The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018) Despite stretching irrelevant similarities between Welles's sketchbooks and his great films (comparisons that are fun to watch rather than enlightening), Cousins's political focus misses the moral core of Welles's art. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
96% Transit (2019) Petzold's Casablanca-meets-Kafka exercise is a world-weary cliché. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
59% Greta (2019) This isn't the top of Jordan's oeuvre, but sometimes movies gain fascination for the way they absorb and reflect the day's social currents, including our media-inspired anxiety. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) Patronizes European modernity and turns it into soft-core kitsch. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
77% Never Look Away (2019) How ironic that [Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's] film about an artist figure uses a storytelling style that sidesteps artistic innovation and never challenges comfortable taste... Never Look Away is, at best, decorative art. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
78% Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite) (2019) Sorry Angel continues Chéreau's daring panorama of homosexual humanity with emphasis on moral consciousness, complete with the contradictions of desire and practicality. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
83% Ruben Brandt, Collector (2019) In this parody of the hard-boiled-detective genre, Ruben Brandt, Collector further connects art, film, and animation, mapping out the idea of self-discovery and personal relations through culture. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
90% Legend Of The Demon Cat (Kûkai) (2019) Chen gives a fairy-tale tone to this ghost story yet always goes deeper into the issues of love, death, trust and envy, loyalty and betrayal. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
91% Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) I celebrate the catharsis of Cell Block 99 for dramatizing the personal virtues imperiled by venal officials and partisan social arbiters as well as by fate. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
22% Miss Bala (2019) This remake is the sort of claptrap that used to be called a B-movie, or a straight-to-video release, yet its half-seriousness falls just short of nonsense. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019
19% Serenity (2019) Serenity dares a moral reckoning worthy of [director Steven] Knight's predecessors... Serenity -- a film about a man chased by his conscience -- is Knight's dream narrative. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
88% The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019) The Image Book considers nothing less than the irony of classical art in competition with political reality. It's a poetic analysis that achieves its power through metaphor and allusion, linking not-random images to specific mythic resonance. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
37% Glass (2019) In Glass, Shyamalan ups the exploitative ante -- adding social collapse to serial-killer-threat and girl-victim dread. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2019
86% The Wife (2018) It's a gender-role tantrum rather than an exploration of gender-role consciousness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
97% Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) [Director RaMell Ross'] aesthetic is strictly observational, like watching animals in their native habitat, the American zoo. Through class difference and intellectual distance, Ross treats the down-home folk like creatures. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Profound, worthy of the previous Van Gogh salutes by Minnelli, Altman, Pialat, and Kurosawa. Schnabel subtly salutes Van Gogh's perseverance by understanding his need to paint in spite of the cruel, stupid, wicked ignorance of his world. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
79% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) No one asked for Mary Poppins's return to modern consciousness, but her reappearance unmistakably proves that Hollywood Boomers are desperate to justify their own mediocrity through nostalgic sentiment. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
65% Aquaman (2018) Aquaman, as directed by James Wan and reconceived by Warners executives chasing after Marvel's jackpot, is all about copycat desperation -- and shrillness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
70% The Mule (2018) Movie classicism -- the practice of traditional craft -- has become rare, and The Mule is the year's best example of modest excellence. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
33% Welcome to Marwen (2018) Modern Hollywood isn't good at exploring individual consciousness, but Zemeckis's usual emphasis on special effects and maudlin emotion might be worse. Augmented Reality keeps replacing Hogancamp's story with distracting technological fluff. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
57% The House That Jack Built (2018) The House That Jack Built isn't entirely likable, but, as civilization crumbles, Von Trier's nervy provocation has got an undeniable point. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
90% Museum (Museo) (2018) . Bernal is too old to play ingénue, but his commitment to the film's genuine if sophomoric passion is laudable. The film's deep patriotism is remarkable. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
96% Roma (2018) I can't recall another art movie so openly patronizing toward its subject, yet so self-flattering of its maker's largesse. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) The temerity of retelling a Spider-Man tale by pandering to the nonwhite demographic (and those who flatter themselves for condescending to it) reveals how brazen the media have become. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
99% Amazing Grace (2019) It suggests that black experience is still alien. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
68% Beautiful Boy (2018) Beautiful Boy is distracted from the very problem it hopes to expose... [The filmmakers] insist on depicting the contemporary crisis as a sun-dappled disturbance of otherwise swanky American complaisance. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
60% Vox Lux (2018) Vox Lux has moments of startling and expressive individual yearning within the millennium's darkness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) Jenkins's Beale Street is not sensual or idealistic enough, and it feels thoroughly inauthentic. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
93% The Favourite (2018) This sick parody of political ambition suggests a Vice Media version of a corrupted Merchant Ivory film -- Anglophilia that is fascinated by the worst of British eccentricity. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) The film's self-pleasing, self-loathing "smartness" makes this wannabe epic -- a story of things half-believed that yet cause Americans to quake -- a gruesome landmark of movies in 2018. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
78% Green Book (2018) Green Book is so heavy with seriousness that any humor about the essential qualities the men share -- or that complement their unlikely friendship -- is lost. This misjudgment fails to reverse the lachrymose gimmick of Driving Miss Daisy. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
91% Widows (2018) McQueen always uses film pretentiously. Widows belongs to his edgy genre of queasy art projects masquerading as movies. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
59% The Front Runner (2018) The Front Runner isn't morally penetrating, like Chappaquiddick, nor is it as offensive as Truth, the 60 Minutes scam biopic in 2014, but it still ends up as liberal Hollywood mush. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
81% Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) The clowning, overly cheery insincerity of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again diminishes one of the peaks of Western pop culture. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
78% Scarred Hearts (2018) At two and a quarter hours, Scarred Hearts recalls the miserable overlong 2005 Romanian film The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) Each successive Mission: Impossible movie takes us further away from understanding the politics and morality of espionage. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) BlacKkKlansman is a poor detective tale and simple-minded Millennial noir because Stallworth's exposé of a sect of American racists and terrorist (all unhealthy-looking white miscreants) never feels like discovery, just a continuation of his hip cynicism. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
89% Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2018) A better, sharper documentary would clearly set out the difference between the revelation of eminent people privately pursuing their natural drives and the degradation of human exploitation. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
74% Mom and Dad (2018) Its wit, poise, reflection, and irony surpass such junk as Crazy Rich Asians and Get Out, making Mom and Dad the most American of American movies this year. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018
93% Support the Girls (2018) This realistic sense of female perseverance -- not supplication -- goes beyond prescribed political correctness. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2018