Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
86% 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
82% 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
97% 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
81% 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
95% 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
63% 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
74% 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
41% 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
97% 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
96% 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
87% 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
78% 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
59% 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
41% 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
65% On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) (2020) An homage to French cinema's most advanced romantic comedies, it is also a wholly original film. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2020
92% Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) (1951) It is actor Kirk Douglas's ultimate performance as a post-WWII heel, twisting the actor's considerable talent and the force of his charisma into a spectacle of contempt. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2020
88% Ladies in Black (2018) Beresford, who directed Driving Miss Daisy, Crimes of the Heart, and Breaker Morant, movies that portrayed eccentrics inhabiting society's borders, neither sentimentalizes these women's struggles nor makes them paragons of identity politics. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2020
82% Listen Up Philip (2014) Perry shamelessly imitates his betters at their worst; only the arrogance is genuine. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
No Score Yet The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (2019) This trifling TV movie neglects the essence of black American church culture, settling for the clichéd politicized feminism that disrespects black religious faith. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
20% Coffee & Kareem (2020) The vehement viral responses to Coffee & Kareem have been funnier than the movie itself. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
56% Resistance (2020) The role of Marcel Marceau should have been a highpoint of Eisenberg's career ambitions the way playing Charlie Chaplin was for Robert Downey Jr. Unfortunately, Eisenberg appreciates Marceau's art only for its historical utility. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2020
98% Vitalina Varela (2020) Repeating themes of desolation, loneliness, regret, and immiseration from previous films, Costa expresses his sympathy in dirge-like fashion. This highly stylized film, as visually striking as the others, is representation by the Rembrandt of the ghetto. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2020
90% Dark Waters (2019) Haynes doesn't control Ruffalo's conceitedness. Weepy, anguished Ruffalo has lost the ability to portray normal behavior. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2020
99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Victimhood makes Never Rarely Sometimes Always the latest example of politicized filmmaking as the Hollywood norm. Its message overwhelms storytelling craft and reason. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2020
84% The Way Back (2020) This pity party doesn't make the film more meaningful; it crosses a line of decency that insults our ability to absorb storytelling and learn from it. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
35% Seberg (2020) Stewart, though miscast physically and vocally, plays Seberg as a tearful enigma, which is inappropriate for the actress and ironic American icon of the French New Wave that we know. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
92% Straight Up (2020) Straight Up's victory is the revelation that our own smarts are not smart enough to make up for romantic love; we seek something more. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2020
91% The Invisible Man (2020) This Invisible Man is not entertainment; it's merely a domestic-violence showcase for masochists. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020
98% Corpus Christi (Boze cialo) (2020) Komasa and Pacewicz deserve credit for not succumbing to trite political rationales... Corpus Christi maintains commitment to morality as a faith. It could be very instructive for this period. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
37% Downhill (2020) This film's smarter-than-thou revelations of human foible, personal pretense, and selfishness suggest sketch comedy... Faxon, Rash, Louis-Dreyfus, and Farrell show little imagination or originality. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
66% Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) Allows us to focus on how Hollywood sexuality stemmed from biblical, Freudian, Jungian foundations. In every scene, the astoundingly gorgeous Gardner embodies all those ideals in contradiction. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2020
78% Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Birds of Prey cheapens Robbie's razzle-dazzle characterization by politicizing it; Quinn's personal passion gets reduced to the childish inanity of out-of-control petulance. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2020
84% The Traitor (2020) This year's first great movie... By inquiring into the morality of the gangster film, Bellocchio is not a traitor to his art. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
91% Beanpole (Dylda) (2020) Beanpole is a Russian dossier that damns its source as well as its target. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
92% Clemency (2019) Clemency is art-movie activism, and it collapses from the lack of emotional grace. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
62% Brian Banks (2019) Director Tom Shadyac respects the moral clarity in the Brian Banks screenplay by Doug Atchison, who also wrote the moving Akeelah and the Bee, another keen observation of individual action over activism. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
84% Just Mercy (2020) Not even Michael B. Jordan, the charismatic star of Creed, can lift Just Mercy out of do-gooder drudgery. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) Mendes's prowling-camera vision of trench and field warfare offers jolts but never surprise; as Roger Deakin's adaptable camera surges through variously lighted locales, one's suspension of disbelief is dispelled by the photogenic stunt. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020