Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Brent Hankins has been blogging and writing film reviews online since 2011. He joined the Phoenix Film Critics Society in 2013, and was a founding member of the Phoenix Critics Circle the following year, where he currently serves as President. Brent also hosted the weekly Drinks and Discourse podcast for nearly 5 years, and is currently the chief film critic at The Lamplight Review and Spoiler TV. He resides in Tempe, AZ with his wife and son.
Critics' Group: Phoenix Critics Circle

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
7/10 96% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) After living with the pandemic for the past year, we could all use a bit of Disney magic in our lives. The film's central themes feel especially resonant, the laughs are (mostly) well-earned and the big emotional beats are hugely effective. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2021
8/10 98% Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (2021) ...offers a uniquely up close and personal look at someone who, in her own words, is "famous as fuck." But more importantly, it showcases the real person behind the celebrity, who experiences the same fears, doubts and frustrations as the rest of us. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
5/10 55% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) Day's performance is equally magnetic offstage, conveying the singer's affection toward her closest confidants... and the lifetime of torment that repeatedly drove her back into the throes of addiction. It's truly great work that belongs in a better film. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2021
8/10 80% I Care a Lot (2021) Pike and Dinklage are so deliciously, hilariously depraved that we're willing to hang in there until the bitter end, largely because we hate both of them in equal measure and find a small hint of joy in watching each suffer at the hands of the other. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2021
8/10 93% Saint Maud (2020) Ehle is superb as the terminally ill Amanda, a hard-drinking hedonist who manages to foment empathy even as she wields a sharply acidic tongue, and Clark is magnificent as the dangerously devout nurse, who seems much more haunted than holy. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
3/10 28% Bliss (2021) There are a lot of big ideas at play in writer-director Mike Cahill's latest effort, but almost none of them are explored to any degree of satisfaction, and the film posits numerous questions for which it seems to have no answers. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
8/10 73% The World to Come (2020) A hauntingly beautiful story anchored by passionate, soulful performances from Waterston and Kirby... The World to Come is a heart-wrenching rumination on grief, loneliness and desire. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
5/10 53% Superior (2021) The 80s retro production design pairs nicely with the decision to shoot in 16mm... But the glacial pacing prevents Superior from building momentum, and the climax feels flat and uninspired. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
5/10 70% A Glitch in the Matrix (2021) There's not much in the way of academic or intellectual discussion here, just a cacophony of anecdotes and coincidences, intercut with footage from various films and video games, none of it carrying any weight. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
6/10 100% Luzzu (2021) Director Alex Camilleri paints a somber tale of tradition being slowly snuffed out by the unstoppable march of progress. Its languid pace and may not work for all viewers, but there's a mournful sort of beauty here, if you're willing to look for it. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
7/10 76% Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Almost nothing makes any sense, but everything looks spectacular, the ultra-violent action -- especially the climactic swordfight/shootout -- is a blast, and Cage is magnificently off the reservation. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
8/10 69% Land (2021) Wright and Bichir are in peak form, with the latter bringing a quiet dignity to his good-natured, salt-of-the-earth hunter, while Wright's performance runs the gamut from melancholy to hopelessness, to steely resolve and ultimately, hope. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
6/10 76% Knocking (2021) There's a bigger message here somewhere, about the overall dismissiveness with which mental illness patients are treated by society, but Knocking only scratches the surface when it would've been more interesting to keep digging. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
8/10 84% On the Count of Three (2021) On the Count of Three doesn't shy away from the darkness, and Carmichael manages to keep the warring tones balanced without allowing one to overpower the other. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
7/10 81% Wild Indian (2021) Exploring themes of self-loathing and resentment, forgiveness and redemption, and how difficult it can be to break the cycle of violence, Wild Indian is a stellar debut feature for Corbine. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
7/10 75% Eight for Silver (2021) Director Sean Ellis has constructed a moody, effective supernatural yarn full of gruesome imagery and genuine scares that should be well-received by genre aficionados. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
8/10 100% Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) A stunning documentary that simultaneously serves as a concert film, historical document and wide-ranging examination of Black culture and identity in the late 1960s. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
4/10 87% Censor (2021) Despite solid work from Algar, Censor runs out of steam before the gory, blood-soaked climax, which plays out in disappointingly predictable fashion. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
5/10 69% How It Ends (2021) How it Ends feels more like a thought experiment than a fully-baked idea... even at a scant 82 minutes it feels padded, often meandering as listlessly as its protagonist and her plucky companion. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
8/10 95% CODA (2021) A bonafide crowdpleaser -- even without the crowd -- CODA knows precisely when to play the material for laughs, and when to pluck at the heartstrings. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
7/10 65% One for the Road (2021) One for the Road is clearly a deeply personal film for [director Baz] Poonpiriya, full of raw emotion and poignant reflection, and a great opening night selection for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2021
6/10 59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Regrettably, this sequel fails to achieve the heights of its predecessor, but after months of pandemic life, it will likely scratch the blockbuster itch for anyone that needs a big, loud, colorful adventure. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2020
9/10 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is not only an exceptional piece of work, but a heart-wrenching reminder of the immense talent Boseman possessed and all the things he could've achieved if only circumstances had been different. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2020
5/10 88% News of the World (2020) Reuniting with Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass, Tom Hanks anchors a predictable, paint-by-numbers narrative with an equally predictable performance that he likely could've given in his sleep. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
5/10 25% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Howard's film would've been far more interesting had it been willing to explore [the complexity of poverty], instead of sanitizing it and shining it up nicely for award season. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
7/10 83% Freaky (2020) A hilarious blend of mirth and murder with plenty of bloody, ridiculously over-the-top kills to please genre fans, and a surprisingly earnest emotional core. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
6/10 83% Let Him Go (2020) A solid showcase for its veteran stars, allowing Costner to tread familiar territory that never feels stale, and tasking Lane with constantly propelling the narrative forward as she evolves from doting grandmother to fearsome mama bear. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2020
7/10 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Wielding comedy like a weapon, Cohen's latest effort once again uses satire to bring us face-to-face with some painful truths about ourselves and the people around us, all the while managing to make us laugh until it hurts. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
8/10 100% Pink Skies Ahead (2020) Pink Skies Ahead makes some major strides toward destigmatizing mental health disorders and therapeutic treatment, thanks to Oxford's empathetic approach and the way she normalizes these experiences through the eyes of her protagonist. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
8/10 81% I'm Your Woman (2020) From neon-lit nightclubs to crumbling hotels to rundown roadside diners, Hart crafts this underworld journey into an anxiety-laced odyssey, accentuated by bursts of bloody violence. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
6/10 39% Rebecca (2020) Twists and turns are stacked up like dominoes and toppled in rapid succession... Thankfully, the work by James and Thomas is strong enough to carry Rebecca through a finale that's surprisingly clunky for a film that is otherwise quite competent. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
8/10 99% Totally Under Control (2020) Gibney's film is all but guaranteed to infuriate viewers, and rightfully so -- but its revelations are also unquestionably terrifying to behold, especially when the end is still nowhere in sight. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2020
9/10 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) The Trial of the Chicago 7 is Sorkin's second time working behind the camera, and his direction feels remarkably more assured than his debut effort, but where the film truly shines are in its superb ensemble cast, and its dialogue. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
7/10 91% Enola Holmes (2020) Brown is delightful in the leading role, Claflin is magnificently aggravating as a secondary villain of sorts, and the devilishly handsome Cavill is effortlessly charming as the world's most famous detective. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2020
5/10 28% Antebellum (2020) There are some striking visuals to be consumed, and Monáe has an undeniably commanding screen presence, but nothing seems to fit together quite right. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
8/10 64% The Devil All the Time (2020) Holland's performance isn't the flashiest -- that honor belongs to Pattinson's rapacious reverend -- but it's certainly the most interesting, and miles removed from his best-known work as Marvel's resident webslinger. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
8/10 73% Mulan (2020) Epic in scope and extravagant in its production design, Mulan would clearly have been a joy to experience in the theater, and it's a shame the world has changed so much over the last few months that audiences won't have that opportunity. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
7/10 82% Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) The film was clearly a passion project for Winter and Reeves, and there's something joyous about watching them reprise the roles that helped jumpstart their careers -- especially when it feels more like a labor of love than a disingenuous cash grab. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
8/10 83% You Cannot Kill David Arquette (2020) A captivating chronicle of a man's desire for acceptance, for which he seems willing to pay any cost. The filmmakers do a wonderful job of capturing the pageantry and absurdity of the wrestling world, as well as its darker side. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2020
4/10 35% Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1 (Crazy Samurai Musashi) (2020) The notion of an epic-length samurai battle filmed in a single take is intriguing, but the novelty quickly wears thin, mostly thanks to bare-bones camera work and overly simplistic fight choreography. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2020
6/10 86% The Columnist (De Kuthoer) (2020) There's something satisfying about watching smug, smarmy racists and misogynists get their comeuppance, and The Columnist presents a revenge fantasy likely to be shared by anyone who's ever been mercilessly fucked with online. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2020
7/10 100% Sheep Without a Shepherd (2019) With a carefully constructed, multi-layered screenplay, great performances and some inspired directorial flourishes, Sheep Without a Shepherd is a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse with a wicked sense of humor and a genuinely surprising conclusion. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2020
8/10 94% Boys State (2020) A fascinating and sometimes frightening microcosm of our current political system, and how anyone looking to affect significant change within that system should prepare for a bumpy ride. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 11, 2020
10/10 98% Hamilton (2020) Hamilton was conceived as a piece of theatre, and truly deserves to be experienced as such... but this film of the original Broadway production is a fine substitute, and just like its onstage counterpart, well worth experiencing over and over again. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 30, 2020
5/10 40% Irresistible (2020) Stewart throws jabs at the absurdity of cable news punditry and its obsession with scandal, disingenuous photo ops and misleading attack ads -- nothing is safe from scrutiny here, but that scrutiny rarely goes beyond the lowest-hanging fruit. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
6/10 67% Extraction (2020) Hemsworth holds his own as a different sort of superhuman entity, the kind of ultra-macho, near-invincible hero that populated the action films of yesteryear... if you need a quick action fix while quarantining, Extraction will do the job nicely. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
7/10 57% The Hunt (2020) There's an argument that The Hunt is trying to say something deeper about the dangers of clinging to ideology... Or maybe it's trying to illustrate that being a closed-minded, self-righteous asshole is not a trait unique to one particular side. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
7/10 83% The Way Back (2020) Affleck's own well-documented struggles with alcohol lend some extra weight to his performance, which happens to be some of his best work in front of the camera in years. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
6/10 88% Onward (2020) Onward doesn't quite pack the emotional gut-punch of recent Pixar efforts like Inside Out and Coco. It's a fun and mostly lighthearted romp, with a great sense of humor, just don't expect it to rank among the studio's upper echelon. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020
2/10 63% Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) The thought of spending more time with Sonic or his arch-nemesis makes me want to roll into a ball and fly off a cliff at several hundred miles per hour. - The Lamplight Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2020