Brian Lowry

Brian Lowry
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Contributor, Variety
Publications: CNN.com, Variety

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
45% Black Beauty (2020) It's ultimately too inert, even with the changes, to make this familiar story leap off the page. Black Beauty isn't bad, exactly, but rather the kind of flavorless fare that underscores how hard really good family viewing is to corral. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
26% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) These would theoretically be juicy roles for Adams and Close, but even with those stars letting loose, the conversations about broader cultural and economic challenges that the book triggered get obscured by what feels more like a Lifetime movie. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Ma Rainey -- like any savvy performer -- doesn't overstay its welcome, or risk stretching the premise beyond its weight. Thanks to its leads, rather, it belts out a few showstopping moments, before taking that last, well-deserved curtain call. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
86% Belushi (2020) The tears of a clown remains one of comedy's most familiar and enduring cliches, but "Belushi" still captures the truth of it through this window in time. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
94% Between the World and Me (2020) Despite the limitations of shooting under Covid conditions, Forbes has brilliantly deployed the talent, sometimes simply showing their melancholy expressions while the voices of others play. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
91% Crazy, Not Insane (2020) While the documentary might not convince those who prefer a black-and-white picture of crime and justice, for anybody with an open mind, it'll definitely make you think. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2020
80% Soros (2019) If nothing else, Soros helps demystify the man and what motivates him, separating the myth from reality. In an age where money talks louder than ever in politics, it's worth clearly understanding what Soros has tried to say with his. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2020
71% LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special -- with that title alone -- knows precisely what it's doing. The resulting animated hour delivers a clever romp through Star Wars history, smartly snapped together and wrapped in a bright, colorful bow. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
94% The Life Ahead (2020) The Life Ahead has the warm feel of a family affair, and a celebration of not just Loren's contribution in this particular film, but the life, and career, behind her. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
90% Mank (2020) Granted, it's difficult for any trip back through the bad old days of the studio system not to feel a trifle cliched, but Mank effortlessly conveys all that showbiz history in a breezily entertaining package. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
69% Ammonite (2020) It's frankly hard to describe Ammonite without making the movie sound as derivative as it is. The performances, however, elevate the material, as Winslet and Ronan each convey grappling with different kinds of trauma without speaking about what ails them. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
78% I Am Greta (2020) In the broadest strokes, the film succeeds in its primary objective, which is to draw attention to Thunberg's cause. It's in the execution where I Am Greta sometimes can't get out of its own way. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
60% Iverson (2014) As a cultural document with ramifications beyond its star, Iverson is certainly worthwhile. It's in its determination to let its namesake put the best spin on things where the film occasionally takes its eye off the ball. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2020
80% Let Him Go (2020) Ultimately, the real firepower resides in the performances, from the palpable sense of menace Manville projects to the simple devotion and tenderness that Lane and Costner exhibit toward the boy and each other. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
63% Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine (2020) At its best, Everything's Fine is a reminder that everything is most certainly not fine, conjuring laughter by capturing the sheer absurdity of it all, much like Cooper's Trump-channeling videos. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2020
94% Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You (2020) The documentary buttresses the point that when it comes to passion to communicate through music, after all these years, Bruce Springsteen and his mates are still on fire. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
79% Over the Moon (2020) Although the movie is visually impressive, the Chinese-American co-production suffers from a too-thin story, built upon a heavy-handed message soaked in that oldest of Disney tropes: a dead mom. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
50% The Witches (2020) A concoction seemingly plucked from the lower rungs of Tim Burton's filmography, with eccentricity as the main attraction. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2020
86% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Sacha Baron Cohen hasn't lost the power to deliver audacious surprises, with enough explosive, not-suitable-for-anywhere laughs to power through the flatter patches this sort of exercise inevitably yields. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
40% Rebecca (2020) This faithful, pretty-but-uninspired adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's novel doesn't breathe fresh life into the classic, much less eclipse the 1940 Laurence Olivier-Joan Fontaine version that garnered Alfred Hitchcock's lone best-picture Oscar. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
97% What the Constitution Means to Me (2020) An audacious idea, one that starts slowly -- at least in this format -- before sinking in its hooks about halfway through. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
97% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) American Utopia doesn't set the screen ablaze, but Byrne and his collaborators certainly know how to put on a show, even when it feels like they're going nowhere. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
100% 537 Votes (2020) While some of the details might have faded with memory, 537 Votes nicely encapsulates the descent of politics into a blood sport where rivals are viewed as enemies, not opponents. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
100% A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (2020) For an hour or so, The West Wing special manages to bring the show, and its central ideals, back to life. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
40% Honest Thief (2020) By the standards of Liam Neeson thrillers, Honest Thief is pretty weak tea, a passable, low-octane action movie that doesn't do much more than steal one's time. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times are indeed a-changin', but Sorkin's brand of sharp writing about politics, media, and culture hasn't gone out of style. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
87% BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky (2020) The challenge is to make it more than just an infomercial. Seen that way, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky manages to offer a welcome reminder that even for K-pop's reigning queens, all that glitters isn't always gold. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
99% Totally Under Control (2020) All told, there's not a whole lot new here. Still... Gibney and company have delivered what is clearly intended to be a powerful closing argument, pulling the case together. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
No Score Yet Driving While Black (2020) An extremely rich and detailed PBS documentary, exploring the long history of restrictions on Black movement, from slavery through the present. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
71% Batman: Death in the Family (2020) A more natural fit than most recent forays into interactivity. That's not to say Batman: Death in the Family isn't a gimmick too, but at least it's a fun, inventive one -- and a pretty clever way to kill time on a long, dark night. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
29% The War with Grandpa (2020) Edgy it's not, but everyone seems to be having a pretty good time, perhaps especially the senior class. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
26% Books of Blood (2020) The main problem is there's a whole lot of scary out there this time of year, and Books of Blood winds up in a sort-of creative no-man's land. Even for undemanding souls, this is a pretty skeletal construct. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2020
88% The Phenomenon (2020) If you're intrigued by the topic at all -- and who isn't? -- this documentary might be a little too breathless, but it usefully updates the conversation through the flurry of activity over the last few years. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2020
56% Mary & Martha (2013) Mary and Martha -- a moving return to intimate form for HBO -- represents an emotionally stirring triumph. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2020
95% David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) Attenborough doesn't overstay his welcome, in an 80-plus-minute Netflix special that essentially races through his career to get to his prescription for addressing the impending climate-change disaster. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
86% On The Rocks (2020) An entertaining, wonderfully simple comedy with the qualities of a smooth martini -- it goes down easy, but delivers a bit of kick. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
87% Kingdom of Silence (2020) It's the perfect encapsulation of decades of American policy, where support for democratic impulses has frequently run afoul of financial incentives and pragmatism. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
69% The Glorias (2020) The key performances are strong, but director/co-writer Julie Taymor's movie meanders too much, dragging through the beginning and again toward the end. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
82% The Boys in the Band (2020) A Netflix movie that can't entirely shake its slightly claustrophobic stage roots, but which provides a stellar showcase for its actors, especially Jim Parsons as the central provocateur. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
55% Secret Society of Second-Born Royals (2020) It's slick and generally solid comic-book-style fun, with uniforms and everything, as these youths discover their powers and Astin provides welcome humor as the group's able if exasperated mentor. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
91% Enola Holmes (2020) Based on the charms of "Enola Holmes," Netflix should be eager to keep this game afoot as long as its stars are willing to keep playing. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
64% The Devil All the Time (2020) The casting alone should spur interest in The Devil All the Time, but can't make the movie feel like less of a slog. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
84% The Way I See It (2020) Simply in terms of presenting a draft of history through his earlier work and scalding commentary via his more recent endeavors, Souza's aim has been true. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
28% Antebellum (2020) At home, Antebellum is worth seeing, not only because of what it has to say about America's past and present, but as a reminder of the often yawning gap between an intriguing idea and a fully realized film. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
61% Blackbird (2020) The premise and performers yield some emotional moments, inadvertently heightened by recent events. Yet as a whole, the film never quite takes wing. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
55% Coastal Elites (2020) While the five monologues presented don't seek to convert anyone, they do encapsulate the rage and confusion Trump's election unleashed within the zip codes that conservatives dismiss, while elevating shot-during-quarantine TV to new heights. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2020
65% I Am Woman (2020) A reasonably good movie biography, if one that -- perhaps due to the nature of her life -- feels a little like the Hallmark Channel version of Bohemian Rhapsody. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2020
74% Mulan (2020) Broadly speaking, "Mulan" has largely honored the story while establishing its independence from the prior version, a delicate operation that succeeds in measured doses. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
86% Robin's Wish (2020) Tries to balance celebrating Robin Williams' life with explaining the undiagnosed illness that resulted in his death. The documentary tilts toward the latter, creating an uneven tribute. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2020
84% You Cannot Kill David Arquette (2020) Strange and more than a little sad, You Cannot Kill David Arquette derives most of its strength from the discomfort associated with watching it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020