Brian Lowry

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
52% Coming 2 America (2021) It's among the few movies redirected from theaters to streaming that have genuinely lost something because of it. That said, it's still a good deal of fun, reassembling old faces from the 1988 original while adding plenty of new ones. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
74% Boss Level (2021) Not that something like Boss Level breaks any ground, or -- with apologies to the premise -- is worth watching over and over. But for those craving an action distraction, it's a reasonably entertaining way to kill time. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
96% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) The deeper message, however, involves the toll that division and distrust inflicts on a mythical kingdom, which gives the otherwise pretty-good movie a rather timely hook. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
42% Boogie (2021) Huang's introductory effort exhibits ambition and energy but ultimately doesn't look ready for the big leagues. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
39% Cherry (2021) Tom Holland's kinetic performance is impressive, but it's in the service of an uneven film that too self-consciously works at mirroring the form of a novel. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
53% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) Thanks to the power of the subject matter and Day's knockout performance, The United States vs. Billie Holiday is worth seeing. But the film is generally at its best when watching, and listening to, the lady sing. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
99% The Father (2021) there have been few better attempts on screen to capture dementia, punctuated by a staggering performance from Anthony Hopkins, a brilliant cherry on top of the 83-year-old actor's extraordinary career. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
42% Crisis (2021) The tragedy associated with such stories could provide fertile territory, theoretically, for a good drama about what went wrong and who's ultimately responsible. That movie might get made someday, but Crisis isn't it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
94% Nomadland (2021) Zhao's movie is really defined by its texture and tone, and there's not a whole lot of meat or momentum to the story. Ultimately, it's a window into a way of life that will seem foreign to most in the modern age. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Both of the main stars are significantly older than their characters, since Hampton died at the age of 21. That's a forgivable bit of license, given the intensity and magnetism that Kaluuya brings to the secondary role. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
73% The Mauritanian (2021) The Mauritanian is a bit of a throwback -- a solid, old-fashioned piece of entertainment, but not a great movie. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
18% Me You Madness (2021) Satirizing this genre requires more finesse than the movie brings to it, and setting the aforementioned violence or a threesome to music isn't daring, but simply dull. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
92% Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words (2019) Writer-director Freida Lee Mock doesn't really break new ground -- as noted, it's been pretty well plowed -- but that doesn't prevent the tributes from feeling warm and heartfelt, especially coming after Ginsburg's death. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
98% Minari (2020) Focusing on a Korean immigrant family, the universal themes come through loud, clear and ultimately with considerable power, even if the movie's languid pace works against it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
58% Malcolm & Marie (2020) It's all very showy, beautifully shot, and ultimately irritating and headache inducing, largely because the script makes even the emotions and grievances that get vented unconvincing despite the strong performance. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
69% Fake Famous (2021) While their tales don't unfold entirely as planned, the HBO documentary exposes how ripe for manipulation this whole culture is, and the powerful incentives to game the system. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2021
87% Supernova (2021) Supernova is by any measure a modest production, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do: Creating a touching, low-key showcase for its stars, one that allows them to cast a bright light. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
75% Palmer (2021) Palmer certainly doesn't break any ground, but its simple story is sensitively told. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
47% The Little Things (2021) Ultimately, The Little Things meanders a bit too much with stakeouts and the drudgery of police work before getting to the meat of its psychological core, which offers a provocative payoff, if not perhaps one good enough to fully justify the journey. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2021
67% Penguin Bloom (2021) An uneven Netflix showcase for producer-star Naomi Watts, one that never entirely gets off the ground. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2021
92% The White Tiger (2020) The final act isn't quite equal to the build-up, but by then, The White Tiger has already pretty well sunk its teeth into you, making the investment in understanding Balram's fate feel like two hours well spent. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
100% Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself (2020) Granted, watching something like In & Of Itself in your living room isn't quite the same experience as seeing the show in an intimate theatrical setting. But for now, it's the next-best thing, and as structured, a very good one at that. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
99% MLK/FBI (2021) MLK/FBI not only offers a compelling portrait of what was, but beyond just looking back, sets up a debate about what will be. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
33% American Skin (2021) American Skin is worth seeing, for the issues Parker seeks to address, even if it only partially works in leaving a mark. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
37% Outside the Wire (2021) Outside the Wire can charitably be compared to the kind of "B" movies that studios used to churn out, and is best consumed by tempering expectations accordingly. Because unlike its futuristic hero, there's nothing special about it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
46% Locked Down (2021) Like most shot-under-quarantine productions, it's intriguing for about 30 minutes or so, thanks in part to the charismatic leads. For the next half-hour, most viewers -- like their predicament -- will probably have seen enough and just want to get out. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
98% One Night in Miami (2020) It's a small but riveting movie, anchored by a quartet of knockout performances. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
76% Pieces of a Woman (2020) It's provocative stuff, sure to elicit strong reactions and even conversations that go well beyond the film itself. Yet the latter half feels strained in ways that do as much to undermine the movie as enhance it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2021
59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) The stakes wind up being high enough, but the antagonists represent a huge comedown from the God of War and the German army, and despite the efforts of Gadot and Pine, the film can't overcome those hurdles. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
95% Soul (2020) Soul is highly recommended -- especially to adults who might not be otherwise inclined -- and a return to form for Pixar after the less-satisfying Onward. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
90% Promising Young Woman (2020) A darkly comic #MeToo revenge tale, the film is elevated by Carey Mulligan's mesmerizing performance, but winds up feeling undercooked in developing the narrative surrounding what's basically a feminist vigilante. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
51% The Midnight Sky (2020) A beyond-bleak post-apocalyptic thriller, the sci-fi film reaches a reasonably satisfying finish, but follows an uneven orbit in getting there. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
88% News of the World (2020) News of the World is a solid if unspectacular film, presenting a familiar story against an interesting historical backdrop. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
73% We Can Be Heroes (2021) This was clearly made for kids, not critics, and the design and action are vibrant enough to divert them. Rodriguez is well-versed in superhero tropes for parents who can appreciate comic-book satire. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
68% The Last Blockbuster (2020) The film proves timely in its warning about how a brave new digital world can claim casualties in terms of existing businesses and social interaction. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2020
31% The Stand In (2020) As movies go, The Stand In certainly isn't a headliner. Yet like its title character, the movie and its star get about as much mileage as they can out of this opportunity. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
96% The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) The ebullient, at-times joyous nature of the music is offset by the melancholy tone of the film, which makes a pretty convincing case that the Bee Gees were underappreciated and, in some quarters, disproportionately vilified. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
80% Safety (2020) This fact-based Disney+ movie presents a story that's stirring enough to predictably eke across the goal line as an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser, even if it's playing on a venue without crowds. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
89% Let Them All Talk (2020) Aided by a jaunty Thomas Newman score, Let Them All Talk manages to be both fairly disposable and thoroughly entertaining. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
55% The Prom (2020) A valentine to theater coupled with an overt message about LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion. All of that comes wrapped in a big neon bow, a joyous holiday gift for fans of musical theater, made by people who love the medium every bit as much as they do. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
13% Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical! (2020) The show felt bloated and flat, with scant sense of the magic in all the fluff employed to flesh out the Grinch's journey from Christmas-stealing curmudgeon to his the spirit-of-the-holiday epiphany. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
88% THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020) Ultimately, the changes to this Godfather don't feel significant enough to wholly justify the exercise, but it's still interesting revisiting a movie that -- unlike its predecessors -- isn't repeated constantly on AMC. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
48% 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
25% 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
90% 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
95% 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
94% 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
72% 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