Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 96% In the Heights (2021) What Chu and Miranda have made may be the ultimate summer movie - but one without explosions, superheroes, aliens and disasters. Instead, glowing like an August sunset, "In the Heights" mirrors the shimmering optimism of the season itself. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2021
1/5 25% The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021) If there's one film that could make you wish that all theaters had not only stayed shuttered after the pandemic but burned down, it's "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2021
4/5 91% A Quiet Place Part II (2021) A well-executed thrill ride that leads to just one destination: "A Quiet Place Part III" due next year. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2021
2.5/5 44% Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (2021) A rote, generic, by-the-numbers thriller with few real thrills. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 29, 2021
4/5 92% Limbo (2021) Bleakly humorous and wonderfully deadpan...a movie whose deliberately slow pace and sense of quiet desperation aptly mirrors its title. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2021
92% We Don't Deserve Dogs (2020) The documentary from Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker goes to four continents to explore the human-dog relationship. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2021
4.5/5 90% Moffie (2019) A riveting portrait of a particular time and place while also being a broader assault on the type of pressure-cooker masculinity where torture, cruelty, humiliation and racism are the coins of the realm. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2021
3.5/5 84% Nobody (2021) Of course, what makes or breaks a film like this are the action scenes and they are plentiful and they are painful. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2021
4/5 76% Pixie (2021) British director Barnaby Thompson's coolly comedic "Pixie" may not be the most original in concept in the world but the winning execution makes up for it. And, yes, there really are deadly gangster priests. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2021
5/5 94% Nomadland (2021) The contemplative "Nomadland" whispers instead of shouts its grievances about contemporary American life, and is all the more powerful for it. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
4/5 75% The Mauritanian (2021) Rahim fleshes out Slahi as a real person; he's not just a victim or someone to be saved. Though Rahim has been in English-language projects previously... American audiences should really sit up and take notice of his performance here. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2021
4.5/5 88% Supernova (2021) A delicate, beautifully understated dance of emotions that is so much more than just watching someone in terminal decline. It's also a celebration of a life well lived on its own terms. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
3/5 85% Our Friend (2020) While "Our Friend" is effective as drama - the acting is uniformly excellent - and is beautifully shot, the film pulls its punches to its, and the audience's, detriment. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2021
3.5/5 67% Love in Dangerous Times (2020) "Dangerous Times" taps into the sense of emotional dislocation and quiet panic many are feeling these days while simultaneously offering a pandemic twist on the traditional boy-meets-girl formula. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2020
3/5 60% The Never List (2020) Houston director Michelle Mower, working from a script by Ariadne Shaffer, has made a sweetly serious film about friendship, trauma and not letting yourself get lost. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2020
4/5 93% Sylvie's Love (2020) While "Sylvie's Love" may not be as rooted in the real world as such other recent African American romances as "The Photograph" and "If Beale Street Could Talk," it nevertheless has a similarly rapturous feel. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
4/5 94% Beasts Clawing at Straws (2020) "Beasts Clawing at Straws" is obvious in its influences - a little Coen Brothers here, a little Tarantino there, all seasoned with a sprinkling of Hitchcock paranoia - but Yong-hoon manages to give them his own twist. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2020
4/5 97% Sound of Metal (2020) While "Sound of Metal" doesn't venture to unexpected places, director Darius Marder - working from a script based on a story by "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance - keeps it all rooted in a heartfelt reality. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2020
3.5/5 87% Yellow Rose (2020) A sweetly earnest character study and coming-of-age tale that's impressive because of its low-key authenticity. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
5/5 98% Time (2020) It's as much poem as protest, one scored by the downcast, bleakly beautiful piano music of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou, a reclusive Ethiopian nun whose work has been rediscovered in recent years. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
45% LX 2048 (2020) It's always fun when a little film comes out of nowhere that has the ability to surprise. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
3.5/5 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" is a very strange and singular work that seems just about right for a very strange and singular year. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
4.5/5 72% Mulan (2020) The colorful "Mulan" is striking in its visual beauty and production design. (Special kudos to Australian cinematographer Mandy Walker.) "Mulan" deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
3.5/5 92% The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) "Copperfield" may not be Iannucci's most personal work, his engaging, inventive and visually colorful, multicultural embrace of Dickens' old-school English world is appealing, especially if you're not wedded to every word and twist of the original text. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
2.5/5 53% Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) "Peninsula" is much more of a generic, CGI-reliant action movie that often feels like a video game coupled with a few pages ripped from the scripts of "Mad Max" and "Escape From New York." - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2020
4/5 74% The Rental (2020) Now comes "The Rental," an effectively chilly little thriller about a vacation gone very wrong that is, for the home-sharing business, like a poisonous, little cinematic cherry on top of an especially toxic pandemic parfait. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 21, 2020
4/5 100% House of Hummingbird (Beolsae) (2020) This slow-moving but exquisitely drawn character study and coming-of-age story, which has picked up several awards at film festivals around the world, takes its time getting where it's going, but the cumulative impact of the journey is powerful. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2020
3/5 80% The Old Guard (2020) There's something affecting about "The Old Guard" and its story of a group of tired, superhero soldiers going through the motions of saving humankind with an increasing level of frustration and quiet anxiety. Who can't relate to that these days? - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2020
3.5/5 93% The Outpost (2020) While "The Outpost" might not have ambitions to offer a wider perspective on America's longest war, it's an effective re-creation of what must have seemed to those involved to be the war's longest battle. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2020
4/5 99% Miss Juneteenth (2020) A warm, rich story of broken dreams, family struggle and emotional triumph that puts black Texas women in the center of the frame. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2020
3.5/5 75% The King of Staten Island (2020) At 136 minutes, "The King of Staten Island" takes too long to get where it's going...But it's a good-natured enough journey with enough good performances - including Steve Buscemi as Ray's boss - to make it a trip worth taking. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
3/5 No Score Yet 1 Angry Black Man (2018) A more thoughtful and intellectual exercise than its prosaic and incendiary title at first suggests, though the issues it attempts to juggle...are at the heart of many of today's thorniest topics and loudest arguments. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2020
3.5/5 70% The High Note (2020) A twist on the music-industry, up-from-struggle fantasy that bounces from Hollywood cliché to Hollywood cliché but does it with a solid cast and enough energy coupled with a slightly different perspective to get away with it. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2020
4/5 92% The Vast of Night (2020) Patterson's talent means that..."The Vast of Night" will be remembered as his smart, stylish springboard. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2020
3.5/5 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) "True History of the Kelly Gang" may not be history as recorded by historians. But it's history as recorded by a director with verve and vision. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2020
4/5 70% Abe (2020) Like a chef who surprises the palate with an unexpected flavor, (the director and writers) turn what could have been just a heavy-handed after-school special about tolerance and turn it into something resembling real life. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2020
2.5/5 30% Bloodshot (2020) When the best thing about an action movie is its use of a great but 43-year-old Talking Heads song, you know you're in trouble. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
4.5/5 64% Hope Gap (2020) Films about marriages cratering on the craggy shores of deceit and betrayal are as common as oxygen, but one that makes as big an emotional impact as "Hope Gap" is a breath of fresh air. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
3/5 79% The Banker (2020) Thanks to the three strong performances at its heart - especially that of a wisecracking Samuel L. Jackson (who's also one of the producers) - "The Banker" often is as entertaining as it is enlightening. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2020
4/5 96% Blood on Her Name (2020) Anchored by a magnetic performance from Bethany Anne Lind ("Ozark") who is in nearly every scene, "Blood on Her Name" is an engrossing exercise in Southern neo-noir that doesn't waste a moment of its marathon-runner lean 83 minutes. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2020
4/5 91% The Invisible Man (2020) Leigh Whannell, who made the wildly entertaining, low-budget action film "Upgrade," has turned the classic science-fiction tale inside out and fashioned it into a tense, suspenseful story about a brutalized woman's journey from seclusion to visibility. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
3.5/5 75% The Photograph (2020) A nostalgic, easygoing romantic-drama...that's roughly the cinematic equivalent of putting on a Quiet Storm classic-soul track when you're lovelorn and feeling that everything is going to be okay after all. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
4/5 87% The Man Standing Next (2020) Stylistically, there are echoes of such notable '70s American political thrillers as "Parallax View" and "The Conversation." Even if you're not sure what's going on at any given moment, it is never less than compelling. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2020
4.5/5 95% Citizen K (2019) Americans may go into "Citizen K" not knowing who this rather anonymous looking man is or how to pronounce or spell his name. But they will come out totally on Team Khodorkovsky. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2020
67% The Wave (2020) Smash together bits of Martin Scorsese's "After Hours," Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and an episode of the old TV show "Scrubs"...and you might get "The Wave," an appealingly ambitious debut feature from director Gille Klabin. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
2.5/5 45% Quezon's Game (2020) It's a little-known bit of history that first-time features director Matthew Rosen...brought to the screen in a straightforward, efficient film that may not win many plaudits for style or acting but has a story that's never less than fascinating. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
4.5/5 91% Clemency (2019) It's the kind of film that stays with the audience long after the credits roll. Unlike a pretty little gold statuette, that's not something that can fit neatly on (director) Chukwu's mantle but she should cherish it nonetheless. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
4.5/5 89% 1917 (2020) Union general William Tecumseh Sherman once said, "War is hell." Sam Mendes with "1917" says, "Hold my beer." - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2020
3.5/5 81% A Hidden Life (2019) It quietly demands viewers wind down to become in sync with Jägerstätter's rural life, a world of planting and harvesting, back-breaking labor and joyous celebration, community and kinship. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
3/5 84% Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019) In "Ip Man 3," Yen went mano-a-mano with Mike Tyson. They've got to try and outdo that, right? Well, not really. "Ip Man 4" is entertaining enough, but fails to deliver a knockout punch. - Houston Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019