Chris Willman

Chris Willman
Chris Willman's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer® when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Entertainment Weekly Los Angeles Times Variety The Playlist

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet I'm Going to Break Your Heart (2019) It's as if "Once" generated a sequel, and it turned out to be a folk-movie-musical version of "Scenes from a Marriage." - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2021
96% Alone Together (2021) It's a little bit less of a "making of" than it is a love story between a woman and her fan base, with an album project-in-progress as a conduit for real-time romance. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2021
100% Underplayed (2020) As long as the doc is content at offering anecdotal looks at about a half-dozen of the female artists who've bucked the odds and made it big, or are still trying to, it's about as inspirational as it means to be. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2021
80% Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell (2021) It's satisfyingly rich in anecdotal detail, even if the movie can't help but feel like a stretched-out first-act setup for second and third acts that, like the rest of Wallace's life beyond age 24, never arrive. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
8% Music (2020) Kate Hudson's excellent performance as a recovering alcoholic goes a good way toward grounding a bifurcated movie musical that doesn't have its treatment of autism as its only problem. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2021
95% Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021) It's hard to ask for much more than a doc that captures creatives thoughtfully sneaking the civil revolution as well as basic education into children's TV and includes a Muppets blooper reel. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
100% Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (2021) Coming away from "Just a Girl," it's impossible not to be convinced that Moreno is the rare screen legend who found a way to stick the Hollywood landing. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
50% Shawn Mendes: In Wonder (2020) A film that does little besides create the impression that the 22-year-old superstar has led a charmed life - an assurance that may reassure Mendes' very youngest fans but won't draw in anyone not already raptly caught in his spell. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
96% Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020) Temple has accumulated enough filmmaking tricks to make a downer story feel like a head rush. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
No Score Yet Somebody Up There Likes Me (2019) The rocker, while never downplaying the danger of the fire he's played with throughout his life, has to chuckle as he admits he's led a largely charmed life. We end up charmed, too, if never really riveted. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
79% The Boy from Medellín (2021) If the film falls short as a possible tale of heroic enlightenment, it's still pretty absorbing, in the in-between moments, as a study of a dude still working out the intersections between wild public success and neurotic torments. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
100% Meeting the Beatles in India (2020) There's some fan value here, all spiritual quests aside, in seeing how accepting the individual Beatles could be of someone they could have taken as an interloper in their lofty midst. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2020
No Score Yet Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash (2020) Needless to say, no one will exit "Street Survivors" humming the absent "Free Bird," or being very high on flight at all. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
100% Suzi Q (2020) "Suzi Q" is almost as charming as its subject, who is seen in bookending scenes putting the leather back on for some raucous rock shows in the lead-up to her recent 70th birthday. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
95% Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things (2020) A jazz movie whose dominant mode - amid valiant efforts to mine some personal sorrow - is actual musical joy? We'll take it. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2020
No Score Yet Let's Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Salute to Prince (2020) This is a worthy tribute special, as long as your expectations are not that anyone on it will ever actually go crazy. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2020
No Score Yet One World: Together at Home (2020) It was positive but not overeager to perk us up, and earnest without ladling on schmaltz. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
90% We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (2020) It's about as sweet to see friendship survive success as it is to see Lin-Manuel Miranda as the world's most adorkable Beastie Boy. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2020
30% The Tommyknockers (1993) One of the author's lesser novels has been dumbed down exponentially for TV and put through a deflavorizer to remove every iota of the black humor and pop-culture satire that usually make even the silliest King sufferable. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
No Score Yet Mountaintop (2019) In the end, the film turns out be a testament to how collaboration doesn't have to be completely touchy-feely to work out just fine. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2019
100% Fiddlin' (2019) Even filmgoers with little taste for these arcane sounds may enjoy the doc, if only for the chance to spend an hour and a half in the company of so many prodigies who've put down their phones in the service of taking up catgut. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
No Score Yet The River Pirates (Good Old Boy) (1988) One doesn't have to be a grown-up to be put off by the historical and geographical anachronisms here, or the wide-eyed overacting of the kids on screen, or the silliness and heavy-handedness of the few plot points that do develop over two hours... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2019
21% Airborne (1993) The occasional action scenes are as appropriately tortuous as the tired teen-out-of-water plot is torturous. This is a kid-flick that's speed-skating on one leg. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
44% Little Monsters (1989) Some of it is actually funny, if you still have a little brattiness left in your Bratskeller. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
80% Soros (2019) For all the educational value it brings, you could still wish "Soros" lived up to its singular title by probing into personality as much as policy. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2019
61% Liam Gallagher: As It Was (2019) Finally amounts to a feature-length EPK. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
84% Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2020) It's no surprise to anyone who's met him or even listened thoughtfully to some of the greatest rock songs ever written that Robertson would be such an articulate and ingratiating tour guide through all this glorious and eventually tortured history. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
98% 63 Up (2019) If this is the final chapter, as Apted suggests it could be, it's a worthy cap to one of the boldest experiments in world cinema. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
97% Billie (2020) "Billie" passes the test for any doomed-singer documentary: There's a creditable emphasis on the gift, not just the grubbiness. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
75% Jonas Brothers: Chasing Happiness (2019) Given that any doc produced by an act's management company arrives with suspicions that it'll be a glorified EPK, that middle act here is a good, surprisingly candid one - and, actually, the plucky bookends aren't bad, either. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2019
100% Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock n Roll (2019) While the film may feel at times like it was made under the auspices of an Asbury Park tourism board, it's at least a theoretical tourism board that has a good awareness that a dystopia doesn't shift back to utopia overnight, or even over a neat 50 years. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
No Score Yet Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury (2019) Going from thrashy misfit evangelicals to mellow, middle-aged liturgists is still a transition, and a reasonably interesting one, if not as radical a conversion as the... transformation the movie initially sets you up for. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2019
98% Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019) What's documented here is surely the first concert in history you could imagine Cecil B. DeMille and W.E.B. Du Bois being equally proud of. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
49% Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1993) Playing a celebrated finder of missing mammals, [Carrey's] so over-energized from the start you keep thinking he'll wear out his welcome pronto; 90 minutes later his lunacy is still hard to take your eyes off. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
96% Springsteen on Broadway (2018) Springsteen has mastered the dynamics needed to keep a mostly talking, partly singing show riveting for a running time that's epic by monologists' standards, if not his own. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
50% Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) This follow-up is faster and campier than its mostly somber predecessor, but the basic grim tenets of British horror author Clive Barker's supernatural worldview are still intact. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
91% Pumping Iron (1976) When documentary buffs insist filmic truth is better than fiction, they'll cite this absorbing look at bodybuilding. - Entertainment Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2018
36% Kickboxer (1989) This may not be the dumbest action picture of the year, but it's not for lack of trying. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2018
C+ 70% Bleed For This (2016) If you ever yearned to see a version of 'Million Dollar Baby" that has a completely feel-good last reel, this may be it. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2016
C 72% Suffragette (2015) If only Carey Mulligan had been inspired to protest for the right to a better script for "Suffragette," an overly schematic look at the struggle for women's voting rights in Britain that almost gets by on the strength of a great lead performance. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2015
37% Fletch Lives (1989) In this meager sequel, as in its popular predecessor, Chevy Chase demolishes every easy target in sight with a quip of the tongue. Some of the lines are funny, but after a while you just want to smack him. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2015
B+ 100% Tales Of The Grim Sleeper (2014) Would you prefer to be more outraged by the legacies of sexual predation or police indifference? Broomfield lets you take your pick. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2014
81% Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) Make no mistake, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is not a satire of mindlessness; it's unabashed glorification of dumbness for dumbness' sake. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2014
B+ 93% A Borrowed Identity (2015) As quaint longings for a more innocent era go, "Dancing Arabs" beats getting misty over Roxette. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2014
B 78% The New York Review of Books: A 50 Year Argument (2014) Auteurists will be hard-pressed to find much stylization that betrays Scorsese's participation, but bless him for letting us spend an hour and a half pretending that American letters still matter in mainstream as they did in the '60s. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2014
C+ 55% Escobar: Paradise Lost (2015) Whatever fascination the film holds belongs solely to Del Toro and his vanity-free impression of Escobar as a titan whose potbelly and gym shorts do not put the slightest dent in a charisma that hypnotizes a nation. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2014
B- 76% Rosewater (2014) Not to read too much into Jon Stewart's motivations for making the film, but this figure of "Rosewater," as the unnamed torturer comes to be known, could be a stand-in for anyone who didn't get one of "the Daily Show's" jokes. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2014
No Score Yet Folks! (1992) Klane has written this one as less of a slow burn, going instead for obnoxiously stunt-filled, madcap farce, all the way to the high-concept-reinforcing title exclamation point. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 4, 2014
82% Tom Jones (1963) It's a free-wheeling, fast-moving relic from a time when "bawdy" wasn't bad and sex comedies still celebrated sex. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2014
B+ 36% Salinger (2013) The good news is that you don't have to be a fan of Salinger's writing to get caught up in a detective story of what makes a toast of the literary town decide to disappear from public view for the last 45 years of his life. - The Playlist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2013