CJ Johnson

CJ Johnson
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
CJ has been a Tomatometer-approved critic since November 2019. He is the resident film and television critic for ABC Radio (Australia?s) flagship national night-time radio show The Nightlife. His website Film Mafia has been one of Australia?s most popular film review sites since launching in 2008.
Official Websites: abc.net.au/nightlife/reviews/

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/5 86% The Last Duel (2021) Filled with astonishing visuals, and perhaps saved by Comer's precise performance, the film succeeds despite itself, a ravishing relic. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2021
4/5 86% Nitram (2021) Impeccable craftsmanship and staggeringly effective performances ... a thorough, methodical, detailed, unsensational and sincere examination of mental illness. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2021
4/5 71% Annette (2021) Undeniably and thrillingly ecstatic, passionate, vibrant and highly personal cinema. Possibly, it's Carax's best; it certainly makes you think that previous films of his, especially Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf, really should have been sung-through musicals. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2021
4/5 100% Under the Volcano (2021) A celebration, not an elegy, and does everything it can to remain as upbeat as a track from side one of Brothers In Arms. I loved every minute. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2021
4/5 92% No Sudden Move (2020) This is Soderbergh very much en forme, and the film's pleasures are constant and rich ... there's a stingingly direct reference to a prison stabbing that, in the right cinema with the right audience, would elicit howls of self-satisfaction. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2021
3.5/5 71% My Zoe (2021) This deeply sad film really got its claws into me. Delpy's monastic constraint renders the sensational subject matter devoid of sensationalism; everything is austere, calm, precise ... I was entranced by the film's somber mood and its audacious honesty. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2021
4/5 94% In the Heights (2021) Ecstatic cinema, a huge, friendly, rabidly upbeat celebration of some pretty phenomenal music, mostly exceptionally sung and arranged. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2021
3/5 78% Mama Weed (La Daronne) (2021) [The] conclusion that leaves you feeling, perhaps, that the film was better than it really was, and in a mood to overlook a few of its more ridiculous contrivances. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2021
4/5 92% Tina (2021) As Turner escapes Ike, the film, like her life and career, takes off, with a huge sense of release, into the stratosphere. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2021
2.5/5 71% Creation Stories (2021) The script is overly convoluted in that muddy second act and the film is so indebted to the styles of its antecedents that it has very little of its own. But, like Bremner, it's energetic, a bit wild, and, essentially, fun. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2021
3/5 100% Antoinette in the Cévennes (2020) Calamy nails every comedic beat but there are multiple moments of pathos and anguish which she also handles with seemingly effortless aplomb. She is a major screen presence. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2021
3/5 100% Golden Voices (2021) The milieu is the most fascinating element here; Ruman paints a vivid picture of a unique expat community that he was clearly a part of. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2021
3/5 88% Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021) Grimy fun. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2021
3.5/5 96% The Painter and the Thief (2020) An almost uncomfortably intimate portrait of the strange vagaries of human need ... Like Kysilkova's paintings, The Painter and the Thief is photo-realistic but artfully constructed for maximum pathos, darkness and surprise. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2021
4.5/5 99% Collective (Colectiv) (2020) A hundred and nine of the most compelling minutes of the cinematic year. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2021
3.5/5 93% Nomadland (2021) An exercise in extreme compassion. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2021
2.5/5 49% Coming 2 America (2021) Not enough Eddie, and not the Eddie we want. Murphy is just too generous in both these movies: he gives so much screen time away to his co-stars, he himself barely registers, yet he's the reason we're here. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2021
4/5 96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Beautifully crafted and a superb history lesson. The production design and cinematography are particularly rewarding, all the performances are solid, and the score is phenomenal. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2021
4/5 92% Saint Maud (2020) It's very well directed, the strangely melancholic milieu is rich, and the script is bold, taking on religious belief as a kind of self-destructive mania. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2021
3/5 98% Minari (2020) The acting is superb ... Tasteful, detailed, well crafted and honest ... [but] glacially paced. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
4/5 92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) The script, despite generally heading in an inevitable direction, is surprising and complex, with sublime dialogue and fascinating character detail; the cinematography is organic but touched constantly by magic, and the acting is spectacular. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
3.5/5 100% Dawn Raid (2021) A relentlessly entertaining feature length documentary ... has multiple moments of sheer fist-pumping joy. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
4.5/5 89% The Nest (2020) The first great movie of 2021 ... Durkin showed huge promise with his debut feature, Martha Marcy May Marlene, back in 2011; that he only now offers his second, a quiet masterpiece, shows the value of taking your time and doing things right. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
3.5/5 97% Sound of Metal (2020) Paul Raci's performance is an apt use of that critical cliché, a 'revelation' ... [and] late in the film, a major international star makes an appearance that'll make your eyes pop wide open. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2021
3/5 94% Only the Animals (Seules les bêtes) (2021) Very pretty to look at, pretty fun and pretty ridiculous. If you approach it with the right attitude, it will deliver a solid couple of hours of entertainment ... It works if you allow it in as a black comedy, a joke, or at least a shaggy-dog story. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2021
3.5/5 89% The Dry (2021) The plotting is tight and, of course, the town is full of dodgy dirtbags played by good actors with interesting faces ... fans of the genre will find this very solid film way more than acceptable. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2020
4/5 96% Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020) As energetic and meticulous as all of Temple's work, astonishingly full of expertly curated archival material and found footage, narrated, stirringly and slurringly, by MacGowan, who may be slow and sloppy, but is still somewhat witty and somewhat wise. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
4/5 100% Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (2020) This is a movie made about a dying man as he knows he is dying, yet rather than being mournful, it is joyous. Another amazing feat from the life of a truly astonishing individual. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2020
4/5 87% THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (1990) It's a leaner, cleaner, more comprehensible and watchable version of itself. Like Michael, it seeks redemption. Unlike Michael, it gets some. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2020
3.5/5 100% Below (2019) Lahooti's nihilistic, anti-heroic and at times ferociously angry film is visually energetic and excitingly paced, creating a vibrantly dangerous world ... the work of someone with a lot to say ... not for everyone, and all the better for it. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
4/5 83% Mank (2020) It's surprisingly gentle, loving, calm and graceful. It takes you to another world. Five hours after leaving the cinema, I'm still kind of there. It's my happy place, and Mank is, for me, a feel-good movie, made like they used to. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
4.5/5 98% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Once again, Byrne demonstrates his profound ability to turn a theatre full of strangers into a community. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
4/5 92% The Trouble with Being Born (2020) This is one brave movie. Intelligent and thoughtful, legitimately subversive and transgressive, conceptually ambitious, but most of all, devastatingly sad, it is a provocation only in that it dares to deal with possibilities we'd rather not think about. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2020
3/5 33% The Comeback Trail (2020) De Niro plays his grubby Hollywood also-ran, Max Barber, as though cast in the 'Woody' role in a Woody Allen movie, and performing the role as Woody would. It's quite a spectacle, but it's strangely watchable, and the engine of the film. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2020
4/5 98% Corpus Christi (Boze cialo) (2020) A near-perfectly structured screenplay, sublime formal cinematography, and pitch-perfect naturalistic performances, including from lead actorBartosz Bielenia, whose portrayal of a young man who impersonates a priest in a town in Poland is truly superb. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2020
4/5 90% The Climb (2020) In every chapter, there is something stylistically exciting going on; likewise, the storytelling is giddily exuberant, revelling in dramatic ellipses, strange twists and well-shaped supporting characters. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2020
3/5 89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) It's a wiggy movie - that is, there are a lot of wigs, a lot of beards, a lot of late-60s gear - and not a very subtle one. But it is a spectacular history lesson. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2020
3/5 90% Kajillionaire (2020) Reaches quite moving levels of resonance as it engages with the idea of a young adult dealing with a lifetime of parental neglect (and worse). - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
3.5/5 86% On The Rocks (2020) It's a charming, old-fashioned, innocent film, deliberately untethered from America's problems ... The film's timelessness, ease and modesty are most of its charms, but its greatest, irrefutably, is Murray, who is also its raison d'être. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2020
3/5 69% The Translators (2019) The first act is great fun, but the film gets more ludicrous as it goes on ... always watchable - especially given the excellent global cast of familiar faces - but you can't help wishing it adhered a little closer to credibility. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
3.5/5 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) There is a great deal of rigour and substance here, but you've got to be willing to dig for it; otherwise you may scratch your head until you're bleeding. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2020
3.5/5 82% Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) Delightful, warm, upbeat and joyous ... This is a movie where every single one of the 'bad guys' turns out to be absolutely lovely after all, and everyone is constantly getting along ... It's silly but never stupid, absurd but never ridiculous. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
3.5 70% Tenet (2020) May be the loudest movie I've ever seen. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
3.5/5 88% Les Misérables (2020) Ly grew up here and he knows the turf, the tensions, the terroir. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2020
3.5/5 100% The Speed Cubers (2020) Heartwarming, uplifting and surprising. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
3/5 88% David Foster: Off the Record (2019) He's a self-confessed problematic individual, which the film somewhat embraces, but it's best enjoyed as a testament to an astonishing career. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
3.5/5 88% La Belle Époque (2020) It's all very charming and delightful and will bring a smile to your dial. That makes it top entertainment for the current era. Auteuil is typically winning. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
3.5/5 89% Deerskin (2020) The two of them develop an engaging, twisted chemistry. To say more would be to spoil, except that the film is gorgeous to look at, and not actually about a jacket. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2020
4/5 99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) It makes a thousand points well without any made didactically; it is simultaneously one of the angriest films I've seen this year while also being one of the quietest. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
3.5/5 90% Echo In the Canyon (2019) [The subjects are] cheerily and delightfully frank ... [letting] their hair down with the grace of those who know their impact is for the ages and have nothing left to prove nor hide. They've got great stories, and collectively, they're just a great hang. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2020