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 70% Horse Girl (2020) Mental illness as the engine for a thriller is a cultural conceit whose days are numbered, but, as a last gasp, there's no denying this entry is compelling and evocative. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2020
3.5/5 85% Emma. (2020) Taylor-Joy is sublime, reason enough to mount a new film, as, say, Jude Law was enough for there to be a new Hamlet on the West End in 2009. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2020
4/5 90% The Lighthouse (2019) Wake In Fright meets Ida meets Splash. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2020
2.5/5 39% Seberg (2020) On paper this film had every possibility of working ... [but] the dialogue is excruciating, and it makes the actors saying it look bad ... Watching Seberg is to become increasingly disheartened, as it strays deeper into bathos, incredulity and cliché. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2020
3.5/5 42% Midway (2019) This is a film free from dramatic nuance and irony; it's about as subtle as the attack on Pearl Harbor. But (dialogue aside) it's a very good history lesson in movie form. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2020
4/5 70% Bombshell (2019) Exhilarating, furious, compelling and thoroughly entertaining. It's also essentially and thrillingly visceral: I spent the second half of the movie having to stop myself from standing up in the crowded cinema and screaming "Take that you evil f**k!" - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
4/5 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) Post-modern deconstructionist expressionistic anachronistic elliptical storytelling is my jam, and Justin Kurzel's fourth feature is full of it. This is a feast for the senses, a gloriously indulgent examination of myth-making. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2020
3/5 89% 1917 (2020) Rather empty spectacle; it doesn't really have characters, relationships or emotional stakes ... Schofield has few attributes, other than being a Very Decent British Man, and the film has little to say, other than that British Men are Very Decent. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2020
4.5/5 92% Uncut Gems (2019) Every character, no matter how minor, seethes with inner life; the dialogue is vibrant, startling and unique, the milieu beyond evocative and fuelled by integrity, the camerawork energetic and artful, the score wondrous, and the pacing magnificent. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2019
2/5 20% Cats (2019) Furries rejoice! Tom Hooper and Universal have spent around ninety-five million dollars on your dream movie ... For the rest of us, the film is a clear misfire, misconceived and badly executed. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2019
4/5 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) The screenplay, for which Sciamma deservedly won a prize at Cannes, is so compelling not for how it radically alters the genre but for how it surprises and intrigues within it. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2019
3/5 52% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) You don't need a reason to see The Rise of Skywalker, but if you did, it would be Daisy Ridley. Her fierce commitment to playing Rey with integrity, intelligence and a total understanding of the kind of film she's in lifts her every scene. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
4/5 89% The Two Popes (2019) The four conversations, which collectively probably make up about 70 percent of the film, are exquisite acting set-pieces of the absolute highest order: two of the world's greatest actors with intelligent, thoughtful and often very funny words to say. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2019
2/5 63% The Good Liar (2019) The film sells itself first on McKellen and Mirren and then on its "twisty" plot. The actors are great; the plot, not. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
3.5/5 80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Based purely on audacity, without regard for outcome, Jojo Rabbit would have the potential to win [all the awards] ... [but] Waititi's [performance] is emblematic of the whole film: it can be brilliant or really flat, often in the span of the same moment. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
4.5/5 96% The Irishman (2019) As monumental, and monumentally skilled, cinema, it's breath-taking ... {but} the biggest surprise was the amount of times the film made me laugh out loud. Once Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) enters the story ... the Irishman is not afraid to boldly make a joke. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
3.5/5 77% Frozen II (2019) Going in, expecting a finely-tuned toy advertisement, and instead getting bonkers nonsense with some fine songs and Elsa ice-surfing, is unpredictable, and unpredictable in this case is to be celebrated. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
4.5/5 97% Knives Out (2019) This film is super satisfying. It's funny, the mystery plot really works, and it also has something to say, which it does with enjoyably righteous anger. Go for the production design and the plot, leave being blown away by De Armas. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2019
5/5 95% Marriage Story (2019) Noah Baumbach's masterpiece, a tragicomedy of human relationships that gets everything right ... every scene, and practically every moment, is simultaneously deeply sad and very funny. That's not just skilled filmmaking, it's a kind of alchemy. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
3/5 100% Suzi Q (2019) The qualities of the film are the qualities of Suzi Quatro: inoffensive, charming, friendly, nice ... a pleasant hang, a G rated version of a rock star life. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
4/5 75% Judy & Punch (2019) A film whose great artfulness is only outdone by its sheer, breath-taking originality ... Foulkes' script is a work of deep and intellectually rigorous imagination, and her direction meets it for thrilling theatricality and innovation. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3.5/5 77% Doctor Sleep (2019) Staggeringly respectful, both of Kubrick's film and Stephen King's 2013 novel, and, for the Shining fan, great fun ... all credit to Flanagan and all involved, it's highly entertaining, which certainly makes it one of the strange surprises of 2019. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
4/5 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Murphy roars back into the cultural conversation and my heart with his flamboyant, exuberant and spectacularly entertaining performance ... I could easily take a Netflix series with an episode spent on the production of every one [of Moore's films]. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2019
4/5 87% Pavarotti (2019) Howard's been a highly skilled storyteller for a long time now, and he knows how to flesh out a theme. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
3/5 88% Ready or Not (2019) A goof and a hoot, a retro, completely silly, quite violent but never nasty romp that doesn't tax the cerebral cortex but isn't without style ... Weaving is supremely watchable, a superb physical comedienne with a unique presence. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2019
2/5 68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Harrelson and Eisenberg do their best to energise the dialogue, but it's all too self-conscious, and self-satisfied, to be playable ... without Deutch's idiot schtick, there'd be nothing to laugh at at all. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
3.5/5 87% Hustlers (2019) Despite being astonishingly derivative on a directorial level, has some fresh vibes in the excellent chemistry between Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 68% Joker (2019) Cinematography, art direction and Phoenix's performance are the draws here; the story is so derivative, drawn out, empty and vapid that the film's biggest fault is that it drags. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
3/5 82% Judy (2019) Subtle it is not. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
3.5/5 98% Working Woman (2019) This is a forensic examination of just how workplace sexual harassment can not only play out but ensnare its victims in deeply complicated, confusing, dehumanising emotional and psychological webs. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
3/5 65% Ride Like a Girl (2019) Far be it for me to churlishly point out too many deficiencies - some slack editing, some iffy dialogue and some far too glorious (CGI-infected) sunsets; this is a rousing crowd-pleaser that earns its box office success. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
2.5/5 80% Good Boys (2019) The kids' charm, the script's inherent nostalgic value and a hefty dose of good will provide the film's value, rather than any particularly brilliant gags. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
3/5 55% The Dead Don't Die (2019) Held together almost entirely by the warm interplay between Bill Murray and Adam Driver as a couple of small-town cops dealing with the undead rising. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
3.5/5 96% Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) (2019) This unique film will be easily appreciated not only by the Scarface completist, but the cultural tourist and art-house anthropologist as well. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
3.5/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) Combines the calm, grand spectacle of 2001, the essential plot structure of Apocalypse Now, and, possibly, the best bits of James Gray's therapy sessions to create a slow-burn sci-fi thriller that is by turns captivating, mesmerizing and infuriating. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2019
2.5/5 86% Freaks (2019) Not afraid to hit a few hard beats, this little DIY effort shows a lot of guts. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
3/5 87% Animals (2019) Significantly hipper, more thoughtful and more nuanced than your typical RomCom, while being significantly tamer, more formulaic and more commercially-minded than Hyde's previous film 52 Tuesdays. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
4/5 100% Bait (2019) The most visually memorable film so far this year ... The aesthetics of the film inevitably consign it to the arthouse, but for the right viewer, this film will be fresh, vibrant, exciting and extremely memorable. It certainly was for me. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
4/5 90% The Souvenir (2019) Certainly Hoggian, but it demonstrates a compassion and depth of feeling unseen in her first three films. Wonderful and totally engaging, with superb central performances. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
3/5 87% The Nightingale (2019) Brutal and relatively compelling. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
3.5/5 75% Dragged Across Concrete (2019) Massively ambitious crime drama is a supremely well crafted piece of genre auteurism. It's thoroughly solid in the delivery of its very specific intentions; whether you want such a product is up to you. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
4/5 83% Midsommar (2019) One of those films that makes the whole world outside the cinema seem creepy and weird when you emerge. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
4.5/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) A superb time at the movies, a languid, fun, exquisitely crafted "movie movie" that is best appreciated in the context of QT's whole career ... if this is your first Tarantino, you'll have a great time, but it needs to be your ninth for you to "get it." - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
3.5/5 92% Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese (2019) Dylan's tour was a jape, and so is this relentlessly entertaining film. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
4/5 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Extremely well crafted and scripted ... Fun, propulsive, ingenious and quite loveable. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
3.5/5 92% Wild Rose (2019) Combines social-realism gritty urban British council-housing single-mum drama (Fish Tank, Dirty God) with inspirational aspirational goose-bump feel-good dramedy (The Full Monty, Brassed Off), skirting up to clichés only to make surprising left turns. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
3.5 / 5 65% Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion (Astérix - Le secret de la potion magique) (2018) Honours the spirit of the books with grace and integrity. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
2.5/5 42% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) It must have been tough, saying lines that make no sense in a story that is incomprehensible; I imagine them all - Dance, Hawkins, Watanabe - at the bar each night, trading bonkers lines of dialogue they'd had to say that day, as a kind of drinking game. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
4/5 97% The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) A tremendously rewarding experience ... has the heft and moral complexity of a smart novel ... Highly recommended. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
3.5/5 92% The Candidate (The Realm) (El reino) (2018) The film's final act is superb: very tense, very cynical and very very angry ... It's satisfying stuff, and truly on the dirty money for these deeply corrupt times. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019