Dan Lybarger

Dan Lybarger
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Dan Lybarger has contributed film articles to the Kansas City Star, Nitrate Online, The Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, and PitchWeekly. He has an M.A. in Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a B.A. in English from Ottawa University.
Favorites:
My favorite filmmakers are: Billy Wilder, Akira Kurosawa, Agnieszka Holland, Buster Keaton (I attend a Keaton Festival every year in Iola, KS. This festival takes place seven miles from Keaton's birthplace in Picquay), Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Peter Weir, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Woody Allen, David Lean, Charlie Chaplin. Favorite Movies: The Apartment, Europa Europa, Life Lessons.
Location: Kansas City
Official Websites: efilmcritic.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
85/100 27% Vanguard (2020) In a mere 108 minutes, Hong Kong-based director Stanley Tong packs enough explosions, fisticuffs, vehicle chases and gunplay to fill the entire The Fast and the Furious franchise and still have a little escapist mayhem leftover. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
80/100 83% Freaky (2020) Because the two leads get so much mileage from this material, it's a shame Landon and Kennedy couldn't have kept up with their stars. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
71/100 No Score Yet True to the Game 2 (2020) What prevents tension from building is that the characters are thin and that the most interesting visuals are those of masks Gena and her cohorts wear on a heist. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
82/100 86% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Baron Cohen seems to have developed a heart, and the new film is better for it. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2020
83/100 63% The Secrets We Keep (2020) Because of the familiarity, some of the suspense is muted. In addition, Adler and Covington's ending seems just a little pat. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
86/100 88% The Nest (2020) Durkin's pace is slow, but he has a gift for keeping the predetermined ending and all the things leading up to it from becoming dull... He arouses our curiosity, but doesn't answer all our questions. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
78/100 78% The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) If you didn't know writer-director Natalie Krinsky cut her teeth writing episodes of Gossip Girl, you might wonder if she earned her living making copies at a FedEx Office store. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
84/100 74% Mulan (2020) [Director Niki Caro] has staged some impressive, if largely bloodless battle sequences, and demonstrated that watching leading lady Yifei Liu wielding a sword and riding a horse can be just as engaging as watching a cartoon dragon. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
74/100 81% #Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (2020) Most of the footage documenting Trump's missteps in office have been on TV and the internet for years. If you are inclined to think the president deserves four more years, this movie won't persuade you otherwise. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
83/100 88% Words on Bathroom Walls (2020) Plummer is an ideal casting choice for Adam because he projects a sense of being tormented without seeming jaded in the process. There's just enough yearning to prevent him from being a smug, gloomy bore. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
84/100 63% Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) Eurovision Song Contest embraces the bombast of the real competition and never sinks into subtlety. There's conviction in Ferrell and Dobkin's commitment to bad taste. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
79/100 70% The High Note (2020) It seems The High Note is a little too steeped in the music industry's past to be adequately relevant to the present. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
81/100 48% Scoob! (2020) The new spins on the characters are clever, but the quest seems like a letdown, because there isn't much of a mystery. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
82/100 71% Trolls World Tour (2020) It's tough material for some grownups to handle, but Dohrn and company manage to make the conceit accessible without pummeling viewers to the beat. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
74/100 38% Wendy (2020) You can find components of Peter Pan in Wendy, but locating the spirit is far more difficult. Peter had an easier time locating his shadow. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2020
72/100 51% I Still Believe (2020) Sibling directors Andrew and Jon Erwin manage to negate a potentially worthwhile account by approaching subjects like love, faith and death with no introspection or insight. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2020
86/100 88% Onward (2020) Because Onward is so carefully assembled, you can occasionally make out the welds in the construction. In the end, Scanlon's devotion to the rules of drama and magic wins out. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
83/100 62% The Call of the Wild (2020) By aiming for spectacle instead of drama, Sanders has sacrificed the sense of danger that is necessary to make chases, or in this case mail deliveries, from becoming thrilling. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020
75/100 14% Dolittle (2020) The concerns running through Dolittle are more dire than anything this doctor could cure. Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing Traffic, has trouble figuring out what kind of movie he's trying to make. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
85/100 76% Spies in Disguise (2019) Thankfully, there's enough energy and whimsy to keep the tale moving like one of the drones. Sometimes the delights of a movie about spycraft are anything but covert. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2019
77/100 69% Bombshell (2019) Director Jay Roach demonstrated a flair for comedy, and he handled drama well with Trumbo. Bombshell, however, plays as if he and screenwriter Charles Randolph were unable to decide whether they should be funny or serious. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
68/100 20% Cats (2019) [Tom] Hooper is a capable, creative director, but you'd never know it from the furball he's just coughed up on the screen. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
85/100 72% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Much of what's fun about Kasdan's video-game-set updates to Jumanji is that he relies as much on his performers as he does on the special effects. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
80/100 82% Queen & Slim (2019) [Lena] Waithe and [Melina] Matsoukas would like to "print the legend" as John Ford put it in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In this case, the legend seems underdeveloped, and the real world reminds us this wouldn't happen off-screen. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
84/100 77% Frozen II (2019) Frozen II has several delightful moments, but it seems unlikely that it will stay put in viewers' minds quite like the first installment did. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
73/100 41% Midway (2019) While the actors earnestly try to look horrified or determined by the potential doom coming their way, the Nintendo Wii-level images ruin the illusion. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
81/100 47% Last Christmas (2019) Perhaps if [Emma] Thompson, [Paul] Feig and company had given Last Christmas more of a winter chill or biting wit, it might have had a more welcome place under the Christmas tree. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
86/100 63% Motherless Brooklyn (2019) For a movie about a seemingly dry topic like urban development, it's a fascinating look at how the social sausage of government is made. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 74% Harriet (2019) Despite being anchored by a terrific performance from Cynthia Erivo, Harriet lacks the focus and the narrative drive to do her story justice. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 61% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) As it stands, The Current War ably captures how a 19th-century dispute led to how we use electricity today. The story of the people who made that possible has yet to be told properly onscreen. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
73/100 39% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) There's nothing magical about substandard writing. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
82/100 82% Judy (2019) Renée Zellweger has Judy Garland down; effortlessly imitating the Wizard of Oz star's delivery and mannerisms. But had the film consisted simply of Zellweger bellowing show tunes, it might have been more substantial. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
86/100 81% Abominable (2019) If [Jill] Culton's plotline is routine, her handling is sincere and occasionally charming. The protagonists are consistently endearing, and Culton does create some delightful eye candy built around Chinese landmarks. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
70/100 24% Running with the Devil (2019) Despite featuring gunplay, nudity, illicit drugs and a setting that crosses two continents, Running With the Devil feels more like a leisurely, chemically enhanced stroll. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
87/100 83% Ad Astra (2019) If the emotions or ideas in Ad Astra aren't comfortable, they are thankfully not dull. [James] Gray creates a consistent sense of danger and makes the tormented Roy just sympathetic enough to get an audience worked up about his fate. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
5/5 95% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché lays out the facts of Guy-Blaché's life and provides enough samples from her 22-year career to demonstrate that she was an essential film pioneer. - eFilmCritic.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
82/100 88% Ready or Not (2019) [Samara] Weaving projects just enough steely resolve to make viewers believe she could survive an armed standoff with no weapons of her own. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) finds plenty of current resonances in Manzoor's depiction of Margaret Thatcher's England and in Springsteen's odes from the Garden State. - eFilmCritic.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2019
86/100 80% Good Boys (2019) Credit The Office writing alumni Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky with pulling off an astonishing balancing act. Without careful calibration, Good Boys would be more stomach-churning than amusing. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
72/100 43% The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) In more subtle hands, the story could have been a winner. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
86/100 85% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Thankfully, I can report that the new live-action, big-screen adaptation of the long-running animated series, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, is unexpectedly delightful. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
85/100 92% Wild Rose (2019) Like a good country or blues song, Wild Rose sounds familiar and heartfelt. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
83% Midsommar (2019) Aster paces Midsommar languidly, but he doesn't waste the film's long running time. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
91% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Curiously, the movie is at its most enjoyable when it forgets that it's about a superhero. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
82/100 63% Yesterday (2019) [Richard] Curtis never resolves how Jack deals with calling the Beatles' songs his own, and the film drags as Yesterday struggles to make Jack's guilt more entertaining. Thankfully, Patel can sing the Beatles' songs with conviction. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
81/100 33% Shaft (2019) [Tim] Story clearly isn't aiming for posterity with this one, but simply telling a dirty joke successfully seems like a lost art. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
78/100 22% Men in Black International (2019) [Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth] read off each other like books in Thor: Ragnarok, but Matt Holloway and Art Macum's script concentrates more on recycling effects from the first movie instead of finding ways to maximize the duo's formidable chemistry. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
77/100 61% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) It's like watching a cat tear into a rolling ball of yarn but not nearly as entertaining. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
78/100 57% Aladdin (2019) Because the new film's magic carpet is following in the flight plan of its animated ancestor, it can't reach new heights on its own. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
76/100 50% A Dog's Journey (2019) A Dog's Journey takes a little time to explore ways that dogs can help people in ways we are only now beginning to understand. Learning how they can literally sniff out tumors is frankly more interesting than a plot recycled from a soap opera. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019