Daniel Barnes

Daniel Barnes
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Daniel Barnes is a Sacramento-based film critic and podcast host, as well as a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. His work appears regularly in the Sacramento News & Review, The Sacramento Bee, E Street Film Society and other print and online publications across the country.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
1/5 16% Vampire Academy (2014) The movie offers 104 minutes of breathless exposition, just one elephant-sized plot dump after another. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2019
1/5 6% The Last Face (2017) Theron and Penn are both deeply committed to these causes in real life. However, the film's bumbling mix of drippy romance, fetishized violence and self-serving sermonizing in a context-deficient void only makes a mockery of that commitment. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
4/5 89% And Then We Danced (2019) Equally sad and ecstatic, And Then We Danced fully commits to the concept of dance as expression. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
4/5 100% Rewind (2019) Rewindis easily one of the most disturbing films of the year, but it's also a non-exploitative and rewarding story about confronting past horrors. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
3.5/5 100% Fourteen (2019) The elevator pitch for Fourteen is Broad City goes Mumblecore, although that diminishes the film's emotional intelligence and impact. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
3/5 92% By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) (2019) Ozon does the material justice, taking his time and staying true to the themes of faith and forgiveness. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
3/5 100% Aurora (2019) Not many original parts here, but it's a charming vehicle nonetheless. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
2/5 92% The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash (2019) Dangerously low on substance. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
1/5 45% Stepmom (1998) If you're going to make children say such terrible things, you should at least back it up with a movie about divorce and death that is sincere and penetrating. In other words, the type of film that Chris Columbus wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2019
2/5 20% Brainscan (1994) Brainscan offers a grab bag of intriguing ideas, but the pieces never fit together. Even without the clumsy execution, though, no film could surmount Furlong's complete lack of charisma, energy, talent and screen presence. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2019
3.5/5 93% Monos (2019) Monos is not a great film, but Landres shows signs of greatness. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
4/5 50% Bad Timing (1980) Bad Timing gets assembled from the memories and assumptions of multiple unreliable sources. The flamboyantly cinematic camera moves and angles, shock-cut edits and Scorsese-style soundtrack all contribute to a sense of dislocation. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
4/5 98% Let The Fire Burn (2013) Powerful and disturbing. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
3/5 90% White Zombie (1932) Lugosi's legendarily mesmeric glare is used to stunning effect here, but every other actor is a total stiff, and the tone and pace feel incredibly uneven. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
2.5/5 77% The Hero (2017) Elliott is as magnetic as ever, but very little here feels authentic. - Sacramento News & Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2019
4/5 100% Chulas Fronteras (1976) Rather than rely on false framing devices or obnoxious narration, Blanks lets his words and images explain everything. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
2.5/5 No Score Yet The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984) Carradine seems barely conscious most of the time, while everyone else onscreen overacts as though their lives depended on it. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
1.5/5 82% Official Secrets (2019) Official Secrets is a pretty sorry substitute for predecessors like Spotlight and Snowden, which were both pretty sorry in their own right. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
1/5 23% Inferno (2016) Hanks returns as Massive Headwound Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon, who this time around suffers from amnesia. After watching Inferno, we should all be so lucky. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
2/5 37% Angels & Demons (2009) The even-trashier sequel to The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons is another mirthless Catholic scavenger hunt from director Ron Howard and author Dan Brown. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2019
2/5 28% Warcraft (2016) A film that only serves to set up the many sequels that will never get made, Warcraft is all ambition and no execution. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2019
3/5 86% The Nightingale (2019) For all the violence, the film is more thoughtful than exploitative, with raw power and unfortunate relevancy. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
3.5/5 80% Under the Olive Trees (Zire darakhatan zeyton) (Through the Olive Trees) (1994) Scouring the community for actors, they inadvertently cast starcrossed youths Hossein and Tahereh as the leads. Their relationship lends a new level of reality that only undermines the film-within-a-film's carefully contrived verisimilitude. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
4/5 88% Close-up (Nema-ye Nazdik) (1999) The gauzy, overlapping layers of identity and performance that Kiarostami uncovered in Close-Up still tantalize. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
1/5 7% Cool as Ice (1991) The Artist Formerly Known as Rob Van Winkle plays John "Johnny" Van Owen, a charmless, disgusting misogynist and talentless performer. It's quite literally the part he was born to play. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2019
3.5/5 83% I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2015) An open and affecting look at the little white-haired man inside of the giant yellow suit. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2019
3.5/5 94% The Wrecking Crew (2015) Tedesco doesn't shy from the harsh realities of the session player's life. However, this isn't an angry or bitter film by any means. The goal, almost to a fault, is to celebrate these musicians and the songs they created. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
2.5/5 50% The Zero Theorem (2014) Amidst the jam-packed set design and nonstop blather about black holes and "the neural net" lies a lot of half-formed existential riddles. Unfortunately, it's all a sleight-of-hand prelude for Gilliam to devolve into incoherent chaos in the home stretch. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
3.5/5 80% Capricious Summer (1967) Menzel shows a knack for creating magical sequences and changing tones on a dime. Capricious Summer alternates from the lyrical to the ridiculous and back again. It's as moody and unpredictable as bad weather or the human heart. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
2/5 93% Sword of Trust (2019) Sword of Trust gets by on pure affability and ease-of-watch for a while, but the uneven pace and general lack of focus wear thin fast. One scene dawdles into the next, and the film finally dawdles off the rails in the second half. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
3/5 87% Cheatin' (2015) You certainly can't fault Plympton for ambition. If only the jokes were a little stronger! - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2019
4/5 No Score Yet The Big Red One: The Reconstruction (2005) The Big Red One is Sam Fuller on a grand scale, and the nearly three-hour-long "Reconstructed" version gives him ample space to indulge in his penchant for savage poetry, bizarre contradictions and cruel coincidences. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
5/5 100% The Steel Helmet (1951) There's nothing explicitly political here except for the odd reference to "commie bastards," and the films are mostly concerned with the incredibly difficult, dangerous and thankless life of the soldier. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
4/5 100% Fixed Bayonets! (1951) It takes a while for Fixed Bayonets! to build steam, but the second half is a landmine field of devastating setpieces, punctuated with the threat of sudden, overwhelming and even self-inflicted violence. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
5/5 71% Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) Although Wilder was a brilliant portrayer of male sexual anxiety, the more that I watch his films, the more captivated I am by the complexity of his female characters. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2019
2/5 60% The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire américain) (2019) The Fall of the American Empire sets up, however halfheartedly, a classic premise about sex, greed and crime. Unfortunately, the film never gets us to care about the characters, who seem to only talk in plot points and themes. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
4/5 100% Paris Is Burning (1991) More than anything, Paris is Burning is a thoroughly entertaining performance film. Beneath the theatrical trappings, though, sits layer after layer of poverty and abuse. Livingston manages to navigate those dueling moods of celebration and depression. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
1.5/5 18% The Beautician and the Beast (1997) Drescher does her best, and she's very likable and charming, whatever her dramatic limitations. However, the script is complete garbage, the direction stinks, and Dalton is still a chin in search of a personality. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
4.5/5 82% The Holy Mountain (1973) An acid trip through the poison-tipped nettles of Jodorowsky's subconscious. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
3/5 91% Funan (2019) At heart, Funan offers a familiar but still moving story of bravery and sacrifice in the face of unspeakable horrors. After a few harrowing early sequences, though, the film settles into a repetitively miserable rhythm. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
4.5/5 87% Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) You can feel Scorsese try to assert himself on the material with ostentatious Steadicam shots and T. Rex music cues, but to his credit, his cinematic audacity never overshadows or overwhelms Burstyn's excellent performance. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
1.5/5 No Score Yet MAC and Me (1988) A film that warms your heart with rage, Mac and Me offers a constant stream of soulless corporate synergy. Like a 19th-century mountebank, the film peddles Coca-Cola as a life-saving elixir. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2019
2.5/5 66% How I Live Now (2013) An odd-duck hybrid of a teenage summer romance and an apocalyptic nightmare, How I Live Now has some impressive ambitions, but mostly it comes off like a Nicolas Sparks rewrite of Red Dawn. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
4.5/5 94% The Duke Of Burgundy (2015) Strickland penetrates much deeper into the psyches of his characters in The Duke of Burgundy, finding the erotic in the banal, the banal in the erotic, and infinity and insanity between a lover's knees. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
4.5/5 98% Timbuktu (2015) Sissako cuts his searing social realism with significant doses of absurdist comedy and dreamlike beauty. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
1.5/5 71% All Is True (2019) Vintage shameless Branagh, borderline unwatchable, but also a weirdly perfect cap to a career built on flavorless yet vainglorious Shakespeare adaptations. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/5 70% Against All Odds (1984) Against All Odds has its moments, but too often the film plays less like an official remake of Out of the Past and more like an unofficial prequel to Tequila Sunrise. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2019
2/5 83% The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer) (2016) "Perfunctory visuals and sludgy storytelling." - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
1/5 8% Ultraviolet (2006) With a visual aesthetic that recalls a 1998 screensaver and a script penned by Google Translate, the film is either admirably unwatchable, contemptuously unwatchable or Vice-unwatchable. Whatever the case, it's unwatchable. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2019
3.5/5 87% Neon Bull (Boi Neon) (2016) In its nonjudgmental empathy for people living on the farthest fringes of society, its bleakly epic scope, and its sentimental nihilism, Neon Bull shares a fair amount of DNA with the films of New Hollywood. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019