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
1.5/5 72% 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 9% 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
3/5 96% Little Men (2016) Sachs thrives on capturing the moments when a public facade morphs into a private epiphany. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019
2.5/5 89% Non-Fiction (2019) The story starts to pick up steam after an aggravating first act, but the film never entirely penetrates past its aura of smirking dissatisfaction. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
4/5 100% Dawson City: Frozen Time (2017) A stunning work of curation from documentary filmmaker Morrison, a story of fortune, folly, film and fire preserved in permafrost. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/5 95% Man from Reno (2015) This subdued, almost ephemeral, bilingual murder mystery seems designed more for fans of detective fiction than for film noir nuts. That said, it still possesses a sly potency. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/5 93% Walking on Water (2019) Walking on Water features moments of great beauty, but just as many stretches of grating monotony. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
1/5 13% God's Not Dead (2014) The film wants to use science to prove the existence of God while also debunking all science and discrediting all scientists. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
1/5 11% Fifty Shades Darker (2017) One of the least likable couples in the history of visual media. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
2.5/5 61% Trial by Fire (2019) Chunks of a pretty good prison movie occasionally bob to the surface of this bleeding-heart biopic about Cameron Todd Willingham. Unfortunately, they eventually drown under waves of blandness and cliche. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 74% Kung Fu Killer (2015) A frenzied fight film steeped in the history of martial arts movies, and a genre-hopper that borrows elements from sources as diverse as Silence of the Lambs and gunslinger westerns. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
3.5/5 100% Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock And Roll (2015) The film is most successful as an examination of the way that art reacts to social upheaval and reflects the political power system, mutating to fit the reality of our lives whether we like it or not. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
2.5/5 67% Dark Star: HR Giger's World (2015) Belinda Sallin's skimpy look inside the home of the Swiss artist H.R. Giger in the final months of his life would have made a brilliant episode of Cribs, but it's just a doodle as a feature-length documentary. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
3/5 88% Jauja (2015) Alonso aims for a surreal, slow cinema take on a psychological western, sort of like Anthony Mann meets Peter Greenaway, and he wills you into his weird rhythm by allowing most shots to run a minute or so longer than you would expect. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
4.5/5 100% The World of Apu (1960) There's a Billy Wilder-level cleverness to the first half of the film, which makes the earth-shattering tragedy of the second half all the more devastating. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
4/5 95% Aparajito (1956) Aparajito (aka The Unvanquished) is both grander in scale (it moves back and forth from seaside tenements to country estates to a university in Calcutta) and more inwardly focused, a quiet meditation on maturity, modernization, and loss. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
5/5 98% Pather Panchali (1955) The film is something of a cinematic miracle, a Neo-Realist influenced story that mixes stark realism with a dreamlike elegance. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
3.5/5 No Score Yet Three on a Match (1932) A typical LeRoy sequence moves from object to person to environment with brutal fluidity. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
4/5 100% Safe in Hell (1931) It's a film of great faces, but for all of the seedy atmosphere and leering grandeur, it's really about the limited options of women in a male-dominated world. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
2.5/5 75% Pasolini (2019) This film feels icy to the touch, and then suddenly Ferrara will make a bold aesthetic gesture, like dropping the needle on a Staples Singers song. Too often, those warring tones clash with a loud clunk. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
3.5/5 99% Faces Places (Visages, villages) (2017) A collaboration between Agnès Varda and French artist JR that sees the duo traveling the countryside, bringing art to small villages while playfully examining their creative approaches. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3.5/5 100% The Venerable W (Le Vénérable W.) (2017) This is just as pungently intimate a portrayal of evil as Schroeder's career-defining 1974 documentary General Idi Amin Dada. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/5 91% The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen) (2017) The dour comedic tone and discarded protagonists feel very familiar, and the film comes off as a forgettable chapter in a long book. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3/5 84% The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung) (2017) There are few surprises here, and the manipulative third-act twist is unnecessary, but Volpe and her star keep the film relatively grounded and humane. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3.5/5 96% Félicité (2017) A Kinshasa-set hybrid of kitchen sink drama and dreamy musical. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3/5 97% The Light of the Moon (2017) The production values are low and other than Stephanie Beatriz's excellent work, the performances are amateurish, yet the film is thoughtful and detailed and non-exploitative. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/5 77% Danny Collins (2015) As soon as it becomes clear that the film is really about the megastar Danny bantering with starstruck hicks and learning how to love again, it sinks like a stone, and we're right back to Pacino "doing Pacino." - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/5 44% The Box (2009) At one point, Langella's box gets described as "a device of unknown purpose," but that could easily describe this overstuffed and inert torrent of vaguely sciencey gobbledygook. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2019
3/5 93% Long Day's Journey Into Night (Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) (2019) A never-ending spool of moody dream logic drapes around the film like caterpillar silk, in case you're into that sort of thing. Frankly, I can contemplate the indefinable despair of existence on my own time. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
3/5 95% Transit (2019) As with Phoenix, I was impressed by the reach and restraint of Transit, but could never connect with the film's cold-blooded aloofness. It feels as though Petzold wants to paw through the viscera of history without ever getting his hands dirty. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
2.5/5 59% Sunset (Napszállta) (2019) At its best, Sunset recalls provocateur stylists ranging from von Trier to Tarkovsky to Visconti. More often it just feels like another long and turgid costume drama. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
1/5 15% Assassins (1995) A hilariously pretentious attempt at an existential hitman thriller, Assassins pits Sylvester Stallone's morose mumbling against Antonio Banderas' out-of-control mugging. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
4/5 91% When Marnie Was There (2015) The most Ghibli-esque touch here is the way that the natural and spirit worlds easily commingle, like overlapping cels in the same frame. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
4/5 84% Results (2015) Whether playing the electric guitar while answering the door or doing a lurching shimmy behind the closing credits, Corrigan permeates the film with his playfully dour and strangely honest personality. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
3.5/5 97% We Come as Friends (2015) We Come as Friends coalesces slowly, weighed down by some strained attempts at narrative poetry, and it could have easily lost ten to fifteen minutes of Sudanese natives goofing on Sauper's camera, but the film eventually hits its stride. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
3/5 86% The Wolfpack (2015) Director Crystal Moselle gained remarkable access, both to the Angulo boys and to their library of home movies, but The Wolfpack is largely about the triumph of a fascinating subject over a pedestrian treatment. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
3.5/5 54% Gemma Bovery (2015) The film is relatively light-hearted and digestible for a tragedy, with an intoxicating sensual intelligence that forgives the occasional flights of flippancy. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
4.5/5 96% The Look of Silence (2015) The Look of Silence doesn't push the documentary form like The Act of Killing, but it's just as emotionally devastating and even more beautifully shot and edited, with a keen awareness of the effects of eerie silences and ghostly compositions. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
3.5/5 96% Tangerine (2015) Any director who can merge compassion, intensity, and no-holds-barred attitude this adroitly is a filmmaker with major potential. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
2/5 52% Live From New York! (2015) Anti-establishment hepcats like Bill O'Reilly and Al Gore attest to the show's enduring satirical relevance, while every hard-hitting question about institutionalized racism and sexism comes with a readymade apologia and a perfectly cherry-picked clip. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
4/5 87% A Poem Is A Naked Person (2015) A Poem is a Naked Person perfectly captures a particular time not just in America, but in American music, to the point that it feels like a road show rehearsal for Nashville. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
5/5 95% The Act Of Killing (2013) One of the great, unique, often intangible and sometimes scary potentials of the film medium is the way that cinematic artifice can achieve something more profound than mere fact. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
3/5 87% The Tribe (2015) It's a fascinating storytelling experiment, always teetering on the edge of gimmickry, mesmerizing and pointless, with an incredibly indulgent string of unpleasantness that dominates the final third. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
5/5 96% Listen To Me Marlon (2015) Smug, scene-stealing interviewees get eschewed in favor of a hypnotic multimedia montage. The only "talking head" here is Brando's own deteriorated CGI mug, the "future of acting" already crumbling to pixelated dust. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
3/5 80% The New Girlfriend (2015) From the opening close-ups of a costumed bride slowly revealed to be an embalmed corpse, The New Girlfriend wants to keep you unbalanced and curious, but like a lot of Ozon films, it never quite gets out of its own head. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
1.5/5 74% The Keeping Room (2015) The film halfheartedly stokes a glacial, almost imperceptibly slow burn that never gives off any heat. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
4/5 100% Rebels of the Neon God (2015) With its handheld camerawork, restrained electronic score, vivid colors, persistent rainstorms and vibrant street scenes, Rebels of the Neon God creates a tangible sense of time and place, even as it delves deeper into incoherence and dissolution. - Dare Daniel EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019