David Ansen

David Ansen
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
45% The Portrait of a Lady (1996) This claustrophobic Portrait of a Lady is the kind of failure only a very gifted filmmaker could make: like it or not, it haunts you. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
79% Scream (1996) No one will ever consider Wes Craven's Scream Oscar fodder, but this funny and scary little experiment in terror from the man who invented "Nightmare on Elm Street" puts some fun back into a very tired genre. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
38% Michael (1996) I feared that Nora Ephron's angel movie, Michael, would offer another heap of predigested uplift but was pleasantly surprised to find something quirkier and more off-center. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
90% Mother (1996) In its deceptively modest way, this edgily sweet comedy gets closer to the bone of mother-son relationships than many a more solemn opus. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
53% Mars Attacks! (1996) Both a tribute to schlock sci-fi and a deconstruction of it, this sleekly cheeseball $70 million production is all attitude. It's not Burton's best by a long shot, but I came out smiling. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
84% Beetlejuice (1988) For sheer off-the-wall audacity, Tim Burton's demented Beetlejuice certainly demands respect, even if it's more enjoyable in concept than in execution. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2018
73% Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Self-consciousness infects Nora Ephron's sweet but perilously thin love story, Sleepless in Seattle...such are the perils of these postmodernist times: even our love stories feed off borrowed emotion. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2018
33% Poseidon (2006) The movie is just what you'd expect: skimpy, almost laughable characterizations surrounded by claustrophobically suspenseful action sequences. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
38% American Dreamz (2006) Promising more bite than it delivers, Dreamz is pitched too broadly to get very deeply under your skin. Still, there are some smarts at work here, and it will make you laugh. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
85% Akeelah and the Bee (2006) Akeelah obeys every sports-movie rule, but trading end-zone dances for etymology gives it a geeky innocence. What's the word? Splendiferous. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
98% The War Tapes (2006) The unnerving documentary is all the more necessary, and all the more shocking, in its immediacy. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
87% The Heart of the Game (2005) Will it be heartbreak or triumph for the Roosevelt Roughriders? You will care, passionately. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
89% Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2006) A superb sociological and musicological essay, Crossing the Bridge opens door after door of musical revelation. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
53% Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) The result is an overproduced movie that tries so strenuously hard to be "fun" that it's a chore to sit through. For all its razzle-dazzle production values, the story itself feels cluttered, hard to follow and hard to care about - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
33% Click (2006) As a moral fable Click holds no surprises; as a Sandler comedy, it's unusually dark, occasionally touching and pretty funny. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
85% 2046 (2005) The ravishing images are tinged with regret and loss: no passion can assuage the jaded hero's solitude. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
82% Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) "Me and You" has a refreshingly unhysterical (but sometimes hysterically funny) take on what it's like for kids to grow up in a world of Internet sex, broken families and precocious sexual curiosity. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
57% Last Days (2005) Van Sant brings a lyricism, a dreamy sensibility that infuses his detachment with sympathy. Last Days, which is informed by the suicide of Kurt Cobain, is a hauntingly beautiful tone poem. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
87% Broken Flowers (2005) Funny, bittersweet, its understatement yielding surprising depth charges, Broken Flowers is a triumph of close observation and telling details. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
47% Dark Water (2005) This dank, dark and disturbing psychological horror film is a remake of a Hideo Nakata chiller, but the film it most evokes is Roman Polanski's Repulsion, another tale of mental instability and bad real estate. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
29% Elizabethtown (2005) Elizabethtown [is] a tone-deaf, miscast and interminable romantic comedy from the usually beguiling Cameron Crowe. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
69% North Country (2005) Frances McDormand, as the lone female union rep, and Richard Jenkins, as Josie's angry miner dad, cut through the predictability. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
76% Match Point (2005) The change of locale from New York to London has done Woody Allen a world of good. As has oft been said, Match Point is his best movie since ... fill in the blank. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
49% The White Countess (2005) Ishiguro is a wonderful novelist, but perhaps not a natural-born screenwriter. The White Countess feels schematic and dramatically inert. Ivory, for all the acting talent at his disposal, finds plenty of style in prewar Shanghai, but its pulse eludes him. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
55% Ocean's Twelve (2004) Ocean's Twelve is busier, messier and thinner than its predecessor, and while it looks like the cast is having a blast and a half, the studied hipness can get so pleased with itself it borders on the smug. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
91% Head-On (2005) That this marriage of convenience between two cultural misfits will eventually lead to love may sound like a contrivance, but that's not at all the way it plays. Akin's raw, powerful, multileveled movie takes us places we never expected to go. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
85% Gunner Palace (2005) Gunner Palace isn't a particularly violent movie...but every moment is fraught with the potential for violence. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
87% Howl's Moving Castle (2005) Howl's Moving Castle has the logic of a dream: behind every door lie multiple realities, one more astonishing than the next. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
60% The Dreamers (2004) The pleasures of "The Dreamers" stay mostly on the surface. But when the surface is as stylish and sexy as this, it's hard to complain. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
1% Twisted (2004) It's sad to see the director of The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being reduced to this. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
23% Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) This sweet, sometimes clunky chick flick is a likable teen romance, but not likely to arouse the giddy swoons Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey generated back in '87. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
62% Starsky & Hutch (2004) Snoop Dogg, as a superfly snitch, and Vince Vaughn, as a drug lord, are wasted in obvious supporting roles. It's harmless fun--and too lazy to be more. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
84% Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) Vol. 2 fills in the motivational and emotional blanks that left the first movie tasting like a meal made only of appetizers. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
79% The Saddest Music in the World (2004) Hilariously odd and prodigiously inventive, it springs from the eccentric mind of Guy Maddin, whose delirious visions have earned this singular Canadian filmmaker an international cult following. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
50% A Home at the End of the World (2004) Guided by Michael Cunningham's witty screenplay--he also wrote the hypnotizing novel of the same name--the actors celebrate a new notion of family. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
67% The Door in the Floor (2004) Jeff Bridges is extraordinary as Ted Cole...this hothouse tale of grief, sex and betrayal is told with a cool detachment that renders it commendably unsentimental--and slightly remote. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
44% The Village (2004) The entire solemn, portentous edifice that is The Village collapses of its own fake weight. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
97% Maria Full of Grace (2004) The movie puts us in Maria's shoes, taking us step by suspenseful step through her physical and spiritual ordeal. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
90% The Corporation (2004) This smart, informative and lively polemic makes a strong case for viewing the corporation--which enjoys the legal status of an individual--as a psychopath run amok. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
51% Vanity Fair (2004) This Vanity Fair delights the eye, but Nair may be too much the humanist for her own good: she hasn't the instinct for the kill. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
53% A Dirty Shame (2004) This exercise in bad taste is the Dawn of the Dead of nymphomania. Never mean-spirited, A Dirty Shame has some big laughs, but it's a one-joke movie that shows its strain well before the finish line. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
94% Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou) (2002) The pace and plot are dizzying, but the movie also works as a study of fractured identity: the two have led double lives so long they're no longer sure who they are. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
63% I Heart Huckabees (2004) It's like a '30s screwball comedy that's gone to grad school...hits the ground running, flinging verbal and visual information at you with machine-gun velocity. Your mind is engaged and delighted. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
32% The Forgotten (2004) The real suspense is in seeing just how far out Gerald Di Pego's script is going to go, as this paranoid thriller leaps to the supernatural. It's poppycock, but well directed: Ruben delivers two or three guaranteed jolts. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
83% The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) Walter Salles's well-observed movie downplays politics for humanism. It's a picturesque tale that, hobbled by its episodic structure, never achieves full steam. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
89% Dig! (2004) It's like a spectacular roadside accident: you can't turn away. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
89% Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry (2004) Butler's stirring film wasn't made to refute its slanders, though it does. It's a richly documented history of Kerry's war- time experience and of the Veterans Against the War movement. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2018
90% Kinsey (2004) For a movie so frank and explicit, Kinsey has a soft spirit...Kinsey is a celebration of diversity; it's about the solace knowledge can bring. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2018
82% Finding Neverland (2004) Mingling reality and fantasy, Forster has given us a luminous, touching meditation on life and art. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2018
16% Alexander (2004) Though Alexander is emotionally and intellectually incoherent, it's the work of a first-rate filmmaker who creates unforgettable images...could any contemporary actor fill Alexander's globe-bestriding shoes? He remains beyond Farrell's grasp. - Newsweek EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2018