Dennis Harvey

Dennis Harvey
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Film Critic, San Francisco Bay Guardian and Variety

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
67% Head Count (2019) It's an admirably disciplined film with committed performances by actors playing characters more complicated than the usual horror casualty list. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
100% Vai (2019) Most portmanteau features are potluck. But "Vai" has a lovely consistency of style and content that heightens the accessibility of its unique value as a combined effort among eight native female directors from eight different Pacific Island cultures. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
56% Brightburn (2019) The premise isn't bad, even if the evil-Superman origin story was done better in "Chronicle." The execution, however, is lacking, particularly in freshness, humor or style. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
71% All Creatures Here Below (2019) Schiffli directs with a nice balance between momentum and naturalism. Yet the creditable handling can't quite mask material that feels inorganically rooted in secondhand dramatic clichés. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
88% We Believe In Dinosaurs (2019) Often amusing, but never condescending towards either Ark proponents or their equally vocal opponents... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
No Score Yet Unsettled (2019) It does provide engrossing studies in human interest, as well as an empathetic look at the particular struggles of U.S. immigration in the new millennium. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2019
No Score Yet What We Left Unfinished (2019) Assembling a few found shards from the recent history of endlessly broken Afghanistan, "What We Left Unfinished" is cultural archaeology of special interest to cineastes. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
35% El Chicano (2019) The problem here isn't the fairly apparent budgetary limits - it's the limitations of style and imagination. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
No Score Yet Bloodroot (2019) An ingratiating mix of cultural flashback, personality profile and armchair foodie travel. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 29, 2019
No Score Yet When I'm a Moth (2019) Seldom has a "transcendental" cinematic vocabulary been so heinously misapplied to material in which clumsy literal-mindedness and ponderous abstraction are already locking horns. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2019
90% Q Ball (2019) [A] highly polished and engaging documentary... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2019
No Score Yet Patrimonio (2018) Thoroughly engrossing. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
73% I Trapped The Devil (2019) It proves Lobo an able helmer (if one who could probably use a co-writer next time), eking decent atmospherics and good performances within a potentially claustrophobic premise. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
61% ANIARA (2019) "Aniara" is at once grounded and philosophical, fantastical and banal. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
100% Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019) This slick, enjoyable documentary pays tribute to the wit and wisdom of the firebrand Texas political commentator. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
95% Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse (Hagazussa) (2019) Its mix of the poetical, repugnant, and phantasmagorical will weave a singular spell for more adventuresome, arthouse-friendly viewers. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
45% William (2019) Tim Disney's film strikes a bland compromise between science-fantasy, suspense-melodrama and family entertainment, developing no element to a level that generates more than mild interest. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
50% A Dark Place (Steel Country) (2019) The result is diverting enough, yet ends up more a mildly offbeat time-filler than something memorable. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
No Score Yet J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and The Church of the SubGenius (2019) Those who remember the gospel of "slack" will make this diverting-enough documentary an in-demand work at genre festivals, as a streaming item and in other forums. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
100% Come As You Are (2019) This seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment theme. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
No Score Yet Strange Negotiations (2019) There's something endearingly earnest and straightforward, but not simplistic, about Bazan as both personality and musician, lending "Negotiations" dual sources of viewer enjoyment. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
No Score Yet Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Magazine (2019) A brief, careening survey through the publication's two-decade life and times, filled with colorful personalities and commentary. Vintage rock fans will be in (cough) high heaven. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2019
100% Extra Ordinary (2019) Consistently funny in a pleasingly off-kilter way. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2019
27% Tone Deaf (2018) Too cartoonishly broad to qualify as black comedy, and with no one to root for, this disappointing latest from Richard Bates Jr. isn't funny, suspenseful or outrageous enough to satisfy genre fans. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2019
90% Daniel Isn't Real (2019) Spectrevision's stylishly crafted psychological horror thriller has enough twists and finesse to attract favorable attention beyond genre bounds, signaling upbeat prospects for exposure in various formats. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
33% Darlin' (2019) Its content grows so tonally awry that by the end, you're not sure to what extent McIntosh is serious or joking - nor is there much indication that she knows, either. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
100% Girl on the Third Floor (2019) If the story isn't ultimately a knockout, the film's atmospherics and sense of humor are winning nonetheless. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
100% Snatchers (2019) The film percolates along thanks to the comic esprit of the players, snappy visual and editorial presentation, and the screenplay's "Clueless"-like fountain of entertainingly over-the-top youth slang. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
100% Mickey and the Bear (2019) "Mickey and the Bear" reps an assured feature debut for Annabelle Attanasio, who wrote and directed this straightforward but skillfully nuanced drama about a troubled father-daughter relationship. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
78% Good Boys (2019) "Good Boys" is fast-paced and energetic, but its bad-taste humor seldom rises above the pedestrian. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
77% Adopt a Highway (2019) One of those baffling cases in which a project somehow made it to completion without anyone daring to mention that the script barely qualified as a narrative outline, let alone as camera-ready. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
No Score Yet Almost Perfect (2012) Just occasionally over-broad, its dramedy is thoughtful in a satisfying, non-edgy way. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
96% Villains (2019) This black comedy thriller has a good cast to spark a scenario that's intriguing enough to hold attention, if not quite clever enough to be a knockout. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
64% Porno (2019) There's an amiability of intent and execution that keeps "Porno" watchable. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
89% Sword of Trust (2019) Everyone onscreen is so good at this kind of work that one wishes more tightly scripted comedy screenplays had such savory dialogue, or inspired character conceptions. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
58% The Cannibal Club (2019) A diverting, stylish, but ultimately rather trite satire whose social critique and grand guignol aspects never quite come to a full boil. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
73% The Magic Life of V (2019) It's not enough for the film to look great; can't we get some actual insight, too? - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
90% Tigerland (2019) Kauffman has crafted an enjoyable armchair adventure that juggles the archival imagery, engaging present-day personalities and glimpses of the magnificent creatures themselves at a leisurely yet absorbing pace. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
No Score Yet The Purity of Vengeance (Journal 64) (2018) [A] high-gloss thriller... which is undeniably entertaining yet whose pleasures have the guilty edge of a particularly lurid airport read. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
94% Sweetheart (2019) Not quite original or stylish enough to be memorable. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
88% One Last Deal (2018) Director and scenarist execute their tale with enough restraint - reflective of the lead character's stunted emotional range - to eke out poignancy from what's at core a somewhat predictable narrative arc. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
86% A Twelve-Year Night (La noche de 12 años) (2018) An impressive work that further confirms writer-director Alvaro Brechner as one of the leading South American screen talents to emerge in the last decade. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
88% Light From Light (2019) A quietly matter-of-fact drama that utilizes a "haunting" story hook for non-religious yet affirming ends. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2019
100% The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) "The Disappearance of My Mother" is a successful piece of documentary filmmaking inasmuch as it's entertaining and dextrously crafted. But its precise intent is unclear. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2019
100% Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019) It's an entertaining flashback to an always-diverting countercultural epoch, with a touching footnote of a semi-famous love story at its center. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2019
87% Stieg Larsson - The Man Who Played With Fire (2019) You don't get a lot of Lisbeth Salander here. But you do get an overview of fascist/nationalist movements in Sweden and beyond over recent decades, which lends this well-crafted effort interest well beyond the strictly biographical. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
100% This is not Berlin (2019) With a coolness factor off the charts, this musically and otherwise seductive drama is likely to appeal to audiences who lived through the era as well as those who wish they had, both straight and gay. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2019
83% Dolce Fine Giornata (2019) A Nobel-winning poet recklessly inserts herself into immigration and terrorism debates in Jacek Borcuch's satisfyingly complex drama. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2019
83% The Lodge (2019) English-language "The Lodge" is atmospheric and intriguing enough to appeal to more adventurous viewers. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2019
46% The Tomorrow Man (2019) [T]he film's packaging has an attractive simplicity - amplifying an overall effect of everyday strangeness that's finally more reassuring than truly bizarre. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019