Dennis Harvey

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet Uncle Frank (2020) [E]ven at its most manipulative, "Uncle Frank" remains polished and engaging. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2020
No Score Yet Us Kids (2020) Offers a potent testimony to the impact of citizen protest - even, or perhaps particularly, when those citizens include youths who themselves just survived a school shooting. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2020
No Score Yet Dinner in America (2020) This rambunctious mix of anarchic humor and misfit romance is not always inspired in the writing department, but its uneven qualities are mostly steamrolled over by the infectiously high-energy execution. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2020
No Score Yet Miss Juneteenth (2020) "Miss Juneteenth" richly captures the slow pace of ebbing small-town Texas life, even if you might wish there were a bit more narrative momentum to pick up the slack in writer-director Channing Godfrey People's first feature. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
80% VHYes (2020) This is pretty thin stuff, written with medium-watt inspiration at best and acted by performers variably able to make it seem better than it is. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
63% The Wave (2020) This fever dream feels more derivative than distinctive, entertaining and eventful as it is. Still, it's a well-cast, well-crafted stab at something offbeat... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
88% Standing Up, Falling Down (2020) If "Standing Up" consistently feels familiar, it nevertheless resists emphasizing the more broadly comedic or maudlin elements you might expect. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2020
63% Lingua Franca (2019) Notable not just for the deftness of its overall assembly and performances, but for its approaching hot-button issues of the moment... in ways that are insightful without being heavy-handed. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2020
53% The Sonata (2020) A thriller that, despite decent moment-to-moment pacing, drags out its anticipatory finger-twiddling far too long. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
No Score Yet An Almost Ordinary Summer (Croce e delizia) (2019) This slickly produced second feature for director Simone Godano is easy to enjoy, even if its frequently sitcom-ish tilt makes for a movie too glib to support the occasional stabs at deeper emotional terrain. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2020
73% The Perfection (2019) Entertaining in a way that's at once showy and rather clinical. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 1, 2020
80% Code 8 (2019) Essentially a humbler, grungier indie "X-Men" without the same dependence on splashy effects, "Code 8" is a solid genre effort from director Jeff Chan. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
No Score Yet En Brazos de un Asesino (2019) Isn't splashy or assured enough to leave one wanting more, and the narrative awkwardly completes one arc and begins another after the two-thirds point. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
72% I See You (2019) An eerie suspense exercise that starts out looking like a supernatural tale - one of several viewer presumptions this cleverly engineered narrative eventually pulls the rug out from under. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
6% The Courier (2019) Apart from Kurylenko, who's game enough to almost pull off a preposterous role, the name actors are not done any favors here. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
63% Line of Duty (2019) [A]ction fans looking for a lot of forward motion could do worse than this lively, increasingly over-the-top feature-length chase. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
61% Crown Vic (2019) Writer-director Joel Souza's "Crown Vic" doesn't always balance those elements ideally, but it's still a respectable if non-revelatory cruise through a familiar terrain of mean streets and men in blue. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
No Score Yet Radioflash (2019) The result is an offbeat conceptual mixture, albeit one that's somewhat frustrating and occasionally tedious, if beautifully photographed by Austin Schmidt. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
39% Primal (2019) It all moves along slickly and tolerably enough. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
13% The Great Alaskan Race (2019) Unfortunately, it turns out that very least is still too much to ask for from this handsome but hokey drama, which barely seems to notice its canine players amid a focus on one-dimensional humans. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
75% The Cat and the Moon (2019) While the gist here is a familiar one of coming-of-age seriocomedy, Wolff avoids predictable beats, letting significant insights emerge almost incidentally rather than milking them for melodramatic effect. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
62% Paradise Hills (2019) Waddington is clearly a unique talent, and in many ways "Paradise Hills" is a highly accomplished debut. But it will require careful selection of future material to ensure her gifts get applied to appropriate and sufficient narrative bedrock. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
26% Countdown (2019) [A] bombastically dumb new chiller that probably would have been called "Killer App" if that title hadn't already been used several times. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
94% The Dead Center (2019) There's a lot of excellent atmospherics here that are more unsettling than the actual violence, which in turn is all the more effective for largely being kept just off-screen. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
4% Mary (2019) This tale of nautical terror is one leaky vessel, despite veteran cinematographer Michael Goi's professionally competent direction and a cast well-equipped to handle more challenging, as well as more intelligent, material. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
96% Harpoon (2019) The energetic mix of mayhem and snark will appeal to those who like their comedy horrific and their horror comedic. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
19% Semper Fi (2019) Though professionally smooth in execution, "Semper Fi" has the frustrating sum impact of a movie at fundamental conflict with itself. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
50% Cuck (2019) This downbeat drama problematically stacks the deck by levying just about every dysfunctional trait and scenario imaginable on its hapless protagonist. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
89% Red Penguins (2019) "Red Penguins" has the kind of stranger-than-fiction appeal that could lure both hockey fans and the puckless. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
25% Running with the Devil (2019) What might in other hands have played as a tragedy is lent further emotional distance by the fact that there are almost no innocent victims here. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
50% Bloodline (2019) It counts too heavily on the shock value of familiar ideas the script doesn't lift above contrivance, and which his direction treats with a deadpan restraint that doesn't fully pay off. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
87% Diamantino (2019) There is something to be said for a comedy willing to go broke for surrealism, and that is precisely the thing to be said for this eccentric feature by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. - 48 Hills EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
80% There's Something in the Water (2019) If "There's Something in the Water" isn't the most sophisticated treatment of the issues it scrutinizes, it nonetheless makes a very convincing case for protections against environmental harm being applied equally to all members of society. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
72% The Sky Is Pink (2019) The emotions we witness and feel should have more force given the obviously stressful circumstances depicted. But they feel like all the edges have been sawed off to flatter both the subjects and principal actors. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
No Score Yet Atlantis (2019) This is a strong piece of poetically pure art-house cinema that finally offers a ray of hope for humanity's future - not just the Ukraine's, as this largely depoliticized statement is one of universal relevance. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
64% Guns Akimbo (2020) Anyone with an attention span above ADD levels... is likely to find this undeniably slick, energetic contraption plays somewhere between grating and numbing. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
81% Sea Fever (2019) Some recognizable cast names and enough action to fill out a trailer should make this a viable acquisition item, but TV director Neasa Hardiman's first feature will play as a slow night's forgettable time-killer in any format. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
88% Tammy's Always Dying (2019) Competently crafted, "Tammy" is too glib to be poignant and too defeatist to be amusing. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
71% Haunt (2019) Delivers a satisfying quantity of creeps and frights that more than compensate for the occasional lull. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
74% The Other Lamb (2019) After a while, all these visual poetics start to feel like a pretentious means of suggesting enigmatic depth where there really is none. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
91% Calm With Horses (2019) An engrossing tale that should do reasonably well in home-format placements, and give a definite leg up to the director and his principal collaborators. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
75% The Vigil (2019) The cultural context adds novelty to an effectively creepy, small-scale chiller that does a nice job eking suspense from its simple story and limited setting. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
48% American Son (2019) Worthy yet heavy-handed, too often coming off as an editorializing lecture or essay in thinly fictionalized form. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
No Score Yet The Elder One (Moothon) (2019) A handsome, accomplished piece of work. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
84% Color Out of Space (2020) It's disorderly fun that sports a directorial personality distinct enough to make one grateful for Stanley's return. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
78% Jungleland (2019) It's the kind of enterprise that has everything but a single fresh idea, or even moment. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
85% Synchronic (2019) "Synchronic" is more accomplished in its packaging than its content. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
73% Blackbird (2019) It works admirably well - at least to a point, at which some viewers may feel Torpe piles on one crisis too many. Nonetheless, this is a quality enterprise with numerous rewards for adult audiences... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
80% Blood Quantum (2019) Despite sufficient gore, there's more style than bite to this undead opus, which does not excel at scares or action set-pieces. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
67% Human Capital (2019) The solid performances and assured packaging make this a reasonably engrossing tale set in a convincingly upscale burg where some less-prosperous citizens are trying not to make their anxiety too obvious. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019