Derek Smith

Derek Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I am 26 years old and a recent college graduate working/living in San Diego. I have always loved movies, but the obsession took over about 5 years ago. Aside from movies, I enjoy reading, sports, and hanging out with friends.
Favorites:
http://www.cinematicreflections.com/Masterpieces.html
Location: San Diego
Official Websites: apolloguide.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2/4 50% The Tomorrow Man (2019) The film is content to peddle the naïve notion that love is the panacea for all that ails you. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
1/4 15% The Hustle (2019) Like other gender-swapped films in recent years, The Hustle plays the identity politics game as an end in itself. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
1.5/4 51% Tolkien (2019) The film preaches of the love of creative freedom, yet finds no original form of expression of its own. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
1/4 30% The Curse of La Llorona (2019) With The Curse of La Llorona, the Conjuring universe has damned itself to an eternal cycle of rinse and repeat. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
2/4 45% Little (2019) Its most amusing moments are in the interplay between the central characters as they adjust to an abruptly shifting reality. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
2/4 71% Teen Spirit (2019) In the end, the film is all too ready to transform into just another shiny pop object indistinguishable from so many others before it. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2019
1/4 53% The Best of Enemies (2019) Robin Bissel's film may be based on a true story, but it more accurately resembles an all-too-familiar Hollywood tall tale. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
1.5/4 28% The Aftermath (2019) The film's threads of personal loss and cultural friction are all but lost amid the tawdry romantic entanglements. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
1.5/4 54% Yardie (2019) The film's tendency to break the "show, don't tell" directive becomes especially irksome in its homestretch. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
3/4 92% Giant Little Ones (2019) Keith Behrman's film comprehends the malleable, often inscrutable nature of desire. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2019
2/4 69% Isn't It Romantic (2019) As the film becomes increasingly reliant on predictable narrative tropes, it evolves into the very thing it set out to parody. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
2.5/4 89% Arctic (2019) The film has a raw immediacy that can only be achieved when most cinematic excesses have been eliminated. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3/4 90% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Joe Cornish's film is vigilant in its positivity and hope for the future at nearly every turn. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2019
1.5/4 73% Adult Life Skills (2019) The film uses the grieving process to lend the proceedings a sense of unearned emotional gravitas. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2019
1.5/4 40% The Upside (2019) The Upside becomes overrun by an increasingly preachy and tiresome series of life lessons about race, class, and love. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2/4 45% Second Act (2018) A blatantly telegraphed mid-film twist helps turn Second Act into one of the strangest and most misguided rom-coms of any year. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
2/4 79% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) For all of its slavish devotion to Mary Poppins, the sequel doesn't even seem to recognize its greatest attribute: its star. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2/4 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) As effective as director Josie Rourke is at exposing the emotional and physical toll of reigning as queen when exploring Mary and Elizabeth's relationship, her portrait of an endless string of betrayals ends up as simply faceless and impersonal. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
2/4 73% On the Basis of Sex (2019) On the Basis of Sex is too often busy revering Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her confidence and brilliance to bother with presenting her as a living, breathing human being. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
2.5/4 51% Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) While the film's perception of the politics of the jungle is often profound, the same cannot be said of its take on the human world. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2018
2/4 78% Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) The film's biggest problem is its inability to lend its clichés and tropes any dramatic thrust or satirical bite. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
1.5/4 59% The Front Runner (2018) The film quickly reveals that the only angle it's interested in is the one that most sympathizes Gary Hart. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
3/4 94% Of Fathers and Sons (2018) The film's verité approach risks humanizing Abu Osama, but we eventually gain a complex understanding of the banality of his evil. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2018
1.5/4 36% Hunter Killer (2018) The film is a second-rate airport thriller that makes The Hunt for Red October seem like nonfiction by comparison. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
1/4 37% Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) Relying on such arcane gags as prat falls in knight's armor, fake French accents, and an array of gadget-based explosions, Johnny English Strikes Again seems almost hellbent on aiming for the lowest common denominator at every turn. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
3/4 98% On Her Shoulders (2018) The film is most interested in homing in on the ways Nadia Murad's fragility and self-doubt arise as collateral damage from her fame and steadfast activism. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2018
2.5/4 79% Sadie (2018) Sadie remains a clear-eyed portrait of maternal love, teenage turmoil, and the singular type of tight-knit bonds formed, out of necessity in many cases, in low-income communities. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
.5/4 80% 22 July (2018) That a drop from John Williams's Jaws score wouldn't be out of place on this film's soundtrack goes to show how tactlessly Paul Greengrass milks tragedy for titillation. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2018
2.5/4 75% Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) The film begins as a cheeky retro chamber drama before morphing into an often expectation-busting blend of noir and pitch-black comedy. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2018
1.5/4 32% Loving Pablo (2018) The film uncomfortably dwells in a murky middle ground where everything is overblown but meant to be taken at face value. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2018
1.5/4 78% Black '47 (2018) As the historical specificity embedded in the film's more expansive opening act is abandoned, the more predictable, archetypal trappings of a revenge narrative begin to take hold. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2018
0/4 13% Life Itself (2018) Despite its title, Life Itself doesn't revel so much in the joys and travails of life as it does in the shameless emotional manipulation stemming from the ham-fisted tendencies of its own maker. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
2/4 47% The Song of Sway Lake (2018) Despite Ari Gold's knack for visual flourishes that capture a sense of place seemingly outside of time, The Song of Sway Lake plays like several disparate melodies overlapping one another. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
2/4 86% A Simple Favor (2018) A Simple Favor haphazardly vacillates between suburban satire, goofy comedy, and dark, twisted psychological thriller. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2018
1.5/4 26% The Nun (2018) The Nun, essentially a series of disjointed freak-outs and red herrings, feels less like a fully realized horror film than the cinematic equivalent of a Conjuring-inspired maze at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2018
.5/4 23% The Happytime Murders (2018) The film aims only to shock, refusing to deliver anything in an intriguingly post-ironic way in the process. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2018
1.5/4 56% The Bookshop (2018) Writer-director Isabel Coixet's intermittent visual flourishes do little to amplify the stakes of her low-key narrative. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2018
2/4 83% Juliet, Naked (2018) The film is loaded with inconsequential detours and questionable and inconsistent character psychology as it stumbles awkwardly to its foregone conclusion. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2018
2.5/4 91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) The filmmakers' ability to seamlessly explore rapidly shifting Chinese cultural norms within the context of the classic trope of a mother who's hostile toward her son's partner is the film's most impressive feat. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2018
1/4 62% Dog Days (2018) Aside from the occasional idiosyncratic comic beat, Dog Days remains committed to coloring within the lines of established tropes in the animal-centric family film. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2018
2.5/4 92% Searching (2018) As nimble as Aneesh Chaganty is in presenting his main character's multi-faceted interaction with technology in the first hour, the film suddenly morphs into a generic and manipulative missing-person thriller. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2018
2/4 94% Blindspotting (2018) The film takes aim at myriad targets and bluntly satirizing them in disparate styles that never mesh into a cohesive whole. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2018
1.5/4 14% Damascus Cover (2018) The film trots out thinly conceived villains and a murky plot twists that leave crucial details needlessly shrouded in mystery. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2018
1.5/4 61% Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) There are only so many monster-centric jokes to be made before they become toothless, and only so many ways to preach tolerance before it sounds more like blunt moralizing. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2018
1.5/4 29% Shock and Awe (2018) Rob Reiner's film rests on broad, sweeping proclamations about the importance of factual reporting. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2018
2.5/4 76% What Will People Say? (Hva vil folk si) (2018) The film flirts with unadulterated miserablism, but it counterbalances the direness of its main character's situation with welcome moments of levity. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2018
1.5/4 39% Fireworks (2018) Akiyuki Shinbo and Nobuyuki Takeuchi's time-travel device mostly just exists to complicate what is, at heart, a trite and sexist love story. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
1/4 No Score Yet Affairs of State (2018) Director Eric Bross's Affairs of State is a political thriller that plays like an adaptation of a trashy romance novel. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
2/4 69% Ocean's 8 (2018) With Ocean's 8, Gary Ross serves up a mildly engaging riff on the heist film, but he rarely strays from the established formula of Steven Soderbergh's original Ocean's trilogy. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2018
3/4 98% Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) It captures the strength of Fred Rogers's convictions even as his gentleness and sincerity fell further out of favor. - Slant Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2018