Esther Zuckerman

Esther Zuckerman
Tomatometer-approved critic

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
93% High Flying Bird (2019) There aren't any action scenes in High Flying Bird -- there's barely even any basketball in it -- but it's nonetheless thrilling, nimble, and funny, even as it does the hard work of challenging the idea that professional basketball is just entertainment. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
90% Big Time Adolescence (2019) Big Time Adolescence is something of a triumph for Davidson. It's a modest, familiar movie, certainly, with themes about growing older and leaving the people you idolize behind, but his weirdly compelling screen presence elevates it. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
65% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) The movie succeeds because of its deliciously catty soul. Even as it says that art should be about more than just spectacle, it relishes in the bitchiest of bon mots. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
100% Honey Boy (2019) Honey Boy -- with its winks at Transformers and sitcom conventions -- knows why we're watching and maybe that's enough. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
62% Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Very little in Extremely Wicked is speculative, which is perhaps why it's strangely lacking in any sort of menace. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) The initial Mary Poppins is also somewhat unwieldy, it's just a question of how inspired these modern diversions are. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
85% Dumplin' (2018) Dolly's always been a woman full of contradictions. Her honesty is coated with a thick layer of glam. Dumplin' is sort of a mess of these contradictions too. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Let the Coens take you on funny, yet incredibly depressing, journey through a vicious land. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2018
91% Widows (2018) Despite the widows' common goal, they are not chummy. They are bound solely by need, so there's a grimness to their mission. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
66% Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018) Though the script's characterization of Sierra is at times uneven, Purser figures out her mix of confidence and insecurity. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
13% Life Itself (2018) The movie wants so desperately to be clever, and just comes off looking lame. All this adds up to a film that thinks it's being charming and inspiring, but is instead merely a cruel joke on its audience. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
32% The Predator (2018) Black's new movie is less the goofy, garish sequel we were hoping for and more an act of universe-building. But, hey, at least there's a bigger, badder Predator on the scene, one that looks like he's been doing CrossFit. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
22% The Happytime Murders (2018) The Happytime Murders is as limp as a puppet without a puppeteer. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
96% To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018) Like any teen story, To All the Boys has some growing pains... Still, we'll forgive it. Sure, it hits at core truths about new love. But it's still a fantasy, just not the bodice-ripping one of Lara Jean's teen daydreams. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2018
48% Like Father (2018) These flaws might be more banal, if not more forgivable, had the film not seemingly had its own ulterior motive for entering your living room. Unfortunately, branding plays a far more significant role than any of the human supporting characters. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2018
99% Eighth Grade (2018) Brilliantly elicits gulps of horrified recognition as it recreates the experience of that first teenage year... Eighth Grade is also a genuinely lovely story about a young woman not quite finding herself. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
81% Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) I'm happy to report that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is utterly delightful, a little deranged, and an actual improvement on its predecessor. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
56% Tag (2018) Mostly Tag is a series of tag-related set pieces that range from mildly amusing to tiring. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
91% Set It Up (2018) It's not perfect, certainly, but it's an emotional support blanket of a film, an old-fashioned rom-com led by stars with palpitating chemistry. - Thrillist EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
46% Red Sparrow (2018) In some ways, Red Sparrow feels like it was ripped from another era and not just because of its bend towards exploitation. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
56% The Greatest Showman (2017) [This] kind of insanity is really fun to watch. The Greatest Showman is a lot of things, but it's not boring. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2018
91% Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) It's a constantly churning engine of wonder and excitement that grapples with elemental questions of good and evil that have always been the driving force of this universe. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2017
94% A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) But in [Daniela Vega's] eyes you can see the buried trauma of losing a loved one and the repressed pain caused by the aggressions she's facing. - Mashable EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2017
40% Justice League (2017) Honestly, Justice League's main problem is that it's boring, and fails to convince me why I should care... beyond the fact that they are all famous cultural properties. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
84% Hello, My Name is Doris (2016) Doris may be a bit clueless, but the movie doesn't deny [Sally] Field her sexuality. - Refinery29 EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2017
92% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) I left Ragnarok completely happy. But I also wanted more from Hela and especially from Valkyrie. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2017
69% mother! (2017) If this is Aronofsky's acknowledgement of those he's hurt in his life, then it is grossly remorseless. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2017
85% Battle of the Sexes (2017) despite being aware of the outcome-I caught myself quite literally cheering when Emma Stone's King got a point off Steve Carell's Riggs during the big showdown. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2017
89% I, Tonya (2018) This is The Tonya Harding Show, and Robbie portrays her with an appropriately DGAF attitude. - Marie Claire EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2017
91% The Disaster Artist (2017) Inhabiting Wiseau's skin gives [James Franco] liberty to be as weird as he wants to be and it completely works. Even when Tommy's actions seem cruel, Franco's interpretation brims with sympathy. - Mashable EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
82% Molly's Game (2018) It's often a zippy, fun time, however-that is, if you can convince yourself to overlook its self-congratulation and mildly regressive gender politics. - Mashable EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
91% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Just when you think you know what is driving them, [Martin McDonagh] drops in a detail that alters your perspective and toys with your loyalties. These are probably the most complicated, compelling characters you will see on screen all year. - Mashable EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
26% Colonia (2016) The problem with the film is its lack of details. - Refinery29 EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
C+ 77% Wakefield (2017) It's ultimately hamstrung by its overwrought sensibilities. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2017
B 76% Manifesto (2017) Manifesto works best as a thought experiment; fitting it into cinematic convention makes it a little more boring and confounding. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2017
B- 61% The Zookeeper's Wife (2017) The Zookeeper's Wife is handsomely made, well-acted, and lacking in much nuance. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2017
B+ 100% Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special (2017) It's ideal Valentine's Day programming for people who hate the nonsensical commercialism of Valentine's Day and for anyone who can't resist unfettered silliness. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2017
A 100% Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2017) Even without the sadness that now floods Bright Lights, it would still be a classic of its kind. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2017
B- 85% Lion (2016) By splitting up the story into different eras of the hero's life, Davis seems to be striving to avoid some of the conventions of melodrama. But coloring within the lines might have done a couple of favors to his actors and the flow of his film. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2016
B 93% The Eagle Huntress (2016) It wants to make your heart swell, and it does a fine job of it. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2016
B- 100% Hamilton's America (2016) Hamilton's America is ultimately a celebration of drive, ingenuity, creativity -- both on stage and off. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2016
C- 28% The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016) The Rocky Horror purists will (and should) certainly turn their noses up at this sanitized Hot Topic version. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2016
C+ 55% The Dressmaker (2016) The film is most successful when it's playing dress-up, less so when the comedy goes black, and worst off when it attempts melodrama. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2016
B 82% Indignation (2016) Handing the movie over to the protagonist does have its benefits. Notably, it allows Lerman to deliver an exciting, detailed performance. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2016
C 9% The Cobbler (2015) What starts off as a potentially charming fantasy never finds its footing. - Entertainment Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2015