Gary Arnold

Gary Arnold
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
100% The Buddy Holly Story (1978) The film is an entertaining chronicle of Holly's brief but productive and influential career as a pioneering rock 'n' roll composer and singer. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
45% The Watcher in the Woods (1981) It symbolizes the confusion that has been undermining Disney's live-action productions. Craving more stimulating material on one hand but still wedded to reassuring coziness on the other, the studio shortchanges both tendencies. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
7% Orca - The Killer Whale (1977) Orca is essentially a rehash of an earlier De Laurentiis hit, Death Wish, with the killer whale in Charles Bronson role. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
29% Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) Director Steve Miner and writer Ron Kurz introduce more potential victims than they have time or invention to knock off. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
50% The Frisco Kid (1979) Robert Aldrich is an awesomely inappropriate choice to direct an ethnic Western comedy. Nothing in the material appears to stimulate -- or profit from -- Aldrich's erstwhile proficiency with violent or cynical entertainments. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
14% Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) The character is again a lackluster after-thought... - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2018
No Score Yet Incorrigible (L'Incorrigible) (1975) This picture presents the sort of charming front that can't withstand the slightest critical scrutiny. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
No Score Yet The Silent Partner (1978) An uncommonly clever and gripping suspense thriller. Even after the story threatens to self-destruct, you fight the impulse to suffer a major letdown, for the sake of the swell nerve-racking time you've been having up to that point. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
96% The Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la colmena) (2006) Spirit of the Beehive is the sort of slumbrously sensitive item that tends to give art films a poisonous reputation... seems to believe in the infinite evocative power of long, ponderous, static takes. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
88% An American Werewolf in London (1981) I suspect Landis hoped to keep moviegoers eerily disarmed with an unpredictable mixture of wacky and terrifying touches. Unfortunately, his own touch... is so slack and uncertain that the movie ends up dramatically shapeless. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
82% The Gauntlet (1977) Vicious and hypocritical as it is, "The Gauntlet" remains an entertaining sort of disreputable show, considerably more proficient and interesting than junk melodramas in a dogged vein... - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
100% Heart like a Wheel (1983) Heart Like a Wheel goes a little spongy by failing to let the protagonist force enough of the action... A charismatic leading performance remains this film's tantalizing intangible - it might have put a good movie over the top emotionally. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
75% The Rose (1979) It's impossible to watch this peculiarly unstirring account of the collapse of a bedraggled, bedrugged rock star... without getting many a giggle out of the abundant cliches and superfluous howlers. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
No Score Yet My Best Friend's Girl (1983) Probably the gentlest and mellowest of Blier's sex comedies... Indeed, it's so smooth and cerebral that it may leave some spectators complaining that nothing much happens. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
9% Blame It on Rio (1984) Both listless and unsavory. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
No Score Yet Teenage Graffiti (1977) The basic shortcoming in the film is that the potential conflicts are not so much dramatized and resolved as stumbled upon and then shrugged off. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
57% Simon (1980) Littered with a kind of cheap shot humor that inflicts only flesh wounds on the sitting ducks of mass culture. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
81% Modern Romance (1981) Likely to interest only those who wish Brooks well and don't mind making extravagant allowances. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
88% Arthur (1981) One of those rare contemporary entertainments that can be used to contradict people who habitually complain, "They don't make 'em like they used to!" This time they have. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
No Score Yet Windows (1980) You can't help wondering how the filmmakers contrived to rationalize this idle mixture of the vicious and the ludicrous to themselves. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
88% Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) A remarkably faithful and astute adaptation of a strong novel, the film condenses Stone's book, which won the National Book Award for fiction in 1975, without doing irreparable damage to its story, principal characters or larger meanings. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
100% Lonely Hearts (1983) The unfinished quality of many a scene or line of development in the screenplay itself doesn't hamper the emergence of an interesting, amusing interplay. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
44% Electric Dreams (1984) Electric Dreams is too lightweight and, in the last analysis, inane to take the sinister attributes beyond comic bounds. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
33% When a Stranger Calls (1979) Although Walton contrives to keep most of his contrivances on the safe side of absurdity, "Stranger" is at best a close call. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
No Score Yet La Balance (1982) Unfolds with fairly dependable tension and excitement, but the lurid milieu and characters never concentrate our attention. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
88% I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is a pellmell slapstick impression of what some of those fans went through to order to get near their idols. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
11% Amityville II: The Possession (1982) The sequel makes grotesque, heartless use of an authentic tragedy which predated the alleged haunting spree exploited in The Amityville Horror. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
86% Padre Padrone (1977) Padre Padrone seems a botched opportunity at a great emotional experience, a potential but unrealized classic. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
85% Real Life (1979) While the fictitious Albert Brooks takes us cheerfully into his confidence, the Albert Brooks behind the camera sees through him with hilarious clarity. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
72% The Boys from Brazil (1978) An impressive feat of carefully designed and modulated academic filmmaking, a class job in the tradition of Hitchcock or Wyler at their most polished. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
94% Pumping Iron (1976) [Schwarzenegger] carries that phenomenal physique so nonchalantly that one can't help feeling charmed and reassured. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
50% Rich and Famous (1981) The shabby text undermines the valiant efforts of the hard-working costars and their stylish director to revive the pleasures of a vintage Hollywood women's picture. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
69% Christine (1983) Between the smartest effects and Gordon's canny performance, [Christine] is more diverting than the material probably deserves. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
54% Force 10 From Navarone (1978) Force 10 is a mission that should probably have been aborted. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
86% Romancing the Stone (1984) The set-up in "Romancing the Stone" is poorly contrived to sustain a chase thriller. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
66% Rocky III (1982) Rocky III is an engaging exercise in discreet, incisive and good-humored hokum. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
60% Easy Money (1983) It's not what you'd call a classic or a class comedy act, but it has the kick of an embryonic pop phenomenon. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
80% Deathtrap (1982) Deathtrap seems an unusually skillful and satisfying example of devious entertainment. It offers as much double-crossing amusement as one can reasonably expect from a theatrical murder mystery. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
91% Pixote (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco) (1981) Perhaps his young lead, Fernando Ramos da Silva, proved a less expressive non-pro than anticipated, or maybe Babenco lacked the experience or genius necessary to coax a psychologically complex performance out of him. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
No Score Yet The Thief of Paris (Le Voleur) (1967) Thief falls short because [Louis Malle] tried to finesse this revelation or never perceived it steadily and clearly enough from the start. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
62% Cat People (1982) Schrader takes himself very seriously, but after "Cat People," there's no reason the public should perceive him as anything greater than an exploitation director with delusions of grandeur. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
83% Fingers (1978) It's difficult to perceive where a large public might be located for an introspective movie this schematic and unappealing. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
61% To Be or Not to Be (1983) A klunky, tacky-looking color reproduction of the original. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
88% Norma Rae (1979) As a rule, the filmmakers manufacture fake climaxes every 10 or 15 minutes, poop out and lapse into forgetfulness, just as if they were structuring the material for television. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
92% Night Shift (1982) Night Shift makes it apparent that Howard acquired an enormous amount of savvy about comic staging and acting during those 20 years or so on the tube. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
83% The Jerk (1979) Within ts limitations, The Jerk is a capably produced entertainment, seasoned by deft bit performances from several actors... - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
67% Purple Rain (1984) Catharsis on the cheap; there's no reason to accept the pretense that the hero has suffered much and changed for the better unless you're predisposed to get swoony over Prince himself. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
20% Stroker Ace (1983) A knuckleheaded but amiable summer trifle. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
86% Sharky's Machine (1981) The classiest aspect of the production is the pictorial glamor and dynamism achieved by Reynolds and cinematographer William Fraker. Sharky's Machine always looks alive. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
No Score Yet Opium War (2008) Like virtually every movie, Lin Tse-hsu reveals interesting things about the culture that spawned it, but it's difficult to greet this 20-year-old mediocrity as a major culture revelation. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018