J. R. Jones

J. R. Jones
J. R. Jones's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer® when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Chicago Reader
Publications: Chicago Reader

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
1/4 5% Troll 2 (1990) Troll 2 is bad. Very, very bad. The script is stupid, the acting is wooden, the special effects are laughable, the vintage-80s synthesizer score is cheesy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2020
90% The Unforeseen (2008) One can see the hand of coproducer Terrence Malick in this gorgeous, lyrical documentary about ecological destruction in Austin, Texas. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2020
60% Kaboom (2011) Funny, scary, and exuberant, Kaboom delivers the goods as both a generational marker and a tale of things to, uh, come. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
100% Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977) An exceptional oral history of the love that dared not speak its name-and how it finally spoke. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2020
54% Mouth to Mouth (2006) ...this subversive little drama by Alison Murray turns the notion of adulthood on its head. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2020
91% No Man of Her Own (1932) The dialogue slackens after the first half hour, but the stars have some fine comic moments together, and the intimate precode encounters are pretty sexy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
No Score Yet Neighborhood Food Drive (2017) Any laughs inherent in the premise are smothered by the defensively smug tone. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
No Score Yet 8 Heads of Madness (8 Hlav Sílenství) (2017) When [writer-director Marta] Nováková tries to dramatize Barkova's grim life in the gulags, scenes of terror, privation, and rape collide head-on with the film's sense of novelty. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
No Score Yet Broche de Oro: Comienzos (2017) Director Raúl Marchand Sánchez manages to score laughs here from the overwhelming danger and excitement of a field trip to the local shopping mall. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
82% Hannah (2018) [Andrea Pallaoro's] focus on the quotidian may wear you out before he finally lays down his cards and the depth of the protagonist's despair is revealed. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
50% Jupiter's Moon (Jupiter holdja) (2017) Astounding. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
51% The Promise (2017) Director Terry George brings to this story a special gift, honed in his Hotel Rwanda (2004), for choreographing the chaos of civil collapse, and the three stars serve him well. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
No Score Yet Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! (2017) Industrial Accident may be opaque at its center, but that matters only because Wax Trax! Records was, in many ways, an enormous extended family-one big enough to include even me. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
93% All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (2016) You won't learn much about Stone from watching this, but thanks to some of the participants, you'll learn about some criminally underreported stories. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
79% The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017) hough recycled, the story is well plotted and paced, and the old hands in the cast elevate the familiar material. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
50% Ismael's Ghosts (Les fantômes d'Ismaël) (2018) Unfortunately all the metafictional layering only highlights the lack of engagement at the center of the story, the three stars acting up a storm but barely acknowledging each other. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
98% God's Own Country (2017) Writer-director Francis Lee creates a more credible rural milieu, anchored in the grubby details of raising livestock and the furious emotional repression of his male characters. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
92% Dim the Fluorescents (2018) As in Wes Anderson's Rushmore, there's something funny and charming about amateur artists investing a modest theatrical exercise with immodest creative ambitions. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
97% Mudbound (2017) The players are uniformly excellent. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
98% Quest (2017) Tthe family members - Quest; his rock-solid wife, Christine'a; and their teenage daughter P.J., who gains in character and complexity as she grows up before our eyes-are too individualized to represent anything but their own determination and decency. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
81% Casting JonBenét (2017) The unsolved 1996 murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey generated a tidal wave of tabloid garbage; this documentary by Kitty Green surfs atop it, exploiting the crime no less but giving it an art-film respectability. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2020
82% Brigsby Bear (2017) The rash of real-life cases in which women or children were kidnapped and held captive for years has played out on American movie screens as drama (Room), horror (10 Cloverfield Lane), and now cottage cheese. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2020
88% The Workshop (L'atelier) (2018) The movie suffers from an anticlimactic ending, but as in The Class, the ensemble scenes are electric. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2020
92% The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) You have to wonder about a writer-director who wishes his characters would just shut up. I thought that was my job! - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
54% Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town (2018) Mackenzie Davis... produced, stars, and gives an exhilarating, ultimately exhausting tour de force performance as Izzy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
83% Betty: They Say I'm Different (2018) This is probably as close to [Betty] Davis as anyone's going to get, and [director Philip] Cox augments her guarded recollections with a vibrant, seductive introduction to her music. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
57% Alone in Berlin (2017) Naturally Gleeson and Thompson portray their working-class German characters as sober, sexless, and socially conservative. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
91% The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) [Writer-director Tarik] Saleh leans a bit too heavily on mystery cliche in defining his protagonist, but in general the film-noir sensibility meshes well with the political story. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
38% Mary Shelley (2018) The movie, which gradually slows to a crawl, could have used a little galvanism itself. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
86% It (2017) The serious dramatic themes ring hollow, however, leaving only the paperback boogety boogety to justify the Oscar-bait running time. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
61% The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) (2018) August Diehl... invests the twentysomething Marx with a quick mind and a feverish impatience that propel the narrative forward, his energy a real asset to a film that trades heavily in ideas. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
82% Lover For A Day (L'amant d'un jour) (2018) Garrel creates a sort of classically French ambience, somewhere between the nervous energy of Godard and the emotional perspicacity of Renoir. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
90% Hitler's Hollywood (2018) [Critic Rüdiger Suchsland is] a careful and observant critic. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
98% Oh Lucy! (2018) As willful, selfish, and cruel as Ferrell's screen dunces, [Shinobu Terajima] blunders into one humiliating situation after another, hardly sympathetic but never less than human. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
21% Austin Found (2017) There's some sharp satire early on, but the criminal partnership between the mother and boyfriend strains credulity and the movie lacks the gravitas required for its late detour into emotionally ugly drama. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
93% Saving Brinton (2018) The old teacher - who stands six-foot-three and wears a gray beard that looks to be three-foot-six - is an affable eccentric full of information, but as he himself notes, he's more of a storyteller than a historian. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
93% The Guardians (Les Gardiennes) (2018) A story of women waiting for their soldiers to return, this unfolds in fairly predictable fashion, though the film's solemnity is seductive. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
32% Wonder Wheel (2017) Winslet steals the show as the yearning wife, but the real star is veteran cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (The Conformist, Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor). - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
No Score Yet Blind Vaysha (2016) A tale so simple, strange, and paradoxical it may leave both children and adults awestruck. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2020
100% Piper (2016) An adorable frolic. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2020
23% Submergence (2018) These scenarios may seem like exotic action fare, but the film, adapted from a novel by J.M. Ledgard and gracefully directed by Wim Wenders, tends toward romance and philosophy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2020
22% The Book of Henry (2017) Watts throws herself into the project, much like a first responder to an emergency. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2020
34% Live By Night (2017) It's more concerned with flattering our modern sensibility than truly plunging us into the mores of the 1920s. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2020
83% A Bag of Marbles (Un sac de billes) (2018) Routine. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2020
97% Last Men in Aleppo (2017) Moving and suspenseful. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2020
70% Happy End (2017) If Michael Haneke should die before he wakes, I pray the Lord his soul to take, along with this half-baked sequel to his magnificent Amour (2012). - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2020
No Score Yet The Chicago Way (2017) Donald Washington, director of this locally produced documentary, makes a valiant effort to confront the gun-violence epidemic on the south and west sides, but his movie is such a hodgepodge that it never arrives at any sort of conclusion. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2020
100% The Whole Shootin' Match (1979) Like his hero John Ford, Pennell understands how much self-doubt lies beneath the rituals of manhood. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2020
83% Love, Cecil (2018) [Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland's] best accomplishment is having gathered so much of Beaton's work from various disciplines into one place, so the full force of his aesthetic can be appreciated. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2020
98% Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune femme) (2017) Laetitia Dosch gives a wildly funny performance as the red-headed heroine, Paula, whose audacity knows no bounds. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2020