J. R. Jones Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
25% Unforgettable (2017) Heigl works overtime to humanize the resentful mom-her face is like an old-fashioned cash register with the prices popping up-but she's more fun to watch as the story grows ugly and violent, and she unleashes the demon within.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
90% Norman (Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer) (2017) For all the shining steel and glass, the movie has the old-world feel of a Jewish folktale, rooted not in a particular time or place but in the moral universe.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
No Score Yet Nise: The Heart of Madness (Nise: O Coração da Loucura) (2017) No less then seven screenwriters contributed to the script, which has its powerful moments but so deifies Silveira that the movie turns into a black-and-white struggle between a caring, enlightened woman and a cadre of hard-hearted, benighted men.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
No Score Yet La folle histoire de Max et Léon (2016) Eventually this tonal anachronism creeps into the story details... Possibly these are gags, but that uncertainty is the inevitable outcome of having no fixed perspective on your material.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
100% The Illinois Parables (2016) This accomplished essay film may focus on our state, but Stratman's real concern is state power in the larger sense...Connecting all this are sweeping aerial shots that capture the beauty of the plains without obscuring the blood spilled to claim them.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
58% Cezanne and I (Cézanne et Moi) (2017) The lifelong friendship between painter Paul Cézanne and novelist Emile Zola gets a sensitive but occasionally soapy treatment from French writer-director Danièle Thompson (Jet Lag).‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
88% The Lost City of Z (2017) Writer-director James Gray stages all this with an impressive sense of narrative scale.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
67% Free Fire (2017) Wheatley and Amy Jump, his frequent screenwriting partner, can't afford to let the action flag for long, so the characters never amount to much more than their immediate tactical advantage or disadvantage.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
2/4 64% Gifted (2017) As scripted, Evelyn is too vicious to be persuasive, and Flynn undercuts her morally by stressing her lust for recognition.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
16% Queen of the Desert (2017) Bell was an extraordinary figure, tailor-made for a dazzling presence like Kidman, but Werner Herzog, directing his own script, unwisely structures Bell's story around her intimate relationships with men.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
100% Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2016) This is the usual mix of talking heads and archival footage, but Fairhead also inserts detailed CGI sequences that vividly illustrate the technical issues unfolding.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
79% Colossal (2017) Hathaway is miscast in a snarky role that Anna Kendrick would have knocked out of the park, but the players are less important here than Vigalondo's talent for constructing a narrative room full of mirrors.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
70% American Anarchist (2017) [Powell] comes off as a tragic figure: a teacher haunted by his most spectacular lesson, and a man of learning who, where his own guilt was concerned, took care not to learn too much.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
45% Going in Style (2017) Braff races through the planning and execution of the robbery, probably because the original film's premise seems even more far-fetched in our modern security state.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2017
No Score Yet Death in the Terminal (2016) When the filmmakers conclude by running the video backward, you may be stunned at how quickly a public place can become a war zone and how easily victims can become victimizers.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2017
88% Obit (2017) Gould secures plenty of nuts-and-bolts detail about the reporting and writing process, which can range from novelistic use of detail to the prosaic but no less critical matter of confirming the death itself.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2017
94% Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened... (2016) More impressively, Price has incorporated the retrospective theme into his documentary with a second act in which the performers reveal the different directions life has taken them since they appeared in the show.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2017
58% The Zookeeper's Wife (2017) Once the Nazis roll in and shoot all the critters, the movie begins to feel like a budget version of Schindler's List and drifts away into the deep blue sea of Holocaust dramas.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2017
91% Raw (2017) This gruesome French horror flick (2016) functions more as a mystery than as an action film, with an endless drip drip drip of revelation that gradually exposes a terrifying world behind the everyday.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
45% Song to Song (2017) This is the one with Ryan Gosling, and like Terrence Malick's two previous dramas it's a gauzy, improvised affair that looks like a photo essay out of Architectural Digest and regards its gorgeous, murmuring actors as if they were statuary.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
78% T2 Trainspotting (2017) Bad sequels try to re-create the original movie; good ones explore its narrative consequences. That's certainly the case with T2.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
100% Truman (2017) This Spanish-Argentine drama (2015), set in Madrid and framed by a four-day visit from the actor's witty old friend (Javier Cámara), is pitch-perfect, its comic drollery rooted in character and its awkward, poignant good-byes credibly staged.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
40% Wilson (2017) Craig Johnson, coming to this project from his indie success The Skeleton Twins, can't find the heart in this fractured, disappointed family.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
100% Uncertain (2017) The most interesting of them by far is Wayne... the filmmakers follow him on numerous midnight expeditions to take down a giant beast called Mister Ed, but the real night terror turns out to be Wayne's remorse for the crimes he's committed. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2017
100% Tickling Giants (2017) Like Rosewater, Tickling Giants acknowledges that political satire carries much higher stakes under a repressive regime.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2017
94% Ethel & Ernest (2016) At times the movie threatens to melt into a pool of bulldog nostalgia, but it's rescued by a wealth of authentic social detail, especially as the young couple keep a stiff upper lip during World War II.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2017
90% Irreplaceable (Médecin de campagne) (2016) Professional insight was exploited more profitably in his breakthrough feature, the biting Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor (2014), than in this sensitive, faintly smarmy romance.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2017
100% Behemoth (Bei xi mo shou) (2017) Straddling the line between art film and documentary, Behemoth takes as its ostensible subject the pollution of the planet-but it also explores the pollution of the soul.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2017
88% Land of Mine (Under Sandet) (2017) Ham-fisted though the drama might be, this 2015 Danish-German production will almost certainly keep you awake, not least because every few scenes some poor kid is getting blown to bits through fear, incaution, or plain bad luck.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2017
27% Fist Fight (2017) Screenwriters Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, and Max Greenfield raise the satirical ante with a nicely jaundiced view of the school, which is underfunded, riven by office politics, and teetering on the brink of anarchy.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2017
77% Kong: Skull Island (2017) For no reason I can fathom, except perhaps the classic-rock tunes desired for the soundtrack-the story takes place in 1973, when the Vietnam war is winding down and President Nixon is being driven from office.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2017
33% The Last Word (2017) Director Mark Pellington and first-time screenwriter Stuart Ross Fink lack Weitz's sense of taboo-busting mischief, opting instead for the more mundane strategy of unearthing hidden heartache.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2017
100% My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) (2017) The movie can be funny and heartbreaking at once-Zucchini's only keepsake of his mother is an empty beer can-though in the end what registers most is the children's resilience when "there's nobody left to love us."‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2017
99% Get Out (2017) Jordan Peele makes his directing debut with a horror movie that sticks closely to genre convention even as its ribbing of white liberals hardens into a social point. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2017
80% Personal Shopper (2017) What gives the story its spooky resonance, however, is a confluence between the unmoored exploration of the protagonist's spiritualism and the international rootlessness of the model's world.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2017
73% The Sense Of An Ending (2017) The melodrama alone conveys the writer's conviction that even in old age one's understanding of life can be swept away in an instant.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2017
2/4 80% Dying Laughing (2017) The movie kicks off poorly, with a battery of familiar conceits from big stars.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2017
35% The Great Wall (2017) Its epic imagery - the rows of soldiers, the rain of spears, the surging forces - is undercut by the Saturday-matinee cheesiness of the concept.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2017
83% A United Kingdom (2017) The film grows... dully instructional.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
100% Starless Dreams (Royahaye dame sobh) (2017) The movie is striking for its glimpses of violent offenders from squalid homes lapsing into the silliness and vulnerability of childhood.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
89% Alle Anderen (Everyone Else) (2010) Maren Ade has created a minutely detailed portrait of people so exclusive they wind up excluding each other.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
100% 2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation (2017) The odds-on favorite to win this year's Oscar for best animated short film is Alan Barillaro's Piper... I'd hate to be one of the other animators... especially since most of them have better films in competition.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2017
94% The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) (2017) This is one of those animations that creates a world so beautiful the characters need only wander around in it.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
90% The Lego Batman Movie (2017) A movie of endlessly hurtling momentum, this is Mad Max: Fury Road for five-year-olds, and not nearly as much fun as snapping those bricks together.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
83% Julieta (2016) Almodóvar makes a game effort to replicate Munro's complex, nonchronological storytelling, though the three tales don't hang together as well as one might hope.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
No Score Yet Panique (Panic) (1947) [A] crackerjack mystery.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
98% Moonlight (2016) An intimate and haunting drama.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
99% I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Peck may not be able to get inside the spiritual struggle that made Baldwin such a complex figure, but I Am Not Your Negro, with its frequent reminders that there are still two Americas, proves that Baldwin's writing has lost none of its currency.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
25% The Comedian (2017) Director Taylor Hackford pitches this film as a drama with comic moments, but De Niro is too loud and overbearing to be funny.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
92% Toni Erdmann (2016) Comedies are supposed to be short, but this German farce... succeeds by virtue of its endlessness-like its hero, an aging piano teacher and irrepressible joker, the movie keeps bugging you and bugging you until you can't help but laugh.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2017