James Clay

James Clay
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema. His works can be found at FreshFiction and CutPrintFilm. Film is my first love and it shall be my last.
Publications: Fresh Fiction, Byline Houston

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B 76% Addams Family Values (1993) Sonnenfeld expands the world and makes the film a bit more palatable with a sketch comedy feel that lets the Addams' twisted sense of humor take center stage. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2019
C 64% Annabelle Comes Home (2019) While the filmmaking displayed on a technical level allows the film to achieve heightened production values, this one can't help but play exclusively in the realm of cheap thrills. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2019
B- 78% Homewrecker (2019) Many will remember the film for its third act reveals and Chong's unforgettable turn that elevates the material into a captivating state of affairs. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
C 25% Gemini Man (2019) It's just a bit ironic that for films that are attempting to break ground on a visual level, feel so narratively antiquated. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
B 100% The Pool (2019) It's like crossing over into another dimension of filmmaking that's earnest as it is ridiculous. To say this piece of Thai cinema is hyperbolic would be an understatement. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2019
C+ 79% Sea Fever (2019) Hardiman's film isn't searching for the big explosive thrills that you see in more sensationalized tales of the high sea. Her movie is in search of mediation on actualizing the impending doom of its characters. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2019
B+ No Score Yet Wyrm (2019) WYRM is a unique movie that has the spirit of youth coursing through every fiber of its being. It's a treat seeing a filmmaker coming out of the left field to make a touching film that feels like it has always existed. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
B- 63% In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) While results may vary, there's a fascinating center to Mickle's film that sells the material. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
A- 76% The Death of Dick Long (2019) Coming to terms with the ending may be a tough pill to swallow, but Scheinert's endearing sensibilities make the journey smooth. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
B No Score Yet The Wave (2019) The Wave is never too eager to impress its audience. It creates a more inviting atmosphere that elaborates on some heady topics, while still never losing sight of being a goofy comedy. Overall, this a daring, sharp, and satisfying jolt to the system. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
B+ 85% Waves (2019) Shults is looking for how to mend the decisions we make and reckon with a life that has changed so drastically. Life is all about peaks and valleys, and WAVES is about what we do after the crash. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
C 59% Satanic Panic (2019) SATANIC PANIC, doesn't fully reckon with its own potential, it's filled with love for the genre and an aesthetic that feels like a self-assured post modern take on horror. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
A 94% Uncut Gems (2019) It's an absolute train wreck watch, and it's a career-best for Sandler. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
B- 44% The Laundromat (2019) Soderbergh, please, never stop being you. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
A- 68% Joker (2019) JOKER looks for human decency rather than anarchic wish fulfillment. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
C 87% Ford v Ferrari (2019) This pompous piece of filmmaking is surprising coming from Mangold, who has found a groove as a director making very entertaining, yet reserved films. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
C+ 87% Bad Education (2019) Overall, BAD EDUCATION is serviceable, but it could have been given a boost with more substance from its side plots. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
A 99% Knives Out (2019) This film is a total bullseye from Johnson who made one of the absolute most fulfilling films of the year. Run, don't walk - KNIVES OUT flat-out rules! - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
B+ 81% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Waititi has an uncanny ability to find strange interpretations of dire war-torn situations. He's not just making this film for the sheer shock value; Waititi is far too clever for that. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
B+ 96% Honey Boy (2019) HONEY BOY is a film that's giving men a chance to work through their emotions from the inside out. It's not about what's existing on the exterior, but how to examine the egomania on the inside. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
C 96% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Hanks portrays Rogers as a Buddha disguised in a red cardigan and khakis, and he wears the costume well. However, it's nothing more than an impression and lacks the pathos of impact from the people who were genuinely affected by Rogers. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
B 78% The Friend (2019) Playing with perspective justifies the film's lofty narrative shifts. As the story reaches its natural conclusion, it proves that all the meandering was worthwhile. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
B+ 82% Just Mercy (2019) Between the hopeful, JUST MERCY and the more distant CLEMENCY filmmakers have been challenging the idea of capital punishment, or at the very least, these films are a plea for human decency. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
A- 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) All and all, this is a film with a razor-sharp edge. It's angry, it's joyous, and - to keep it simple - it's a ton of fun. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
B+ 90% Sound of Metal (2019) Marder's film about loss and codependency is the most distinctive debut by a filmmaker this year. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
B- 83% True History of the Kelly Gang (2019) It's a volatile tale that never becomes fully formed. Kurzel challenges us to rewrite our history and become the author of our own lives. Despite a few grumbles, this is the definitive version of Ned Kelly. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
B+ 96% The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) If this is what it's like to adapt classic British literature with modern values, sign Iannucci up to direct more projects just like this, please. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
C+ 64% Human Capital (2019) To no avail, Myers fashions the narrative as a piece of high art, revealing sides of our social complexes that go unnoticed. Not without intrigue, there still isn't enough social commentary to warrant its existence. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
B 93% The Lighthouse (2019) Many audiences are going to be utterly shocked at the lengths the two leading actors, Pattinson, Dafoe, are pushed. They have a loathsome dynamic. However, those who can get on Eggers' level will be hypnotized by this eccentric experiment. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
B 97% Clemency (2019) This is a film that deserves attention as it looks to redefine the definition of justice in the American judicial system while advocating and challenging the act of capital punishment altogether. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
B 92% Luce (2019) Onah's film is deliciously frustrating material that's a step up from his previous effort (CLOVERFIELD: PARADOX). It bursts with a fervor for debating issues, even if the setup is stronger than the payoff. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2019
B- 79% Good Boys (2019) This gimmicky premise rises far above what the film promises. While adults more than likely aren't expecting much out of cursing kids, there's a message that rings true about finding your place in the world. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
B+ 48% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) At its core WHERE'D, YOU GO, BERNADETTE isn't a film about mental illness it's about creating and finding meaning in that pursuit while balancing a family. The year is 2019; we can and will have it all. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
C 79% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) SCARY STORIES rests somewhere inside the popularity of Stephen King and STRANGER THINGS to a frustrating degree. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
B+ 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) There's a slice of heightened realism that the director indulges in to create a vision where fact, fiction, and farce can live happily together. This film is his most celebratory outing yet - a youthful film about growing old. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
B- 42% Stuber (2019) The action and comedy are supposed to work in tandem with a film like STUBER, and they each feel like they belong in different movies here. There's very little cohesiveness in terms of its tone. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
B 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) The most important aspect is one the film never forgets: At one point or another, we are all still that awkward kid from high school. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
A 93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) They take a self-aggrandizing journey that's epic in their minds, yet so small as far as the big picture is concerned. However, Fails' writing and Talbot's direction puts every piece of love in those details to give the story gravitas. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
C- 23% Men in Black International (2019) MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL is a film that refuses to take any risks with its' story, tone, or humor. Instead director F. Gary Gray alters the approach with a film void of charisma despite its' two irresistible stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
B 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) DARK PHOENIX is going to be one of the more divisive blockbusters this summer. It has many problems but finds success by diving deeper into the intimate relationships of its characters. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2019
C 59% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) This is a film that promises life lessons from the voice of our pets. What we get in return is just another spastic trip down the kiddie aisle. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2019
C 56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) Jim Jarmusch is an introspective filmmaker that slyly gets to the point he is making as an artist. With an effortlessly cool bravado, THE DEAD DON'T DIE limps around until finally crawling back six feet under. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2019
C 91% Starfish (2019) It's a film that morphs into (and between) different genres that boast talent behind the camera. But it's a bit too inaccessible. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019
B 90% The Souvenir (2019) [ Joanna] Hogg directs from an academic standpoint; one that comments on intellectual aspects of the film, while being a piece of art in and of itself. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
B- 89% Rocketman (2019) Parts of the film follows a formula that's a bit off key with the rest, and the otherwise well-paced and effervescent film drags. It comes a point where the predictability sets in, but Egerton's performance is what keeps the rhythm. - Byline Houston EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
B 54% Ma (2019) MA is a movie that finds its own brand of cheap thrills from keeping the plot predictable. It swerves from expectations and drives head-on into the deranged. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
C+ 57% Aladdin (2019) The 2019 version is nothing more than a fun and often times silly version of this tale, and the live action bits can't really ever commit to either being an earnest love story or a cartoonish romp for kids to enjoy. - Byline Houston EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
A 97% Booksmart (2019) It's a movie that's hyperbolic and raunchy, a movie that has so much sympathy for its diverse characters despite all of their shortcomings. - Byline Houston EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
A- 90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Despite carnage being the main selling point, "John Wick: Chapter 3″ is the most intriguing when we get the chance to see the mechanics of how this criminal underworld operates. - Byline Houston EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
B 91% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM can become a hodgepodge of scrapbooking, but it's impossible to deny that these people have worked so hard to bring their vision to life. It shows what just a few people can accomplish if you just stay the course. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019