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.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B- 50% Old (2021) Even if the film is a mixed bag and cinematography by Mike Gioulakis creates a jarring visual language, this film is the most fascinating film by a studio this year. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2021
A 90% Val (2021) The one thing Val knows we will all run out of is time, and that is more precious than any moment between action and cut. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2021
B- 49% The Forever Purge (2021) With The Forever Purge, the series finds a stroke of new life just hyperbolic enough not to be grounded in realism and not crazy enough to come off as conspiracy nonsense. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2021
B 95% The Sparks Brothers (2021) With heart and groovy music pieces, Wright presents the titular pop and rock duo as forever evolving men. And at least for a couple of hours, it's fun to hop into their orbit. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2021
A 100% Heartworn Highways (1981) HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS fell in line with the great hangout movies of the past 50 years when authority started to lose its power and a few moments of creativity was worth more than its weight in gold. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
B- 78% Greenland (2020) GREENLAND is a throwback that goes through the motions to become a fun film to watch if you want to see the world burn. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
B+ 84% Let Him Go (2020) It's filled with humble machismo from Costner, impressive range from Diane Lane, and a bonkers role for Lesley Manville. There is more to it than meets the eye. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
A- 88% JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) (2000) Part action and part legal thriller and buddy comedy, Park's film ushers in an esteemed style that aims to entertain and subtly educate his audience on the senselessness of war. JSA bolsters a strong message of unity and turning the other cheek. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
A- 90% The Climb (2020) Covino and Martin find a cadence to their dialogue that perfectly props up the tension of cinematographer Zach Kuperstein's long takes that revel in awkward interactions and hard truths. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
C- 26% Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) WILD MOUNTAIN THYME the result is a baffling, if not enchanting, film adaptation that somehow has a lot in common with Jerry Seinfeld. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
C+ 39% Honest Thief (2020) This benign, yet surprisingly watchable movie is lean and plays with the action template enough to be serviceable. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
B 93% Love and Monsters (2020) LOVE & MONSTERS is rare, and it could signal a return to more original films that aren't ashamed of their familiarity, yet lean into originality. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
B 73% Jungleland (2020) JUNGLELAND is murky, gross, and heartfelt to the point where you may either roll, or bawl your eyes right out of your head. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
B 48% The Craft: Legacy (2020) Jones' film gives itself a reason to exist by refining the tone and witchy plotline that's more coherent and gives its coven more of a satisfying dynamic. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2021
B 69% Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) While the two men are best known for subverting the tropes of action pictures, they accomplished something a bit more enticing by casting a wide net and integrating a top tier actor like Shirley MacLaine into their hyper-masculine world. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
A- 93% High Plains Drifter (1973) HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is perhaps Eastwood's most mean-spirited film that deals with supernatural elements and quite literally burning down every cliche, the Western cliche that had predated "The Man With No Name. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
B- 68% The Eiger Sanction (1975) It's a wild ride, and for all the flack Eastwood gets for being a bland filmmaker these days, he sure had no problems taking risks earlier in his directing career. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
B+ 84% Play Misty for Me (1971) PLAY MISTY FOR ME is a cautionary tale for those who casually choose their lovers; it's a screeching shock to the system - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
B 80% Joe Kidd (1972) Scripted by Elmore Leonard, this breezy open-air Western finds a formidable punch against masculinity by questioning the need for power while being supremely entertaining and never straying from Eastwood's clinched-jaw aesthetic. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
A- 89% The Beguiled (1971) THE BEGUILED is an excellent film and surprisingly weird in the ways that provoke thought about sexual repression and the mental effects of war on the front lines and those shielded from society. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
B- 84% Freaky (2020) FREAKY is exactly what you think it's going to be, a little expendable and a tad forgettable, but enjoyable nevertheless. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
F 19% Friendsgiving (2020) FRIENDSGIVING is the Boston Market version of holiday cheers. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2020
B 89% Save Yourselves! (2020) Wilson and Fischer's film is about honesty with your partner and learning how to love yourself in the process. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2020
B+ 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) If Borat is a surrogate for how lost Americans feel in 2020, it seems that change is possible; there's some lost concept called tolerance, which comes in a final call to action to Go Vote! - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
B 39% Rebecca (2020) Perfect fodder for a late-night stream with a bottle of something bubbly, REBECCA is a massively entertaining swing at bringing out the soapier side of something that could have taken on a more ghostly identity. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
A- 97% Shithouse (2020) Raiff's introspective sensibilities and technical proficiency are impressive while maintaining a goofy spark that's infectious from start to finish. Shithouse is hands down the biggest cinematic surprise this year. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
B 86% On The Rocks (2020) If there's one thing it's got, in excess, is the feeling of being in a red convertible with Bill Murray that will always lift your spirits. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2020
B+ 90% Kajillionaire (2020) At its heart, KAJILLIONAIRE is a story of two people becoming friends and nothing more. For that, the film is priceless. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
B- 82% Murder in the Woods (2020) Something is endearing about a film that isn't desperate to impress. Instead, it announces itself as a drive-in special that could serve up some good times with a unique spin. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
A- 85% Beau Travail (2000) Simple, yet complex Claire Denis' BEAU TRAVAIL is the kind of subtle brilliance that's still relevant over twenty years later. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
A 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) There is not a more satisfying film in 2020 than I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS. It is a complete transportive escape into a spiral staircase of psychology, philosophy on media, and how crippling the views we have about ourselves can truly be. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
B 84% I Used to Go Here (2020) Rey's filmmaking brand reaches for reliability while staying so insanely true to making a film that sharply addresses how to cope with self-doubt. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
A 75% The King of Staten Island (2020) It's 2020, and Pete Davidson is saying: It's OK to be flawed. It's OK to feel vulnerable. Now, let's do the work and make things better. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
B+ 36% Flashdance (1983) FLASHDANCE is an experience that grows upon you relying on the charism of Beals and the atmosphere created by Lyne's keen eye for sexiness and Moroder's ear for groundbreaking music. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
B 72% Vivarium (2020) VIVARIUM's version of an endurance test causes your mind to slip. For those dealing with cabin fever, you've been warned. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
B+ 79% Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) There may not be too many surprises, but Yan has announced herself as a creative force to be reckoned with. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
B 75% The Photograph (2020) THE PHOTOGRAPH's dulcet images may prove to be too muted for some, but for those searching for a raw sensitivity and unapologetic sexuality will be heavily rewarded. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
C+ 83% VFW (2020) With a plugin play version of genre tropes, it spins a wheel of more celebrated films with the novelty of it throwing up some devil horns and exclaiming: "Old guys rule!" - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
C+ 69% We Summon the Darkness (2020) The subject matter is intense, but Meyers' direction Alan Trezza's screenplay aims to soften the blow. So much so that the comedy is muddled into a plot that struggles to find authenticity. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
A- 91% The Invisible Man (2020) A sleek and sleazy angle that hums like a finely-tuned paperback novel, beefed up into a timely take on throwback terror. Whannell's picture fills the big screen with a new type of spectral fear. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2020
B- 92% The Assistant (2020) However, observing and listening leads to a change of beliefs and justice among impenetrable power. While it's thin on plot, THE ASSISTANT finds relevance by being unfortunately timely. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
C+ 87% Emma. (2020) There's subversive material lurking within the pages of this script (by Eleanor Catton) that fails to replicate Austen's signature witticism for a 21st-century audience. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
B+ 70% Horse Girl (2020) [Jeff] Baena and [Alison] Brie make for fascinating collaborators and his filmography is a testament to the boundaries he pushes by making angsty movies about knowing if you are still growing, or stuck in this state of mind forever. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2020
B 86% Come to Daddy (2020) COME TO DADDY is a welcomed alternative to studio films that lack the vibrancy shown in Timpson's debut. It's daring, offensive, and in search of empathy in the cruelest of scenarios. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
B+ 92% Wild Rose (2019) f any film of the recent barrage of aspiring pop star movies have any semblance of truth, this film subverts the expectations of dreamers around the world by saying the only way to make a change is to look inward. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2020
A- 94% Marriage Story (2019) MARRIAGE STORY breathes life into the hardships of having a parter in your life. It's a wonderful film that reveals intimate parts of our lives we may have trouble articulating. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but that's life. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2020
C+ 76% Bad Boys for Life (2020) This trilogy of films has been plastered in a tacky brand of masculinity that was always self-aware at how unabashedly detached it was from any sense of reality. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2020
C- 36% 6 Underground (2019) If Michael Bay is going to continue to use his Netflix clout to bring talents like Melanie Laurent to American audiences, then l say we can find a silver lining to pretty much any film. - Consequence EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
B 89% Dark Waters (2019) The movie lands somewhere between progress being possible and realizing that maybe the damage has been done. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
C 53% 21 Bridges (2019) There's no denying the cheap thrills 21 Bridges has to offer. However, the plotting gets tripped up by too many self-imposed obstacles that cause this otherwise breezy romp to feel weighted down by its own design. - Consequence EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019