Janet Smith

Janet Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Georgia Straight

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
62% Crash (1996) The film is still eerily prescient about the way technology numbs us. Some of Crash's near-surgical aesthetic and harder-edged sex feel more stuck in the '90s. But the fetishized car culture? It's still very much with us. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2020
89% Arab Blues (Un divan à Tunis) (2019) Selma, so magnetically inhabited by Farahani, is a very different kind of female character than we're used to seeing from the Arab world: strong, complex, happy to be single, and equal parts wry, smart, and anxious. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2020
No Score Yet Piano to Zanskar (2018) The result is a breathtakingly shot journey where the piano seems in constant peril. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
73% Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (2020) As this spirited bio pic reveals, the reality of the man and his work is infinitely more complex. Like sex itself, it's complicated. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2020
54% American Woman (2019) Chau is strong enough to bring a compelling new perspective to this bizarre chapter of history -- and to the entire idea of the identity of the "American woman". - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
90% Landfall (2020) Aldarondo's impressionistic, kaleidoscopic take offers a more accurate picture of the chaos than any standard narrated documentary ever could. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
No Score Yet Birth Wars (2020) Aside from capturing the miracle of birth from every possible angle, the film offers an unfussy, keenly observed look at a messy situation. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
No Score Yet Forget Me Not (Forglem Mig Ej) (2019) Social strictures leave a legacy of pain that forever links child and parent, and you'll feel it viscerally long after the film ends. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
74% The King of Staten Island (2020) Maybe it's just that the film has caught the same laid-back listlessness of its antihero, refusing to work too hard for laughs. There's heart here, but not a lot of energy. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
No Score Yet Red Snow (2019) The poetic, mystical touches that have made B.C. Métis artist Marie Clements's plays so striking find vivid new expression on film. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
No Score Yet Lie Exposed (2020) Lie Exposed is ambitious, but it's never quite as shocking, raw, or life-changing as it wants to be. The overall impression, to steal from Lana Del Rey, is beautiful people with beautiful problems. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2020
No Score Yet One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019) A slow, blackly comic, and intensely important study in all that got lost in translation. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) A picture that blends the surreal nightmarescape of Apocalypse Now with the journey-quest of Saving Private Ryan, torqued up by a race against time -- and, of course, by the rush of watching the filmmakers pull this off on a sheer technical level. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2020
88% And the Birds Rained Down (Il pleuvait des oiseaux) (2019) Louise Archambault's gently paced and unexpectedly deep new film has a kind of tenderness you don't often experience in the movies. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
94% Klaus (2019) A gritty origin story probably isn't on a lot of people's wish list this holiday season. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
71% The King (2019) It's brutal, deglamorized, and horrifyingly spectacular. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
99% For Sama (2019) This isn't polished stuff...but no other documentary out there has captured the human cost of the Syrian crisis with such clarity. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
81% Fast Color (2019) It's a strange and enticing mix: a superhero origin story and sci-fi paranormal effects mix with apocalyptic allegory. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
96% The Queen (1968) The movie is by turns a historic document, a milestone of queer filmmaking... - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
73% Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (2019) Hamilton is a fearless risk-taker...the film about her? Not so much. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
33% Anna (2019) Anna looks Euro-slick, but feels like a creepy showcase for the director's own fetishes. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
100% Black Mother (2019) A viscerally poetic portrait of a country that's full of contradictions. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
35% Poms (2019) While there are a few touching strides for senior sisterhood here, many of the women are too faintly sketched to avoid stereotypes. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
No Score Yet Pomelo (2018) Rubble has never been shot so beautifully, the directors finding a kind of moving poetry in the chaos here... - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
100% Toxic Beauty (2019) By the end of the hard-hitting, wide-ranging exposé, you'll understand the fuller implications of words you already know-phthalates, parabens, endocrine disruptors. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
98% One Child Nation (2019) In bold and damning terms, they've created a shocking portrait of the power of mass indoctrination-and the kind of collective amnesia that can set in in just four short years. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
90% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) Al Rafeea and Shiferaw ground Labaki's empathetic story in beautifully natural performances. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) By far the best thing about Mary Queen of Scots is its character studies. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
76% The Prestige (2006) Nolan has conjured a bold mix of thriller and period piece, with even a precocious dab of science fiction. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2018
97% Free Solo (2018) What makes the film so remarkable is that maverick mountaineering directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi... find just as much transfixing material in the intimate portrait of their flawed hero. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
100% Sharkwater Extinction (2019) Stewart gets his ideas across with a laid-back-dude appeal that will reach kids of all ages, avoiding scientific lecturing and instilling hope even as he's sounding an alarm. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
67% Beautiful Boy (2018) If you're a parent, it will wreck you. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
87% The Sisters Brothers (2018) It's a winding but awesomely entertaining ride, even for western fans who've ridden them thar hills many times before. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
45% Generation Wealth (2018) But as in so much of this sprawling meditation-an odd mix where the heinously crass often outweighs the authentically beautiful-deep analysis is lacking. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
23% Mile 22 (2018) Yes, absolutely, there is fun to be had, as well as many, many things to go boom, all amid an atmospheric urban jungle. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
94% Blindspotting (2018) Part of an exciting new wave of movies addressing America's racial divide (see: Sorry to Bother You), these guys take huge risks. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2018
100% Arrhythmia (Aritmiya) (2017) feels like a Russian Scrubs or ER-admittedly with a lot more vodka-fuelled benders. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
97% Ava (2018) It's a gripping, steely performance, complex and smart in a way you don't often see teen girls portrayed-anywhere. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
58% Hotel Artemis (2018) For all its deco-dystopian flair and cartoon-scale characters, Hotel Artemis lacks one key ingredient: momentum. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2018
93% First Reformed (2018) What sets First Reformed apart is Schrader's relentless reserve. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2018
100% Venus (2017) Eisha Marjara makes her culture-crossing family comedy with a transgender twist so light and warm that it all somehow fits together. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
36% I Feel Pretty (2018) [Schumer] is digging at something real here, despite a seriously silly plot, and some even more seriously mixed messages. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2018
89% You Were Never Really Here (2018) Phoenix's nuanced yet epic performance-the guy's perfected pushing the brink of losing control-melds well with Ramsay's impressionistic style. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2018
40% Gringo (2018) Gringo is shooting for an action-cranked Quentin Tarantino feel here, but even the Pulp Fiction maestro knows the importance of redeeming qualities. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2018
88% Annihilation (2018) [Alex Garland has] perfected an atmospheric cocktail of foreboding music, the threatening half-dark of twilight, and mysterious characters who bury secrets. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2018
63% Every Day (2018) Yes, it's important that Rhiannon learns to stand up for herself... and realizes love can transcend gender, race, or status. You just wish Every Day would take more risks-with a little less Nicholas Sparks and a little more... Alex Garland? - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2018
98% Félicité (2017) ... introduces you to people who are enigmatic yet real, and to a country that's ferocious, alive, and resilient enough to survive the worst-like the film's frowning heroine. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
95% Shadowman (2017) It's not easy to watch. But set to the likes of Talking Heads and Blondie, the documentary succeeds as an unglamorized ode to the uncompromising '80s art scene in New York-and one talented man that it consumed. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
56% The Commuter (2018) So even if you're convinced you don't need to see Neeson grimace his way through yet another race against the clock, this commute is a lot more exciting than what you're likely to experience on the SkyTrain anytime soon. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2018
72% Ferdinand (2017) Ferdinand provides the kind of be-yourself, make-love-not-war, antibullying messages kids probably need right now. But unfortunately, as adorable as its flower-crazy bovine hero may be, it doesn't do that with enough magic to get them to actually stick. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017