Janet Smith

Janet Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Georgia Straight

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
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
34% 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
No Score Yet 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
94% 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
69% Beautiful Boy (2018) If you're a parent, it will wreck you. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
86% 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
46% 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
22% 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
96% 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
57% 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
35% 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
39% 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
62% 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
96% 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
93% 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
57% 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
95% The Breadwinner (2017) The key is that The Breadwinner finds hope, even in this violent place. The climax's descent into chaos is certainly not a fairy-tale ending, but it puts forth a message that courageous acts, even by a child, can make a difference. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2017
100% Rebels on Pointe (2017) ... more than anything, Rebels on Pointe sets out to prove the company, despite its gags, is no joke-that behind the gallons of makeup, the metres of tulle, and the size-12 slippers, the men here are top-flight dancers. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2017
79% The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Yes, The Man Who Invented Christmas is creative and fresh enough to fit as smoothly as gingerbread and eggnog into your holiday ritual. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2017
45% The Dancer (La danseuse) (2016) The Dancer is so dreamily shot, with such nakedly committed acting by music artist SoKo, that you can almost forgive its narrative gaps-and the considerable liberties it takes with historical fact. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2017
30% A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) For a movie that pretends to be against excess-three exasperated moms are going to "take Christmas back", dammit-this sequel really doesn't know when to stop. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2017
68% Breathe (2017) ... the biopic's most compelling story is about the way paralysis was treated up until the 1970s and '80s. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
64% The Foreigner (2017) There is still some subversive satisfaction in watching a "foreigner" rip homegrown terrorists a new one. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2017
93% Clash (Eshtebak) (2017) It's not a pleasant ride-you'll be relieved when you can escape this patrol wagon from hell. But Diab has created a thought-provoking and timely hell all the same. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
No Score Yet The Infinite Happiness (2016) So much architecture porn lovingly dwells on the structure itself that it's beyond refreshing to see a film that focuses entirely on the people-and cats and dogs-that actually live in these places. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2017
96% Step (2017) Step is about dance like Hoop Dreams was about basketball. . .but this new girl-powered film is much zippier, more inspiring, and more energetically hopeful. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2017
87% Wind River (2017) It's the subject matter that chills the most, from the opening scene of violence on a frost-encrusted Indigenous reservation to a harrowing end title about missing Native American women that hits close to home. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2017
89% Lady Macbeth (2017) A leak and brutally excellent new film -- echoing similar lessons from the equally savage, but less complex period piece The Beguiled. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2017
33% From the Land of the Moon (Mal de pierres) (2017) It isn't all as tawdry as it sounds: in her exquisitely shot film, director Nicole Garcia poses some compelling questions about class and war. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 21, 2017
79% The Beguiled (2017) The main beguiler may be Coppola herself, who, through rich atmosphere and enigmatic characters, bewitches her audience. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
75% Ballerina (2016) Ballerina would be just another predictable, rags-to-riches, girl-follows-her-dreams movie if it weren't for one big factor: it's set in fin-de-siècle Paris. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2017
No Score Yet Vancouver: No Fixed Address (2017) It isn't hyperbole to say Vancouver: No Fixed Address is essential viewing for anyone living in the Lower Mainland. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2017
64% The Wall (2017) Two guys, a crumbling wall, a few guns, and enough dust to make you practically taste the grit. That's about all director Doug Liman needed to make this tense, claustrophobic little war movie. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2017
71% Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 (2017) Despite some glossy car chases (maybe more than we need) and violent run-ins with evil mob bosses, the film feels too long for the fluff that it is. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2017
15% The Circle (2017) The Circle, based on the David Eggers book of the same name, builds a clever premise that it can't play out, spinning its strong setup into a muddied, melodramatic, and ultimately unbuyable treatise on wired-world surveillance. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
92% A Quiet Passion (2017) No lie: it's a difficult film, dense with words and ideas, focused on an often frustrating protagonist. Still, you have to admire its austerity, its refusal to romanticize, and its fearless commitment. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
86% The Lost City of Z (2017) From its title to its dashing, mustachioed lead, The Lost City of Z harks back to the classic explorer movies of the last century. But it also comments on the downfall of that era, when all-male geographic societies talked about savages. - Georgia Straight EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2017