Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Jeffrey Overstreet's first book about his career as a film critic--"Through a Screen Darkly"--is now available at Amazon.com and fine bookstores everywhere. Publisher's Weekly gave the book a coveted "Starred Review." His first novel--"Auralia's Colors"--is due from Random House in Sept. '07. Jeffrey publishes frequent film and music reviews at LookingCloser.org and lookingcloser.wordpress.com, and reviews films for Christianity Today, Paste, Risen, and Seattle Pacific University's "Response" Magazine.
Favorites:
Wings of Desire, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Three Colors: Blue, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Code Unknown, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Apocalypse Now Redux, The New World, The Fisher King, Midnight Run, Blade Runner, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Stevie, Down by Law, Into Great Silence.
Location: Shoreline, Washington
Official Websites: http://lookingcloser.org

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
A- 97% Pig (2021) The less you know about the plot, the better. ... It's a film of imagination, honesty, and grace, one that has reached the big screen in a time when such occasions are rare. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2021
B- 91% A Quiet Place Part II (2021) It's the most overtly Spielberg-ian exercise to hit the big screen since Super 8. ... Krasinksi proves he's learned a lot from the master of adventure and suspense. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2021
B+ 95% In the Heights (2021) This never feels like a stage show adapted for the screen; it's a thrillingly imagined motion picture. If you haven't seen it on the big screen, you haven't really seen it. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2021
B- 97% The Truffle Hunters (2020) These hunters, while entertaining at first in their eccentricity, ultimately remain stubbornly and annoyingly opaque. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted May 4, 2021
B 91% Together Together (2021) I love it when screenwriters cultivate characters and relationships so unique that I can't think of relevant comparisons from other films. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2021
C+ 70% Tenet (2020) Exhausted and disoriented by Nolan's curlicue-rollercoasters, we end up fooled into thinking we've been stirred when, in fact, we've mostly been shaken. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2021
A 94% Nomadland (2021) On the map of cinema, I never expected to find an intersection joining the corners of Varda, Malick, and Sayles. Zhao strikes me as an artist who finds her films by listening. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2021
B+ 96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Impressive in its cinematographic finesse, obvious in its allusions, familiar in its form, and painful in its truth-telling, [this film] is a necessary testimony. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2021
B 50% Abigail Harm (2013) It's committed to a strangeness I feel when reading foreign folktales -- more a cautionary tale than an inspirational story of what happens when we wish upon a star. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2021
B 82% Mank (2020) Every scene offers up cleverness in everything from lighting to writing. But I doubt that [it] will inspire many love letters. ... I was surprised by how disappointed I felt. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
B 74% Flannery (2020) The film's greatest gift is its gallery of insight from experts as diverse as Sally Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Conan O'Brien, Mary Karr, Richard Rodriguez, and Alice Walker. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2020
B+ 41% The Quarry (2020) The film's weighty spiritual inquiries may suggest we're on a narrative arc toward a heart-warming redemption. But Teems and Brotzman are braver storytellers than that. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2020
C+ 95% Palm Springs (2020) These two appallingly irresponsible characters ... have a lot to learn. [The movie] wears itself out trying to figure out what some of those things might be. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2020
B+ 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) [Its] strength is also its weakness: It is trying to be at least three kinds of movie at once. ... But few of my 2020 moviegoing experiences will remain as vivid in my memory. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2020
B+ 92% The Vast of Night (2020) Its strongest thread [is] the idea that we cannot hope to arrive at truth unless we open the lines to all callers and listen in particular to voices that have been silenced. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2020
B+ 87% Shirley (2020) Decker and her collaborators have achieved something meaningful and compelling here. [Shirley's] a tragic, fascinating figure, and I'll come back to learn from her sadness again. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
C+ 88% Onward (2020) There's something about the character design, the voices, and the personality here that feels ... Dreamworks-y. That isn't a compliment. It feels sub-Shrek-ian. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
B+ 100% Strange Negotiations (2019) Bazan finds the vocabulary of America's churches too toxic to accept. But in his honesty and sacrifice, he reveals what a life touched by a true Gospel might look like. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2020
A- 81% A Hidden Life (2019) Malick knows the power of nature's beauty as a language that transcends our spoken and written texts. [But his] visual poetry ... is becoming increasingly predictable. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
B- 89% 1917 (2020) Even if we grant it the distinction of being the first war film to play as one unbroken scene, we may also conclude that it's ultimately less than the sum of ... its part. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2020
C- 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) It's a Star Wars jukebox that generates remixes and medleys of the Top 250 moments from earlier installments. But at no point do we hear anything resembling a new melody sung. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2019
B+ 93% Light from Light (2019) Very little else in my year at the movies has stayed so vividly on my mind as Light from Light. It's haunting me. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
A- 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Few women [get] to direct pop culture events as significant as this one. And Heller isn't content to give the people what they want: She takes risks from the opening scene. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2019
C+ 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Sure, it's a 'true story,' but everything is so streamlined and polished for a mass audience that I don't believe a minute of it. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2019
A- 92% Wild Rose (2019) It demonstrates wisdom far deeper than almost any road-to-stardom story I can think of. It's more about how a soul is saved than how a star is born. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
B- 97% The Farewell (2019) I recommend it, [but] ... it unfolded for me as a progression of obvious chords, played repetitively and softly. ... There's a difference between artful subtlety and dullness. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
B+ 65% The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2019) [The movie] plays like a great artist's last rage against the dying of the light: a holy fool's last epic about holy fools. ... It moves me. - Image EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
A- 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) This is the funniest Toy Story yet. ... [And it's] the first story in this world to focus on children as much as toys. In this, it raises important new questions. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2019
A- 96% I Am Not a Witch (2018) Yes, the leashes that bind these women are imaginary. But they're tied to real-world suffering. ... This is not a fantasy. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
B+ 84% Her Smell (2019) This isn't about Courtney Love -- not exactly. We're released from the burden of arguing over historical accuracy, set free to imagine a mythical diva, a tempest in a t-shirt. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
B+ 99% Ash Is Purest White (2019) Zhao's harrowing silences and penetrating stares suggest subterranean turmoil -- appropriate given the important scenic backdrop: a lush, green, dormant volcano. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
A 89% Chungking Express (1996) These flirtations may be as glossy and shallow as the soundtrack's pop songs, but they represent longings for magic, for transcendence, as deep as any 'California Dreamin'.' - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
B+ 98% The Man Without a Past (2002) With its rusty railroads and dingy metal canisters where the downtrodden dwell, [this film] finds color, surprise, and joy in the simplicity of struggling Helsinki outcasts. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
A 97% The Incredibles (2004) Kids are going to love it, and ... their parents will love it even more. Packaging [the film] as family fun, Bird baits grownups into family therapy. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
B 63% I Heart Huckabees (2004) Russell directs with the ambition of Altman and the nervous energy of Paul Thomas Anderson, and his script sounds like it was co-written by Howard Hawks and Charlie Kaufman. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
B+ 66% Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004) He's sure to offend viewers who don't see the humor in such stuff. [But Ron Burgundy] highlights the truth about television news. It's entertainment disguised as information. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
C 90% A Star Is Born (2018) Cooper leaps from one All Caps Scene to another. It's like we're watching a lengthy, spoiler-packed trailer of a longer movie's major moments. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
B 97% The Hate U Give (2018) Its eagerness to educate and inspire keeps breaking the spell of its storytelling. ... [But as] preachy productions go, this is a stirring sermon that has me saying 'Amen!' - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
B 88% Madeline's Madeline (2018) It's a cautionary tale about visionaries who see everything, including the sufferings of others, as 'material' - and who forget the importance of telling the truth in love. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
A 99% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) A tremendous and sobering work. It honors those who gave up their own free lives that many more might be born into their own. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
C 91% Widows (2018) This thing doesn't have the luxury of time; it can't develop the characters or complexity it needs. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
B+ 87% First Man (2018) As when he made Whiplash and La La Land, Chazelle is interested in what compels some to reach for the stars ... perhaps even more in what it costs those who do. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
B+ 83% Puzzle (2018) Kelly Macdonald shines in the lead. Her face is a powerfully expressive text ... representing hairpin turns of understanding and decision that are always convincing. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
B- 91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) The camera ogles over the dresses, the jewelry, the houses, the cars, the feasts ... with a determination to render us helpless by sheer relentlessness. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
A 99% Eighth Grade (2018) It's like Burnham had the film tested for authenticity by real eighth graders. ... It ends with my favorite big-screen conversation of the year, a joy in its spontaneity. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
A+ 97% Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Neville makes a quiet movie about a quiet man. ... [It] plays like a vivid, urgent beacon from a lighthouse during a storm. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
B 92% Hearts Beat Loud (2018) If I stumble onto Hearts Beat Loud on TV, I'll probably decide to 'watch a few minutes' and end up watching to the end. It's just so easy, enjoyable, and cost-free. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ 97% Three Identical Strangers (2018) You might begin to wonder if this isn't a documentary at all, but an unnervingly lifelike sci-fi/horror film. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ 88% Prospect (2018) What might be the film's most powerful advantage is its Pacific Northwest rainforest setting. ... If Terrence Malick were making hardcore science fiction films, they would look a lot like this. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ 100% Leave No Trace (2018) Leave No Trace immerses us in rugged and rain-saturated terrain, where it is easy to get lost and even easier to get into trouble. - Looking Closer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2018