Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Film reporter and critic for the Los Angeles Times.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
62% Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) "The most renowned musical competition on Earth is also the most inclusive," the film's marketing materials proudly proclaim. If only "Eurovision" itself cared to make that statement ring true. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
100% Pahokee (2020) With a patient and unobtrusive eye, filmmakers Lucas and Bresnan paint impressionistic portraits of a quartet of charismatic teenagers over the course of a pivotal school year. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2020
89% Selah and the Spades (2020) Think the stylistic snappiness of "Brick" meets the fastidious world-building of "Rushmore" with a fourth-wall-bending feminist perspective and two young black female leads, and you've got "Selah." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2020
96% The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) [T]he film reveals its truest self as a cinematic act of negotiation, acceptance and farewell between mother and son. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
68% Knives and Skin (2019) Awash in Christopher Rejano's neon-hued cinematography and punctuated by Nick Zinner's eerie synth soundscapes, Reeder's meandering tale is a fever dream of ideas. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
94% Honey Boy (2019) Buoyed by sensitive and ferocious ensemble turns, "Honey Boy" is a cinematic salve for a tortured soul, in many regards a powerful vehicle for its star-screenwriter-subject and a vibrant narrative debut for documentary and video artist Har'el. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
63% It Chapter Two (2019) It traverses gutting emotional terrain, saved by an excellent cast... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) "Parabellum" bursts with the series' usual sleek and squishy top-notch action, and the healthy dose of the winking humor that breaks Wick and his cronies out of the bounds of the genre. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
No Score Yet Go for Broke (2017) [T]here are undeniably powerful moments. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
84% Deadpool 2 (2018) The film's impulse to profess a knowing, snarky superiority can become painfully awkward. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2018
86% It (2017) "It" fills its 135-minute run time with enough impressive visuals to keep its audience rapt, if not as emotionally invested as the source material deserves. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2017
86% Ingrid Goes West (2017) Plaza shines here in her most multifaceted role to date, fearless in her willingness to take Ingrid to cringe-worthy depths with a chameleonic precision. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2017
17% Baywatch (2017) Not only owns its dumbness, but hurtles itself all the way back around through a flurry of genitalia jokes and F-bombs to splash unapologetically in an R-rated surf of winking postmodernism. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2017
88% Hounds of Love (2017) What makes the torment worth enduring is the trio of ferocious performances at its center, bare and ugly and unvarnished. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
20% Dead Awake (2017) Despite Donahue's best efforts in a grand finale sleep session with life-or-death stakes, the premise never lives up to its promise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
85% The Transfiguration (2017) Bold and brutal in shocking spurts, the indie horror drama from writer-director O'Shea is a startling debut that leaves a fresh mark on the genre while celebrating its forbears. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
84% Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Contained yet expansive, nostalgic yet new, Rogue One introduces striking heroes and villains and fills its two hours and 13 minutes with a narrative that fits snugly into canon. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2016
95% Moana (2016) There are no princes hanging around, no boys to really think about, no girly hang-ups or thingamabobs to fritter over, and no romantic subplots to distract from what's truly important: survival, independence, identity, self-belief. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2016
89% Doctor Strange (2016) More mature than its predecessors and the first blockbuster of the modern superhero era ideally viewed on a magic mushroom trip. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2016
52% The Accountant (2016) A frequently frustrating but surprisingly entertaining genre mishmash that's at least upfront about its central conceit: Ben Affleck is definitely, 100 percent going for it as Hollywood's first autistic assassin. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2016
99% Under The Shadow (2016) A ghost story both on its surface and far below it -- a haunted house tale in which the tangible dangers of the war outside are so immediate that no one really sees what's happening within the walls. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2016
92% Raw (2017) I've heard the patrons felled by Raw's more outré scenes, in a film filled with gaping flesh wounds and at least one sensual eyeball-licking, were men, which only underscores the film's power as a feminist fable. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2016
49% Mascots (2016) The rewards are subtle but a bit too far in between; much of it feels familiar, which will bring both comfort and frustration to fans. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2016
82% Amanda Knox (2016) Knox bares her soul for the cameras in Amanda Knox, which achieves what all that media overexposure never tried to do all those years ago: It makes her seem human. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2016
69% Free Fire (2017) It's relentlessly brutal and surprisingly hilarious, the blackest of black humor seeping from its pores. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2016
64% The Magnificent Seven (2016) Fuqua's Magnificent Seven is Fast & Furious on horses -- The Wild Bunch for people who will never bother to see The Wild Bunch - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
85% Sully (2016) Sully wants to be life-affirming Oscar bait, but it's more like Clint Eastwood's Book Club For Dads Who Shop In Cargo Pants At Costco. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2016
72% White Girl (2016) A ferocious debut from writer-director Elizabeth Wood... a bold and brash cautionary tale filled with a lifetime's worth of terrible decisions. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2016
38% Skiptrace (2016) At times, Skiptrace feels like the most Jackie Chan movie Jackie Chan has made, certainly in recent years, and possibly ever. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2016
83% Sausage Party (2016) You might find yourself alone one night imagining your dinner screaming with every bite you take, and then wonder: Is that half-eaten slice of pizza plotting cheesy vengeance upon me... or am I the half-eaten slice of pizza? - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2016
27% Suicide Squad (2016) While it's a bright, grimy, candy-colored mess, at least Suicide Squad is here to lighten up the place, break a few vases, take a few shots, and have some fun. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2016
54% Jason Bourne (2016) Visceral echoes of real life accidentally make the over-the-top action feel more prescient than anyone could have intended. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2016
37% Blair Witch (2016) The idea that a secret sequel could bring a long-stale franchise like this back to life is, frankly, the most surprising thing to happen to horror in ages. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2016
86% Star Trek Beyond (2016) When Beyond soars, it hits a sweet spot of perfectly balanced stakes, momentum, character development, callbacks, music, and action, blasting at full power in particular in one memorable space-battle set piece that punches in just the right moments. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2016
74% Ghostbusters (2016) With a crackling sense of purpose and a surplus of reverence for their predecessors, new Ghostbusters Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Jones plant their own flag on a beloved sci-fi comedy franchise. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2016
94% Tickled (2016) One of the strangest and most utterly engrossing documentaries of the year. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2016
90% The Witness (2016) The Witness takes a heartaching deep dive into a story we already thought we knew. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2016
47% X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) 'X-Men: Apocalypse' gives 'X-Men: The Last Stand' a run for its money as the worst entry in the long-running franchise. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2016
92% The Nice Guys (2016) Shane Black, the buddy action auteur, is back in his wheelhouse-and he's delivered another inspired onscreen pairing in the blundering one-two punch of Gosling and Crowe. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2016
90% Captain America: Civil War (2016) Finally, a big budget superhero sequel that manages to be both effortlessly entertaining and utterly sobering, instead of just one of those things-or, as we've endured too frequently in the past, neither of them. (Looking at you, Batman v Superman.) - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2016
28% Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Watching Batman and Superman rage at each other like little boys makes for a pretty tedious two and a half hours. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2016
51% Hardcore Henry (2016) If you're ready to subject yourself to the most balls-out, bonkers action ride of the year, then you are precisely the maniac for whom the flashy, gory first-person action-thriller Hardcore Henry was made. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2016
22% Zoolander 2 (2016) Zoolander 2 death-marches its way through a tiresome succession of espionage movie clichés and cameos. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2016
85% Deadpool (2016) Deadpool is at once a welcome antidote to the played out superhero universe and an anomaly, destined to be trapped in its spandexed outliers. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2016
73% The Birth of a Nation (2016) Stirring, soulful, and incendiary. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2016
92% Southside With You (2016) Barack and Michelle's Before Sunrise-esque first date makes for a charming indie romance. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2016
63% The Greasy Strangler (2016) One long feature-length skin-crawl, a comic exercise in visceral discomfort that's all the more entertaining if you can check your gag reflex and lean into the ick. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2016
51% 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (2016) Bay, never one for subtlety, cranks up the sentimentality in his most patriotic film to date. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2016
93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) Perfectly safe and plenty full of the Force... but leans on geek nostalgia to reboot a beloved property by hitting predictably familiar story beats. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2015
76% The Good Dinosaur (2015) Even the look of The Good Dinosaur's main character seems outdated, blocky, and out of place in his own world. - The Daily Beast EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2015