John Beifuss Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

John Beifuss

John Beifuss
John Beifuss's reviews (from any publication) always count toward the Tomatometer because this critic is a Tomatometer-approved critic.

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
2.5/4 23% The Bye Bye Man (2017) This shocker carries -- perhaps inevitably, post-11/8/16 -- a definite political pertinency: The hoodie-cloaked title entity owes his power to the repetition of his name (i.e., publicity) and to the fear that oppresses those obsessed with him.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2017
4/4 93% Toni Erdmann (2016) The movie endorses rapprochement over antagonism and reconciliation over alienation as it builds to a climactic confrontation in which the daughter is entirely exposed while the father is entirely concealed... ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2017
2.5/4 33% Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) In the context of America's scary 2017, a story in which the self-proclaimed 'righteous' devise 'a Noah's ark for the rich and powerful' in order to ride out an 'orchestrated apocalypse' no longer seems entirely far-fetched.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
2/4 17% Underworld: Blood Wars (2017) If the franchise's first female helmer brings any distaff distinction to the assignment, it may be in the presentation of Lara Pulver as a new vampire villain who flashes enough fang, skin and wit to be more than a match for the humorless Beckinsale.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
2/4 43% xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) This story of risk-taking rebels is so afraid of offending moviegoers its plot has been calibrated to fit the theories of federal-government paranoiacs across the political spectrum, whether their concern is fascists or 'libtards.'‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
1.5/4 25% The Comedian (2017) The movie evinces no understanding of the trends it attempts to satirize (viral videos, reality television, self-absorbed millennials), nor -- and this is fatal -- does it present any evidence that De Niro's vulgar Jackie Burke is actually funny.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
3.5/4 96% Paterson (2016) Lensed with a painter's eye by the great Frederick Elmes, the movie conveys an aura of Blakean mysticism through such homely sources as an 8-by-10 mugshot of Lou Costello...‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
3.5/4 85% Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) In the first 'Star Wars' film, in 1977, heroism is rewarded (literally, in the form of a medal); but here, heroism requires extreme sacrifice. That (ultimately lethal) distinction is a key to the difference between previous chapters and this sidebar...‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2017
2.5/4 86% Lion (2016) The movie's first half is filled with tumult, menace and a vivid sense of place; the second half, which emphasizes the idea that the comfortable and well-educated Saroo is a 'lost' soul (literally), is tedious.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2017
3/4 87% A Monster Calls (2017) Benefits greatly from the sensitive lead performance of Lewis MacDougall, whose exposure to a home-movie-projection screening of the black-and-white 'King Kong' provides a precedent for both the monster's arrival and the tearful ending.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2017
3/4 75% Split (2017) The director's use of offscreen space to generate tension is particularly expert, as demonstrated in an opening abduction sequence that is a film class-ready gem of purposeful framing, cutting and sound design. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2017
2.5/4 35% Live By Night (2017) The painstaking period art direction, bloody gunplay and colorful supporting hoodlums should amuse mob-movie fans, but the turgid, complacent storytelling is the antithesis of the snap and irony that made the gangster film an essential American genre.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2017
3/4 84% Silence (2017) The deliberate pace and the repeated actions give the film a ritual, even liturgical texture, as if the repetition is intended to benefit the moviegoer, like the recitation of the rosary or the invoking of a holy mantra. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2017
3.5/4 95% Moana (2016) Although the film lacks a swoony love story, its Freudian implications aren't particularly feminist, as Moana works to elevate the demigod's ego, diminished by the unreliablility of his damaged magical fishhook...‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2016
2/4 74% Trolls (2016) The vivid design and fluid animation support a jukebox score of dreary familiarity, a screenplay of trite wordplay ('No troll left behind!') and a story of the utmost banality.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2016
3/4 94% Finding Dory (2016) A reversal of 'Finding Nemo' that -- like its predecessor -- revels in the imaginative opportunities afforded by its floaty, almost surreal underwater environment, the movie has charm and warmth but lacks distinction.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 74% The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Funny and unpretentious.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
4/4 No Score Yet Free in Deed (2015) Without condescension or editorializing, this entirely original feature immerses viewers into a distinctive Memphis milieu of seedy motels, antiseptic social service agencies and 'Holy Ghost' worship services.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 73% Nocturnal Animals (2016) The back-and-forth arthouse vs. grindhouse content has the tension of an interrogation, but it wouldn't mean much if the film weren't loaded with personality, in front of the camera (Michael Shannon is a no-nonsense Texas detective) and behind.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
2/4 23% Bad Santa 2 (2016) The unconvincing sentimental message is 'family,' but the theme is the humiliation of strong women, who, according to the lump-of-coal screenplay, secretly yearn for sexual debasement. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 93% The Eagle Huntress (2016) If the girl-empowerment message is unsubtle, the chronology dubious and the occasionally staged action sometimes manipulative, the film also is quite moving, especially as the high-spirited girl develops her remarkable bond with her 15-pound bird.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 94% Arrival (2016) How to communicate? The challenge faced by every artist is dramatized as a semantic conundrum and amplified as an existential dilemma ('What is your purpose on Earth?') in this moody science fiction film.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
4/4 89% Loving (2016) 'We may lose the small battles but win the big war,' Mildred says. These are inspiring words at a moment in American history when racists are emboldened, and they suggest that 'Loving' may be just the movie the country needs. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
4/4 98% Moonlight (2016) The multiple names place Chiron within the historical context of American racism: It's a reminder that he is a resident of a country that stripped his ancestors of their cultural and literal identities.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 92% A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove) (2016) Trite in concept and hurt by some cornball contrivances (an investigative journalist functions as the deus ex machina for an utterly unnecessary subplot), the movie nonetheless is hard to resist.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2016
3/4 90% Certain Women (2016) All the stories are calm on the surface and turbulent beneath, but the final narrative in particular is a masterpiece-in-miniature of unexpressed pain.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2016
3.5/4 97% Little Men (2016) A compact and purposeful 21st-century parable of miscommunication motivated by economic anxiety, cultural identity, real estate resentment and personal antipathies and insecurities.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2016
2.5/4 71% The Birth of a Nation (2016) A remarkable episode in American history receives conventional 'quality' treatment.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2016
3/4 82% Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Even as the sometimes silly horror cliches accumulate, the characters retain our sympathy, thanks to the fraught family dynamic that Flanagan establishes as credibly as the layout of the rambling old Los Angeles home where the horror erupts.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2016
3/4 63% The Magnificent Seven (2016) The action is fine, but the movie lacks the grandeur that makes this genre special: The landscapes are unattractively photographed, evidence that this 'Western' -- a few New Mexico scenes aside -- mostly was shot in Louisiana, for tax-credit purposes.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2016
3.5/4 85% Sully (2016) The auteur sees himself in the aviator, whose competence makes believers out of skeptics and who - in a critique of effects-driven blockbuster filmmaking - argues that 'computer simulations' mean nothing when divorced from the 'human' element. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2016
2.5/4 64% Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) The story's anti-fascism exoskeleton is heavier than Burton's dark fantasy and its capering evil creatures can bear.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2016
3/4 35% Blair Witch (2016) It offers this mission statement for filmmakers: 'We faked it because it's real.'‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2016
4/4 98% Hell or High Water (2016) Worrying his lines like a plug of chaw, Jeff Bridges again proves that an extreme, even expressionistic characterization can be an unlikely vehicle for emotional honesty.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2016
3.5/4 97% Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Visually striking at every turn and occasionally even eerie (the floating witch sisters deserve their own stop-motion horror movie), the film conjures a fantasy logic that is more beholden to myth and folklore than to comic books and Hollywood.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2016
3.5/4 87% Don't Breathe (2016) Taking advantage of the cinematic opportunities inherent to a story about the usefulness of eyes, the filmmakers creatively exploit the veteran's blindness for maximum tension.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
2.5/4 76% Lights Out (2016) A metaphor for abusive codependency and its sidekick repercussions, shame and secrecy, director David F. Sandberg's fairly effective feature debut imagines an angry ghost with a baleful longtime influence on a fractured family.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
3.5/4 86% Pete's Dragon (2016) 'Be open to looking' is both metaphysical counsel and practical advice in director David Lowery's powerful film about a literally warm and fuzzy fire-breather.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
2/4 28% Warcraft (2016) An in-one-eye-and-out-the-other spectacle of elaborate and painstaking digital effects in a fantasy medieval milieu: Call it 'Video Game of Thrones.'‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
2.5/4 91% Southside With You (2016) They attend 'Do the Right Thing,' and Spike Lee's provocative movie mirrors, in expressionistic fashion, the hours-long debate over racial identity, social responsibility and "Afrocentric" art that runs through Barack and Michelle's day together.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
3.5/4 No Score Yet Elvis (1979) Respectful, unpretentious and elegant (a Carpenter characteristic), if somewhat ungainly in its substitution of California real estate for Memphis and Mississippi locations, the modestly budgeted 'Elvis' remains the definitive screen portrayal of Presley.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2016
3/4 83% Sausage Party (2016) Existential howl of despair meets stoner belly laugh in the latest project from Rogen and collaborators, who follow 'This Is the End' with another high-concept comedy that, like a horror movie, reduces its characters to meat.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2016
2/4 26% Suicide Squad (2016) Jared Leto's tatted-up, bling-brandishing Clown Prince of Crime is more Juggalo than Joker.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2016
3/4 70% CafĂ© Society (2016) The verbose if intermittent voice-over (delivered by Allen himself) is intrusive and redundant, but the script's Borscht Belt existentialism -- 'Life is a comedy, written by a sadistic comedy writer' -- is on point.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2016
3/4 84% Star Trek Beyond (2016) The summer's most contra-Trumpian blockbuster, as the stalwarts of the starship Enterprise again demonstrate that teamwork beats ego-driven strongman aggression.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2016
3/4 75% The BFG (2016) Spielberg reunites with 'E.T.' screenwriter Mathison to revisit the themes of their 1982 success, but with a revealing reversal: This time, the filmmakers seem to identify more with the fantastical outsider than with the child who becomes his friend.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2016
2.5/4 54% The Purge: Election Year (2016) With a tag line ('Keep America Great') inspired by the season's scariest serial (the Trump campaign), the third 'Purge' film is more a grindhouse 'Hunger Games' chapter than the sharp-focused terror exercise of the 2013 original...‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2016
3/4 78% The Shallows (2016) Unpretentious and efficient, this taut 'B' film -- the B is for beach, bikini, Blake Lively, bites and blood -- makes the best of its limited resources and geography.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2016
3/4 36% The Legend of Tarzan (2016) Unlike most current 'superhero' sagas, which traffic in moral ambiguity, the movie is staunchly uncynical, with an entirely admirable Tarzan and Jane whose unconditional love for each other spills over to the animal kingdom.‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2016
2.5/4 69% Swiss Army Man (2016) Certainly unusual, but its inventive absurdism eventually gives way to a sentimental message that is no less trite for being delivered by a hero who may be insane: 'Life is short, and no one should ride the bus alone.'‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2016