John BeifussDVD 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.

DVD Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
2.5/4 32% 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)
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)
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)
Posted Dec 27, 2016
2/4 75% 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)
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)
Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 74% The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Funny and unpretentious. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
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)
Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 72% 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Posted Dec 26, 2016
3/4 91% 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)
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)
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)
Posted Nov 17, 2016
2.5/4 72% The Birth of a Nation (2016) A remarkable episode in American history receives conventional 'quality' treatment. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Posted Oct 24, 2016
3/4 36% Blair Witch (2016) It offers this mission statement for filmmakers: 'We faked it because it's real.' ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Posted Aug 17, 2016
3/4 70% Café 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Posted Jul 18, 2016
3/4 80% The Conjuring 2 (2016) Elvis, Jesus and returning husband-and-wife ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are among the sources of evil-exorcising uplift in this effective shocker. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jul 5, 2016
1.5/4 31% Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) in the era of Trump and Brexit, the movie's apocalyptic paranoia is commonplace while its one-world-united optimism seems quaint and naive. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jul 5, 2016
2/4 34% Now You See Me 2 (2016) The cinematic sleight of hand remains the same: The antic pace, the byplay among the magicians and the blithe disinterest in plausibility almost distract us from the pointlessness of depicting stage magic via a medium built on trickery. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jul 5, 2016
4/4 98% Love & Friendship (2016) A more fortunate marriage than any suggested in its narrative, Stillman's first period piece makes a perfect match of Austen's timeless comedy and the director's lapidary mise-en-scene. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 23, 2016
3.5/4 89% The Lobster (2016) The social pressure to be part of a couple is taken to Kafkaesque extremes in this poker-faced absurdist critique of the idea -- typically expressed most enthusiastically in commercial motion pictures -- that a successful, happy life requires a mate. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 23, 2016
3/4 48% X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Unlike many of his competitors, Singer finds grace notes amid the chaos, as when Xavier's exploding mansion is freeze-framed in time so we can watch the impossibly fast Quicksilver almost nonchalantly pluck innocents from the path of destruction. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 23, 2016
2/4 85% Maggie's Plan (2016) This would-be screwball 'comedy of remarriage' (to use an academic term appropriate to a story filled with eggheads) strands a game cast on an island of contrivance. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 23, 2016
3.5/4 92% The Nice Guys (2016) Not so much a mainstreamed 'Inherent Vice' as a civilian superhero movie for those who think they're too smart or 'adult' for costumed superhero movies. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 8, 2016
4/4 89% A Bigger Splash (2016) Swinton and Guadagnino deliver another bracing arthouse melodrama that luxuriates in cinema's power to tantalize the senses with beautiful, delectable and almost tactile images of fabric, landscape, architecture, water, fruit, fish, human flesh... ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted Jun 6, 2016
2.5/4 57% Money Monster (2016) The film delivers a dubious mixed message: It condemns the big-money investor and cable news cultures, treats the working class as expendable and ultimately offers forgiveness and redemption to the privileged celebrity rank to which Foster belongs. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted May 23, 2016
3/4 90% Captain America: Civil War (2016) Like guest star Ant-Man in his new Giant-Man identity, this somewhat ungainly Marvel sequel almost collapses under its own weight. ‐ Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Posted May 18, 2016