John Beifuss

John Beifuss
Tomatometer-approved critic
Favorites:
The Bride of Frankenstein Citizen Kane Dead Man Safe It's a Gift to name just a few
Location: Memphis, TN

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/4 98% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) In the movie's most vivid set piece, Bong demonstrates that water (to use a euphemism) rolls downhill: A downpour that is picturesque at the level of the mansion becomes a flood by the time it washes into the poor family's vulnerable neighborhood. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 93% Us (2019) Writer-director Jordan Peele's followup to the epochal 'Get Out' is as messy and overstuffed as its predecessor was direct and elegant. Still, it's a nonstop kick, bristling with milestone achievements, potent jokes and scares, and confidence... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 94% Transit (2019) In updating the story from World War II to a mysteriously Fascist-occupied present-day Paris, director Christian Petzold transforms Anna Segher's 1942 novel into both a Philip K. Dick-esque 'alternate history' thriller and a Kafkaesque neo-'Casablanca.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 83% Midsommar (2019) Ari Aster's flower-draped folk-horror followup to 'Hereditary' was not everybody's cup of menstrual blood tea, but I loved it. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 95% Little Women (2019) When 'Marmee' (Laura Dern) tells her daughters 'Be good to each other,' you may find yourself resolving to do just that. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 89% Hyènes (Hyenas) (1992) This comic masterpiece about a wealthy woman who plunges an African village into chaos is definite in its targets (the persistence of colonialism as consumerism, especially) but universal in its consideration of human existence as both tragedy and farce. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 96% Hail Satan? (2019) Rarely has so-called blasphemy seemed like so much prankish fun. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Craig Brewer's Netflix-hosted return to feature filmmaking is a spiritual sequel of sorts to 'Hustle & Flow' and a hilarious homage to the Memphis director's own family-and-friends filmmaking roots. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 100% Chained for Life (2019) The film works as both an affectionate movie-industry comedy (with references to Franju and 'Freaks') and as a provocative inquiry into the parameters of onscreen 'representation.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 95% Burning (Beoning) (2018) Lee Chang-dong delivers what may be cinema's most elliptical serial killer drama... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 99% Apollo 11 (2019) Presents the first mission to the moon as both nail-biting adventure and visionary achievement... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 54% The Dead Don't Die (2019) If his 2003 vampire movie was Jarmusch looking into the mirror (the bloodsuckers were stylish hipsters with a fondness for urban decay and Neil Young), the new zombie movie is Jarmusch looking out the window -- and being distressed by what he sees. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) Recognizes the hope and futility that accompany the attempt to capture another person's essence, in love or in art. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 89% The Souvenir (2019) Literary in tone and cinematic in expression, the film is entirely singular: It embraces sincerity and bravery and rejects cynicism, even as it recognizes the appeal of dissolute privilege. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 66% Peterloo (2019) Leigh presents history as breaking news and as augury: The age of 'gilded reptiles' -- to borrow a labor agitator's characterization of the 19th-century ruling class -- is with us still. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 100% Babylon (2019) The central M.C. is played by Brinsley Forde, leader of the British reggae band, Aswad; his musical presence is just one element of authenticity in a movie that never strikes a false note. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 100% Honeyland (2019) This eye-opener about a honey-harvesting elderly woman in rural Macedonia is (yes) sweet, but (yes again) it stings. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 91% Uncut Gems (2019) Dizzying in its overlapping talk-talk-talk, incessant ambient din and translucent set design (glass is everywhere), the movie seems to radiate energy, heat, light and pressure -- it crushes scenes into diamonds. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Until the ugly climax (mitigated if not exactly redeemed by a poignant coda), this is Tarantino's most tender and transcendent film, filled with yearning for a minutely specific-yet-fairy tale past, and brimming with swoon-worthy performances... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 95% The Irishman (2019) The very definition of a late-period masterwork, this reckoning with a quarter-century of American corruption and damnation touches upon historical and fanciful milestones as if they were the stations of an inverted cross. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
3/4 No Score Yet Wild Guitar (1961) In the annals of American reinvention, perhaps no pseudonym is as starkly brazen or absurdly hopeful as Cash Flagg, the name fledgling auteur Ray Dennis Steckler chose for his acting credit in the movie that marked his directorial debut, 'Wild Guitar.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
3.5/4 88% Upgrade (2018) It may be ersatz Verhoeven and Cronenberg lite, but so what? I was smitten by its unpretentious old-school economy and its unexpected visual panache: the digital effects and 'camera' moves are ingenious, simple and fun. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 88% Annihilation (2018) Portman's trek might as well be across the landscape of genre history: It begins with a pulp-magazine-worthy attack by a monster alligator and ends with a trippy '2001'-like alien encounter. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 100% Mr. SOUL! (2020) Like the more celebrated 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?,' this is a documentary about a public television programs that offered a utopian vision of a community built on love, creativity and respect. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 97% Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) A celebration of kindness and acceptance that offers an antidote to the hostility endorsed by much of the current social and political culture. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 100% Minding the Gap (2018) May be a form of therapeutic exorcism for the filmmaker but it's a portrait of all-American despair (economic and otherwise) for us, complete with racial discomfort, cycles of domestic abuse, skateboard acrobatics and Fourth of July fireworks. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 86% Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur) (2018) Demonstrates that realistic behavior -- self-defeating whims, conversations that go nowhere, distracted small talk, a visit with a psychic that is more banal than dramatic -- is so alien to the moviegoing experience that most viewers cannot recognize it. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 90% Isle of Dogs (2018) A delight, thanks to an impressive voice cast, the Japanese-inspired design (a source of some controversy, these appropriations motivate further flattening of Anderson's Cornell-box-like compositions) and the uncanny charm of the stop-motion process. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) A swoon in motion-picture form: Its lush score, expressive decor and color-coded photography give the Harlem streets and the characters who inhabit them a glamour that historically has been denied to cinematic representations of the black experience. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 93% The Favourite (2018) Working for the first time from someone else's script, Lanthimos trades his signature sadism for cutting wit; meanwhile, his jaundiced eye remains evident in the fish-eye lenses that distort the compositions. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) The movie's seemingly credible re-creation of 1990s New York as a place of dark, inviting bars and even darker and more inviting used bookstores represents at least one idea of paradise. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 96% Black Panther (2018) An international box-office blockbuster that ignited like a blast of cultural vibranium in the ugly face of resurgent global racism... At this point, 'Wakanda forever!' feels like not just a boast but a prophecy. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 96% I Am Not a Witch (2018) This story of an 8-year-old 'witch' literally tethered into servitude is both political exposé and political satire; the sense of sorrow and anger is enhanced by director Rungano Nyoni's artist's appreciation of the absurdity at the root of tragedy. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 90% Mandy (2018) A slow-motion descent into a sludge-rock hell as Nicolas Cage tracks a killer hippie cult across a landscape that seems printed on discarded Mountain and Uriah Heep album covers and painted with tar. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 89% You Were Never Really Here (2018) A film of uncompromised, painstaking and delirious style. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 93% First Reformed (2018) The movie is filled with conversations that provide something of the satisfaction of sinking into a smart, provocative essay. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) The film's most powerful passages are lengthy digressions that abandon the plot to mourn the role of Lee's beloved chosen art form, cinema, in the stoking of racism; and to condemn the public political encouragement of racial violence. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Like Sergio Aragones scrawling cartoons in the margins of Mad magazine, Riley fills the frame with more jokes and ideas than can be apprehended in one viewing; the result is a film that teems with and celebrates life, even in the context of a dystopia. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 89% Hereditary (2018) This is the rare horror movie with an earned shock so unexpected and horrific that it left this veteran fan -- whose eyeballs have ingested literally thousands of screen dismemberments, decapitations and mutilations -- aghast. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 99% Faces Places (Visages, villages) (2017) Entirely fresh, as the hip JR creates monumental photo portraits of some of the hardworking citizens the collaborators meet while the elfin Varda (now 90) reconciles the memories of her vibrant past with the realities of failing eyesight and curling feet. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 91% Phantom Thread (2018) As meticulously crafted as a Reynolds evening gown... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 100% Leave No Trace (2018) As the father's doomed ideal collapses, the movie's conflict resolves into two competing universal impulses: the desire to be noticed and the desire to disappear. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 91% Support the Girls (2018) The year's most generous film, it ends with a series of screams that express both frustration and determination -- an ideal cri de guerre for a new resistance. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3/4 98% Rodents of Unusual Size (2018) ... a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
4/4 90% Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) A red throne room evokes the Technicolor fantasies of Michael Powell and Vincente Minnelli, while the scratchy surfaces of a sand planet trace the arc of each combatant's footwork like a choreographer's notation, transforming a duel into a dance. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 99% My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) (2017) Never panders or becomes cloying on its way to a well-earned 'we are family' conclusion. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 68% mother! (2017) If it's silly as biblical allegory it's potent as a comedic parable about the selfishness and egoism of the process of (male) artistic creation... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 81% Colossal (2017) Entirely original, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo's movie scores points about the catastrophes unwitting Americans enable overseas (through their voting choices, among other things), and also says something about sexual harassment and male privilege... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 86% It (2017) Unpretentious and scary, with a crack ensemble of kids led by future Amy Adams, Sophia Lillis. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 88% Lady Macbeth (2017) Owing more to Brontë and Highsmith than to Shakespeare, this grim moor noir presents its catalog of parricide, mariticide and equine-cide as the consequences of a class and caste system that dehumanizes even those who materially benefit from its design. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018