John Esther

John Esther
Tomatometer-approved critic
Location: Los Angeles, California

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
94% Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) (2016) As emotionally superficial as a Hollywood movie by the likes of Nancy Myers or Cameron Crowe. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
No Score Yet Angel Of Nanjing (2015) Solid in its scope, this inspiring 64-minute documentary by co-directors/producers Frank Ferendo and Jordan Horowitz offers a portrait of a man who gives his best for others. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
23% Zoolander 2 (2016) A noisy, often nonsensical, unfunny enterprise with lots and lots of cameos from some of the culture industry's most recognized faces. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
91% Jim: The James Foley Story (2016) To the documentary's credit it makes it clear from the beginning that this will not be a sensationalized hagiography of the 40-year-old murdered journalist. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
No Score Yet Dobra zena (A Good Wife) (2016) Serbian actor Mirjana Karanovic makes an impressive debut as director and co-writer in A Good Wife, a film about personal and political cancer in current Serbia. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
95% The Innocents (Les innocentes) (2016) Offers a harrowing yet hopeful picture of what good women (and one man) can do when they do choose to rebel against patriarchal power. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2016
50% Uncle Nick (2015) It certainly is a funnier holiday film than most holiday films. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2016
39% Love (2015) The film offers a lot more than most films attempting to convey human interaction or attempting to understand human love and its intercourse with sex. It is certainly more honest than most films... - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2015
50% I Smile Back (2015) Holding the film together is Silverman's tour-de-force performance. Involved in every scene, her "serious" acting holds the film together. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2015
96% Heart of a Dog (2015) The documentary glides on with few lulls, even if one does squint during its brief moments of silliness. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2015
84% Experimenter (2015) The film seems to believe, and illustrate, that the best way to learn is while having fun (not getting punished with pain); and Experimenter is one very playful, enjoyable film. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2015
80% The Assassin (2015) Other than human nature, the film suggests there was nothing ugly to witness during this period in time. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2015
89% Coming Home (2015) This is politically-fueled melodrama of a higher order. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2015
37% Dragon Blade (Tian jiang xiong shi) (2015) The film barely passes the entertainment mustard. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2015
97% The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) (2015) The story about a young woman coming from "the outside" and entering a particular milieu and shaking things up is not entirely new, but there is enough skill here to make this film worth viewing. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2015
65% Digging For Fire (2015) It is not important that a film contain likable characters -- far from it. But when the filmmakers behind the camera seem to like those characters, or be too forgiving for their faults, this is what you get. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2015
100% Top Spin (2015) Peppering the trials, tribulations and training of the three athletes is some spectacular table tennis action. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2015
94% The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (2015) Few films this frank about teenage sexuality are found in American cinema. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2015
100% Chorus (2015) A gritty, emotionally honest (and draining) film about coming to grips with the horrors life can throw at you at any given moment. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
67% Cronies (2015) The film skillfully blends gritty cinema and faux documentary interviews with the film's very skilled three leads. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
No Score Yet Things Of The Aimless Wanderer (2015) It does not take long to realize Kivu Ruhorahoza's film is something special. Well, different at least. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
89% Eastern Boys (2015) The film tackles solidarity and solitude, economic class, language and lingering ages -- managing to remain engaging throughout most of its two hours-plus running time. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
93% The Hand That Feeds (2015) Members of the working and shrinking middle classes will have plenty to gain by investing in the price of a movie ticket to view this documentary. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
54% Gemma Bovery (2015) A film that could only be made in a country where literature is widely consumed and considered worthy of one's time, this is an entertaining, smart film with strong performances. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
No Score Yet Everything Before Us (2015) A highly enjoyable, smart, very funny, well written story about young people in love. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
No Score Yet Blood, Sweat, And Beer (2015) Having watched this entertaining documentary, it is time for some delicious craft beer. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
100% Tales Of The Grim Sleeper (2014) Nick Broomfield's excellent documentary reveals how violence toward poor black women works in collusion between the personal and the political silence of members in the community... - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
67% All Mistakes Buried (2016) This story about self/drug abuse would be nowhere as remarkable were it not for Trammell's performance and McCann and Chris Kursel's editing choices. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
91% Grandma (2015) Quick, sharp and superior to the similar Juno, Grandma runs with fresh humor, biting satire, a little craziness and feminist politics - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
No Score Yet French Dirty (2015) Written and directed by brothers Wade and Jesse Allain-Marcus, the 72-minute French Dirty is a film brimming with realism and authenticity. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
100% One Cut, One Life (2015) A bittersweet testimony to documentary filmmaking, collaboration and camaraderie - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2015
94% Spy (2015) The movie is loaded with various sorts of humor, from the absurd, to the grotesque to the underhanded satire on spy films. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2015
84% Testament Of Youth (2015) A high school historical lesson with lots of violence and little sex (how Hollywood), the real Vera Brittain may have been a educated pacifist, but her youthful optimism, in a historical context, comes off as grossly naive. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2015
81% Infinitely Polar Bear (2015) A warm, touching story about family, the film is not without its social merits. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2015
45% True Story (2015) 'True Story' reminds us to take anything we view with a grain a salt and a sneer of incredulous while truly appreciating those who do not lie... - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2015
97% An Honest Liar (2015) "An Honest Liar" illustrates a rare phenomenon in documentary: what it means to think, to believe and to challenge what our very own eyes see, and more to the point, do not see. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2015
5/5 100% Purgatorio: A Journey Into the Heart of the Border (2014) An intellectually impressive and refreshingly angry documentary. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2014
89% Wild (2014) 'Wild' is, surprisingly, a very entertaining film. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2014
88% Foxcatcher (2014) Simply put, this is well-done filmmaking with some extraordinary performances. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2014
49% The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2014) The film rarely maintains an image for more than a few seconds. Everything must be rapid, colorful and artsy, but it is an intellectual sham. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2014
86% The Trip To Italy (2014) 'The Trip to Italy' is probably the most fun I have had at the movies so far this year. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2014
44% Life After Beth (2014) The film will no doubt have detractors in the mainstream press, but for those looking for something different, 'Life After Beth' rises above this somnambulistic summer of cinema. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2014
75% A Will For The Woods (2014) While the "green burial movement" does play a notable role here, the documentary's other strength is how it captures Clark coming to grips with his impending death. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2014
63% Around The Block (2014) 'Around the Block' may have its exasperating flaws, but it cannot be accused of not having its heart in the right place. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2014
43% Planes: Fire And Rescue (2014) Firefighters do some very important and dangerous work. Even though the characters in 'Planes: Fire & Rescue' are made of metal...that is clear at the movie's most elementary level. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2014
54% Citizen Koch (2014) Co-directors Carl Deal and Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water) cohesively illustrate what happens when the bad financial powers-that-be cannot be stopped. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2014
77% A Coffee in Berlin (2014) Germany gets an updated look at the debris of its newest generation in terms of character, content, and concrete. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2014
71% Cesar's Last Fast (2014) An inspiring testimony to one of this nation's heroes. - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2014
84% Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) Or it could just be Jarmusch's attempt to bring to life the coolest couple of cinema ever. My Radiohead, are these vampires not hipsters to the nth power? - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2014
67% The Railway Man (2014) 'The Railway Man' deals with some of the uglier aspects of war, namely how torture can be justified by the upper echelons of government through twisted language... - UR Chicago Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2014