John Lui

John Lui
John Lui's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer® when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): The Straits Times (Singapore)

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 96% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) It is street food, dressed up restaurant-style. It is cleaner and less likely to cause offence, but it is no longer street food. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
2/5 No Score Yet Endgame (2021) After the bloated middle section comes a rushed final act, with hanging threads wrapped up with a title card and high-brow references to the art of acting that go nowhere. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
3/5 No Score Yet The Diam Diam Era (Chen Mo De Nian Dai) (2020) Despite these flaws, the film's relative coherence and sense of purpose make it feel like the movie Neo had really intended to make. The first movie now looks mostly like a nostalgic filler. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
4/5 90% The Climb (2020) Instead of mocking traditional American masculinity, The Climb explains why the grip of the tough-guy image is still so strong. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
5/5 87% Supernova (2021) What is captured powerfully in this deceptively simple drama is the idea that these lovers are also old friends. Firth and Tucci disappear into their roles as the middle-aged couple who have eaten thousands of breakfasts and travelled countless roads. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
4/5 90% Unpregnant (2020) It pulls back from the brink and what emerges is a funny, moving coming-of-age story featuring two winning performances by Richardson and Ferreira. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2021
2/5 11% Breaking News in Yuba County (2021) It does an admirable job in making the point that white respectability, especially when worn by a middle-aged woman, is a double-edged sword... But the story needs a thorough going-over to cut its sprawl and sharpen its weak satirical edge. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
4/5 77% Shadow in the Cloud (2021) Liang's firm handling of the paranoia and claustrophobia make this movie all her own, however. For much of its brisk 83-minute running time, she puts the audience in Garrett's cramped ball turret, trapped and bracing for the next attack. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
2/5 72% An American Pickle (2020) A Greenbaum versus Greenbaum conflict erupts midway, a patience-testing contrivance meant to illustrate the superiority of the old ways, but only serves to highlight the sloppy screenwriting. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
2/5 46% Locked Down (2021) As a writer, Knight (the terrible fantasy-tinged drama Serenity, 2019) needs his tendency to sprawl reined in. Liman, one of the best action directors today, is not the person to do it. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
5/5 100% 76 Days (2020) As a record of our times, it is hard to imagine anything more complete, or profoundly moving. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
3/5 No Score Yet André & his Olive Tree (2020) Chiang's lack of concern about false humility or self-effacement, as captured in the film, gives it a much-needed touch of astringency. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
2/5 No Score Yet Stigmatized Properties (Jiko Bukken: Kowai Madori) (2020) Nakata's deft touch can be seen in the supporting characters, such as Yamame's smarmy, ratings-driven boss, but that is not enough to lift this work. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
4/5 89% The Vigil (2021) Thomas uses simple practical effects, boosted by soundtrack thumps, to create the odd jump scare, but what stands out is the sustained mood of dread. Dawn cannot come soon enough. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
2/5 51% The Midnight Sky (2020) Some directors know how to make adventure movies that seamlessly blend action with feelings of loss and heartbreak - Clooney is not one of them. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
3/5 90% The Rescue (2020) That bit of burlesque and the touch of gore, seen in shots of victims of explosions and crashes, are a couple of weirdly human and therefore interesting touches in an otherwise overlong and predictable production. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
4/5 No Score Yet City Dream (2019) This is a study of old and new, of a society in a hurry to get rid of its old ways and move forward while trying to deal with the human cost. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
3/5 58% Tesla (2020) The mix causes the work to feel like disconnected vignettes. It's fine in small doses, but makes for an exhausting watch. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
4/5 95% Soul (2020) While it deals with grown-up topics such as the meaning of life, it tip-toes around the idea of mortality, choosing instead to put forward a candy-coloured cosmology that often suffocates its deeper questions under layers of whimsy. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
3/5 83% Shock Wave 2 (2020) Sequel gigantism - a sickness seen in action movies based on hits - is at fault, but there are also threads that feel superfluous. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
4/5 100% Wife of a Spy (Supai no tsuma) (2020) This is the work of someone in masterful control of atmosphere. Kurosawa steers clear of the sepia-tinged colour palette and visual softness that seems obligatory for wartime dramas, instead opting for a clean, matter-of-fact look. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
4/5 83% Mank (2020) Fincher, for a film-maker who has not delivered anything as light as this, is right on the money in the camera work, editing and crisply edited dialogue. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
5/5 59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) In a bold move that pays off strongly, Jenkins builds the story to a climax that is less about an all-out battle than having a cathartic cry. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
4/5 66% Falling (2020) Mortensen has created a memorable villain in Willis, a dependant relying on the people to whom he showed an especially tough brand of love. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
3/5 77% The Croods: A New Age (2020) The film buzzes with visual energy - the plants are a Pandora's box of surprises and the hybrid animals are inspired - but that rich eye candy only makes the played-out nature of the jokes more apparent. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
4/5 84% Mosul (2020) Because Carnahan's fighters are driven by simple rage, the battle scenes are a cathartic watch - free of the higher-purpose, save-the-puppy motivations that fill out too many war movies. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
2/5 88% Monsoon (2020) Turgid when it should have been thoughtful, vague when it should have been concrete. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
3/5 83% Freaky (2020) To be sure, there is a lot of fun to be had when Millie, possessed by the mind of a maniac, goes from meek to murderous. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
4/5 No Score Yet My Missing Valentine (2020) This sort of visually ambitious, genre-bending film-making is rare these days, and even rarer still is its maturity of vision and tastefulness. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
2/5 53% Waiting for the Barbarians (2020) The film is an anti-Rudyard Kipling story that wants to tear down the Empire-loving writer's romanticised notions of non-Western cultures, but does not quite know how. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
2/5 48% The Witches (2020) A visual tour-de-force perhaps but emotionally, about as deep as a layer of pixels on a monitor. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
2/5 30% The War with Grandpa (2020) The movie's lack of drive must stem from how audiences have come to expect a degree of slapstick sadism and cartoonish violence from the old-against-young setup. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
4/5 99% Saint Frances (2020) First-time feature director Alex Thompson, working with a screenplay from partner and lead actress Kelly O'Sullivan, has made an adulting comedy that steers clear of the worst talky, navel-gazing indulgences of the genre. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
3/5 No Score Yet My People, My Homeland (2020) It is a weak piece because it sells the notion that civil servants deserve thanks because sometimes, they are inconvenienced by a hardship posting to the boondocks. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
2/5 34% The Sunlit Night (2019) There are gentle comedies. Then there is The Sunlit Night, a comedy so gentle, it should come with a "do not consume while operating heavy machinery" warning. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
3/5 39% Honest Thief (2020) The film feels small-scale and unambitious, an experience made worse by lazy thriller writing that deals in fantastic coincidences and the ultra-competent Carter behaving irrationally at convenient points in the story. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
3/5 No Score Yet Number One (2020) Director Ong Kuo Sin makes Beng an easy character to like and Lee's Golden Horse nomination for Best Actor is deserved. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
2/5 17% The Silencing (2020) This movie forgets that the character stuff is the side dish, not the main course, and serves an insultingly under-prepared crime procedural. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
2/5 73% Blood Vessel (2020) From the bad accents, to the lazy liberties taken with war history, to the creature effects lifted from a basic cable television show, nothing here can be taken seriously in spite of how strenuously the movie tries to be grim. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
4/5 81% Over the Moon (2020) The moonscapes are delightful, but the town that Fei Fei calls home is stunning. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
2.5/5 73% Mulan (2020) The 2020 Mulan adaptation suffers from the problem that also plagued 2019's Dumbo (based on the 1941 children's classic), an update that felt more like a mummification. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
2.5/5 66% The Secret Garden (2020) Director Marc Munden deploys light realistic horror when portraying inner demons and then switches to Victorian-era whimsy to show the healing process. The result is not only tonally uneven, it is also glib. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
3.5/5 86% The Eight Hundred (2020) It serves as a big-budget corrective to myths about war generated by Western cinema, such as the idea that Asians stood by to watch while Westerners fight their battles. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
4/5 88% #Alive (2020) Who knew that zombie films could be as inventive and nerve-wracking as this, despite there not being a dozen characters with backstories to care about? - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
3/5 No Score Yet I'm Livin' It (2019) First-time feature director Wong Hing Fan has earned a brace of well-deserved festival awards for this engaging if heavily romanticised portrait of a tragic social phenomenon. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
5/5 92% The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) The infectiously joyful The Personal History Of David Copperfield offers a rare combination of factors. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
2.5/5 62% The Secrets We Keep (2020) This update's fixation on achieving a bloody catharsis drowns out other ideas. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
2.5/5 49% Made in Italy (2020) If that set-up sounds corny, that is because it is, and actor James D'Arcy, making his directorial debut, is ill-equipped to excavate anything in his screenplay that feels fresh or profound. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
4/5 No Score Yet The Tunnel (Tunnelen) (2019) The tone is so realistic that at times, the film feels more like a re-enactment of a past tragedy of the sort found on cable television documentaries. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
2.5/5 84% Pinocchio (2020) This is a strange decision given the film's decidedly non-cute look, which some might call grotesque, made worse by how the English voices have unnecessarily strong Italian accents. - The Straits Times (Singapore) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020