Josephine Livingstone

Josephine Livingstone
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: The New Republic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
47% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) The script is an insult to the principle of adaptation: All that is good in the plot has been excised in favor of the shortest route to a happy ending. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
98% Honeyland (2019) As an intervention in the conversation around climate change and natural disaster, Honeyland performs the unique feat of uniting agriculture with human culture, to prove that it is really all just culture. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
100% Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy Of A Terrorist (2019) The viewer ends up with a very informed sense of exactly why ISIS rose in the region, how Emwazi became so committed to their cause, and the significant culpability of the U.K. and U.S. authorities in engineering the whole situation. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Don't mistake me: This movie is good. It all depends on how hard you're willing to work to justify its pleasures. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
83% Midsommar (2019) Ari Aster's folk-horror flick is frightening, beautiful, and just a little unhinged. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2019
83% High Life (2019) High Life will send you back out into the world with a totally new idea of what black holes symbolize. It is an elliptical film, yes, because it will answer only the questions that you did not think to ask. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019
93% Us (2019) Us is an uncanny movie, and an implicit riposte to the questions Peele himself asked in Get Out. What if there's no easy ending? What if the real struggle takes place within? - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
63% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) It comes within an inch of a really snappy disquisition (to use Morf's word) on the painting marketplace, but to avoid disappointment it's better approached as a gory romp. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
20% Serenity (2019) If you like seeing authentically unusual movies, then ignore the haters: In its fusion of disparate genres, its sentimentality, and its weirdness, Serenity is actually worth watching. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
91% Fyre (2019) Fyre shoots its talking heads straight on, à la Wild, Wild Country, which looks modern. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
79% Fyre Fraud (2019) It does a [great] job pointing out the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
69% Beautiful Boy (2018) Homelessness isn't Timothée Chalamet draped handsomely across a diner; it's contemptuous glances and shame. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
82% Ben is Back (2018) The movie's real achievement lies in Roberts's performance, which is possibly her best. Holly is incandescent with worry. She's good and kind and intimate. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) In Mary Queen of Scots, we don't see a reckoning with the future of a country united across the Scottish-English border. We see queens cry and fret about their hair. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
91% Widows (2018) It's the dashing camerawork and broad historical awareness of Widows that makes it a truly sophisticated action film, and by far the best crime movie of 2018 so far. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
93% The Favourite (2018) Bathed in a score of Vivaldi, Bach, and Purcell, it's Lanthimos's most watchable movie to date, and also his best. The Favourite is a triumph in textures, a beam of light through a window. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is one of the strangest and least legible of the Coen brothers' films, but it also revels in their sheer joy in creating movies. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
88% A Private War (2018) Despite the undeniably extraordinary feats that Colvin achieved in life and on the edge of death, A Private War is a hagiography that reduces a complicated woman down to trauma, booze, and typing. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2018
79% Halloween (2018) A brutal rumination on intergenerational pain, and the ways that male cruelty can make good women bad. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
91% Mandy (2018) It's bloody, it's nasty, and it burns. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2018
80% 22 July (2018) The film is about atmosphere and anger, and Greengrass achieves that effect through tight focus on individuals. But the result is imperfect, because it elides crucial elements of the whole story. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
90% A Star Is Born (2018) It's the love story for our time. It's an instant cult classic. It's everything a tasteful move should not be, and yet it's an undeniable success. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
97% Free Solo (2018) The classic tension between the sublime and the human spirit breaks down. Man, rock, camera: they're old suspects, but here they seem made anew. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2018
85% A Simple Favor (2018) A deeply confused movie that feels like a mash-up of Mean Girls and an episode of Law and Order. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2018
91% Crime + Punishment (2018) If the movie has a still point inside it-an unassailable conclusion-it's that justice and the law are not the same thing. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) The sixth movie in the Mission: Impossible series is a truly maximalist work of art. The plot is stupid but the stunts are terrifying, the tension vibratory, the muscles rippling. In short, it's a masterpiece. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
96% Three Identical Strangers (2018) A lot is kept from the viewer, then parceled out in discrete chunks. The effect is of one of those long New Yorker-style pieces that blend storytelling with feats of reporting-the elaborate set-up that is a feint, to be dispelled in an act of revelation. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Both Riley and Get Out's Jordan Peele have recreated our world but cracked through with a surreal seam that makes its hidden evils unmissable. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2018
48% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Although each Jurassic movie is fated to essentially repeat the same idea-oh no, dinosaurs!-this new era has come up with ways to surprise, terrify, and inspire, which is enough to keep the heart of the franchise beating. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
94% Incredibles 2 (2018) The Incredibles 2 is an undeniable triumph, but it is also so keenly aware that it becomes exhausting. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2018
69% Ocean's 8 (2018) Although this movie is fun, the subtraction of rivalry makes for a movie that is inevitably less riveting. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2018
99% The Tale (2018) The Tale excels in these absurdist meta-moments, such as the scenes in which Dern and Nélisse meet up across time to deconstruct events as they happen. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2018
39% Mary Shelley (2018) Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley is the movie's only real grace. She has been given a poor script to inhabit. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2018
67% On Chesil Beach (2018) With such confident performers and such a strong interest in their characters' personalities, Dominic Cooke has made surprisingly good work of On Chesil Beach. You couldn't pay me to sit through it again, but that's Ian McEwan's fault. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
84% Disobedience (2018) [Rachel] McAdams feels like an uncanny piece of casting, at least to me, who grew up nearby, though secular, in North London. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2018
67% The Seagull (2018) When [Saoirse] Ronan's face appears for the first time it is a glowing orb that fills the screen. She seems to emit sunshine from inside her white dress. - Slate EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
36% I Feel Pretty (2018) In what should have been a major breakthrough for this comedian, I Feel Pretty instead becomes a good idea totally hamstrung, gutted, eviscerated by poor writing. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2018
95% A Quiet Place (2018) This is a movie about the sound of fear, but it gives us a great deal more to listen to. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2018
52% Tomb Raider (2018) I longed for [Daniel] Wu to return to the screen whenever he left it. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2018
42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) But this movie relied so heavily on the glinting plastic toolbox of CGI that the magic just never arrived. The kid in me left the theater sadly disappointed. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
45% Red Sparrow (2018) We remain in suspense. We don't know who is hiding what from whom. The emphasis on styling reinforces this dynamic, but it also inevitably takes away from the kind of characterization that marks an actually good spy movie. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
60% The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) (2018) With the sensibility of a very boring Downton Abbey and a political consciousness to match, The Young Marx is an insipid disaster. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
87% Annihilation (2018) Annihilation's commitment to older psychoanalytic (and deconstructionist) models for the self and its inexpressible shadows makes this a readily accessible drama of emotion. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2018
23% The 15:17 to Paris (2018) They're all handsome but just appalling actors. This disjuncture is impossible to forget while watching the film, and it's very uncomfortable. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
18% The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) In the end, the plot is disappointingly simple. The terrors of the first two movies are explained away in a summary flourish, and their mysteries neutralized. The script is not good. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2018
92% 24 Frames (2018) 24 Frames is a highly meditative work, and at some points maddeningly slow. The audio is beautiful, but in all but a few scenes the soundscapes are nonverbal. There are no words, no characters. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2018
89% I, Tonya (2018) But I, Tonya survives those production difficulties due to the Shakespearean stakes of its real-life plot, as polar and duetto as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, or Al Capone and Bugs Moran. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2017
60% Murder On The Orient Express (2017) The painterliness of this new Murder on the Orient Express connects to a principle animating its plot. All Poirot stories hold that the truth is beautiful. But in this story, truth is not the same as certainty. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2017
7% The Snowman (2017) How did a delicious Scandinavian noir novel go so spectacularly wrong on screen? - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
98% BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute) (2017) In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the the nuance and empathy it deserves. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2017