Joshua Starnes

Joshua Starnes
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
6/10 45% Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (2021) Without Remorse is what studio action films always were - it's no wonder when superhero films came along audiences gravitated to them, whatever their faults. If studios want to get those viewers back, they're going to have to start offering more. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 29, 2021
7/10 100% This Is Not a War Story (2021) At its best, This Is Not a War Story is a quietly-enthralling character study in pain that dives into the heart of the unspeakable and comes out the other side. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2021
6.5/10 82% Nobody (2021) If ten years ago I had made a list of sentences I would never write in a review, surely "enjoying a Bob Odenkirk action movie" would have to have been one of them. And yet that reality has come to pass and mostly successfully. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2021
7/10 94% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) Raya and the Last Dragon is a gorgeous piece of modern animation from the studio that still does it better than anyone. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2021
6.5/10 71% Land (2021) Beautiful, sad and distant, Land is like the mountainous horizon would-be woodswoman Edee (Robin Wright) spends much of her time gazing at: a picture-perfect artifice which may be full of significance but is just as likely a mere empty view. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
7/10 96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Judas and the Black Messia is a riveting, infuriating look at part of Hampton's life which also tries to contain all the context surrounding his life and death with the Black Panthers. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
5/10 37% The Marksman (2021) A low-key chase film built on the personal salvation of a child in trouble, it plays with stereotypes in a way that's less 'messing around with archetypes' and more 'lazily indulging in cliché as a shorthand for actual character work.' - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
8.5/10 90% Promising Young Woman (2020) Promising Young Woman is a yell, a cry, a scream into the dark about the awfulness of humanity and why do we let it go on. That's not what makes it so difficult to take. It's the mute silence we get in response that's the real poison. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
6.5/10 78% Greenland (2020) Unexpectedly more dramatic than action packed with strong, subtle performances from its leads Greenland doesn't offer enough new to really sustain its concept but there are worse ways to spend a few hours. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2020
7.5/10 88% News of the World (2020) News of the World is a Western, sure, but it's also a meditation on the quest for civilization. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2020
7.5/10 77% The Croods: A New Age (2020) It may not be artful, or original, but it's fun with some strong characters and strong performances and it's easy to forget how difficult that is to achieve. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
5/10 39% Honest Thief (2020) Liam Neeson may be doing God's work dragging Honest Thief to something like interesting, but even he can't work miracles. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
8/10 86% Night People (1954) Night People reflects the men who made it; quiet, knowledgeable professionals who eschew melodrama and personality dysfunction in favor of just doing their jobs to the best of their ability. It's that very simplicity which makes it great. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
4/10 48% Unhinged (2020) The bones of an enjoyable thriller are here. But there's no meat on them. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
7.5/10 39% Rebecca (2020) Rebecca is polished, poised, period perfection made with care and exactitude with performers giving exactly what the script calls for. But it's never more. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
6.5/10 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) It's probably impossible for Borat to return to the zeitgeist, it changes too much to quickly and this is too much unchanged from its previous incarnation. That doesn't make it bad. It just makes it (mostly) ordinary. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
8.5/10 89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the ultimate Sorkin film, filled with intelligent, over-the-top characters battling within a civil structure over the ideals of America. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
6/10 88% Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Somehow Indiana Jones has forgotten all of the lessons of its forebears, both film and character. It's one thing to make each film similar, it's another to give them amnesia. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
7/10 84% Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Speaks to a bravery to experiment which Temple of Doom embraced one last time. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
10/10 95% Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) A rose of a film - a dusty, blood splattered, face melting rose. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
4/10 47% Scoob! (2020) A lot of skilled professionals have been hired to do a professional job, and they have, but at no point does it feel alive or give anyone reason to spend time on it. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
5/10 70% The High Note (2020) Even the supposed surprise twist is both overly telegraphed and so easy to figure out it removes any depth from the actual dramatic reveal. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
5/10 40% Irresistible (2020) A terrific miss felled by an overreliance on worn out tropes and such bottomless cynicism about the American political process it becomes difficult to even laugh at it. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
7/10 100% South Mountain (2019) South Mountain is both a hauntingly unique story of heart break and heart mending, and a classic staple of the character drama form. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
7.5/10 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) Maybe one day someone will actually make a film about the real Ned Kelly and not what he can represent for today - but until then, this iteration will do. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
8/10 99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) It's not pretty and it's not comfortable, but it needs to be embraced in all its complexity. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2020
6/10 26% Gemini Man (2019) It's a bold and exciting experiment largely wasted on a boring, generic action movie unwilling to go as far narratively as it is with its technology. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
5/10 39% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Mistress of Evil is simultaneously overdone and undercooked, with a lot of the customary mistakes of giant studio entertainment. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
5/10 70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) As well done as the set pieces are... they can't hide how little the characters have been developed. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
8/10 95% The Irishman (2019) Does it give us a clearer insight into Scorsese's view of these films and the individuals in them? Most definitely, and for that if nothing else, it's worth its weight in gold. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
6/10 46% Last Christmas (2019) Still, it's frequently funny and rarely annoying - just sort of genteelly charming. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
5/10 78% Frozen II (2019) The result is just a discombobulated mess. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
9/10 89% 1917 (2020) As a war film, 1917 doesn't have much in the way of new ideas to offer - and maybe there aren't any for the genre now - but it's so elegantly crafted it takes the breath away. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
10/10 92% Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) It speaks to how timeless A New Hope has become that we take in so much of its art direction as it tends to whiz by so fast it requires multiple views to form an opinion of. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
9/10 94% Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) If A New Hope is the body of Star Wars, Empire can lay pretty good claim to being its soul. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
7/10 82% Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) A premonition of what future Star Wars films would be like, good and bad, and why. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
6/10 52% Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) The Phantom Menace instead is a bold announcement that the new films will do their best to try something new every time. They won't always succeed, but even in failure there is glory. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
7/10 65% Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) Probably the most difficult of the Star Wars films to take in (maybe tied with The Last Jedi) but the one with the biggest payoff if you do. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
8/10 80% Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Revenge of the Sith is the film which puts the opera in space opera; no other Star Wars film has done it better. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
6.5/10 93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) It doesn't really do anything wrong, but that is not the same as doing everything right. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
7/10 90% Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Its heart is in the right place, more so than any of the other sequel films, but the conviction is lacking. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
19% Cats (2019) Our best bet is to pack it into a crate lost deep within a warehouse next to all the other dangerous artifacts man was not meant to tamper with, before it kills us all. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
6/10 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) It is the definition of derivative which makes The Rise of Skywalker a copy of a copy: faint, transparent, hazy on the details. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
7/10 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) The recent ending of the Infinity saga and everything that went with is so large that Far From Home is more of a statement on that than anything else, leaving its main character to tag a long after his class and after his story. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
4/10 65% Annabelle Comes Home (2019) Beyond a delight in mood, there's no attempt to do anything with Annabelle that hasn't been done in the earlier films, and frequently quite a bit less. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
5/10 85% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not edgy, is not funny enough and does not seem to be really about Dora. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
7/10 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Sure it's lighter than air, and will evaporate quickly, but if that's not the definition of the Hollywood action movie, what is? - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
7/10 33% Shaft (2019) It's a new way to approach an old character and it tries harder to give its main characters something to do than a lot of its colleagues do, and there is something worthy in that. - ComingSoon.net EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
7/10 84% Downton Abbey (2019) Because this is always what Downton was, love it or lump it. And so it is what Downton still is. Continuation. Repetition. Encapsulation. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
7/10 83% Ad Astra (2019) It's not going to set the world on fire or produce the sort of startling character insights it seems to be aiming for, but it's not quite settling for the same thing, either. That's not nothing. - VitalThrills.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019