Julia Swift

Julia Swift
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
After years of writing for network television while shooting her own festival award winning indie shorts on the side, Julia Swift realized her favorite part of working in media was being able to talk about film with people just as obsessed as she is. Swift left Los Angeles and moved to idyllic Vermont where she can be seen every Friday morning on WFFF's At The Box Office. Her roles on the selection committee for the Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF), as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and as an Assistant Professor of Filmmaking at Champlain College allow her to train and uplift the next generation of artists and innovators.
Publications: My Champlain Valley

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
7 89% Rocketman (2019) Elton's classic hits are used in a traditional musical way where the characters sing the words to tell the emotional story of how he got to rehab. I was singing but not jumping out of my seat since the actor doesn't have the vocal charisma of Elton. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
6 97% Booksmart (2019) Fun ride from first time director Olivia Wilde -- but why do comedy movies about women so often fall into the gross out humor mode? Newsflash -- many women don't respond as much to gross out humor as to character based and situation based humor. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
7 52% Tolkien (2019) Beautiful, dreamlike vision of how writers find their voices told through the early life of Tolkein. Very inspirational for young artists to see how to take their pain and turn it into art. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
6 46% Little (2019) The strong casting and smart writing sweep you into a world of laughter and heart that mirror real life. The pacing was wonky at times but director Tina Gordon is definitely one to watch. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
3 15% After (2019) Where are the real teen romances? This gives us a hint, but the script is so flawed that it's hard to buy anything the characters do. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
4 81% Long Shot (2019) Does Seth Rogan ever read over what he writes? This feels like a quick first draft of a comedy film that needed a second read to make the story work, add some layers and stronger jokes. All the voices sound the same, and all like a tired Rogan. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
8 76% Family (2019) I laughed real, deep, unable to stop myself laughs. This sweet script is funny, fresh and moving. But... it's set in the oddly dark world of Juggalos which it made it struggle with marketing. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
6 95% Transit (2019) A tale about power and immigration told in a timeless era, mixing European present and Nazi past. Acting first class -- but every female character feels squeezed through an intensely sexual male gaze and comes out soulless and riddled with cliches. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
3 92% Gloria Bell (2019) This remake doesn't fit it's place or time, and even Julianne Moore can't save it. Older women in America now have an independence and inner strength that didn't jibe with this portrayal -- the character looked 50 but played a sad, desperate 85. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2019
8 90% Shazam! (2019) Sweet, fun, heartfelt experience. Not the dark depths of evil we are used to in superhero films lately. But why does the pretty teenage girl need to be so useless in a fight and why did a family film have to have a strip club? - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2019
5 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) A young robot girl discovers the power in her body, mind and spirit. Awesome special effects, but Cameron and Rodriguez failed when it came to the female characters. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2019
10 100% Butterflies (Kelebekler) (2018) Moving, funny and so real it will make you want to reach out to your own family, Butterflies is a film that makes you feel, think and laugh until you cry. Go see this movie. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2019
7 54% Five Feet Apart (2019) Sprouse proves he's more than a child star while Baldoni, the novice director, rushed the emotional scenes but still displayed a rare ability to be sweet without being syrupy. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2019
6 68% Isn't It Romantic (2019) Rebel Wilson is so likable onscreen that it was fun to watch her trip over all of the romantic comedy cliches thrown her way in this parody. Unfortunately, the director didn't seem to be in on the jokes, as the timing was often way off. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
10 96% Roma (2018) The director, Alfonso Cuaron, brings the audience into the world of his childhood in Mexico City's Roma neighborhood through masterful blending of the intricacies of power dynamics in class, ethnicity, politics, family and gender. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
4 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) A mesmerizing performance from Joanna Kulig and beautiful cinematography by Lukasz Zal could not overcome the repugnant nature of a love story centered on a young girl, abused by her father, then controlled and sexualized by her teacher. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
7 76% Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) You don't need to see the original in order to enjoy this fun mash up of 80's teen movie and video games. Light laughs and non-stressful action make for a crowd pleasing few hours of entertainment. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
9 88% In Syria (Insyriated) (2017) As we peek into the day to day existence of a family stuck in an apartment in the middle of war torn Syria, we see how communities come together, fall apart and witness the resilience of the human spirit. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
10 90% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) This intense drama is tough to watch but the masterful script and soulful performances make this dark film into an ultimately uplifting experience. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
9 89% I, Tonya (2018) Allison Janney and Margot Robbie shine in this kinetic retelling of the Tonya Harding story that comments on the media's biases when it comes to gender, class and ultimately, ratings. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
6 73% On the Basis of Sex (2019) The spirit of Ruth Bader Ginsburg shines through and overpowers the passionless script and weak performance of the lead actress. Justin Theroux owns the screen working again with director Mimi Leder - a groundbreaking force in her own right. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
3 70% The Mule (2018) Although it's wonderful to see Clint Eastwood, now 88, on screen, as the director, he fell short. Each character was acting in a different tone/genre and there was no unifying directorial vision. The script's thinly sketched characters didn't help. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
10 87% Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Try to see this amazingly visual and immersive film on the largest screen possible. And yes, it will help to see the original first. The world is beautiful, layered and fascinating and the characters keep you caring every one of its 164 minutes. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
6 84% Game Night (2018) This thriller/comedy combination is no masterpiece, especially given it's weak script and off the rails third act, but it is a light fun movie. Jason Bateman's charismatic performance carries the film over the rough spots. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3 66% Vice (2018) What a waste of talented actors and makeup artists. Yes, Bale physically transformed himself, but his Cheney had no passion and could not glue the various bits and pieces of the script together. A definite fail for writer/director Adam McKay. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
10 97% The Rider (2018) This true story hauntingly explores masculinity in the American Western tradition. A real family plays themselves in this fictionalized version of their lives. I suspect we will see many brilliant films from the director, Chloe Zhao. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
6 44% Everything, Everything (2017) This plays more like theater than film as the story is mostly contained in one room, but the actors bring such vulnerability and hopefulness that is hard not to get swept away by their romance. I can't wait to see what director Meghie does next. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
6 92% Love, Simon (2018) The first studio wide release gay coming of age film tries so hard to get audiences to identify with the main character that he ends up being too ordinary. However, the characters around him are fully developed and help us grow to care about him. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
8 90% The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) This film noir, set in Cairo as the Arab Spring erupts, is a fabulous example of how have different layers of storytelling that will appeal to a variety of audiences. There is a murder mystery, a political statement and social allegory all in one. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
7 84% Detroit (2017) A gut wrenching film by a masterful director set in Detroit's 1967 Riot/Uprising. The script follows too many characters, sacrificing emotional connection, but Bigelow pulls deep performances from her cast with breathtakingly powerful results. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
9 94% Arrival (2016) A startlingly original film. This alien meets professor film is more layered character drama than thriller. Look out for the use of sound and color to express Amy Adams' character's growth and change. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
7 89% A Star Is Born (2018) Another remake of one of my favorite films. Bradley Cooper doesn't quite pull it off, but everyone around him shines, especially Lady Gaga. The script faltered as did all of the songs -- except The Shallows, which will stick in your head for weeks. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
3 61% Operation Finale (2018) The director struggled with the tone, sliding into comedy and breaking the emotional thread. The film was packed with potential as the script delves into a period of Nazi resurgence in post WW2 Argentina that has largely been ignored in media. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
4 88% The Post (2018) Too focused on plot -- the film looses the character threads. But every scene Meryl Streep is in comes to life, leaving a hole every time she's not on screen. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2018
8 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) McCarthy throws herself into this true story taking us for a ride, even as the character pushes away everyone in her life and makes many questionable choices. The script is wonderful, but the director and DP didn't match the level of artistry. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2018
4 87% First Man (2018) The cool special effects can't overcome the flat script and ultra-restrained acting. Neil Armstrong may not have been brimming with charisma, but the director and actor needed to reach deeper and find something human for the audience to connect to. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2018
8 96% Border (Gräns) (2018) This Swedish film pulls on the tradition of trolls and drops them into contemporary society. The lead actress' deep soulfulness helps the audience suspend disbelief and immerse themselves in this tale of immigration, parenthood and sexuality. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2018
9 85% A Simple Favor (2018) Anna Kendrick shines as a young mom coming into her own sense of self and power in this quirky mashup of film noir and comedy. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
10 No Score Yet The Rest I Make Up (2018) An inspiring documentary on Maria Irene Fornes, the groundbreaking playwright, director and teacher. Filmed over years, the filmmaker/subject relationship transforms to true friendship. The film is a celebration of the undying artistic spirit. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
8 78% Green Book (2018) Filled with intimate moments from a son's memories of his father's tales, this feel good drama takes us on a road trip as opposites find common ground. Prepare for the best kind of tension as we hope/fear for the characters. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
6 65% Aquaman (2018) See it on the big screen for a fun, beautiful, underwater ride. Just don't expect too much in terms of story and acting. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
8 89% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) An awesome movie for pre-teens that uses hip humor to comment on our world while being unafraid to make us feel real emotions. Add Disney princesses freed from their corsets, and you've got the feel good Disney ethos updated for our electronic age. - My Champlain Valley EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018