Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/5 68% On Chesil Beach (2018) We feel the dreamy border, because the movie - and the story - plays like one of those chronic loops of regret: A defining moment in a relationship played out over and over again, as clear as the day it happened, and entirely unchangeable. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2018
3/5 83% Deadpool 2 (2018) ...Just about every single scene includes an aside, a wink, a direct address to the vested audience. It's like going to a party where everyone is taking selfies. It starts to feel like narcissism. It's also a significant distraction. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
2.5/5 27% Breaking In (2018) The only thing missing is the Rube Goldberg element. We love watching the underdog outsmart the bad guys, but we need to see the engineering acumen, the MacGyver spirit hooking up with the Rambo passion. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
4/5 85% Tully (2018) The scenes between Theron and Davis are so gorgeously written, they kick out new space in the studio apartment usually occupied by female character. And Theron is chewing it all, even using her physicality in a new, fascinatingly schlubby way. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
2/5 54% Bad Samaritan (2018) Devlin trots out every device since Silence of the Lambs in an attempt to turn this moronic plot into something watchable, but the spirit of the film feels in the wrong place. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
3/5 38% Life of the Party (2018) Melissa McCarthy wears vulnerability on her sleeve, then she rolls it up and gets to work. She's got a Jane Lunchbucket approach to comedy that ensures she makes the most of every scene, even the routine bits with bare studs and drywall. - EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
4/5 97% The Rider (2018) The scenes between real-life friends Brady Jandreau and Lane Scott are the most haunting in the film because every moment, every glance, every unspoken word that collapses into a sigh feels intimate. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2018
4/5 91% Lean on Pete (2018) So much of the success of the film is in the mood, and the sense of constant restraint on the part of Haigh. He's always holding the reins, forcing us to study the scenarios he places before us through Charley's innocent eyes. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2018
3.5/5 35% I Feel Pretty (2018) Thanks to Schumer's ability to be Debbie Reynolds and Oliver Hardy in the same breath, even the most predictable gags find a nugget of truth that pulls them out of the corn field...Now, if only we could get past the idea "pretty" is the equivalent valued. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2018
3/5 82% Beirut (2018) this morass of perverted faith and twisted sermonizing, there's no real salvation. There is only survival, and that's why this movie is doomed on a pure emotional level. It can never deliver catharsis...only a vast palette of moral blur... - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2018
4/5 84% Borg Vs. McEnroe (2018) Both were somewhat haunted. But their demons are different, and in using those differences as interwoven strings of gut reactions, Metz gives leads Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason the racquet tension they need to keep the ball spinning. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2018
2.5/5 83% Blockers (2018) You get the sense this would have been a much stronger, and much funnier, movie had parents been relegated to the sidelines for the duration - standing up and screaming at the ref for comic relief. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2018
4/5 90% Isle of Dogs (2018) Think of it as Wall-E meets A Boy and His Dog, then has a one-nighter at The Grand Budapest Hotel.... We get lost looking at the familiar from a Jonathan Swift standpoint and the ordinary begins to look odd. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
2/5 72% Ready Player One (2018) Why does Steven Spielberg always make the same mistake? Every time he tries to make technology and artificial reality the guts of the story, instead of the means of telling a story, he makes a great big-budget mess. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
3.5/5 80% Unsane (2018) ... the movie has thin sinews of comedy running through that bloody thriller flesh: There's something absurd and out-of-place about the whole experience. Whether you like it or not, you're the captive of Soderbergh, and the many disordered personalities. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2018
3.5/5 94% Foxtrot (2018) So much of Foxtrot feels like a dangling thread - a cruel jest of fate without meaning. Yet, thanks to the restrained performance from Ashkenazi, who lets discomfort crackle across his stoic features like breaking glass, we can feel the endless conflict. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
4/5 94% Loveless (Nelyubov) (2018) It's a dreadful voyage, filled with disappointment and disgust, but the Russian psyche has a way of turning human monstrosity into art. All that baroque emotion beaten down by years of oppression has prompted a numbness of spirit: pain becomes a tickle. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2018
3.5/5 37% The Leisure Seeker (2018) The wheels never get stuck in maudlin because Mirren and Sutherland create so much dramatic momentum, they keep things rolling. More importantly, neither character shrinks from the truth. They are grown-ups playing grown-ups... - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2018
3/5 42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Some scenes are crafted with such care, you just fall right into them, but the overall result feels at arm's length: A Mardi Gras parade with a float shaped like Oprah Winfrey, towering over the crowd wearing silver mesh lamé and sequinned eyebrows. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2018
3.5/5 38% Gringo (2018) Charlize Theron brings a hard edge that is both intimidating and seductive at the same time. More importantly, she owns it. The self-possession is what makes Elaine such a blast to watch as she slithers through the mess left by the men. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2018
3.5/5 47% Red Sparrow (2018) The tension feels a little mechanical, but it's there. Yet it doesn't click the way we're used to because the lead is female, the main weapon is sexuality and the moral needle never points in any clear direction - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2018
2/5 17% Death Wish (2018) Death Wish turns out to be a clunker with a single gear and a grinding transmission, but it's still a Bruce Willis movie. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
3.5/5 93% A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) There are so many forces beneath the surface, and the beauty of the dramatic design is the way it uses Marina as the constant swimmer, letting us see what those forces are in the way she reacts to each one. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
2/5 84% Game Night (2018) ...once you open the box and take out the pieces, it's just a matter of going from one contrived square to another. Not even the rolls of the dice add up to more than three-act narrative math. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2018
5/5 97% Black Panther (2018) Black Panther is the percussion blast we all need right now, so tip your hat to Ryan Coogler, the director and co-writer of a modern classic that addresses the deep fault lines in American society without compromising action movie fundamentals. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2018
4/5 80% Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) What saves Film Stars from the emotional murk is the passing sense of time. McGuigan captures the layers of sediment as they fall to the bottom... The result is something like a sand jar: a million moments miraculously sifted into an unnatural pattern. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
3/5 43% Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) The literal maze is gone. The metaphysical maze remains. As growing-up metaphors go, Maze Runner was a well-planned voyage from personal isolation to political engagement. Yet, despite the map, the final instalment gets lost on the way to the finish. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2018
4/5 76% In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) (2017) The medicinal whiff of police procedural helps us swallow the emotional bolus of loss and put it into context. Without it, we'd be stuck at the very bottom, subject to the rip tides of grief, rolling over the coral reef of trauma alongside Katja. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2018
3/5 88% The Post (2018) If only there were an Oscar for inanimate objects. The Post would be loading a wheelbarrow full of hardware home on awards night for Meryl Streep's spectacles and an old Xerox machine... Sadly, the emphasis is on the artifacts, not the emotional drama. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2018
4/5 89% I, Tonya (2018) What makes it bearable, and maybe even too pleasurable given its cruel content, is Margot Robbie's unrelenting, unpredictable, and entirely uncompromising performance, summarized in three words that capture Harding's truth: IN YOUR FACE! - EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 5, 2018
3/5 30% Wonder Wheel (2017) Like so many of Allen's latter-day pieces, it feels like a dotty redo of Tennessee Williams's signature work or a nostalgic, aspirational nod to Eugene O'Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We watch a desperate, emotionally parasitic woman seek redemption.... - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2017
3.5/5 85% Big Time (2017) Ingels doesn't fit in a regular box. Yet, Big Time is a regular box of a movie: a highly competent and thoroughly engaging portrait of a young architect. What's missing is an American Ayn Rand sensibility to give Ingels's celebrity some cultural contrast. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2017
1/5 13% Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015) No matter how many times you scour afterward, the filmy scum left by Hot Tub Time Machine 2 lingers like greasy dark ring around the brain. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2017
4/5 80% The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Plummer's macabre presence makes every scene darker, yet his professional polish sparkles - reflecting lightness in every moment. It's a beautiful balance, and it makes the movie feel a little more special than your average feel-good fruit cake. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2017
1.5/5 92% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Reality is something we readily put aside when watching a Marvel outing, but ...Thor: Ragnarok is little more than a grocery store genre cake: industrial formula and A-list talent enveloped in an unnatural green screen icing. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2017
3/5 59% Murder On The Orient Express (2017) Branagh wastes the riches that surround him on every score and turns the performances of his cast mates into something of a museum tour - cursory glances at masterpieces hung beautifully, but in isolation. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2017
4/5 90% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) The small town of Ebbing has been ebbing - losing jobs, hope, citizens and a semblance of small town safety. Yet, beneath the scabs of resentment and violent loss, McDonagh and co. reveal the fresh pink skin of survival and healing: A billboard of hope... - EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2017
4/5 87% Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Beyond the thrill of seeing Scott's whole world resurrected in deep focus, there's a palpable absence of real feelings. Outside of K, we never seem to get close enough to any of the characters to really care about their outcome. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
4/5 95% Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) Dean resurrects Lamarr's whole person without false moments or awkward fawning. The honesty makes the tragedy of her story linger. She was damned by something she had no control over: The way she looked. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
3.5/5 65% Victoria & Abdul (2017) Awareness is where Frears balances both humour and drama because it's the core of the story, emotionally and politically. We can laugh at the politesse disguising denial, at the court's love of the crusty status quo, but Abdul is the emissary of change. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
3.5/5 No Score Yet At the End of the Tunnel (Al final del túnel) (2016) Though some of the plot is self-revealing and the rest seems to stick to genre lines and the frame of Rear Window, there's still a lingering sense of the unknown and the unpredictable that keeps At the End of the Tunnel on a taut line. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
4/5 97% Columbus (2017) If writing about music is like dancing to architecture, then writing about Kogonada's movie Columbus is like waltzing to light. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
3.5/5 63% Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) There's a stillness in the books, a sense of fighting the advances of time inside a melancholy womb of comfort and safety. It's all beautiful. It's also steeped in denial...the movie gives us the insight into why Winnie feels like Albert Camus for kids. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2017
3/5 86% American Made (2017) The tragedy is all there: the coke-fuelled Icarus, the shadow side of the Reagan era, and our perpetual need to make heroes. American Made knows what it is, yet, by for the very same reason, it can't explore the tragic side. It wouldn't be American. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2017
4/5 86% Battle of the Sexes (2017) aris and Dayton, along with screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Fishing in the Yemen), have recreated a seismic moment in popular culture that you can almost feel rippling beneath your feet in the theatre. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2017
2/5 53% Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Kingsman: The Golden Circle stumbles in a drunken stupor into a puddle of filth, flailing its arms in futile attempt at satire, and grabbing at the cheap straw of sexism in a bid to be more than a crass, juvenile parade of mean-spirited obscenity. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
2.5/5 69% mother! (2017) Aronofsky is taking a long look in the mirror andseeing the creative monster stare back at him... it's over the top.It's repulsive and ugly. It's abusive to the audience... Aronofsky is giving us the finger as well as an axe to the forehead. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2017
3.5/5 83% Patti Cake$ (2017) The whole plot has about as much mystery as a performance on a pole, but it's the brief encounters with believable disaster that give the movie its winning character. Sure, it's hokey and pat, but Patti and Jheri are fantastic... - EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2017
2.5/5 33% The Only Living Boy in New York (2017) a movie that feels like a candy bar you left in your back pocket on a hot day. It's got a great package thanks to the marquis talents of Cynthia Nixon, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale and Jeff Bridges, but in Webb's eager clutches, it turns to sweet mush. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2017
3.5/5 86% Ingrid Goes West (2017) So much of what happens is truly disturbing, yet Plaza's mere presence somehow tempers the self-destructive edges because she's unafraid to play the fool - in a truly Shakespearean sense. - EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2017