Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
25% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) If Vance's book was a page-turner with a message, Howard's film is just one damn thing after another: fights, screaming matches, drug sprees, shoplifting episodes, police interactions. It gets to be unintentionally comic at times. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
86% On The Rocks (2020) On the Rocks is Murray straight-up and 140 proof. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2020
86% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Comedy make fun usually mean "punching up" but punching down more fun when you're Borat-ing. Make ordinary people make foolish by being nice! - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2020
97% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) The effect is unconstrained friskiness, like a wading pool full of puppies. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
94% Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You (2020) In Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You, an affecting new documentary on Apple TV+... Even a rock god must bow to mortality. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2020
90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) "Good" and "Evil" get stamped on every character's forehead, and cuteness reigns, even though being cute and being indignant are two impulses that tend to cancel each other out... In Sorkin's hands, history becomes sitcom. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
69% The Salt of Tears (Le sel des larmes) (2020) Restrained and low-key as it is, The Salt of Tears gradually opens up to become a powerful moral tale on a par with the great films of Eric Rohmer, with a hint of François Truffaut. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2020
97% Nomadland (2020) The film is a successor to John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath for the age of singletons, and like Ford's masterpiece, it sprinkles sentimentalization into grit so deftly that it's a marvel. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
98% MLK/FBI (2021) For those new to the subject, it's a useful overview of the FBI's revolting surveillance policies and their purpose to discredit a great American under the decreasingly tenable suspicion that he was a Communist. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2020
86% Robin's Wish (2020) As a film, Robin's Wish is marred by a weepy musical score, by inept visual choices, and by cheesy reenactments. But for fans, this short movie provides a bit of closure. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
71% Tenet (2020) Nolan's latest gargantuan effort to blow your mind may duly blow your mind, or it may simply bruise it, but at least it's a whole lot of movie, and to that I say bravo. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
82% Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) The new movie misses every opportunity to be creative about changed circumstances. Instead, it just settles for replaying the oldies, badly. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
92% The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) Copperfield's bright, cheery, generous spirit is not a language Iannucci speaks, and he stumbles through the material like a half-prepared student attempting to translate a text in a language he has barely studied enough to order a meal. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
92% Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2020) Herzog has made a lumpy and rambling visual companion piece to Chatwin's books, veering from airy mystical talk to biographical snippets to Herzog's personal reminiscences about his friendship with Chatwin. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
92% Desert One (2020) If Desert One is visually just a series of talking heads -- with the actual mission depicted, lamentably, in graphic-novel-style illustrations -- the story is scintillatingly told by those who lived it, including Carter himself - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2020
90% The Parallax View (1974) Parallax is taut and lean, and it's pure cold dread. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2020
73% An American Pickle (2020) This movie is a bracing 90-minute respite to the Summer of Woke, and a riotous reminder that politically incorrect humor can still thrive amid cancel culture. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2020
92% Rebuilding Paradise (2020) Howard is so busy being cheerful he doesn't notice that his movie illustrates how the indefatigable human spirit stands utterly helpless before the terrible power of municipal permit-granting authorities. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
No Score Yet The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019) The Rise of Jordan Peterson is a fair and even-tempered overview of how Peterson became perhaps the most popular professor in North America and the accidental leader of a movement. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
94% The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Long before Watergate-era cynicism about the media set in, we were told with a wink by perhaps the West's principal mythologist to be skeptical about everything we had been told. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
64% Love Actually (2003) Curtis pulls off a spectacular feat of screenwriting, expertly defining 16 principal characters and their relationships, providing each one with a beginning, middle, and end, and making us care about what happens to all of them. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
95% Citizen K (2019) The Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney tweaks a common documentary formula -- little guy who gets railroaded. This one is the story of a giant who got railroaded. In Russia, billionaires are victims of gross injustice too. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
50% Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible (2020) Only at the tail end of this documentary, after 90 minutes of deification of Duchamp and putting him on a pedestal, does one of its talking heads say, "This isn't about a kind of deification of Duchamp"... Oh. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
91% The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Masterfully written and directed by Frank Darabont, Shawshank well deserves its adoration. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
96% Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Dog Day Afternoon is possibly the most perfect entry among the dozens of great gritty Seventies movies that provided me with a durable memory library of cinematic brilliance. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
97% The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) As in an opera, the characters are archetypes, not figures we particularly identify with; as in an opera, we waited a long time for the inevitable ghastly conclusion; as in an opera, Leone seeks (and delivers) a kind of ecstatic dread. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
91% Network (1976) Chayefsky was more wrong than right; Television policed itself better than he envisioned because he didn't understand who really calls the shots when it comes to programming. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
78% Burn After Reading (2008) Burn After Reading is a sort of anti-All the President's Men, a Washington movie whose unstated premise is that we should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
97% Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Allowances for changing tastes and styles must be made for many a film from decades past; that is not the case with Lawrence, which remains as invigorating as the night it was first shown. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
78% Flannery (2020) Flannery is, like its subject, heavily constrained by circumstance but liberated by imagination. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
88% David Foster: Off the Record (2019) Foster created the easiest of easy listening. Still, it takes an iron fist to generate so much fluff, as we learn in the amusingly frank documentary David Foster: Off the Record. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
90% Nashville (1975) Nashville is a portrait of a country where people make all sorts of sounds but nobody is hearing anything. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
81% The Painted Bird (2020) The Painted Bird strikes me as torture porn for highbrows. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2020
71% Archive (2020) Archive isn't the first time this idea has come to the screen, but it makes for a reasonably compelling, if chilly, sci-fi tale in the mold of 2015's Ex Machina. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2020
94% Palm Springs (2020) An amusing and thoughtful romcom. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2020
9% Force of Nature (2020) Works best when Gibson is onscreen to rain belligerence on all comers but gradually disintegrates in its last act. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
79% Greyhound (2020) It would be reductionist, but not terribly unfair, to describe the movie as "Ships go blam-blam at one another for an hour and a half." It works, but only because of Hanks. Few other actors could have kept this boat afloat. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
98% Hamilton (2020) Hamilton deserves all the praise it's gotten, which is probably the most praise of any item of American culture this century. I'm not sure who first dubbed it "Schoolhouse Rock by a genius," but that's a fair description. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
84% Mr. Jones (2020) Mr. Jones joins the unconscionably brief list of brutally honest films about Communism. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2020
90% Dave Chappelle: 8:46 (2020) Chappelle is a gifted man with a well-earned reputation for calling out BS. Yet in this instance, he has fallen for it. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2020
40% You Should Have Left (2020) Koepp's pacing is swift, and he makes the most of his star. Bacon became a highly adept actor over the years, and he expertly plays Theo's haggard self-examination as more and more things start not to add up in the mystery house of shadows. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2020
83% Sometimes Always Never (Triple Word Score) (2020) You could be forgiven if you fear being subjected to an overdose of twee. Somehow that is not the case with Sometimes Always Never, a delicate and gentle English film that is, in a small but elegant way, endearing. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
74% The King of Staten Island (2020) The worst of the six films directed by Judd Apatow. Apatow's instinct to dig into people's life stories looking for material is a good one, but this movie is merely the dung in the bildungsroman. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
75% Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill (2020) Maybe in a few more years Seinfeld's act will turn as grouchy, petty, and misanthropic as [Larry] David's. If so, Jerry might revert to being one of the best standups instead of merely the richest. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2020
93% Becoming (2020) Guess who made it? Barack and Michelle Obama's production company. It's called, as the book was, Becoming. It turns out the title is a bit ironic. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
80% Sincerely Louis C.K. (2020) The title is not ironic: He is sincerely trying to tell something like the truth about what it's like to be the person he is, a severely flawed man of the early 21st century. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2020
44% Endings, Beginnings (2020) Beneath its loosey-goosey indie texture (jumpy editing, hand-held cameras, washed-out colors, overlapping dialogue), Endings, Beginnings is acutely focused. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2020
70% Abe (2020) Abe boxes itself into a corner it can't get out of, so the hurried third act amounts to a cop-out that avoids the conflict. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
83% Midsommar (2019) Combines the nightmare paganism of The Wicker Man with the stately, painterly elegance of The Shining. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2020
56% Resistance (2020) Resistance successfully channels the spirit of mime in that it is completely unbearable. The more light-hearted it tries to be, the more anvil-like it is, and the more sobering it tries to be, the funnier it is. - National Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2020