Linda Barnard

Linda Barnard
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Toronto Star movie critic.
Publications: Toronto Star, Original Cin

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
75% Duty Free (2021) Undeniably sweet and inspirational, this Mom-and-me bucket-list adventure documentary fails to explore the root causes of seniors facing poverty and joblessness. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2021
A-minus 98% The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021) Laced with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's signature rapid-fire pacing and colour, it's the goofy-smart and entertaining family fare we've been needing in these fun-challenged times. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2021
97% Shiva Baby (2021) Emma Seligman's debut feature about an aimless twenty-something, bisexual Jewish college student facing a looming quarter-life crisis is smart and sharp. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2021
A-minus 88% Jump, Darling (2020) The setup feels a bit worn, but Cloris Leachman is outstanding in her final lead role as a feisty-yet-frail grandmother alongside remarkable newcomer Thomas Duplessie as her drag-queen grandson in writer/director Phil Connell's debut. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2021
95% Anne at 13,000 ft (2020) Deragh Campbell gives a soaring performance as a young woman on the edge in Kazik Radwanski's low-key yet powerfully realized film. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
89% Supernova (2021) Starry turns from Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci in Supernova, as a couple devastated by dementia. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2021
91% Rams (2021) Trading the austerity of the Icelandic original for Aussie jocularity, director Jeremy Sims' Rams nevertheless preserves the original film's heart about sibling devotion put the test in a time of crisis. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2021
100% Acasa, My Home (2020) This intimate documentary powerfully asks the question 'which of the places we live is destined to be remembered as home?' - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2021
26% Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) Despite solid source material, a strong cast, and a proven screenwriter, Wild Mountain Thyme is silly, flabby, and misguided and woefully marred by bad Irish accents. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
3/4 77% The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020) "The New Corporation" finds the corporate world's self-interest streak remains robustly unchecked. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2020
A 95% Memories of Murder (2003) Powerful, unrelenting, and with excellent performances - especially from Song Kang-ho who is never less than outstanding - Memories of Murder is unforgettable and justifiably described as a masterpiece. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
C-plus 57% Fatima (2020) Italian cinematographer Marco Pontecorvo directs with the lush hand he brought to Game of Thrones. His recreation of the children's visions about war, hell and a papal assassination seem more disaster movie than religious inspirational. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
B 89% They Call Me Dr. Miami (2020) Chartier's documentary moves quickly. Good thing. The 77-minute runtime is enough to take of self-absorbed Dr. Miami and the sexist atmosphere that surrounds his work. Yet the dichotomy between the public and private man is fascinating. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2020
B No Score Yet First Stripes (Premières Armes) (2018) Caissy focuses the camera on the trainees' faces in the dressing-down exchanges, rather than the man barking the orders/lectures (all the superiors are males). The approach keeps attention on the recruits, a reminder that this is their story. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2020
C-minus 48% My Spy (2020) From Arnold Schwarzenegger's Kindergarten Cop to Vin Diesel as The Pacifier, it's all been done before. Self-assured kid actor Coleman and the always-funny Schaal give My Spy some personality, but can we please retire this worn-out idea? - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
B 73% Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2020) Shin isn't shy about laying on quirky details and oddball splashes to make his third film swing from bizarrely entertaining to dark - though the mystery-solved conclusion feels rushed and is the weakest part of the film. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2020
A 93% Ordinary Love (2020) McCafferty's precise dialogue seems effortless, even when the scenes are tough to watch. Manville and Neeson are exceptional. A pause, an awkward look, moments of tenderness or humour, even how Joan butters a scone, conveys much about them. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2020
C-plus 86% Come to Daddy (2020) What starts out as a promising comic thriller deflates quickly as it becomes clear we're just here for the gore. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2020
C 45% Quezon's Game (2020) An inspiring story. But aside from solid turns by Raymond Bagatsing as Quezon, Rachel Alejandro as his wife, Aurora, and Billy Ray Gallion as Alex Frieder, the acting swings between wooden and melodramatic. Budget constraints are evident. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
3/4 92% Wild Rose (2019) Buckley [is] an incandescent onscreen presence with a set of killer pipes who imbues every song with undeniable heart. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
3.5/4 91% Gloria Bell (2019) Because of Moore's open-hearted, captivating portrayal of the title character, repetition won't be a drawback for those who've seen Gloria. She makes the role her own with brio and woman-power strength. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
2.5/4 87% Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2018) Fiennes provides a meandering observation of the woman behind the glamazon, disco diva and full-throated and furious singer/performance artist in this unstructured doc. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2018
2/4 71% Great Great Great (2018) Kolasky is an actor to watch for. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2017
2.5/4 88% The Midwife (Sage femme) (2017) Predictability can be forgiven with the luminous talents of Catherine Deneuve and riveting Catherine Frot (Marguerite) as long-estranged women reunited in writer/director Martin Provost's drama. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
1/4 14% The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017) There's not an appealing or memorable character in the mix. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 11, 2017
2/4 68% The Journey (2017) The dialogue swings between quick and banal as the chipper McGuinness tries to crack the self-righteous stoic (Spall is brilliant) Paisley. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
2.5/4 76% 13 Minutes (Elser) (2017) A compelling and passionate performance from Friedel defines 13 Minutes but occasionally the storytelling falters, including an unexplained years-long gap between his conviction and execution. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
3.5/4 100% Nowhere To Hide (2017) An emotionally powerful examination of the price of conflict, Sharif is honourable and brave, both as filmmaker and the symbol of a suffering people who long for peace. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
3/4 75% Manifesto (2017) You may not know much about 20th-century art manifestos, but you'll know what you like with Cate Blanchett's stunning turn as 13 wildly diverse characters who explore them in Manifesto. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
2.5/4 75% Ballerina (2016) There's plenty of visual whimsy in the late-19th-century setting - the animators render a gorgeous Paris - while enthusiastic dance sequences and comic beats balance out melodrama. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2017
3/4 76% My Cousin Rachel (2017) Weisz's masterful, subtle work as unknowable Rachel is punctuated with ambiguity. Each time we think we have her figured out, Weisz subtly changes minds. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2017
2.5/4 92% Werewolf (2018) McKenzie has effectively drawn us in, although lack of narrative makes the film frustratingly slow in spots. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2017
3/4 29% Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Popcorn munchers and franchise fans will find plenty to like. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2017
2.5/4 18% Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017) For all the gags, Rodrick's staggering dumbness and enough poop jokes to keep the average kid happily chortling, this Wimpy Kid seems to drag in the second half, feeling longer than its 92-minutes. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2017
2.5/4 80% Risk (2017) Interesting if uneven ... - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
2.5/4 69% Free Fire (2017) Director Ben Wheatley isn't known for subtlety. And for much of Free Fire, that's just fine. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
2/4 40% Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) Asbury sticks to the basics, with obvious Saturday morning-style fare based on groaners and pratfalls about the earnest little creatures with self-defining names like Nosey, Grouchy and Jokey. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2017
1.5/4 No Score Yet Filth City (2017) Filth City does no favours to the memory of late Toronto mayor Rob Ford. But the insult to cinema is arguably worse. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
1.5/4 18% CHIPS (2017) Fans of Rick Rosner's 1977-1983 TV show won't find much to pique nostalgia and anyone hoping to revisit the golden days of these earnest troopers may need to lie down for a bit. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2017
3/4 100% Dream Big: Engineering Our World (2017) An uncomplicated look at a complex subject that gets information across without talking down to its predominately young audience. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
2/4 35% The Great Wall (2017) Unfortunately, the gorgeous subtlety of Zhang's mesmerizing style is carried off with the first wave of man-eating, green-blooded monsters. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2017
2.5/4 22% Below her Mouth (2017) The trouble comes with the script as newcomer writer Stephanie Fabrizi struggles with hollow dialogue and flimsy story and character development. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
2/4 16% The Space Between Us (2017) The Space Between Us will keep its target young-teen audience fully engaged. But its need to explain everything siphons some of the wonder out of the picture. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
1.5/4 32% Monster Trucks (2017) Would have made a serviceable Saturday morning TV hour but can't get out of first gear as a feature flick. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2017
1.5/4 24% Bad Santa 2 (2016) We asked for a filthy new Bad Santa for Christmas and now know the same letdown as unwrapping a box of sensible socks on Dec. 25, albeit dirty ones. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2016
2.5/4 75% Trolls (2016) Little ones may find the perpetually furious Chef a bit too threatening. But there's never a riotously candy-coloured scene or a spirited song far away ... - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2016
3.5/4 93% The Eagle Huntress (2016) Girl power soars on the wings of eagles in this stunning documentary set in mountainous western Mongolia about 13-year-old Aisholpan Nurgaiv, determined to push past generations of male-dominated tradition to become an eagle hunter. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2016
2/4 58% The Dressmaker (2016) The tone repeatedly flips from quirky to woeful. The costumes are gorgeous, though. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2016
1.5/4 39% The 9th Life of Louis Drax (2016) Is it a fantasy, Hitchcock-wannabe thriller or comedy? Director Alexandre Aja doesn't seem to have a steady grip on this one. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2016
2/4 37% Morgan (2016) A mediocre sci-fi/thriller about a human-looking A.I. teen who can't escape her factory-installed features. - Toronto Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2016