Lisa Jensen

Lisa Jensen
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Good Times Santa Cruz

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 39% The Song of Names (2019) An often-moving meditation on the purpose and privilege of artistic expression. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/4 98% 63 Up (2019) With so many backstories to fill in, the movie runs to nearly three hours, yet it's an invaluable portrait of humanity in transition. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
3/4 95% Little Women (2019) The movie exudes so much exuberant and heartfelt goodwill that it's impossible to dislike. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2020
2.5/4 20% Cats (2019) There is fun to be had at this adaptation of the blockbuster stage production, and it's the holidays, so you might as well have it. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2020
2/4 58% Frankie (2019) There are moments when we understand that deeply felt emotions are being conveyed, but Sachs keeps everything so subdued, at such a stubbornly low-key register, that we don't feel them as deeply as we should. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
3/4 83% Waves (2019) The gripping domestic drama Waves is an often-fascinating piece of filmmaking that encompasses euphoria, tragedy and every conceivable emotion in between in depicting a solid American family unit sliding in and out of crisis. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
2.5/4 63% The Good Liar (2019) Even in its least persuasive moments -- and there are a few -- the fun of watching Mirren and McKellan prowling around the screen, leading each other a merry dance is mostly its own reward. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
3/4 73% Harriet (2019) Lemmons' melodramatic flourishes can be overdone... But Harriet's story is so important, it rises in triumph over all obstacles -- like the woman herself. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
3/4 61% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) Gomez-Rejon and scriptwriter Michael Mitnick rely on effective storytelling, interesting characterizations and period opulence to give the movie its charge. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2019
2/4 22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) Despite its lofty, quasi-spiritual ambitions, the movie can't escape the gravitational pull of its own mundane, disappointing plotting and chaotic execution to get into orbit. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
4/4 94% Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019) Along with the pleasures of watching Ivins in action, answering fans and critics alike with irreverent aplomb, Engel's movie serves up an affectionate portrait of Ivins' longtime friendship with another strong, salty Texas woman, Ann Richards. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2.5/4 82% Judy (2019) Zellweger shines in Judy's dramatic mannerisms, vibrant emotionalism, and sly, self-deprecating sense of humor. She deserves a movie as complicated as her performance. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
3/4 84% Downton Abbey (2019) The darker complexities of all their relationships can only be hinted at here, but at least Fellowes and company provide two hours of easy entertainment, with plenty to look at along the way. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2019
3/4 83% Official Secrets (2019) There's nothing slick or flashy about Gavin Hood's tightly constructed and efficient suspense drama. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
3/4 49% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) While the woman-empowering message is not subtle, it's worth pondering. And the movie offers up some truly awe-inspiring visuals. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
2.5/4 94% Mike Wallace Is Here (2019) The movie never establishes its own viewpoint. It remains a random collection of clips, many fascinating in their own right, that are never quite shaped into a larger picture or more cohesive theme. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
3.5/4 93% Sword of Trust (2019) Maron is up to the task; funny on a dime, yet just as persuasive in the character's more serious and revealing moments. He provides the grounding for the rest of the excellent cast to build on. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
73% Lost & Found (2019) What a pleasure it is to discover a quiet, quirky little comedy like Lost and Found. In this Irish anthology of seven interconnected stories, the characters are refreshingly life-sized. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/4 84% The Art of Self-Defense (2019) In a twisted narrative full of surprises -- never assume you know where this movie is going -- the finale packs the most explosive punch. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2.5/4 92% Wild Rose (2019) Rose-Lynn's oblivious self-absorption is wearying at times. Still, the movie often entertains with cheeky attitude, occasional flights of musical fantasy and droll dialogue - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2019
4/4 63% Yesterday (2019) Yesterday is a sly, persuasive morality play about the wages and nature of success dressed up as a pop-cultural comedy. It's also entertaining as hell, especially for those of us who do remember The Beatles, thank you very much. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2019
3.5/4 93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) It may seem a bit thin, plot-wise, but the storytelling is everything in this splendidly atmospheric mood piece. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
2.5/4 55% The Dead Don't Die (2019) We're forced to endure long stretches of ennui between unsubtle moments that drive home the message, and name-that-zombie celebrity-spotting. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
3.5/4 72% All Is True (2019) These guys know their Bard, and they've come up with a wonderful homage -- witty, atmospheric, at times heartbreaking -- to both the towering genius of myth and the oh-so-fallible man within. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
2/4 90% The Souvenir (2019) The Souvenir may be an act of creative exorcism for [director Joanna Hogg], but it doesn't translate so well to viewers living outside the rarefied atmosphere of her personal life and memory. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
3/4 67% The White Crow (2019) As inherently powerful as the story is, the storytelling is sometimes a little flabby... Still, the movie effectively presents the struggle of artistic integrity against political control. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
2.5/4 79% Photograph (2019) Writer-director Ritesh Batra, who made the charming middle-aged romance The Lunchbox... is not as sure-footed in his storytelling this time. Still, Photograph is an unassuming, life-sized antidote to the grand-scale blockbuster mentality. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 50% Tolkien (2019) Tolkien's journey through the hell of the Somme gives the movie its action, but his inner journey through the landscape of his imagination makes the trip worthwhile. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
3/4 90% Wild Nights with Emily (2019) The movie's comic tone is odd at times. But it's smart in exploring the depth of the bond Emily shared with the woman basically excised from history for 180 years. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3/5 44% The Chaperone (2019) It's an entertaining look at a culture in transition. And it captures some of the reckless spirit that Louise Brooks would hone onscreen during the next decade of her brief but memorable career. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
3/4 99% Ash Is Purest White (2019) It's stylish and admirable, often surprising in interesting ways, but rarely engaging. Tao Zhao's performance, however, is totemic. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
3/4 94% The Mustang (2019) The analogy between wild-spirited mustangs and incarcerated men who have lost their freedom is pretty standard stuff, yet the nuances of character, story and subtle, yet profoundly felt emotion keep viewers involved. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
2.5/4 76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) There's nothing especially transcendent in Maras' storytelling -- some epiphany that would make wading through all the bloodshed more meaningful. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
2.5/4 44% The Wedding Guest (2019) Patel's uncompromising presence gives the movie its backbone. It's too bad he wasn't given more of a part to play. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
3/4 77% Never Look Away (2019) Its three-hour-plus running time gives Von Donnersmarck plenty of room to tell his story in meticulous detail, but the storytelling loses tension in the midsection. Still, the journey of its protagonist... remains compelling. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
3/4 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) It's interesting to see how Fahardi's grasp of intricate human interaction translates to a more open, expressive culture. Everybody Knows teems with life lived in the moment, even if the destination is less compelling than the journey. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019
No Score Yet Late Afternoon (2017) Louise Bagnall's lyrical, emotionally stirring Irish entry Late Afternoon, beautifully rendered in fluid pastel watercolors, features an older woman diving deep into the well of memory to piece together fragments of a life she's forgotten. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
No Score Yet Skin (2018) Explores deeply ingrained racism and its consequences in a manner better suited to The Twilight Zone. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
No Score Yet Mother (Madre) (2017) The filmmaking is crisp and intense, but Sorogoyen has no exit strategy; the story just stops. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
83% Detainment (2018) Marvelously well-acted (especially by its young stars) and discreet about how much of the crime it chooses to show onscreen, it nevertheless drags viewers along in an atmosphere of non-stop dread. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
No Score Yet Marguerite (2019) A beautifully acted tale of the bond between an elderly woman and the younger woman who is her visiting caregiver. It's an oasis of tenderness and compassion. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
No Score Yet Animal Behaviour (2018) The gag wears a little thin, but crisp dialogue keeps it amusing. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
3/4 90% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) In young Al Rafeea, a real-life Syrian transplant and first-time actor found on the streets of Beirut, Labaki has found the perfect vessel to express her views on the refugee experience. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
3.5/4 96% Roma (2018) Roma builds to a celebration of simple virtues that are so undervalued in the current socio-political climate... And Cuarón observes these values in practice, with artistry and perception. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2/4 93% The Favourite (2018) The characters as written never achieve the resonance that would keep viewers engaged and invested in them. They remain pawns in an exercise of mannered absurdity. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
2.5/4 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) For all of Schnabel's determined technique, nothing in his movie ever quite achieves the emotional clarity of a single Van Gogh painting. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
3/4 78% Green Book (2018) The movie glides by on cruise control, thanks to its charismatic stars... Together, they make this a trip worth taking. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
3/4 81% Boy Erased (2018) It's the insider's view of this predatory "therapy" that gives the movie its infuriating power. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2018
2.5/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) And McCarthy's curmudgeonly Lee and Grant's fizzy Jack make a delicious odd couple. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
3.5/4 61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) The movie falls into some of the pitfalls of telescoping events to fit the format. But it heroically depicts the Queen era (late '70s-early '80s), and the band's phenomenal creative energy and output. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018