Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Hollywood Reporter, Variety

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
67% Ten no Chasuke (Chasuke's Journey) (2015) Sabu might have branched out from his crime thrillers in his previous four films, but he still hasn't lost his flair for kinetic action. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
75% Default (Gukgabudo-ui Nal) (2018) Manages to make currency crashes and the Asian Financial Crisis a juicy subject onscreen. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) At once charming and heart-wrenching, this exquisitely performed film will steal the hearts of both art-house and mainstream audiences. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
No Score Yet The Shaman Sorceress (2018) The finished product doesn't disappoint and should cast its spell on specialist anime fans, though the protagonists' fates may be too cruel to target young or mainstream audiences. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2018
100% Baby (Bao bei er) (2018) Writer-director Liu Jie's vérité style captures China's new working-class milieu, imbuing the gripping plot turns with gritty authenticity. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
60% Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (Di Renjie zhi Sidatianwang) (2018) The Hong Kong genre maestro's childlike imagination and technical inventiveness seems inexhaustible. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2018
100% The Pluto Moment (Ming wang xing shi ke) (2018) This deceptively simple yet quietly revelatory drama features engaging characters and offers wryly ironic comments on the unpredictable nature of film production. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2018
71% Manto (2018) "Manto" is elegant and old school, epic without losing sight of the personal. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2018
93% Long Day's Journey Into Night (Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) (2019) Comes up short in substance. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2018
No Score Yet Ten Years Thailand (2018) A quartet of Thai directors offer a dystopian vision of their nation, steeped in a mood of collective paralysis. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
100% The Spy Gone North (2018) This well-crafted work deserves to be seen for its thorough account of intricate workings of secret service and political skullduggery. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
88% Sir (2018) A Cinderella tale of sorts, the film nonetheless gains gravity for its insight into Indian social rigidities that tether both impoverished villagers and well-heeled urbanites. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
63% Ugly (2014) Kashyap's brilliant five-hour-plus epic is a hard act to follow, and this more pedestrian outing may well disappoint some critics. Still, as genre films go, it's punchy enough to enjoy a charmed life on the fest circuit. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2018
75% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) Hamaguchi extols his source for a compelling representation of love as a mystic experience. However, what gets transferred to the screen becomes more like banal indecision. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2018
99% Ash Is Purest White (2019) At 141 minutes, the work has its intellectually ponderous moments but is ultimately saved by Jia's muse and wife, Zhao Tao, who surpasses herself in a role of mesmerizing complexity. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2018
No Score Yet Inuyashiki (2018) Sato...foregrounds interpersonal relationships and human emotion over action and effects. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2018
54% Detective Chinatown 2 (2018) Though less of a brainteaser than the original film, director-writer Chen Sicheng infuses Chinese color into a plot that solves crimes by using feng shui as clues, making things accessible and intriguing to local and international audiences alike. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2018
78% Operation Red Sea (2018) Neither the story nor characters have any moral ambiguity or psychological shadings. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2018
86% Ramen Shop (Ramen teh) (2019) More comfort food than haute cuisine. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2018
No Score Yet Steel Rain (2017) Whips up the sort of worst-case-scenario, anti-Communist hysteria that's a hilarious throwback to the Cold War propaganda of 1970s cloak-and-dagger movies. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2018
89% 1987: When the Day Comes (2017) A compelling depiction of how brave individuals from all walks of life mobilized a whole nation to bring a recalcitrant dictator and his henchmen to their knees. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2018
91% Legend Of The Demon Cat (Kûkai) (2019) This stunning blockbuster shows that a superior original source, vaunting artistic ambition and a $170 million budget can turn a potboiler supernatural whodunit into something of ravishing beauty. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 5, 2018
22% Bleeding Steel (2018) Features all the zesty fights, slick effects and goofy slapstick one expects from a Jackie Chan family movie ... though the film's corny cyberpunk pastiche appeals exclusively to kids. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 1, 2018
33% The Thousand Faces of Dunjia (2017) As with so many of Tsui's works, subplots and characters multiply out of control after the first act. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2017
82% Gurgaon (2017) What's more interesting is his insight into how extreme gender inequality is in Indian society. The film's moody noir sheen may help it travel beyond the domestic market, where it stands small chance against mainstream entertainment. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2017
71% Monsoon Shootout (2013) The dark, tempestuous mise-en-scene serves to underscore the story's moral confusion. American-born Indian composer-singer Gingger Shankar's tensile score moves fluidly between heart-pounding and lyrical. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2017
100% Filmistaan (2014) Although the film wears its utopian ideals on its sleeve, helmer Nitin Kakkar leavens the political content with an absurdist sense of humor and a heartwarming turn of events - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2017
No Score Yet End of Summer (2017) Huang Yimei's predictable screenplay soft-pedals its social and emotional elements, making "Summer" nothing more than a pleasant diversion. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2017
No Score Yet Dark is the Night (Madilim ang Gabi) (2017) The story draws viewers in by laying out an intricate web of crime that holds Philippine society in a tight grip. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2017
88% The Great Buddha+ (2018) This ballad of sad losers mixed with satire on parochial politics is convulsively funny yet uncompromisingly bleak, bridging art with entertainment. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2017
100% The Seen and Unseen (2017) A haunting and hypnotic interpretation of the child subconscious rooted in Balinese arts and culture. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
93% Village Rockstars (2017) Pluckily optimistic and unsentimental to a fault, writer-director Rima Das' second film is a tonic to third world poverty porn. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
No Score Yet Samui Song (2017) Mystery and danger percolate in "Samui Song" all the way till the elliptical ending, which leaves audiences with a sense of lingering disquiet. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2017
87% Youth (Fang Hua) (2017) The film serves as a paean to idealism and endurance, yet the word "heart-breaking" comes to mind scene after scene. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2017
94% Angels Wear White (2018) A brave and hard-hitting drama that provides a social context for violence against women. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2017
96% A Taxi Driver (2017) An entertaining journey into a tragic and violent chapter of Korean modern history. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2017
No Score Yet Love and Goodbye and Hawaii (Koi to sayonara to Hawai) (2017) [Love and Goodbye and Hawaii] takes the timeworn premise "Can ex-lovers still be friends?" and fills it up with a delectable sundae of character quirks, deadpan dialogue and gently heart-tugging wistfulness. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2017
No Score Yet No Bed of Roses (2017) The screenplay is dotted with tantalizing ellipses at key points when others might have dialed up the melodrama. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2017
83% The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo) (2017) "The Villainess" ... succeeds in being one-of-a-kind for its delirious action choreography and overall narrative dementia. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2017
100% Bad Genius (2017) Offers subtle yet stinging insight into Thailand's class inequalities and corrupt school system. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2017
93% Our Time Will Come (2017) By highlighting the value of artists and intellectuals, and the importance of protecting them, she imbues the authentic historical episode with timely universal relevance. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2017
88% Makala (2018) Emmanuel Gras' camera embraces the subject's every move with such rapt intimacy and cinematic poetry it's easy to forget this is not a fictional drama. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2017
70% The Merciless (Bulhandang) (2017) Two-thirds into the picture, the switcheroos get so ridiculous one eventually stops caring about any character. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2017
98% Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2018) At once tightly controlled and simmering with righteous fury, it's gorgeously lensed, atmospherically scored and moves inexorably toward a gratifying payoff. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2017
79% Before We Vanish (Sanpo suru shinryakusha) (2018) Ultimately, "Before We Vanish" serves as an inquiry into what constitutes humanity. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2017
No Score Yet Walking Past the Future (2017) Ruijun boldly alludes to a system that's utterly indifferent to the welfare of its vast working class. However, the grueling human misery and glum tone provide almost no relief or hope for a solution. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2017
85% Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no jûnin) (2017) The 100th feature by genre master Takashi Miike transcends conventions of Japanese swordplay films with both fantasy and graphic violence. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2017
No Score Yet The Devotion Of Suspect X (2017) The plot of how a math geek devises the perfect cover-up to clear his loved one of murder is so ingenious, it will impress anyone who doesn't already know the source material. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2017
100% Love Off the Cuff (2017) Pang, along with co-writers Luk and Jimmy Wan, expose the pitfalls lurking under the comfort zone of a long relationship with whip-smart observations and quirky details. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2017
40% Death Note: Light Up the New World (Desu nôto: Light Up the New World) (2016) [A] lazy cash grab ... - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2017