Marjorie Baumgarten

Marjorie Baumgarten
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Austin Chronicle

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/5 98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) Jia's minimalist visual style and sprawling narrative style allows him to observe changes in the present and over periods of time. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3/5 44% The Wedding Guest (2019) The film skirts classification as nimbly as it does pursuers, and in the process creates something that simmers on its own timetable. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
3.5/5 94% Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) (2019) For all our Tony Montanas and Pablo Escobars, both imagined and real, I guarantee you have never seen a drug-trafficking movie like Birds of Passage. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/5 99% Apollo 11 (2019) Apollo 11 is free of extraneous narration, which helps lend it a present-tense feel. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/5 55% Greta (2019) Despite the buildup of these horror expectations, there is no predicting how deliciously enjoyable it is to witness the macabre dance performed by Moretz and Huppert, two of the best actresses working in today's movies. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
3/5 77% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Everybody Knows is not Farhadi's best work, but he does deliver an affair to remember. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
3/5 76% Never Look Away (2019) Pardon my disgruntlement, but after three hours, my tendency is to desire a more resounding ending and something less solipsistic. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
2.5/5 68% Isn't It Romantic (2019) Isn't It Romantic, the film, is "a dream that can be heard," but only as a counter melody to the main theme. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
3/5 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) Like the time period it covers, this love story is filled with passionate rhetoric and uncertain intentions. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
2/5 41% The Upside (2019) Kevin Hart's huge number of fans may push this film to early box-office success but eventually they are likely to toss it into the untouchable pile. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 79% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Dafoe's ability to switch on a dime between expressions of joy and pain, spiritual transcendence and physical suffering, are put to great use here, creating a character both venerable and pitiable. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
2.5/5 91% Maria By Callas (2018) Volf strives to present material that will absolve the diva of her scandals while presenting her side of the story, but what he hints at instead is a tantalizing portrait of a world-renowned female artist forging her place in a male-defined world. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
3.5/5 91% Widows (2018) There may be no honor amongst thieves, but at least one thing is true: Viola Davis knows a thing or two about getting away with murder. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Ultimately, Buster Scruggs is lesser Coen, despite the movie bearing many of the filmmakers' trademarks. Both silly and serious, it's a hodgepodge in spurs, a horse opera with nothing but arias. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 87% What They Had (2018) Too many characters, who all have problems that need solving, stretch the limits of the story and push it beyond its comfort zone. Nevertheless, when the family dynamics are going strong, What They Had is an ensemble piece that hits the bull's-eye. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/5 45% The Portrait of a Lady (1996) For all its misfires, The Portrait of a Lady paints a fascinating picture. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
2.5/5 70% The Happy Prince (2018) There are scenes during which Everett's Wilde commands our wide-eyed attention, still mesmerizing despite his physical and psychological decline. Yet in between those quickened moments, The Happy Prince trudges forward with monotonous uniformity. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
2/5 59% Malice (1993) Maybe it depends on how you feel about such intrusions but me, I don't welcome malice as my primary movie-going experience. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
3/5 89% Studio 54 (2018) There's little revealed here that isn't already part of the public record (or gossip columns), though the film does go into the details of the club's precipitous rise and fall. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
3.5/5 98% Thunder Road (2018) Thunder Road is an exhilarating ride. It announces Jim Cummings as a talent to be reckoned with and dances on the jagged precipice of emotional contradictions. It's a graceless dance to watch, but delivered with the utmost control and grace. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
3.5/5 89% A Star Is Born (2018) Having already established himself as one of the best actors of his day, Cooper outdoes himself here, performing additional roles behind the scenes. None of his tasks are given short shrift, and his casting of Lady Gaga leads to an inspired performance. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
3/5 85% Monsters and Men (2018) Despite its many loose ends and overblown title, Monsters and Men is a memorable first film that has an air of having wafted in from the streets. Infused with tenderness and humanity, Green's film ultimately encourages empathy and understanding. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
3/5 76% Smallfoot (2018) The plot of Smallfoot inherently challenges the wisdom of this philosophy and sides in favor of truth and the questioning of authority. It is a film that encourages young yetis everywhere to cast off their intellectual blinders. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
4/5 81% Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) Technically, what's on display may not be the Oscar winner's finest go at filmmaking, but never has his message seemed more urgent and unaffected. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
2.5/5 47% The Song of Sway Lake (2018) More evocative than splashy, The Song of Sway Lake offers a dip in fresh water. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
2.5/5 31% Kin (2018) The performances are solid, and Quaid's presence lends an extra solemnity to the family-drama aspect of the film. Franco's performance, however, may prove distracting to those familiar with his turn in Spring Breakers. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
2/5 61% Memoir of War (La douleur) (2018) Despite its pedigree, Memoir of War does not guarantee safe passage. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
2.5/5 83% Puzzle (2018) The intricacies of Puzzle may not fully occupy the viewer's mind, but the film passes muster as a diverting pastime. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2018
2.5/5 98% Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2018) Those who are interested in how documentarians capture artistry on film will find good examples in Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda. It helps to come to the film with some foreknowledge of Sakamoto's career, however. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
3/5 75% Never Goin' Back (2018) Their friendship is the film's secret weapon, and its portrayal is what sets Never Goin' Back apart from standard stoner raunch fests. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
3/5 95% Dark Money (2018) The film's basic problem is that it jumps around too much... Still, Reed and her team have boiled down their presentation to a manageable 99 minutes that's fascinating, absorbing, and mind-altering. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
4/5 100% Leave No Trace (2018) Granik's films also convey a strong sense of place, which is aided in large measure by cinematographer Michael McDonough. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2018
3/5 89% Whitney (2018) For those who only remember Houston as the train-wreck spectacle she devolved into during her latter years, this documentary will do a good job of providing the basic outline of her life. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
3/5 63% Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) Sollima and his cinematographer Dariusz Wolski don't manage to eke out as much tension and visual shock as did the Villeneuve and Deakins combination, but Sicario: Day of the Soldado nevertheless is fluid, efficient, and bloody. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2018
2.5/5 40% Mary Shelley (2018) Ironically, this story about the sources of inspiration is empty of just that: inspiration. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
2/5 49% Superfly (2018) A few sequences have a certain sting... but, for the most part, the film seems to run on autopilot. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
3.5/5 100% Summer 1993 (Estiu 1993) (2018) Essential to the film's success is the authenticity of the two young girls. Both are amazing naturals, most of the time behaving as if they are totally unaware that there is a camera present. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
4/5 57% Hotel Artemis (2018) Hotel Artemis feels like a throwback to a earlier, more stripped-down era of action movies in which a good idea was a sufficient platform on which to drape fine acting and creative execution. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2018
2.5/5 70% Adrift (2018) Adrift is also a handy one-word description to sum up the film's tenor: unsure of whether the sea epic intends to be a love story or an action vehicle. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2018
2.5/5 55% Mrs. Hyde (Madame Hyde) (2018) Even though Mrs. Hyde loses the trees for the forest, any movie starring Huppert is radiant, and it should be evident that tossing in a special effect or a message will be superfluous. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2018
2.5/5 83% Pope Francis - A Man of His Word (2018) Make no mistake, time spent in the company of this pope is a soothing balm and time well spent. However, there is a sense that Wenders shies away from probing difficult subjects, and avoids the historical continuum of Pope Francis' position... - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
3/5 64% Anything (2018) As an actor, Lynch exudes authenticity, whether the role calls for sensitivity or terror. If nothing else, Anything affords this character actor a proper leading man's time in the spotlight, and that alone is enough reason to celebrate the film. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
1.5/5 24% Overboard (2018) It's mildly entertaining while also masking criminal deceptions as romantic foreplay. Yet this remake has little of the real-life sizzle that Hawn and Russell added to the story. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2018
4/5 97% The Rider (2018) [Chloe] Zhao lyrically frames the characters within the shots, making them seem part of the landscape. Everything and everyone are natural parts of the images... - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2018
2/5 68% Finding Your Feet (2018) Above all, what lifts Finding Your Feet off the ground is its amazing cast, who comprise a lineup that is must-see no matter the playground they're corralled into. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2018
3.5/5 96% Sweet Country (2018) Sweet Country shows that the Western is a genre of ideas that's as suitable to modernization in the northern Australian outback as in the ever-changing North American frontier. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2018
2.5/5 70% Back to Burgundy (Ce qui nous lie) (2018) Images of the fecund countryside or the siblings stomping grapes together may be enough to besot the senses, but beware the murky residue that can cloud the mind. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2018
2/5 48% Flower (2018) As a starring vehicle for [Zoey] Deutch, Flower is an aromatic concoction, but as a thorny coming-of-age story the film's buds wither on the vine. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
2/5 40% The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018) There is no character development or psychology manifested in any aspect of The Strangers. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
1/5 17% Death Wish (2018) The new Death Wish is unlikely to spark similar controversy, simply because the filmmaking is not as compelling as in the original film. Most probably, it will fade from the screen as forgettably as its enervated lead performance by Bruce Willis. - Austin Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018