Martin Tsai

Martin Tsai
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) That soundtrack leaves one wondering ultimately for whom this film is made. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2021
86% I Was a Simple Man (2021) The natural milieu of Oahu establishes the contemplative mood, but what sets the film apart is its depiction of disability, as Masao's life progresses inward while the rest of the world moves along without him. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
86% Homeroom (2021) The end result can be quite frustrating, unless their youthful inexperience is the whole point. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2021
87% Censor (2021) The film's recreation of VHS horror aesthetics is amusing; not so much its retread of tropes of unreliable narrator and pop psychology in mastering childhood trauma. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2021
86% Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (2021) Too bad this is one such instance in which a mostly uncritical documentary could greatly benefit from cultural fluency, and its crew has shown none. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
63% One for the Road (2021) Mr. Poonpiriya probably fancies the film as some breezy road movie, but what transpires is theater of cruelty on par with Neil LaBute's "In the Company of Men." - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
98% Minari (2020) What we haven't seen a lot of is immigrants in America wrestling with the shame and embarrassment associated with their identities, and "Minari" presents this delightfully through a child with no filter. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2021
97% In the Same Breath (2021) "In the Same Breath" succeeds only as a bracing critique of Chinese censorship, because it spectacularly fails as a documentary on its purported subject, Covid-19. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) "BlacKkKlansman" immediately comes to mind, as if Hollywood is only comfortable addressing the racial inequities of here and now from the safety of a distance. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2021
69% Land (2021) The payoff is minor, but resonates in a way unmatched by movies that try to do more. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2021
No Score Yet Ainu Mosir (2020) It's rooted in cruel reality to be sure, but there's also something mythical and fablelike about it. The film ultimately feels like a very modern telling of a classic bedtime story. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
95% Asia (2020) As to how the film goes wrong, where to begin? The indecent proposal or the workplace sexual harassment? - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
78% 12 Hour Shift (2020) "12 Hour Shift" is torture porn with only money shots and zero foreplay. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
91% Transsiberian (2008) The trek can hold viewers' interest throughout, despite the fact that the twists and turns don't kick in until the second half - a testament to Mr. Anderson's directorial skill. - New York Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2020
57% The Hunt (2020) If it has any redeeming quality at all, it is the potential for people on both sides of the aisle in this divisive and toxic political climate to finally have a film whose worthlessness they can agree on. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
29% White As Snow (Blanche comme neige) (2019) Ms. Fontaine necessarily has anything in particular to say about either the timelessness of the Brothers Grimm tale or the times that we live in. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
76% Skin (2019) Mr. Bell disappears into the role, masterfully drawing viewers into a film replete with made-for-TV heavy-handedness. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2020
48% My Spy (2020) Thus it is too bad the film doesn't maximize the potential of its premise, and instead devotes much of its runtime to Sophie playing matchmaker between J. J. and her mother. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2020
92% Wild Rose (2019) "Wild Rose" truly works because its relatively unknown star, Jessie Buckley, happens to be blessed with extraordinary singing and acting gifts. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
59% Charlie Says (2019) [T]he filmmakers never fully convey the fervor that led the Manson women astray, as Peter Jackson did with his similarly true-crime "Heavenly Creatures." - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2020
96% American Factory (2019) Indeed, race relations seem to be a recurring theme, but one the filmmakers refuse to address head-on. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
28% The Rhythm Section (2020) [It] runs smoothly enough so that viewers will be inclined to gloss over gaping plot holes and sketchy expositions. But no amount of soft-focus flashbacks to a happier time can substitute for an actual character arc. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2020
13% The Turning (2020) Discrepancies between the film and the source material point to the screenwriters having adapted the CliffsNotes version of James's novel instead and interspersed that with atmospheric set pieces and cheap-shot jump scares. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
47% Underwater (2020) It's pretty solid; and everything in it - the darkness, the claustrophobia, the jump scare, the grotesque creatures - works the way it's supposed to, but we're not in the '80s anymore. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
21% Like a Boss (2020) None of the high jinks strike as odd, a prerequisite for Mr. Arteta's offbeat style to work. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) What promises to be "Saving Private Ryan" meets, um, "Climax" unwittingly plays out like some World War I-set video game à la "Verdun." - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
19% Cats (2019) A musical of course necessitates the suspension of disbelief, but Mr. Hooper seems never to have quite made up his mind on whether to approach the material with theatrics or realism and winds up with something the cat dragged in. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
77% Richard Jewell (2019) How the three disparate attempts at heroism parallel and intersect might have made an interesting movie in expert hands, but "Richard Jewell" isn't it. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
97% Knives Out (2019) Given the way the rich keep scheming and plotting against the poor and one another, "Knives Out" proves to be the exact opposite of "Parasite" in every way imaginable. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
98% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) With "Parasite," Bong Joon-ho gives the "Upstairs, Downstairs" premise a long-overdue update. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2019
84% Downton Abbey (2019) Just as "Downton" fawns over the genteel noblese of its ruling class, the downstairs machinations are also posited as jolly good fun. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2019
9% Postal (2007) The German Mr. Boll and the Canadian Mr. Knight seem to want to comment on American culture, but their bystander perspectives clearly do nothing to inform them how to maximize their material. - New York Sun EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
88% Newly Single (2018) Amid the familiar personality quirks, airy loft setting, glowing cinematography and orchestral score, the toxicity of Astor's narcissism and frustration leaps out. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
64% Rock'n Roll (2017) The significance of the title as embodied by Johnny Hallyday seems debatable, since his eternal coolness is here depicted as pathetic both in concept and in practice. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
46% The Dinner (2017) Themes of social inequality that whet our appetite eventually give way to unfulfilling contrivances. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
82% The Lovers (2017) Mary and Michael are such entitled, self-absorbed boomers that they possess little appeal besides the sex variety. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
83% The Trip to Spain (2017) "Spain" feature film feels like an irresponsibly missed opportunity for not tackling Brexit - especially when the time and place seem so ripe for it. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2018
70% Bad Rap (2016) Curiously, the film ultimately undermines its celebration of dedication and diversity by having an industry type assess these Asian-American rappers' legitimacy by critiquing their music. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2017
71% Reset (Relève: Histoire d'une création) (2017) For the uninitiated, the film never truly articulates just how Mr. Millepied's criticism of the company's archaic traditions - which ultimately led to the fallout - could be perceived as arrogant, incendiary or disrespectful. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2017
77% Elvis & Nixon (2016) When the plot juxtaposes Mr. Shannon's Elvis with professional Elvis impersonators at an airport lounge to reveal the man behind the caricature, the whole film just implodes. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2017
98% Moonlight (2016) It's possible to appreciate "Moonlight" purely on an intellectual level. But if you happen to be gay - and especially a gay person of color - you will know exactly what a truly monumental achievement this film is. - Critic's Notebook EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2016
91% Queen Mimi (2016) Rokah gradually exhumes the hardship of surviving the streets of Los Angeles for four decades and the associated stigma and shame that have prevented Haist from reaching out to family. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2016
100% Crush The Skull (2015) Easily the most thrilling thriller in recent memory, "Crush the Skull" seems destined for cult status. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2016
33% The Congressman (2016) Though sparklingly lush Maine locales compensate for the film's TV-movie aesthetics, the story never rises above small-screen niceties. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2016
No Score Yet Paradox (2016) The temporal puzzle is enough to distract from the artless direction, visibly cheap set designs and tacky special effects. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2016
89% Echo Park (2016) The film's ideals of a respectful, caring suitor and a diverse utopian community with a chill vibe don't necessarily register as an escapist fantasy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2016
67% Mad Tiger (2016) In this uncritical look at the group and its music, directors Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlein put the focus on the standard reality-TV repertoire like "Making the Band." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2016
44% Pandemic (2016) He stages scenes as live-action video games to downplay the derivativeness of it all. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2016
30% Ktown Cowboys (2016) Often comes off as a guided tour of Koreatown rather than an immersive, lived-in residency. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2016
No Score Yet Hot Water (2015) The film's very legitimate concerns were more expertly explored in a 2014 series by Brandon Loomis for the Arizona Republic. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2016