Melanie McFarland

Melanie McFarland
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
81% Black Widow (2021) In all the ways that matter to an MCU fan, Black Widow the film meets or exceeds all expectations. It is a killer action flick, and a unique viewing experience... in that I loved it, and the fact that I loved it also makes me livid. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2021
33% America: The Motion Picture (2021) Rarely have I seen a movie so confident that its audience not only revels in American benightedness but is eager to identify with it. That makes America: The Motion Picture not only a waste of time but an insult to ignoramuses. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2021
88% Zola (2021) Only Bravo's aesthetic approach to recreating this legendary road trip gone dangerously awry, blended with Harris' and King's compatible senses of humor, could result in art and entertainment this spectacular. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 30, 2021
93% Bo Burnham: Inside (2021) Maybe five years from now it, too, will be hailed as a classic. Or, once the apathy subsides and we all transition out of the liminal space between lockdown and full reopening, maybe we'll recall it, vaguely, as some decent content about and of its time. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2021
66% Friends: The Reunion (2021) The "Friends: Reunion" isn't in the business of looking back through time with brash clarity or sobering perspective. If - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2021
68% Army Of The Dead (2021) Death comes for us all, and if we're fortunate, it's a very slow walker. Enjoying "Army of the Dead" doesn't require much more than appreciating that. Our collective starvation for thrills and wonder probably sauces its appeal even more. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2021
No Score Yet Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (2021) Thanks to Brooks' resolute performance and Kenny Leon's sturdy directing style, Mahalia successfully argues for our attention. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2021
92% Tina (2021) The fact that the filmmakers don't overstuff the film with friends and experts lets her career and life speak for itself. When you look at who is featured, there aren't many more people who need to be brought in to tell her tale. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2021
71% Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) Zack Snyder's Justice League shows Snyder's evolution from a director known for emphasizing style over substance to a man who understands why we love superhero myths, whether they live in the DC Universe or Marvel's. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2021
88% Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021) Whether the star's successful performance is entirely of his own making or if as much praise is due the production's wig wrangler is hard to say. Together, though, they're probably enough. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2021
49% Coming 2 America (2021) Coming 2 America confidently moves to the comedy rhythms of where we are now. And because of its willingness to transform it is a smarter, funnier and ultimately sweeter movie than the legend that begat it. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2021
69% Moxie (2021) Moxie wants to capture the spirit of youth revolt but alas, this is without a doubt your mother's film. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
56% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) In her feature debut Day effortlessly cultivates the hunger that drove Holiday, and that passion holds together a period piece that otherwise leaves us wanting. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
57% Malcolm & Marie (2020) The message at the core of Malcolm & Marie is facile, vain and undemanding, an attempt to sell a loud, sullen tantrum about artistic work as soulful debate shot on 35 mm film. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
45% The Little Things (2021) Holding this film back is something more significant, a flaccid script written around a half-decent premise that some of the best actors currently working can sell in moments, but not as a whole. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
98% One Night in Miami (2020) Here King lets narrative ingenuity permeate each frame as she remains behind the camera, drawing us inside this circle of legends, each of whom represents distinct aspects of Black identity and struggle. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2021
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Like Ma demanded in her time, Davis claims every scene in which she's centered without dimming the performances of her co-stars. As if that were possible. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
95% Between the World and Me (2020) Coates' writing packs clarity into its lyricism, and at just shy of an hour and 20 minutes Forbes' film honors the book's relative economy while enriching every frame with poignance, augmented by Bradford Young's arresting cinematography. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2020
90% Belushi (2020) His fatal flaw was that he could never be completely satisfied. Fortunately anyone watching this documentary is bound to be precisely that. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2020
94% Crazy, Not Insane (2020) It's the names of the murderers that draw us as opposed to the doctor who spoke with them... But filmmaker Alex Gibney is careful to centralize Lewis and her work, creating a fascinating portrait in personality contrasts. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
63% Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine (2020) Happily for everyone involved and the audience, it works. This is in no small part due to Cooper knowing her audience's expectations and limitations. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) It is enormously entertaining and for the reasons listed above a healthy treatment to whatever anxieties plaguing us a little more than a week leading up to the election. Whatever faults it has aren't deadly. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2020
70% American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself (2020) The terrifying part about this documentary is that it's highly likely that any American who watches will recognize a version of themselves in here -- and Pelosi doesn't put a pretty filter on any of what her camera captures. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2020
97% What the Constitution Means to Me (2020) Between Schreck, Ciprian, and Williams What the Constitution Means to Me becomes a hopeful vision and reminder that the Constitution a living document, but one that needs to be brought alive constantly by successive generations. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) It may be messy, but it's fleet-footed and it means well, and in the way of any good caper flick it extols the virtue of breaking the law for all the right reasons, come what may. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
99% Totally Under Control (2020) It reconstructs recent history to remind us of how recently and quickly this pandemic changed life as we know it. Simultaneously, it calls attention to the many missed opportunities officials could have seized that may have altered the course we're on. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
88% Kingdom of Silence (2020) In examining Khashoggi's professional life from its beginning... to its untimely end, Rowley draws a map of how journalistic censorship can extinguish a nation's democratic ambitions almost overnight. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2020
63% This Is Paris (2020) This Is Paris isn't apt to change the minds of any Paris Hilton detractors. But as a whole, it stands as a fascinating study of what happens when a human being's personality is entirely subsumed by the construct she creates. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
52% Coastal Elites (2020) It's about as direct in its play to the anti-Trump crowd as it can possibly be. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder who actually has the stomach for Rudnick's Trump-enraged quarantine view into the left-leaning electorate psyche. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
91% Unpregnant (2020) The insouciant spirit fueling Unpregnant is admirable, in fact, and amply pumped up by Ferreira and Richardson's ebullient performances. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
81% #Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (2020) Hopefully we care about these violations. Those who don't aren't going to be moved by this movie. However, #Unfit successfully makes its case concerning why Trump's psychological instability should be of concern to the public. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
71% The One and Only Ivan (2020) Whether you think of yourself as a marshmallow or believe you have a heart of steel, there's a strong probability that The One and Only Ivan is going to make you cry... or well up, at least. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2020
87% Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn (2020) Voices past and present give Storm Over Brooklyn a piercing relevance in the here and now, whether by what they're saying or what they represent. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
63% On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries (2020) On the Trail opens the door to important conversations regarding objectivity and bias, and the deeply flawed tendency to perpetuate false equivalency in the effort to appear objective and unbiased. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
94% Black Is King (2020) Black Is King is as carefully realized a construct as Beyoncé's previous videos and visual albums with the sort of vibrant cinematography and international scope tailor made for the Disney brand. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2020
80% The Old Guard (2020) In drawing our attention to who these characters are as opposed to leaning upon the awe-inspiring moves they can pull off, the movie opts to be rich with emotional resonance as opposed to lousy with quips and explosions. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2020
100% Welcome to Chechnya (2020) An illuminative work that never feels entirely safe, placing the observer in the midst of its subjects in moments where not even they can be entirely sure they'll make it. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2020
98% Disclosure (2020) With absolute precision Disclosure makes the case that the all-too-common portrayals of transgender characters on TV over the years have contributed to this epidemic through the reckless objectification of transgender people. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Foremost among its accomplishments is the confident ease with which it traverses many shades of human experience... Lee does this by skillfully fading discrete genres into each other over the course of its two hour and 35 minute runtime. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
65% The Lovebirds (2020) It belongs in that category of movies each should ask to be left out of any career achievement retrospective montages awaiting them down the road. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2020
93% Becoming (2020) Maybe you plan to settle in for an 89-minute feel-good experience that allows you to bask in Obama's calm dignity... If that is all you desire, "Becoming" will oblige you. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
17% The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (2003) "The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer" managed to stun this critic by being substantially more dreadful that the original, and offensive to boot. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
52% A Christmas Carol (2019) It might have been successful had it included enough optimism to countervail all the misery. But Knight unwisely and a bit heartlessly chooses to forgo that kindness to sink us into the bleak of it all, and does so during the darkest days of the year. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
84% Downton Abbey (2019) Downton Abbey is basically designed to take the edge off of 2019 life, the visual equivalent of half a Valium chased by a flute's worth of champagne. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
100% The Color of Friendship (2000) Cutesy interludes don't diminish the movie's impact. "The Color of Friendship" is certainly one of the better films you'll see on the channel, and certainly worth setting aside family tube time. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
35% Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (2019) Sticks & Stones exists as a defiant design to intentionally offend large swaths of the audience Chappelle deems too thin-skinned and easily outraged.. while serving up simple, low-bar yucks to anyone yearning for validation of their anti-P.C. stance. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
87% Untouchable (2019) A clarifying documentary like Untouchable is in order, because the cascade of allegations and headlines that have spilled forth since late 2017 has resulted in a mass forgetting of how this all started. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
98% Deadwood: The Movie (2019) "Deadwood: The Movie" does precisely what everyone who has waited all these long years for it hopes it would do, capturing nearly all of its magnificence by way of a grand send-off. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
98% Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019) To African Americans it's a love letter to black culture and history, a celebration infused with intentional symbolism and artistry presented to the wider world with no apology. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
78% The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) Gibney urges us to look Holmes in the eyes for two hours. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019