Melissa Anderson

Melissa Anderson
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
97% Gunda (2020) While Gunda exhibits tremendous empathy, it does not indulge in anthropomorphism or court sentimental responses. To further preempt such mawkishness, Kossakovsky shot it in b/w. The pink body of a piglet is thus less likely to elicit awwww than awe. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2021
84% Clockwatchers (1998) A downbeat yet pungent comedy about the indignities of temp life, the film keenly dissects the tenuousness of camaraderie forged among those deemed disposable, and quietly but unequivocally diagnoses the ills of end-of-millennium corporate culture. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2021
50% Rosebud (1975) I am drawn not to the heights of Preminger's oeuvre but to the oddities and misfires that clot his late-period output...his penultimate movie, Rosebud, offers some thrills, especially for those who cherish incongruities. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2021
87% Born in Flames (1983) An invaluable document of cruddy Koch-era New York... Born in Flames boldly takes on the blind spots that plagued New Left ideologies - namely, sexism, classism, and racism, obtuse attitudes that still dog today's "progressive" movements. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2021
98% Minari (2020) Compassionate, composed, and largely scraped of sentimentality, Chung's warm act of recollection seeks not to exalt or vilify but to empathize. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
100% Nationtime (1972) Although Nationtime hews closely to the conventions of nonfiction filmmaking-a fly-on-the-wall perspective dominates-the documentary showcases Greaves's gifts for capturing the ways that energy shifts and ricochets among groups of people. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2021
100% Just Don't Think I'll Scream (Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle) (2020) While the visual component of Just Don't Think I'll Scream is characterized by the unrecognizable, the arcane, the audio element coheres as a stream of facts, dates, events, lucid thoughts and connections. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
69% Ammonite (2020) A tale of corsets and cunnilingus, this sapphic drama illustrates the problems that arise when the message becomes the medium...its outrage over injustice is as blunt as its sex scenes, which have the estranging effect of being both explicit and opaque. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
21% Stardust (2020) Stardust reaches a nadir in the already debased genre of rock-star docudramas. Low-budget LARPing, the film may be most memorable for the number of wigs that seem to have been scraped out of the bottom of a Party City remainder bin. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
100% Room at the Top (1959) One of the bleakest movies I know, Room at the Top also ranks among the sultriest: a wildfire smoldering in a desolate landscape. Director Jack Clayton deftly showcases the lust-drunk faces and entangled bodies of protagonists Joe and Alice. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
85% Martin Eden (2020) In his brash, vivid adaptation, Pietro Marcello has unmoored the text from its original country and era, boldly reimagining Jack London's alter ego as a Neapolitan seafarer in a deliberately imprecise time, roughly post-World War I to the 1970s. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
93% Irma Vep (1996) An exhilarating film that happens to be about moviemaking itself, Olivier Assayas's sinuous, kinetic, waggish Irma Vep is an oblique, supremely enjoyable course in movie history. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
100% Losing Ground (1982) Defined by a nimble élan and piercing wit, Collins's movie ranks as one of the best about a marriage between two ambitious members of the creative class. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
56% Sibyl (2020) A film filled with quick-witted observations about vanity and delusion (self- and otherwise), Sibyl bracingly concludes with no moral to impart, no character truly redeemed. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
64% Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains (1981) Corinne's inconsistencies play out in a film that abounds with them, tensions and discrepancies that likely reflect the conflicting visions of its makers but that take nothing away from the movie's feral vigor. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
98% Fourteen (2020) The rare movie that intelligently and compassionately honors the push-pull dynamic between two young women, a pair of Brooklynites whose tight bond began when they were children but is starting to fray. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
93% My Favorite Season (Ma saison préférée) (1996) My Favorite Season-Deneuve's third film with director André Téchiné, and which he cowrote expressly for her-gives the actress one of the richest, most equitable relationships she's ever shared with a male co-lead. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Refusing to grandstand, Hittman has made a vital film about the perils of female adolescence in a country rank with hypocrisy, hysteria, and worse about sexually active young women. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2020
87% I Was at Home, But... (Ich war zuhause, aber...) (2020) Schanelec creates a subdued, cryptic domestic drama-one denuded of the histrionics typically associated with the genre but one that nevertheless gives a real sense, if only in glimpses, of the burdens and joys of this Schöneberg household. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
63% New York, New York (1977) The look and sound of 'New York, New York' may rapturously bring to mind any number of postwar MGM marvels. But its mood suggests outtakes from a scorching psychodrama, rushes from a documentary of a couple imploding. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
92% Beanpole (Dylda) (2020) Balagov, in thrall to the debased visual motifs of depicting agony, ends up banalizing the women and the era he wishes to honor. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
68% Little Joe (2019) Just as the formal and technical aspects of Little Joe ensure its consistent mystery and surprise, so too does the film's genre fluidity guarantee that no one theme is overinvested with meaning. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) If the film lurches at times with schematic dudgeon-devolving into a checklist of coolly outraged points to be made-it also gloriously blooms as a tale of lesbian ardor. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
96% Atlantics (2019) Diop's film, her first feature, isn't only one thing or beholden to a sole genre. Nested within this tale of the reanimated dead is a mythic romance and a coldly furious allegory about the migrant crisis. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
95% The Irishman (2019) This opera seria about decay is handled with utmost brio, vivified by the signature élan of one of American cinema's most enduring big-canvas filmmakers. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
88% Synonyms (Synonymes) (2019) Mercier, who appears in nearly every scene, is a consistently galvanic presence. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
79% Downtown 81 (2001) Viewers of 'Downtown 81' become de facto archaeologists. We peer into long-since-shuttered clubs, and gaze at rubble-filled lower Manhattan blocks where a Whole Foods or Capital One bank may now stand. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
100% Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) Flickering on a screen a century-plus later, the actors are, at the very least, no longer confined to an even greater ignominy: being forgotten. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
96% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) The profound melancholy that suffuses the film results from two artists contending with their senescence, with their prolific careers and their attendant triumphs and misfires. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
83% Ad Astra (2019) The film's Latin title means "to the stars." But the satisfactions of James Gray's project lie in a special branch of astronomy-not the study of planets, but of the supernova at the center of "Ad Astra": Brad Pitt. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
96% The Queen (1968) [A] riveting chronicle of a 1967 drag competition. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
86% Diamantino (2019) The sports-celebrity-industrial complex is merely one target of this robust, rollicking satire. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
96% Booksmart (2019) Booksmart too often seems dutiful and assiduous, as if its makers had simply followed a manual listing the proper, righteous bromides for the characters to speak. In this time-condensed rumspringa, nothing offensive, troubling, or surprising happens. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
78% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) The pleasures of Asako I & II lie in witnessing the keen understanding evinced by Hamaguchi and his cast of how genuine emotions in romantic dyads are expressed or, just as often, concealed. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
84% Her Smell (2019) Movies about self-destructing rock stars, whether based on real idols or centering on wholly invented characters, are often hackneyed. But Perry's pulsating, quicksilver film, boosted by Moss's jagged magnetism, vivifies the genre. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
82% High Life (2019) Sometimes absurd but always absorbing, Claire Denis's sci-fi adventure begins with a bit of baby talk. "Da-da," cosmonaut Monte coos to his infant daughter during their celestial voyage. It's an apt prelude for a film that drifts off into Dadaism. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
93% Us (2019) Peele seems to lay bare the tremendous anxiety among the members of this family to maintain "respectability," that odious burden so essential to racism's armature. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
33% Mapplethorpe (2019) Ultimately the movie, with its gimcrack period pageantry, cannot escape its essential conundrum: that it is subordinate, inferior to the still images that festoon it. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
82% Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite) (2019) Sorry Angel concerns several dynamic topics, namely intergenerational romance and love among men during the height of the AIDS pandemic. Yet it rarely plays like a film about churning, ungovernable life. It is instead a precious, inert gloss on lifestyle. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
82% Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (The Flight of the Red Balloon) (2007) Each character an outsider in some way-Simon owing to his age, Song to her nationality-the child and his minder form a tender dyad, one marked by reciprocated respect and curiosity. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
74% Destroyer (2018) Everywhere strain is evident. Kidman and the filmmakers are unremitting in their determination to show us the effort required to portray such a dejected, dehydrated antiheroine, a role atypical of the A-lister. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
99% Amazing Grace (2019) Although the voice of Aretha Franklin, however incomparable, may be familiar to us, it's rare to witness the sheer physical and mental exertion required to create that glorious sound. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
90% The Wild Boys (Les garçons sauvages) (2018) Deliberately, alluringly unstable and destabilizing, 'The Wild Boys' is made even more turbulent by its superabundance of references and inspirations. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
65% Suspiria (2018) Dull-witted ostentation abounds in Guadagnino's Suspiria... Suspiria 2018 assaults the eye, distresses the ear, and maligns the mind. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) An echt New York eccentric, Lee Israel onscreen has been remolded into a generically grumpy outcast, one whose miseries seem to stem from that catch-all etiology, "trust issues." - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
90% A Star Is Born (2018) Little jabs of pleasure give way to something less tingly, safer: nods of admiration. Torquing Susan Sontag's definition of camp as "seriousness that fails," I think of Cooper's movie as seriousness that succeeds, but perhaps too well or too cleanly. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
69% Ocean's 8 (2018) Throughout this desultory, dreary movie, odd lines of dialogue pop up that seem to perversely comment on the sheer superfluity of Ocean's 8. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2018
97% Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) Ross remains ever attuned to the casual grace of quotidian human actions, and the subdued splendor of nature at its plainest. Hale County is documentation as a kind of auscultation; the camera functions as a stethoscope, capturing heartbeat and breath. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
83% Women in Love (1969) Yet it is to the film's great credit that, in depicting that "puritanical insistence," heterosexuality is revealed to be the most unnatural form of coupling. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2018
71% The Misandrists (2018) An invigorating alternative not just to the unending cascade of banal queer-themed fare--if nothing else, LaBruce's outlandish scenarios activate thought experiments for those pondering a corrective to our present gynophobic kakistocracy. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2018