Michael Calleri

Michael Calleri
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I have been reviewing movies in metropolitan Buffalo for three decades. I have written for weeklies as well as my current daily newspaper, the Niagara Gazette. I have been with the daily Niagara Gazette for almost six years. For ten years, I was the movie critic on the CBS television affiliate in Buffalo. I also currently appear on the radio doing a weekly review segment. I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. When not watching movies, I collect, study and write about art glass paperweights.
Publications: Niagara Gazette

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
39% Wendy (2020) Is this all a dream? Or is it merely the imaginative manifestation of the nighttime story the mom has been telling her children? We are in the land of magical realism. We are compelled to follow the adventure, but things begin to fragment. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2020
87% Onward (2020) Ian and Barley then do what alluring adventurers must do best. They go on an extended quest. We're watching an appreciation of magic and magical spells, as well as a road movie. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
34% Seberg (2020) There is literally no sense of who Jean Seberg was. No understanding of her vitality and importance. Her passion for acting is given lean brushstrokes. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
90% The Assistant (2020) From the lowest worker bee to production executives, there is a sliver of fear emanating from all of them. They don't quite cower, but they do shiver. This is a film about a culture of dread. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
76% Buffaloed (2020) I've seen movies set on Mars that are more in touch with their location than "Buffaloed." - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
74% The Gentlemen (2020) This brings me to the scalawag in the syrup ( ... ) Fletcher, a curious sort with a gleam in his eye, who pops about taking photographs of everybody we're watching. [Fletcher] is acted by a terrific Hugh Grant. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
40% The Song of Names (2019) Drama isn't supposed to be comfortable. Comedy is comfort food. Drama is for adults who can handle a few roadblocks. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2020
58% A Rainy Day in New York (2019) One result of this chaos is Elle Fanning, Timothee Chalamet, and Selena Gomez giving wonderful performances in a sparkling motion picture that is not being seen in the English-speaking world. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
83% Just Mercy (2020) The movie roars to life because of the performances by a cast that shares the director's passion. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) The movie is weakened by two elements. The first is that following Schofield and Blake falters because neither young man is particularly interesting or has a good story backing up his character. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
71% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) [It] isn't in the running for best sequel, but it is in the running for enjoyable entertainment frivolity. "Jumanji" The Next Level" is a pleasant reason to get the family out of the house and into a movie theater. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2019
20% Cats (2019) You need to suspend disbelief. Don't fight the visuals. Movies can be fantasies, and "Cats" is one heck of a fantasy. The film is better than the stage production because it's more expansive. The action is opened up. The singing is gorgeous. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2019
92% Uncut Gems (2019) Through it all, [Adam] Sandler's Ratner bobs and weaves and fast talks his way in and out of corners, until the rooms in which he lives, works, and plays are all metaphorically round. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2019
76% Richard Jewell (2019) ["Richard Jewell"] does a disservice to the young security guard who loved law enforcement and only wanted to save people's lives. Whatever his motivations, [Clint] Eastwood draws attention away from Jewell, which fragments the movie. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
70% Bombshell (2019) "Bombshell" tells a riveting story about how women should not be afraid, but must choose to be fearless. The understanding is that they are not alone. There's a rich honesty in its approach to what is now television history. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
95% Marriage Story (2019) [The] couple is, in fact, drifting apart. Why? It's probably best to write only that she's partly to blame and he's partly to blame. Marital bliss is a greeting card phrase. Moods change. Ideas change. Goals change. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2019
83% Waves (2019) Drew Daniels' cinematography plays with the Florida light perfectly and, when necessary, switches that glow to darkness with brilliant choices. Director Shults co-edits with Isaac Hagy. Both truly understand how small cuts can speed up tension. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2019
72% The Aeronauts (2019) Of course, it's frigid up there, but Amelia and James make do without gloves, hats, or auxiliary oxygen. I didn't believe the goings-on for a second. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
97% Knives Out (2019) Johnson plays somewhat by the rules of the genre, but he overwhelms the fun by holding his characters up to ridicule. Each of them is overstuffed with troubles and tribulations. The coolest cat is playboy Hugh Ransom Drysdale (an eager Chris Evans)... - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
63% The Good Liar (2019) There are numerous sequences with Mirren and McKellen acting against each other, and these moments crackle. There's great satisfaction in watching a well-made, richly-detailed mystery that tells a carefully constructed story. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
94% Honey Boy (2019) And, in an astonishing act of upending the very table upon which art sits imitating life, [LaBeouf] has cast himself as his own emotionally cruel, psychologically demanding, and abusive father. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
96% The Irishman (2019) "The Irishman" is a thrilling theatrical experience with wonderful touches showcasing how masterful Scorsese is. Every aspect of the movie is crafted with precision. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
80% Cold Brook (2019) "Cold Brook" is proof that solid character-driven films can be made on a small budget, and with maximum talent. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
86% Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019) The film delivers high-speed tabloid journalism and rolls along swiftly. It's jammed with information that make shock the unknowing. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
73% Harriet (2019) Starting with a magnificent, Oscar-worthy Cynthia Erivo as slave Harriet Tubman, the entire flawless cast assists director Kasi Lemmons and her co-screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard in measures that are both inspirational and remarkable. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho's "Parasite" contains everything that's exciting about his films: a grand fluidity of camera movements and a framing of shots that makes you look into corners just in case something's lurking. B - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) Salvador knows he has to stop making mistakes and find the key to a rebirth of his many passions - filmmaking, love, friendships. Much of what Banderas is called upon to do is act from an interior point-of-view. He does so brilliantly. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) "Jojo Rabbit" has many surprises in store for moviegoers ready to ride along with [Taika] Waititi's strikingly original screenplay. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2019
90% The Lighthouse (2019) It's very clear that both men are lonely. A sense of eroticism pervades what becomes maniacal behavior. The necessary closeness of their living conditions provokes anger. Is Thomas jealous of Ephraim's youth and beauty? - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2019
22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) There are times when the movie feels untethered to how people would actually behave, but films aren't real life even if there're based on actual events. I was willing to let Hawley tell his kind of story. I didn't mind its ragged moments. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2019
68% Joker (2019) Phillips and Silver have no interest in how [Arthur] can rid himself of the clutter that corrupts his existence. They're only interested in chaos; however, they don't elevate the chaos into a meaningful narrative, they pander to the audience with it. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
84% Ad Astra (2019) There are a few compelling moments in this science-fiction drama, which is set in the not too distant future. Overall; however, it doesn't break out of the traditional narrative confines of other adventures in outer space. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
82% Judy (2019) The singing of ["Over The Rainbow"] is an emotion-wracked moment in a movie filled with stalking shadows of pain and luminous glimpses of the magic that was Garland. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
24% The Goldfinch (2019) I enjoyed where scenes take place [.] Every setting belongs. Every character is believable. Theo's turmoil, as both a child and young adult, from crushing loss to his learning shocking truths, is palpable. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
84% Downton Abbey (2019) The movie edition of "Downton Abbey" is moderately entertaining - unless highly embroidered female costuming is your passion, which might send it into the stratosphere for you. Newcomers definitely need a scorecard to know who's who [.] - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
89% Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) She was one of the most successful, influential, and versatile female singers of the latter half of the 20th-century. Because of mentoring by Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris has a career. The Eagles owe their existence to her. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
83% Official Secrets (2019) The movie blends two key elements that have the potential to create an engaging thriller: dirty little secrets and journalists willing to expose those secrets. This potential blossoms into a supercharged film. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
98% Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles (2019) This documentary film feels like a joyous and edifying game of musical chairs. The one left standing is the monumental 1964 Broadway juggernaut, "Fiddler On The Roof." - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
57% Piranhas (La paranza dei bambini) (2019) The well-made "Piranhas" ("La paranza dei bambini") follows a roving band of out-of-control teenagers (some even younger) carrying out juvenile crimes in Naples, Italy, which is a city of extreme conditions, chaotic energy, and deep secrets. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
88% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) "Brittany Runs A Marathon" gives away its premise in the title, but truth be told, nothing is actually given away. The movie, written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, delivers surprises and emotional complexity at every turn. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
91% Luce (2019) Directed by Julius Onah, and co-written by him and J. C. Lee, the beautifully constructed and sublimely acted film never panics. Its ideas are credible, its pacing perfect, and its resolution actually dares to flow from its mission of truth-telling. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
44% After the Wedding (2019) I'll keep all of the secrets and praise all of the acting. Writer-director Bart Freundlich (Moore's real-life husband) has remade a 2006 Oscar nominee from Denmark and has added post-nuptial surprises. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
87% The Nightingale (2019) Director [Jennifer] Kent and cinematographer Radek Ladczuk have created a world that tempts the Furies. Tension drips throughout the forest, metaphorical darkness pervades every living soul. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
96% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) The film has a central character, who's not only appealing on an essential story level, but he's also so utterly different from what we're used to seeing on-screen that much of what we encounter is a crowd-pleasing revelation. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) In "Blinded By The Light," which is a tribute to both teen-age determination and Bruce Springsteen, Javed discovers music that alters his sense of self, his entire reason for being. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
98% Maiden (2019) What you especially appreciate about [Tracy] Edwards is her fierce love of boating and her steely resolve to succeed. You watch the riveting film and wonder how anyone could have doubted that she would, indeed, sail around the world. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
90% Tel Aviv on Fire (2019) The movie "Tel Aviv on Fire," as directed by Palestinian Sameh Zoabi, who was born near Nazareth and teaches at New York University, is a genial farce in the French style. Zoabi cowrote the well-structured screenplay with Dan Kleinman. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time In...Hollywood" is a fable showcasing all you need to know about a director whose movies are worth seeing. He's a challenging artist with unique insights, not a panderer parading plastic sequels. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
98% The Farewell (2019) Writer-director Lulu Wang knows exactly how to keep every element of her exceptional movie - drama, comedy, emotions, secrecy, and familial love - perfectly balanced. The dialogue is always crisp and the occasional slapstick is flawless. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
95% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Part engaging history lesson and part riveting detective story, the goal of Green's movie is to correct the historical record and declare that, after more than a century, a cultural and creative pioneer has earned her time in the spotlight. - Niagara Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019