Neal Pollack

Neal Pollack
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Neal Pollack is the editor-in-chief of Book and Film Globe, the author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction, and a three-time Jeopardy! champion. His memoir Pothead will be published in the summer of 2020. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.
Publications: Decider, Book & Film Globe

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 97% Pig (2021) 'Pig' has an exciting main storyline and features an epically brooding performance from Cage. But the film's critique of fussy luxury food culture is its strongest hand. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 21, 2021
2/5 63% Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) If you promise us Angelina Jolie fighting fires in the first act, that promise had better go off in the third. And it doesn't. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2021
2/5 66% Wrath of Man (2021) There's a lot of action, but it's rarely exciting, because Guy Ritchie has important things to say about nothing in particular. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2021
3/5 80% Concrete Cowboy (2021) The screenplay, though it does follow some predictable beats, also takes time to linger over the themes. There are no cutaways, just smart, almost documentary-like, conversation. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2021
4/5 98% Minari (2020) Anyone who has family that comes from somewhere else, or had parents that struggled with finances and expectations for success, will be able to see a part of themselves in this very particular, very small, very American story. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2021
2/5 87% The Dig (2021) "Director Simon Stone...ends up burying a treasure of a movie under mounds and mounds of treacle." - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
4/5 99% MLK/FBI (2021) If you're going to make a documentary about the FBI spying on Martin Luther King, why leave the tastiest bits on the cutting room floor? - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2021
3/5 90% Promising Young Woman (2020) This is a weird, challenging movie, designed to make viewers squirm. At times, it feels more like a post on Medium than a film. It's about as subtle, as my late grandmother used to say, as a root canal. But you can't deny Mulligan's powerful performance. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2020
4/5 88% News of the World (2020) Texas never looked so good, apparently because Greengrass filmed the movie in New Mexico. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
4/5 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Despite a brilliant final performance from Chadwick Boseman, the movie never quite breaks free from its theatrical roots. Most of the time, it feels like an episode of PBS' 'Great Performances', albeit a really good one. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2020
4/5 93% The Twentieth Century (2020) The angular, surreal, cartoonish sets deliberately summon up the best of German expressionism. The bizarre, sometimes inexplicable side moments resemble the hallucinations of David Lynch. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
2/5 82% Mank (2020) The dialogue is stilted, the story weird and annoying. The movie reads like a self-published novel, with the difference being that the writer's son happens to be one of Hollywood's most celebrated directors. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2020
3/5 79% Synchronic (2020) Synchronic goes from a surrealistic drug-horror film into a time-traveling bromance thriller. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead balance this variety of tones with varying success and overly dim lighting schemes, but it's always interesting. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2020
3/5 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) When the movie overtly attaches itself to current events in the second half, the satirical edge gets harder and more ideological. It's effective, but suddenly the joke is no longer on Borat. It's on us. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2020
3/5 89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) "If you want to listen to the creator of The West Wing mansplain the 1960s to you, then The Trial of The Chicago 7 is your dream project." - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2020
3/5 70% Tenet (2020) As a Christopher Nolan film, it has all the warmth of a meat locker and features a Ludwig Göransson soundtrack that makes you feel like you're inside a shipping container. This is appropriate, since half the movie takes place inside shipping containers. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2020
3/5 48% Unhinged (2020) A nasty little grindhouse thriller that clocks in at barely an hour and a half, Unhinged is pretty stupid, but also an effectively unsettling satire about the unbridled anger that underlies our broken society. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
3/5 95% Palm Springs (2020) Palm Springs' major upgrade to Groundhog Day is that it takes Andie McDowell's character, gives her a personality, and includes her in the day-repeat antics. In most other ways, the film is a downgrade. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
4/5 85% Mr. Jones (2020) The tremendously interesting and subtle screenplay from Andrea Chalupa asks larger and more complicated questions than: Why did Stalin starve the Ukraine? Mr. Jones is more interested in the complicity of the West. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2020
3/5 63% Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) McAdams carries the film. She more than keeps up with Ferrell in the comedy scenes, and invests her ridiculous character, Sigrid, with tremendous wide-eyed pathos. It's a movie-star turn that brightens the room. Also, the songs are awesome. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
4/5 87% Shirley (2020) Featuring another show-stopping performance by Elisabeth Moss, Shirley is actually more effective and compelling in the second half, when director Josephine Decker tones down the trickery and lets the characters' true motivations unfold. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2020
4/5 92% The Vast of Night (2020) The movie has a feeling of dread appropriate to our times. But it also has a feeling of optimism and creativity, like the time in which it's set. It's as if David Lynch had directed Close Encounters. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
4/5 96% The Painter and the Thief (2020) A remarkable documentary in many ways. Director Benjamin Ree thought he was going to make a fun true-crime film about a wacky art heist. Instead, he's crafted a moving story of friendship between two very damaged but ultimately compassionate people. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2020
2/5 33% The Wrong Missy (2020) The Wrong Missy is a stupid, misogynistic piece of retro garbage. But it meets the low expectations it has of itself. And Lauren Lapkus is hilarious. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
4/5 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) A remarkably affecting tale of forbidden gay love, and also one of the most profound, and accurate, depictions of the artistic process ever put to film. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2020
93% What Did Jack Do? (2020) Classic David Lynch and a must-see for all Lynch lovers. From now on every movie must feature a monkey singing a love song to a chicken. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
92% The End Of The Tour (2015) By removing the artifice and mystery surrounding the writer's life, by showing the gritty and semi-depressing details, The End Of The Tour actually ends up celebrating literature in a way that no cheesy Hemingway biopic can. - Decider EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
98% Deadwood: The Movie (2019) The Deadwood movie is a deeply-satisfying and tightly-written coda to one of the best TV series ever. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
88% Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons' (2019) It was fine, a kind of lukewarm TV bath. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
81% 22 July (2018) [Paul] Greengrass spends much of his movie focusing on the recovery and healing of one of Breivik's victims. It's deeply humanist and necessary. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 50% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) [Richard] Linklater is trying to rook us all into believing this is a universally heartwarming scenario. The unfathomably wealthy can be heroes, he says. That is, until the peasants sack the White Palace that Bernadette designed. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 80% Good Boys (2019) Multiracial and shot through with conversations about "consent," Good Boys doesn't offend in the contemporary sense. But like every other mainstream studio comedy, it's shot through with class blindness. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 25% The Goldfinch (2019) The thrilling crime drama that grips the book's final third flits by in about five minutes, as the director perhaps realized that we were already at the two-and-half hour mark. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
4/5 82% Judy (2019) The scenes between teen Judy and studio head Louis B. Mayer are creepy and effective, and it well sets up the movie's corny but ultimately humanistic and effective ending. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
5/5 98% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) A masterful genre chronicle of savage injustice and a master-class in genre filmmaking from Bong Joon-ho, Parasite is a classic must-see for anyone who loves film. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 90% Shazam! (2019) Shazam! is 20 percent too long, 20 percent too sappy, and, let's face it, kinda stupid. The movie's monsters, who are supposed to be scary, just seem like typically cheap DC CGI. But little boys will love it. Little girls will love it. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 84% Her Smell (2019) The movie refuses to present a conventional narrative. Instead, it gives us a half-dozen Very Long Scenes full of nervous energy and self-importance. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 22% Dark Phoenix (2019) The action scenes are by far the best part. Some of them are genuinely exciting. But there aren't nearly enough. It's mostly just boring talk about destiny, punctuated by zero jokes. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 61% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Because [Dan] Gilroy's satire is so harsh, and so arch, the movie lacks emotional impact. Not one of the characters feels remotely sympathetic. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 93% Fighting with My Family (2019) Director and writer Stephen Merchant shoehorns [Florence] Pugh into a typical sports underdog plot... Yet despite the very familiar and familial feel, this one only lags occasionally. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 71% Triple Frontier (2019) Poor Affleck mostly hangs in the background while Hunnam and Hedlund do their weird flexing. Ben Affleck ends up being the least-grating actor in the ensemble. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
4/5 76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) Hotel Mumbai doesn't exploit. It chronicles the randomness of violence, and the ordinary heroism and decency of people forced to confront terrorism. Everyone should see this movie, because it could happen to you. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 58% The Front Runner (2018) [Jason] Reitman takes a mostly-forgotten sex scandal and turns it into a flat and maudlin lecture on media ethics. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 65% Aquaman (2018) Watching it feels like eating 10 boxes of Junior Mints while drinking a 64-ounce Icee. It cements the idea of a DC Cinematic Universe that people actually enjoy, and also the end of human sanity. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 90% Mirai (2018) The movie basically lacks a sense of humor and imaginative celebrity voice work. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 78% At Eternity's Gate (2018) At Eternity's Gate seemed to have been shot through the grimmest Instagram filter, a mournful elegy and a long whine that Philistines don't understand the True Nature Of Art. It's abstract and exclusive. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
2/5 83% The Land of Steady Habits (2018) Characters spend most of their time wandering through grocery stores and wine depots. None of it gets satirized as hard as it should. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
4/5 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) The story may be mostly true, but the movie makes it believable. It contains no flashbacks, no explanations, just narrative drive and character exposition. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 80% Boy Erased (2018) Boy Erased exists to shine a light on the horrors of conversion therapy. It does so very effectively. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
4/5 88% A Private War (2018) The war scenes have a you-are-there quality, gripping and vivid. But the scenes at the newspaper, where editors clutch their collars and say "the world needs to hear this" feel a bit self-congratulatory. - Book & Film Globe EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020