Norman Wilner

Norman Wilner
Tomatometer-approved critic

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
4/5 93% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) If it's strange to imagine a blockbuster CG franchise distilling itself down to tiny, pure moments of feeling, you haven't been paying attention. These movies have always been about connection and empathy... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
75% Ramen Shop (Ramen teh) (2018) Tan Fong Cheng and Wong Kim Hoh don't do anything innovative with their very simple premise, but Ramen Shop always remains engaging thanks to its delicate atmosphere, lived-in performances and exquisitely detailed food preparation. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
4/5 68% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) ...through it all, Rothe delivers another star turn... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
2/5 59% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) If this thing winds up launching a franchise, I hope Cameron is willing to direct the next one. He really is the only person who can make his own stuff sing. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
4/5 86% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Full of off-centre jokes and visually spectacular backgrounds, the sequel is also a really fun musical. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
2/5 45% The Prodigy (2019) Poor Colm Feore turns up as a specialist, delivering two laboured info-dumps and squirming through a therapy scene that could have been - and begs to be - staged as comedy. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
4/5 100% The World Before Your Feet (2018) If The World Before Your Feet never gets to the psychological breakthrough it seems to be chasing, it's a very enjoyable slice of quixotic cinema, tagging along with a cheerful monomaniac... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
4/5 93% High Flying Bird (2019) We get to hurtle alongside [Holland], trying to figure out what it all means and enjoying the hell out of the ride. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
2/5 72% Cold Pursuit (2019) You're better off catching In Order Of Disappearance on Netflix and waiting for Cold Pursuit to join it. The new one just loses so much in translation. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
4/5 100% Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019) It's smart, funny and packed with interesting people clearly delighted to be talking about their work and the movies they love - even if that love comes with the knowledge that the movies might not love them back. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
4/5 No Score Yet Extreme Job (2019) As in any great comedy, the story grows more complicated as it unfolds, and as Extreme Job races along a couple of its stars emerge as MVPs... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3/5 89% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) The movie's target demographic won't be bothered. They'll be delighted by the heroics, the adventuring and the nifty, quirky physicality with which Imrie and Stewart perform Merlin's magic tricks. And maybe that's as it should be. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
3/5 83% Brexit (2019) The movie's perspective is simplistic, depicting most of Cummings's comrades on the Leave side as caricatures. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
1/5 37% Glass (2019) This is what happens when a stunt becomes canon. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 91% Hal (2018) I usually complain that most movies could lose 20 minutes or so. Some of them should be longer. This is one of those. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) ...done with sensitivity and subtlety. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
1/5 31% Welcome to Marwen (2018) Welcome To Marwen is one of the worst movies about trauma I've ever seen - a terrible film made with the best of intentions, oversimplifying the devastating story at its core for cheap sentiment or inexplicable action beats. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
3/5 65% Aquaman (2018) Is it too long? Yeah, probably. Does it contradict some of the things we learned about Aquaman in the Justice League movie? Nothing important. The elements that work far outweigh the ones that don't. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
4/5 99% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) Using elaborate digital restoration techniques, director Peter Jackson brings the past to life in an almost stirring way - and reminds us that his instincts as a storyteller can still be formidable. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
2/5 66% Vice (2018) There's just not much here besides repeated howls of outrage at Cheney's disregard for protocol, transparency and common decency as he shifted power from the Oval Office to his own... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
3/5 94% Lifechanger (2018) McConnell's digging into something disturbing and more uncomfortable than his previous work has been willing to explore, something that feels as ugly as Drew's victims look. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
4/5 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) For all the spider-chaos, it's really Miles's story - and it's a great one. There hasn't been a Spider-Man movie like this before. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
4/5 95% Blaze (2018) Blaze might be telling a story we've seen before, but it does so from an angle that offers a few surprises. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) You don't get Blanchett, but you do get Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie interpreting historical drama as empty pageantry instead. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2/5 72% On the Basis of Sex (2019) It's reductive and simplistic, and honestly the idea that anyone going to see a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want something this timid is pretty insulting. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
3/5 78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Blunt's performance pays homage while giving it her own special oomph. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2/5 20% Hospitality (2018) Even at 80 minutes, it's half an hour too long. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
4/5 77% Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) Mostly, though, Anna And The Apocalypse is Anna's show, and Hunt makes every beat count. She carries the character's emotional arc as confidently as she handles the stunts and splatter effects. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
4/5 94% The Favourite (2018) When it comes time to take stock of the damage, it's almost shocking. Which is precisely the point, of course: it's all fun and games until someone loses their soul. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
4/5 67% The Go-Getters (2018) I can honestly say Pirie's pint-sized Wolverine act - and Abrams's willingness to be beaten to a pulp in the service of a laugh - are oddly complementary, and shouldn't be missed. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
1/5 14% Stan Helsing (2009) This atrocious excuse for a horror spoof makes [Friedberg and Seltzer's] slavish, cheap-ass parodies look like high-minded cultural commentaries. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2018
3/5 71% De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates) (2010) It's only when the film needs to get serious... that it comes up a little short. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2018
3/5 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) There's also that nagging lack of substance that grows more frustrating as the movie lumbers along - a sense that this movie only exists because Disney had a slot to fill on its release schedule... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
3/5 84% Creed II (2018) It may struggle in the other departments, but Creed II is a really satisfying Rocky movie. It's just that I think I prefer the Creed movies now. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
4/5 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) At Eternity's Gate is not the first film to dramatize the final years in the life of Vincent Van Gogh, and it won't be the last. But this one tries to put us inside the artist's head, showing us his struggle to understand the world... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
3/5 81% Instant Family (2018) I really wasn't expecting much from Instant Family. I'm glad I was wrong. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
3/5 90% A Private War (2018) A surface-level biopic that occasionally finds something more profound. This is largely thanks to Rosamund Pike's fully present performance, and less so to Heineman's efforts to amp up the conflicts that defined Colvin's life and career. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
2/5 59% The Front Runner (2018) Imagine, if you can, a movie that insists politics was better before politicians could expect to be held accountable for their actions. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
4/5 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Even if you watch it on your phone, there's an integrity and a weight to the thing that lingers long after the last page is turned. And a couple of awfully catchy songs. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
2/5 63% Outlaw King (2018) As the film grinds on, with Robert and his men moving from one grim battle to the next, it becomes apparent that Mackenzie's only interested in the fighting. All the character work established in the first half is just discarded... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/5 81% Overlord (2018) It could have been a little tighter, and I kinda question the wisdom of releasing this on Remembrance Day weekend, but if you're looking for chaos, explosions, goop and machismo, Overlord has all of those things by the bucketload. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
3/5 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) The scale of the story is still ludicrous, with a simple hacking job turning into a race to save the world from nuclear annihilation...but when Alvarez finds the right gear, it's enjoyably so. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
3/5 83% The Other Side of the Wind (2018) For my own part, I was fascinated. It's a film I never thought I'd get to see, and the opportunity to spend two more hours in the company of Welles is invaluable. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
4/5 No Score Yet Take Light (2018) There's a lot to take in, and Nakhai and DOP/editor Rich Williamson let it all flow elegantly, tying data to human stories rather than cold statistics. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
3/5 61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Contradictions. All I know for sure is that Queen was a magnificent band, Freddie Mercury had an incredible voice, and Radio Ga Ga is still a banger. I knew those things going into Bohemian Rhapsody, but it was nice to see it confirmed. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
2/5 65% Suspiria (2018) Suspiria is a gentle drift through some unsettling ideas about gender, destiny and evil that intellectualizes them into abstractions. It's interesting, sure, and occasionally quite striking... but it's never as upsetting as it wants to be, or as profound. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
4/5 98% Science Fair (2018) Crisply edited, brightly scored and always open to capturing little flashes of idiosyncrasy, this is exactly the sort of movie we need in this awful anti-intellectual moment. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
3/5 88% What They Had (2018) A well-made movie with a cast of fine actors giving strong performances. It's a sensitive treatment of an important issue. And yet, in the end, it just sort of sits there, unable to distinguish itself among all the other projects about dementia... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/5 63% Bel Canto (2018) Stick with Bel Canto, even through the sluggish parts, and you'll find it knows exactly what it's doing. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/5 88% Room For Rent (2017) Let's not kid ourselves: this is Little and Gelman's picture all the way. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018