Peter Canavese

Peter Canavese
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Since 1987, Peter "Groucho" Canavese has been writing film reviews and articles in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Peter authors and maintains an exhaustive website called <i>GrouchoReviews</i> and is the chief film critic for monthly <i>ON Magazine</i> (since 1995), and <i>Celluloid Dreams</i>, a weekly radio show devoted to film (<i>Celluloid Dreams</i> runs on KSJS?90.5 FM?every Monday at 5pm). Since 2009, he has regularly contributed film reviews to <I>Palo Alto Weekly</I>. His reviews have also appeared in <i>the San Jose Mercury News</i> (1991-1994), in Bay Area weekly <I>Alternate101</I> (2007-2008), and on Portland's 1190 KEX drive-time show <I>Mark & Dave</I> (2008).
Favorites:
Citizen Kane, Brazil, Duck Soup, Ikiru, North by Northwest, 8 1/2
Location: San Jose, CA
Official Websites: grouchoreviews.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2/4 59% Aladdin (2019) The results aren't exactly magical...Heck, I'd even take a low-rent theme-park version if it spared me this film's descent into the uncanny valley. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 74% All Is True (2019) An elegiac valediction for Shakespeare's genius...a celebration of the centuries of scholarship that got us here...[and] an ode to parental love, complicated as it is by ego. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
2/4 66% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) With Reynolds cracking wise and a number of frantic action sequences, this looks like an effective enough franchise launcher. But...it all feels a little too much like work. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/4 80% Long Shot (2019) Diverting enough for date night...good enough for government work. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
3.5/4 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Marvel tourists may surprise themselves how much they care...while fanatics will have a geekgasm of heretofore undiscovered proportions at what amounts to the biggest series finale ever. To put it more politely, they'll love it "times 3000." - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
2.5/4 72% Teen Spirit (2019) Serves mostly as a vehicle for star Elle Fanning, who provides her own vocals in the film's multiple vocal-performance sequences and, more importantly, provides the film its soul of quietly defiant determination. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
3.5/4 65% Peterloo (2019) [Leigh] bustles his audience into a time machine and transplants them to a time and place--1819 England--for full immersion into the physical and social landscape where a politically charged tragedy played out. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
3/4 90% Shazam! (2019) DC's answer to Marvel's Ant-Man: a family-friendly, comical comic-book adventure that never crosses the line into camp. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
2.5/4 47% Dumbo (2019) Dumbo has morphed into an fable of modernized entertainment business models and the handling and packaging of IP...strange thematic material for a PG Disney movie aimed at families...and it gets stranger. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
3.5/4 94% Us (2019) Peele's messy stew of allusive ingredients and jokey allusions...can taste overwhelming, but it gives us a helluva lot more to chew on than a Halloween reboot. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
1.5/4 42% The Wedding Guest (2019) I'll be damned if I can detect a pulse...Proves deliberately withholding, as if to punish us, along with its unlikeable characters, for expecting too much. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
3/4 78% Captain Marvel (2019) To watch another obscure hero beget a franchise-building smash-hit movie means marveling at Marvel once again. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
3/4 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The little franchise that could is all grown up and ready to leave the nest, so wipe that tear away, and say your goodbyes, kids...For now... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Silly, but..big dumb fun. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 89% Arctic (2019) While Penna shoots and edits the material well enough, its familiar paces probably wouldn't be tolerable were it not for Mikkelsen, whose grim visage crucially gives the film a racing mind and a beating heart. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
3/4 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) While adults will probably find somewhat diminishing returns in The Second Part, its cheeky variations on all the constructions that worked so well the first time also work pretty darn well, and to a good end. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
3/4 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) Labors a bit to create drama from what's essentially a gentle, wistful story of two artists together eking out a last hurrah, but there's a refreshing warmth to a family-friendly show business tale, one not about backbiting but about love... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3.5/4 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) A sweet romance this isn't, but Pawlikowski (Ida) balances the flatfooted realities of maddeningly thwarted love with swoony moments: smoky jazz clubs and songbird reveries. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
4/4 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Memorable moments come from its series of penetrating philosophical conversations... Dafoe expertly plays the keenness of Van Gogh's intellect and creativity against his searing drive, his raw emotions, and the haunting that was his depression. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
4/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) In Jenkins' sure hands, Baldwin's novel becomes an exquisite, impeccable, indelible piece of cinema of the ages. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3.5/4 67% Vice (2018) As strikingly original in form as Oliver Stone's JFK...infotaining Hollywood history that's equal parts funny and horrifying in its high-stakes political gamesmanship... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
2.5/4 82% Ben is Back (2018) Roberts' role as an intense mama bear cleverly corrupts her famous smile to an "everything's okay" mask. Ultimately, Ben is Back is about the lies addicts tell their loved ones, and those their loved ones tell themselves. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2.5/4 78% Green Book (2018) Though breezily entertaining, this cinematic vehicle also lurches into and out of the usual racial potholes, making its song of the South--and North--catch in the throat. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
3.5/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) McCarthy clearly feels a connection to Israel's outsider artistry, her utter commitment to become someone else for a few stolen moments, and her pride in a job well done... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
3/4 89% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Productively acknowledge real-life dangers, with stellar animation and designs shoring up the storytelling of Johnston and Pamela Ribon's witty script...a useful all-ages fable for our time. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
1/4 82% Instant Family (2018) Humor is subjective, of course, but the film offers this litmus test: do you laugh when a sane adult finally slaps Ellie ('You listen to me, you crazy woman!') and when another slaps cuffs on Pete? Or do you cheer? - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
2.5/4 81% Boy Erased (2018) On the side of truth, social justice, and human dignity...despite all that, Boy Erased never quite coalesces into the deeply moving and insightful film its pedigree seems to promise. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
3/4 94% Wildlife (2018) First-time director Dano, who co-scripted with partner Zoe Kazan, has a knack for capturing quotidian daily struggles as well as moments of discovery that hearten or, more often, horrify. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
3/4 69% Beautiful Boy (2018) Makes a good case for itself as the addiction movie America needs right now...[offers] a primal 'you are not alone' catharsis for sufferers under the powerful grip of addiction or with a front-row seat to it. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
3.5/4 83% Fail State (2018) Takes a cogent look at the issues, making comprehensible the complex history of American higher education, the government's shifting role in supporting it, and the increasingly corporate exploitation of the American-Dreaming underclass. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
3/4 79% Halloween (2018) Because Green loves the material enough to have some good, old-fashioned fun in this playground, he's able to bring the audience along with him. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
3.5/4 87% First Man (2018) By focusing on Armstrong's human perspective, First Man gives us a new window into the costs and benefits of taking 'one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.' - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2018
2.5/4 90% A Star Is Born (2018) Unabashed melodrama...the film's strongest moments are acoustic, not plugged-in...intimate, truth-telling exchanges between lovers who want the best for each other. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
3/4 81% Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) [A] dire accounting of the corruption of the Republican Party, the sell-out centrism of the Democratic Party, and the victimization of working-class Americans...[and] an urgent call to action. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2018
2/4 76% Smallfoot (2018) Bland... something of a thinker, even a subversive one, but it's dubious that kids will pick up on the provocation between the pratfalls and the pop songs. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2018
3.5/4 97% Pick of the Litter (2018) Informs and entertains in equal measure...not only proves thoroughly family friendly, but it's that rare moviegoing option likely to please everyone in any group. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
3/4 61% Operation Finale (2018) A functional spy thriller and, more importantly, an intriguing character study of two men shaped by hatred. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
2.5/4 92% Searching (2018) Twisty thrills also result in a climactic pileup, a resolution that strains credibility...with a dynamic leading performance by Cho, Chaganty manages an engaging popcorn suspense picture that also speaks to technology enabling and frustrating... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
3/4 86% The Wife (2018) The ultimate secret of the Castlemans' marriage isn't entirely convincing in Joan's every rationale, but Close's sheer force of acting makes it possible to believe in the character, at minimum in the emotional broad strokes. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
2.5/4 91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) By the film's climax, a $40 million wedding, conspicuous consumerism has been glamorized beyond the point of no return, and the difference between romance and showmanship becomes, at least momentarily, irrelevant. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
3.5/4 96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) Can be overtly funny in its absurdity. For the most part, however, BlacKkKlansman isn't a comedy at all, but an earnest, vintage Spike Lee joint recounting history and projecting it onto our present. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2018
3.5/4 99% Eighth Grade (2018) With Fisher's endearingly open face projecting every insecurity along the way, Kayla's journey of baby-steps self-empowerment resonates. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
3.5/4 97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) Fallout proves deliberately dizzying, not just with its oft-vertiginous action, but in its outrageous plotting, its deliriously absurd entanglements of double agents, double crosses, and just plain doubles... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2018
2/4 51% Equalizer 2 (2018) Suggests intriguing questions about the moral and ethical imperatives of justice...answers these questions with an Old Testament zeal: evil must be smitten by self-appointed good men. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
2/4 61% Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) This is the kind of lackluster animated movie at which you'll lose count of how many times the characters randomly break into dance--and that's in addition to the...not one but two dance parties incorporated into the plot. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2018
3/4 88% Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) A good time at the movies... If the first film felt more carefully laid out, the sequel succeeds in stoking some Pixar-style emotion in its family dynamics... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2018
3/4 63% Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) A straight procedural, consumed by its plot at the expense of thematic nuance. Nevertheless...a darkly compelling reminder of the multifaceted folly of our War on Drugs. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2018
2.5/4 48% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) In what starts to feel like a 'meta' running joke (or admission of creative exhaustion), the characters keep stumbling upon the leftovers of the earlier films... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2018
3/4 94% Incredibles 2 (2018) Plays it safe...another issue of the Incredibles comic book, another big-scale adventure with full-throttle action sequences, a bit of mystery, and career complications testing the structural integrity of this nuclear family of superheroes. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2018
2.5/4 69% Ocean's 8 (2018) Ross brings a reasonably sure hand and plenty of eye candy to this slick, glitzy fantasy, which is no more or less than an amiable, star-powered trifle. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2018