Peter Hartlaub

Peter Hartlaub
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/4 94% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) "The Last Black Man" is a strikingly immersive movie, a slow burn filled with subtleties and nuance, with its message nestled in the details as much as the greater story. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019
3/4 89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) It's like combining the anything-can-happen excitement of playing a slot machine, with the grace of a ballet, and the prolonged and escalating violence of a good gladiator battle. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019
2/4 66% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Despite attempts to cultivate mainstream appeal, the returns are diminishing, especially during the action-heavy and uninspired third act. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2019
2/4 17% Hellboy (2019) At two hours, "Hellboy" feels closer to three. And yet there still seems to be something missing. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
44% Jennifer's Body (2009) But while the movie is almost always pleasing, it never develops very much momentum. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
89% O.G. (2018) An A-plus character study, matched with an actor who is more than up for the challenge. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
2/4 69% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) The "Happy Death Day" franchise isn't going to revolutionize filmmaking. But the uplifting vibes - and occasionally absent slasher - haven't come close to overstaying their welcome. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
2.5/4 45% What Men Want (2019) Ignore any voices in your head telling you not to go see this funny and entertaining film, and be ready for a pleasant surprise. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
3/4 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) "The Lego Movie" remains one of the most consistently humanizing franchises in the realm of family-friendly movies. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
1/4 65% Aquaman (2018) Another disappointing entry in the DC Comics cinematic universe. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
4/4 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) If this kind of risk-taking and artist-driven creativity can exist in Hollywood's biggest money-making genre, then our superhero movie future is filled with hope. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
3/4 52% Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) "Mowgli" confirms that hard work and cunning, not good songwriting skills, are the best assets for survival in an increasingly cruel world. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2018
3/4 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) "Ralph Breaks the Internet" is almost always inspired in the moment. The story team has a good idea that worked in the first film and gives us more of that, in a much bigger playing field. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
2.5/4 37% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) By the time we reach the unsatisfying cliffhanger ending, there's little to look forward to. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
2/4 59% The Grinch (2018) This film is the equivalent of your third or fourth favorite present on any given holiday. It will entertain a few children in the moment, satisfy a few adults who are barely paying attention, then quickly be forgotten. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
3/4 79% Halloween (2018) Curtis makes an all-in return to the Strode character, and the filmmaking team builds a solid framework around her, in the propulsive and entertaining new "Halloween." - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
2.5/4 48% Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) Go with modest expectations and a kid who can't wait to see the film and you'll have a pretty good time. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
3/4 76% Smallfoot (2018) It's a chore to get through the beginning, but builds a strong story, and leaves legitimate good feelings on the way out of the theater. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2018
2/4 66% The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Technically it's a very solid movie, but tonally it has problems, which build with each similarly dark and unsettling scene. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2018
3/4 32% The Predator (2018) Best of all, Black understands the geography of an action sequence, and the advantage of an R rating. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
2/4 13% Peppermint (2018) It's all very satisfying, in a visceral way, like the feeling you get after finding the housefly that's been buzzing around your head since three in the morning and crushing it with a rolled-up Sporting Green. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
2/4 56% The Bookshop (2018) "The Bookshop" isn't an especially good film, but there's no shortage of good in it. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
1/4 23% The Happytime Murders (2018) Although "The Happytime Murders" isn't much fun to watch, it was clearly a blast to make. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3/4 91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) "Crazy Rich Asians" isn't just a good Hollywood movie for the Asian American population, and one that is overdue by about 24 years. It's a good movie, period. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
3/4 73% Christopher Robin (2018) Movies like Christopher Robin don't come around that often any more, and they're good for the soul. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
4/4 99% Eighth Grade (2018) "Eighth Grade" is a beautiful and uncompromising piece of art, from a distinctive new talent. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
2/4 61% Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) Tartakovsky is a talented visual filmmaker, and "Hotel Transylvania 3" showcases some of the best work of his career. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2018
2/4 49% Superfly (2018) In the end, it feels as if both Superfly and the audience got their money's worth. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2018
2/4 69% Ocean's 8 (2018) While the individual moments work, the whole of the movie feels a bit too procedural, and not personal enough. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2018
3/4 87% Upgrade (2018) Whannell is clearly enjoying writing and directing his own project, and it shows in the finished product. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2018
2/4 72% Personal Best (1982) [Robert] Towne's direction can be frustrating - at one point Donnelly and Hemingway run up a sand dune for what seems like five minutes - but the result is 50 percent more realistic than the average sports film. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2018
0/4 16% Show Dogs (2018) Make a stand to Hollywood and vote with your wallet: We all deserve a better live-action talking-dog movie than this. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
32% Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Fahrenheit 451 rarely feels imminent, even as it aims for a modern truth. Thankfully, the movie is always watchable. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2018
1/4 24% Overboard (2018) As more ethical lines are crossed, and the felonies being committed during the ruse multiply, "Overboard" seems more twisted than funny. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2018
3/4 83% Ghost Stories (2018) The filmmakers trust the audience, and benefit from a trio of excellent performances by the subjects of each story. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2018
2/4 22% Midnight Sun (2018) With modest production values throughout, "Midnight Sun" feels like four or five episodes of a pretty good drama on the WB network in 1997. In other words, something you used to get for free. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2018
1/4 39% The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018) The actions of the family in Prey at Night rarely acknowledge logic, and often seem to be deliberately mocking common sense. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2018
3/4 81% Early Man (2018) There's a sense of innocence and ingenuity and a central wholesomeness that remains throughout the film. "Early Man" is escapist fun. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
3/4 63% Peter Rabbit (2018) When the last stick of dynamite goes off, and the last human is electrocuted, it's hard not to walk away thinking "that movie was so much better than I expected." - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
1/4 14% Winchester (2018) Even the scares, too infrequent for this type of film, have a consistent misdirection that becomes tired and predictable. The ending tries to be thoughtful, but there's not enough investment in these characters to care. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
3/4 52% Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (2018) "Bilal: A Brand New Breed of Hero" took forever to get here, and probably will be missed by the masses. It deserved a better fate. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2018
1/4 24% Forever My Girl (2018) It all feels a little bit off, as if every third scene was cut out randomly, and every camera angle came down to a fourth choice. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2018
1/4 30% Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) These are presumably independent young adults - most of the lead actresses are in their 30s now - continuing to wrestle with 18-year-old problems. And when they finally take the stage, it's hard to care. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017
4/4 97% Coco (2017) What a joy to watch "Coco," filmmaking that actively sandbags the viewer, with the emotions of a starving artist and the mind of a pool hustler. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2017
1/4 21% Daddy's Home 2 (2017) By any standard, every person in the world of Daddy's Home 2 would be scarred for life by the events in the film. The real happy ending is that no one in the audience has to go home with these people. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2017
2/4 30% A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) "A Bad Moms Christmas" is predictable and ridiculous and lame, but here we are, cracking up at the moms twerking with a department store Santa Claus again. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2017
2/4 76% Thank You for Your Service (2017) As a piece of cinema, "Thank You" is flawed, with a structure and pacing that dull the viewing experience, even as the message drives through. It's a great discussion starter, but not a great finished product. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
3/4 88% Only the Brave (2017) Only the Brave weaves together wholesome plot threads that will please mainstream crowds. But it is also boldly staged, with an inventive and informative approach to action filmmaking. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2017
3/4 90% Stronger (2017) "Stronger" always feels right in the moment, solidified by an outstanding central performance by Gyllenhaal, and some wonderful ensemble work, especially the actors just below the top billing. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2017
2/4 55% The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) "Lego Ninjago" has three directors, with eight credited writers. An honest effort is still being made, but the committee approach is felt on screen. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017