Philip Martin

Philip Martin
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Author, newspaper columnist, former shortstop, songwriter and rhythm guitarist strangepup.blogspot.com
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Official Websites: blooddirtandangels.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
91/100 94% Nomadland (2021) A Western without horses or violence ,Nomadland is one of those rare films that trusts the audience to see the poetry in an ordinary woman living an unorthodox but ordinary life. It trusts us to divine the courage in Fern. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2021
91/100 98% Minari (2020) A gentle, soothing American story that carries the authority of experience and the generosity of a deeply empathetic artist turned toward home. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2021
76/100 85% Our Friend (2020) Teague's story is honest, and hard to read. Our Friend is not hard to watch, though it might be hard to follow. It feels padded, and tricked up in ways designed to make it seem deeper and more poignant. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
85/100 34% No Man's Land (2021) The rest of the movie plays out as you guess it might, but the quality of the acting is good enough to mostly make up for the script's lack of subtlety. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
92% The White Tiger (2020) My opinion is that it's terrific... This is one of the best films of the year. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
85/100 99% MLK/FBI (2021) Pollard marshals a wealth of material, archival footage, surveillance reports, FBI files (some newly unclassified) and interviews to document this outrage. That we already knew -- or should have known -- this doesn't make it any less gut-wrenching. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
93% Herself (2021) It's the sort of drama Hollywood used to make in the '70s, a showcase for fine and precisely calibrated performances. It's also Lloyd's best movie to date. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
98% The Go-Go's (2020) That it's hardly groundbreaking or seriously in-depth is likely the source of its charm -- in just under two hours it provides a surprisingly satisfying "Behind the Music"-style survey of the career of a fascinating and criminally underrated band. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2020
89/100 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Boseman is remarkable, and Domingo, Turman and Potts track and weigh his every word. There's no sense that they're waiting to deliver their next line, their alarm, their bemusement and their pity seem real. As real as our own. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
72/100 17% Buddy Games (2019) Buddy Games, ostensibly about the restorative powers of male bonding, is rote, dull and unfunny in addition to being rude and vulgar. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
45% Fatman (2020) Fatman isn't actually bad, just curiously dull in the parts where it isn't pushing its outrageousness. Which, come to think of it, are pretty dull too. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
87/100 38% Echo Boomers (2020) Echo Boomers feels a little careful, a little studied, but it's also a product of high competence, intelligence and vocational ambition... That's not to suggest that Echo Boomers is a great movie, but it is almost a great B-movie. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
85/100 70% Kindred (2020) I watched it and realized that the writer who had characterized it as an adaptation of Butler's novel was mistaken... Yet despite the initial disappointment, the Kindred that's delivered is a modestly effective piece of low-key psychological horror. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
90/100 98% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) We can get better, we can transcend. It might take some unlikely alliances, like Spike Lee and David Byrne and their collaborators, who together have made one of the two or three greatest concert movies ever. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
85/100 92% Love and Monsters (2020) Love and Monsters feels derivative and safe, with its cartoon gore and offhand fatalism. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
98% Spontaneous (2020) Spontaneous may be the best teen-oriented black comedy since 1989's Heathers. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) The film is many things, trippy, bloody, and body-morphing, but it's also a showcase for its leads, who are tremendous. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
86/100 63% The Last Shift (2020) It would have been nice had the film given Jenkins a little more to work with, but the actor is more than up to the challenge. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
85/100 68% I Am Woman (2020) While it relies on the conventional rhythms and forms of the pop music bio-pic, I Am Woman is elevated by a fine lead performance by Australian Tilda Cobham-Hervey as the young Reddy. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
87/100 69% Rent-A-Pal (2020) It's a cerebral movie-brat kind of film that makes a virtue of its shot-on-video flatness and privileges the performances of its principal actors, all of whom get a chance to shine. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
89/100 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) I like I'm Thinking of Ending Things more now than when I was watching it. Part of the reason is that I'm not puzzling over it. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
82/100 48% Unhinged (2020) It's nothing but a B movie, nothing but a chance for Russell Crowe and his partners to rake in a little late summer cash, but under the circumstances it's welcome. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
83/100 58% Tesla (2020) Comes perilously close to quirkiness. On the positive side, [Writer-director Michael Almereyda]'s enlisted Ethan Hawke, an earnest and thoroughly professional actor who is willing to risk appearing ridiculous to serve a director whom he trusts. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
88/100 76% Out Stealing Horses (Ut og Stjæle Hester) (2020) Moland's obvious model here seems to be Terrence Malick, and even if you find the movie underwhelming and confusing, you might appreciate its discrete moments of beauty, especially in the flashbacks. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2020
83/100 49% Made in Italy (2020) It's an undemanding method of whiling away a couple of midsummer hours. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
83/100 77% Summerland (2020) On whole, we should congratulate Swale and company for making an attractive movie about a woman who is nicer than she appears to be, living in a tidy town that, even though it's far from where the bombs are dropping, feels the repercussions. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
87/100 100% Temple Grandin (2010) [A] sparkling, inspirational bio-pic that -- while conventionally plotted -- has some tremendous rewards, including Claire Danes' unsentimental portrayal of the remarkable Grandin. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
85/100 82% The Painted Bird (2020) The Painted Bird is not easy to take and harder to love. But it is a work we ought to respect, an attempt to wrestle with what is evil in the world, and what is evil in ourselves. If it's not completely successful, at least it's serious. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
87/100 75% The Rental (2020) Franco is wise not to try to be too audacious, to put character and actorly craft ahead of jump scares and shocks. Despite a bit of first act clumsiness, The Rental quickly finds its feet. And dances on the edge of the abyss. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
88/100 98% Disclosure (2020) Everyone who is interested in film history will likely enjoy this engaging and surprisingly balanced work. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
83/100 78% Greyhound (2020) Feels strangely old-fashioned, despite its heavy reliance on digital technology... This minor movie might have been better if someone could have figured a way to stage it as a play, without any of the seemingly obligatory special effects. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
89/100 93% The Outpost (2020) It is one of the best American films to be released in this odd year, a patriotic chore that honors the sacrifice of ordinary men called to extraordinary service while refusing to embrace feel good triumphalism. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
91/100 98% Hamilton (2020) Hamilton is a beautiful show, a work of uncommon intelligence and musical dexterity performed with vitality and grace by a company of subtle but commanding actors. It will stir you and crush you. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
87/100 88% The Truth (La vérité) (2020) This is a deliberately small-scale movie, designed at least in part as a showcase for the magnificent Deneuve, who imbues Fabienne with a steely, devious narcissism. We are lucky to bask in her reflected light. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
86/100 94% Babyteeth (2020) Babyteeth is not a perfect film; but most of its sins are minor. Some details feel planted and the filmmakers have a tendency to quirk things up a bit, but the performances are strong, and the narrative never collapses into wallowing sentimentality. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2020
87/100 87% Shirley (2020) Stuhlbarg's Stanley is creepy without dulling his charisma, and Moss' Shirley is one of those taut-pitched performances that demand awards-season mention. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
89/100 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) It is a success because it allows Lee to stay in the game, to make his points then dance away. He might not be the Greatest, but he's in every fight, and he scores scientifically. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
80/100 61% Mighty Oak (2020) It's sunny and wistful; something to go see if that's what you need right now. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2020
87/100 88% AKA Jane Roe (2020) It's to Sweeney's credit that despite the sensational "news" broken by AKA Jane Roe, the overall effect of the movie is to make us less cynical about the woman once known as Jane Roe. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
87/100 87% The Trip to Greece (2020) It's dazzling. It's very funny. It's not real. I think. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
89/100 100% Driveways (2020) It is quiet and earnest and less than 90 minutes long. And if you watch it, it will make you feel better. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2020
88/100 94% Bad Education (2019) This is a great vehicle for Jackman, who reminds us that he isn't just a movie star gliding along on goodwill and magnetism, and Janney, who slides effortlessly from competent graciousness to hot filament fury. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2020
21% Seven Days In Utopia (2011) A nice movie that means well and won't hurt anybody. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2020
87/100 47% Arkansas (2020) Duke does a good job managing this film -- it's divided into five chapters, which helps with the chronology -- and he either works well with actors or has good instincts in hiring them. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2020
88/100 92% The Assistant (2020) Not every capable actor could pull this off. There's a reserve and intensity to Garner that makes her watchable, even as she collates scripts and attends to other mundane tasks. An animating intelligence plays on her face even as she declines to react. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
87/100 41% The Quarry (2020) The Quarry is more a work of craft than art, but it is satisfying in the way well-made, modest things can be. It's worth your attention. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
87/100 83% Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2020) It has great performance footage, interesting talking heads, and freighted music. It feels sentimental and bittersweet, with Robertson coming across as a thoughtful, respectful, vaguely professorial figure. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
90/100 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) It's a symphony of artful images. I'll let more confident (or less male) critics comment on whether Sciamma is pursuing some "female gaze" distinct from what my lying eyes tell me and just say it's a beautiful, deeply sensual film. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2020
83/100 36% Seberg (2020) There is a reason to see Seberg -- it's a nervous and tender performance from Kristen Stewart that's probably the best thing anyone's done for Seberg since Luc-Godard made her immortal. I just wish it had been in a better film. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2020
86/100 33% Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words (2020) The whole idea of the movie is to show Thomas as an avuncular gentleman of high principles and ideals... There's no pretense otherwise, and though I guess you could call this agitprop, it's a very honest kind of agitprop. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020