Radheyan Simonpillai

Radheyan Simonpillai
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 75% Stillwater (2021) Tom McCarthy has a hard time making the unconvincing thriller and procedural elements his own. They intrude on the tender and warm human drama, which is where the director behind The Station Agent and The Visitor excels. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2021
4/5 100% This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2021) Between the textures of Twala's aged but defiant face and the deep, contemplative landscapes behind her, I doubt you'll see more beautiful and awe-inspiring images this year. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2021
3/5 88% Undine (2020) Petzold's latest is an uncharacteristically playful lark - more puzzling than haunting. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2021
4/5 74% Cruella (2021) This is a Disney franchise movie about spring and fall collections, with an anti-hero weaponizing haute couture designs, which are so stunning and elaborate they are their own set pieces. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2021
3/5 95% In the Heights (2021) In The Heights is so joyous, vibrant and visually wondrous that it mostly gets away with having next to no plot. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2021
3/5 71% Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) Justice League is ambitious popcorn movie making-meets-Greek mythology that is often just satisfied bowing down to its God-like characters as they move slowly and operatically through spaces, carrying their emotional burdens. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2021
2/5 49% Coming 2 America (2021) Murphy pretty much gave up on the slyly critical comedy he built his legacy on in the 80s. But it would be more comforting to see what Prince Akeem makes of America today, rather than just watching him rest on his laurels. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2021
2/5 57% Malcolm & Marie (2020) Turning this into Levinson versus critics is giving critics too much real estate in Malcolm & Marie. The movie is just too knowingly narcissistic for that. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
2/5 90% Promising Young Woman (2020) Manipulative and nihilistic, it forces a ruthlessly honest performance from Carey Mulligan to play along with its provocative, booby-trapped plot that comes riddled with "gotcha" moments. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2021
2/5 88% News of the World (2020) A white guilt trip that awkwardly tiptoes around colonial violence and limits Indigenous characters to archetypes. They're discussed as savages or they show up as magic Indians. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2020
3/5 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) We're perfectly satisfied seeing Chadwick Boseman go big with it, even if it seems like he's performing for the audience at the back of a theatre. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2020
4/5 82% I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Charlie Kaufman writes movies about getting lost in people's heads. His adaptation of Canadian author Iain Reid's surrealist novel about about a woman going on a road trip to meet her boyfriend's parents might be the purest expression of that. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2020
5/5 94% Nomadland (2021) Fern works at an Amazon plant to afford a life with no fixed address. The bitter irony that she prepares packages she could never herself receive is especially felt during the pandemic. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2020
3/5 81% Funny Boy (2020) Deepa Mehta's screen adaptation is often admirable, or at the least fascinating, for its attempt to incorporate the book's multitudes and for the nuances it builds into a melodrama largely told in broad and obvious strokes. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
5/5 93% Residue (2020) These issues persist. And Gerima explores new ways to dwell on them. If nothing else, the feelings he drums up in Residue linger. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
4/5 100% Inconvenient Indian (2020) [Latimer] moves forward, shaping a reclamation of Indigenous identity with love, pride and camaraderie. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2020
2/5 73% Mulan (2020) Stunning deep reds from costumes and scenery almost make up for the bloodless swordplay and performances. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
3/5 70% Tenet (2020) The movie is a race against a clock that defies everything we know about time. Massively scaled sequences have time moving forward and backwards and zigzagging all at once. The action exceeds anything Nolan has ever done before. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
2/5 66% The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2021) "I'm so confused," said my 10-year-old, reacting to the movie's strange distractions and delights while barely hanging onto the throwaway plot. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2020
2/5 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) A ragged, rambling and occasionally careless movie where tangents and observations are far more compelling than the whole. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
4/5 96% Sour Grapes (2016) Hilarious, fascinating and undeniably entertaining doc. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2020
4/5 100% James VS His Future Self (2020) This is a film that savours conversational awkwardness and amorous fumblings, and takes its time developing a sentimental payoff. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2020
5/5 96% First Cow (2020) As with Meek's Cutoff, First Cow is a Western that chips away at myth, and wrestles power and history away from the lone-white-cowboy archetype. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2020
3/5 83% The Way Back (2020) The movie's parts don't necessarily come together as hoped, but they're still admirable. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2020
3/5 63% Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) As much as casting Carrey in a cartoonish villain role feels like a too-easy, nearly groan-worthy choice, the comic is great, relying not only on his rubbery face for outsized expressions but also some legit funny bits. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
3/5 76% Bad Boys for Life (2020) Bad Boys For Life's relationship to its predecessors becomes what The Irishman is to Goodfellas and Casino. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2020
3/5 76% Spies in Disguise (2019) Spies In Disguise is buoyant, zippy and pleasing to look at. With all the glitter and rainbow weaponry at Beckett's disposal, the movie doesn't want for bright colours. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2019
5/5 95% Little Women (2019) Gerwig takes big risks when she departs from Alcott's novel but stays true to its spirit. Her movie gave me all the feels. - CTV's Your Morning EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
2/5 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) The pettiness is strong with this one. - CTV's Your Morning EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2019
2/5 89% 1917 (2020) Skyfall director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins re-team for the filmmaking answer to "who can hold their breath the longest?" - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
3/5 71% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Watching Hart speak like Danny Glover is more amusing than expected. And even if Dwayne Johnson doesn't have the acting chops to pull off Danny DeVito, his efforts are still goofy enough for the kids. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2019
3/5 83% Queen & Slim (2019) A sensuous moment is repeatedly, intentionally and frustratingly interrupted by cutaways to a protest, where Black citizens clash violently with police. Even in sex, their pleasure is punctured with the strife and tension facing Black lives. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2019
3/5 53% 21 Bridges (2019) It muscles through with movie star swagger brought to you by Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman and Scarborough's own Stephan James. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
1/5 52% Charlie's Angels (2019) The post-#MeToo Charlie's Angels tries to enjoy the brand's silliness while justifying its existence today. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2019
5/5 95% The Irishman (2019) Many characters enter the movie just as onscreen text briefs us on how they die. People's deaths are introduced before they are, ensuring that every encounter carries the weight of an obituary. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
3/5 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Eddie Murphy's take on Rudy Ray Moore is also a nuts-and-bolts look at what goes into a comic performance - and it's coming from one of the world's greatest comedians. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
5/5 91% Uncut Gems (2019) The movie is dark and wickedly funny. And Uncut Gems is long but never drags; there's so much propulsive, forward momentum even when the characters never get anywhere. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
2/5 84% Downton Abbey (2019) Serves a fond nostalgia for the British monarchy in the same way that Gone With the Wind served the Old South. - CTV's Your Morning EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
2/5 84% Waves (2019) Waves doesn't seem particularly concerned about how a story about fatherhood and toxic masculinity becomes a conversation about Black fathers and Black masculinity. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
2/5 85% Just Mercy (2020) As a heroic lawyer, Jordan (who also served as producer) is more refined and dignified than all the movie lawyers (and perhaps real-life lawyers) before him. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
3/5 87% Hustlers (2019) Hustlers is a Goodfellas-style caper. But here, the fellas are easy marks. It's the women who - to quote cast member Cardi B - make the money moves. The satisfaction is undeniable. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
2/5 62% It Chapter Two (2019) Who could care for nearly three hours? Muschietti's faithful adaptation, with all its creative and creepy set pieces, can't justify that numbing run time... - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
4/5 73% Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2020) Niagara's clash between gaudy neon lights, dingy diners, shadowy alleys and general David Lynch vibes sets the stage for a mystery that may only be imagined. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2019
3/5 86% Aquarela (2019) The film is 89 minutes of undeniably beautiful iceberg, tidal waves and waterfalls. But that gets redundant...but Aquarela makes it all worthwhile for those choice sights (captured at 96fps) and sounds presented in Dolby Atmos. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
3/5 80% Good Boys (2019) What does it mean to be "good boys" in a raunchy comedy set post-American Pie, post-Superbad and post-#MeToo? I'm not accusing the filmmakers of thinking too hard about this. But the film does bear witness to a moment. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
3/5 90% Luce (2019) Luce is less an empathetic character and more an idea, a functional conduit in a plot that is eager to tee up loaded conversations about race, wokeness, over-policing and rape culture. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2019
4/5 84% Aziz Ansari: Right Now (2019) Ansari's gags, whether poking fun at himself or his gullible audience, have a soul-searching feel, as if the tainted comic is exploring where he fits amidst all these debates and controversies. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2019
3/5 98% Maiden (2019) The movie is catnip for the gender parity conversation that ends on a triumphant note. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
2/5 23% Men in Black International (2019) The two actors, with their comic charisma and cosmically good looks, worked magic together in Thor: Ragnarok. Nothing MIB International does can convince me they shouldn't headline more movies, even if it almost completely wastes their talents. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
4/5 79% Late Night (2019) It's got rom-com trappings, but the unexpected relationship here is that between a brown woman and a workplace that's behind the times. There's chemistry and fun, but Late Night never forgets that there's still a lot of work to be done. - NOW Toronto EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019