Robert DavisMovie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

Robert Davis

Robert Davis
Robert Davis's reviews (from any publication) always count toward the Tomatometer because this critic is a Tomatometer-approved critic.

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
6.8/10 91% Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) The story's world is stacked against Precious, and the movie's marketing engine is stacked against Sidibe, but in some ways those structures explain why we're hearing about this young woman in the first place. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Apr 4, 2011
76/100 83% The September Issue (2009) Filmmaker R.J. Cutler demonstrates once again that he -- as well as anybody -- can capture the interpersonal dynamics that drive a team of headstrong individuals. Or at least make us think he has. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 1, 2009
69/100 86% Big Fan (2009) A stronger director could have turned this material and its complex themes into a taut, ironic thriller. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 1, 2009
85/100 73% La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman) (2008) This subtle and compact short story affirms that the hovering hands and exquisitely layered sound design of her previous film weren't accidents but the unusually precise creations of an exciting new filmmaker. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 1, 2009
88/100 89% Inglourious Basterds (2009) Quentin Tarantino's dual loves of vengeance and cinema have never had a purer expression than the face of a Jewish cinematheque owner projected Oz-like onto the smoke of Nazis aflame. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 21, 2009
69/100 80% It Might Get Loud (2009) The film is a nice chronicle of each guitarist's rise to fame, but the much touted jam summit itself is the disappointing part, lackluster enough to function mostly as mortar between the bricks. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 14, 2009
65/100 90% District 9 (2009) For 85 minutes, District 9 is a thinking creature's action film, but its final brain-numbing half hour sacrifices most of that logic for loud blasts and unconvincing sentiment. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 14, 2009
87/100 85% Lorna's Silence (2008) Lorna's Silence is the fifth excellent film in a row from the remarkably consistent Dardennes. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 11, 2009
60/100 75% Cold Souls (2009) Giamatti gives one of his best performances, and writer-director Sophie Barthes intriguingly turns his loss of soul into a clinical, observable event. But each fertile idea gets only a few shallow iterations. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 7, 2009
74% Beeswax (2009) Beeswax is probably Bujalski's best film to date, and curiously it feels both spontaneous and carefully guided, deviously tilting the audience in favor of one of its characters while it subtly builds an equal and opposite critique. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Aug 7, 2009
65/100 80% Humpday (2009) Shelton often seems hemmed in by the high concept, but she manages to worm her way out so expertly that when it's over, the whole thing feels like it was built backwards, starting not with the premise but with the final, observant conversation. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jul 23, 2009
51/100 86% 500 Days of Summer (2009) The film bounces between the relationship's winning uplslope and its mopey descent, and the intercutting eventually kills the momentum, even though the film's rousing final minute reclaims some of the early spunk. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jul 16, 2009
60/100 84% Soul Power (2009) James Brown and B.B. King anchor this footnote in boxing history, but the film peaks near the midpoint with Bill Withers' truly soulful performance of "Hope She'll Be Happier." ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jul 10, 2009
79/100 68% Bruno (2009) Those who last beyond the first few minutes will be treated to a film that's more focused than Borat, with more jokes, less fluff, and enough social awareness to step on some toes. And it saves the best stunt for last. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jul 10, 2009
85/100 68% Public Enemies (2009) The story of the visually curious Michael Mann film Public Enemies has been told before in movies more exciting but rarely more thoughtful than this one. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jul 2, 2009
73/100 98% The Hurt Locker (2009) These men live, barely, on a cocktail of adrenaline and testosterone, and yet The Hurt Locker hones in on the fatalistic psychology of the Iraqi war zone more convincingly than any other recent film about soldiers on the battlefield. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 26, 2009
69/100 89% Séraphine (2009) During the film I craved energy, but by the end I realized that I just wanted a story that stood a bit closer to its interesting, well-played title character and a bit further from the time-marking events of historical drama. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 19, 2009
49/100 49% Whatever Works (2009) Some may observe that two of every three jokes fall flat, but I'm a little bit amazed that Allen would toss that one good third into such a sloppy story, like a fistful of prized truffles whisked quickly into a pan of Tuna Helper. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 19, 2009
80/100 87% Treeless Mountain (2009) Relying on the essentially inert performances of child actors, So Yong Kim draws on a deep understanding of how movies work but also taps into her own experiences. That's a potent combination. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 13, 2009
69/100 96% Food, Inc. (2009) At times I feel like I'm being guided by someone who not only doesn't have time to explore so many complex issues but also doesn't understand them deeply enough to know or admit when he's making dissonant compromises. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 13, 2009
56/100 79% The Hangover (2009) While I'm not ready to call the film a triumph, its approach to humor is smart enough to benefit greatly from low expectations. Which is to say, it's an enjoyable piece of trash. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 5, 2009
85/100 91% Forbidden Lie$ (Forbidden Lies) (2007) Thankfully, both filmmaker and subject approach the film as a duel. Broinowski thrusts, Khouri parries. Finding out what, if anything, is true about Khouri's story is simply the Macguffin for a filmmaker more thrilled by the hunt. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 5, 2009
78/100 67% Away We Go (2009) Away We Go breathes. Its affectless, tossed-off quality tells a lumpy story built out of a few scenes that fizzle but also a few that transcend, in part because they arrive unexpectedly from an untidy little comedy. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 5, 2009
80/100 83% Pontypool (2009) It's perfectly modulated horror of the imagination, à la Orson Welles' adaptation of The War of the Worlds, with potent ideas about what corrupts, inspires, subverts, and engages us. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jun 5, 2009
45/100 97% Burma VJ: Reporter i et Lukket Land (Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country) (2008) Ostergaard has woven stunning footage with invasive reenactments that confusingly blur the line between what's real and what's recreated, undermining the vivid, first-hand accounts that should be the film's spine. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted May 22, 2009
89/100 93% L'Heure d'été (Summer Hours) (2009) It's a lovely meditation on how objects carry history, reflect our decaying bones, and sometimes outlive us, and it's a nice change of pace for Olivier Assayas. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted May 17, 2009
65/100 37% Angels & Demons (2009) Tom Hanks chases the Will Shortz of sacrilege and death in Angels & Demons, which is better than The Da Vinci Code in every way but one. It's more fun, it's less dumb, but: it has no Ian McKellan. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted May 17, 2009
90/100 92% Sugar (2008) Some of the surprise of seeing a major new talent appear from thin air is lost in even a strong sophomore effort, but Boden and Fleck have set and met a high standard for their work. I found it sublime. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Apr 10, 2009
70/100 67% The Escapist (2008) It's swifter, grittier, and louder than the typical escape movie, but it still falls firmly within the tradition of underground breakouts. Its contrapuntal timelines are twisted into a surprisingly elegant first feature. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Apr 10, 2009
80/100 90% Hunger (2009) McQueen shows Sand's skin and bones then his blurred view of the ceiling, always striking a balance between static, distant observation and the taste of abraded knuckles. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Mar 27, 2009
66/100 72% Sunshine Cleaning (2009) Amy Adams impeccable from beginning to end, and her cheerful moxie is proving to be a valuable commodity in film after film, partly because it's deceptive. But there's a better film somewhere inside this story. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Mar 13, 2009
45/100 65% Watchmen (2009) Snyder's films lavish attention on men who are principled brutes and on women who are sexy, strong and secondary. He's driven by big ideas, but he never seems to consider the problems of macho justice. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Mar 6, 2009
41/100 16% Crossing Over (2009) The film plods along until late in the game when its mystery story is resolved with three nested flashbacks by a filmmaker with a markedly unimaginative sense of cinematic storytelling. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Mar 1, 2009
69/100 75% Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008) Stacy Peralta's visual style and sense of storytelling when applied to a weightier subject than surfing or skating actually works surprisingly well. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Mar 1, 2009
39/100 12% Pink Panther 2 (2009) The Pink Panther 2 is like the meat that Jeff Goldblum sent through the teleporter in The Fly: looks familiar, tastes weird. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Feb 11, 2009
50/100 40% He's Just Not That Into You (2009) While calculated to be grittier than the typical romantic comedy, it's still a shallow, sitcom view of complex human interactions. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Feb 6, 2009
72/100 83% Medicine for Melancholy (2008) The film weaves an intriguing commentary on race, class and personal identity, but the trick of minimalism is to hide ideas inside sparse scenes, and Jenkins is too often balancing over-stuffed conversations with undernourished carousel rides. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jan 30, 2009
55/100 32% The Uninvited (2009) The Uninvited is an occasionally spooky, often silly, made-you-jump suspense film with a conclusion that's not quite whack enough to satisfy. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jan 29, 2009
85/100 95% The Class (2008) Under Cantet's microscope, the school is a junction of urban lives. Raw and realistic, The Class picks apart the competing interests that hold kids, teachers and parents at loggerheads. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jan 28, 2009
45/100 45% Hotel for Dogs (2009) There are movies that work for children and there are movies that work for all ages, and while I, as a grownup, prefer the latter, I'll have to admit that the kids in my screening of Hotel for Dogs liked it just fine. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Jan 16, 2009
54/100 72% The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) The literal Benjamin Button that Fincher and Pitt have created with special effects is bland and passive even in the years when you'd think a reverse-ager would be most conflicted, fatalistic, or wise. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Dec 25, 2008
91/100 92% La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain) (Couscous) (2007) The Secret of the Grain is one of the most remarkable films of 2008, in part because it masterfully extends certain sequences not only to let them play out before our eyes but also to invite reflection even as the film is still running. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Dec 25, 2008
83/100 98% The Wrestler (2008) Aronofsky's unadorned portrait of a pro-wrestling has-been is built around a fantastic, physical performance by Mickey Rourke, captured with a style that renders his dingy world all the more strange, funny and heartbreaking. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Dec 22, 2008
31/100 27% Seven Pounds (2008) Seven Pounds is among the dumbest prestige films to vie for an award in this season of half-baked Oscar contenders. It's a waste of talent, a waste of two earnest performances, and a waste of forty good gallons of water. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Dec 18, 2008
79/100 94% Milk (2008) Harvey Milk is remembered as a local hero in San Francisco, and Sean Penn's joyful, deeply layered portrayal in an uncommonly graceful -- albeit conventional -- new biopic by Gus Van Sant gives us a pretty good idea why. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Dec 1, 2008
89/100 84% Rachel Getting Married (2008) The magic of the inverted suspense belongs in part to Demme's bold structure, which requires the patience to let scenes build, and in part to Anne Hathaway whose fierce and quivering performance is astonishing. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Oct 3, 2008
40/100 77% Appaloosa (2008) Appaloosa has a solid enough opening, and it should be fun just to watch things play out, what with the shootouts, the trains, the swagger at gunpoint. But the script (co-written by Harris) is alternately dumb and lifeless. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 19, 2008
57/100 55% Battle in Seattle (2008) Boiled down to its minerals, Battle in Seattle feels a lot more like The Poseidon Adventure (1972) than a thorough examination of the moment. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 19, 2008
28/100 15% Hounddog (2008) Instead of embracing its pulpy nature, it aims for seriousness, then gives us cornpone performances, a lightning bolt that triggers a tractor's ejector seat, and a simple-minded view of saintly black folk who possess a dangerous blues. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 19, 2008
39/100 78% Burn After Reading (2008) The script chases its tail for an hour and a half and then conks out, tired and strangely satisfied with its catch. ‐ Paste Magazine
Posted Sep 12, 2008