Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B- 98% Rodents of Unusual Size (2018) There's enough of interest here to keep us engaged. - Butler's Cinema Scene EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2019
B 100% The World Before Your Feet (2018) Matt Green may be a bit nuts, but it's a wonderful nuttiness. - Butler's Cinema Scene EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B- 100% Oh Lucy! (2018) Many of the performances are perfunctory and/or badly thought out (not sure what to make of Hartnett's John), but there's no denying that leading lady Terajima is a compelling screen presence. She makes it worth the visit. - Butler's Cinema Scene EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2018
B+ 89% Wait for Your Laugh (2017) As a recap of a monumental, astoundingly rich life, Wait for Your Laugh is a marvel. - Butler's Cinema Scene EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2018
3/4 87% Wind River (2017) Sheridan's screenplay provides plenty of thumbnail portraits of colorful characters. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2017
2.5/4 51% The Glass Castle (2017) There are a few moments when "The Glass Castle" threatens to come to emotional life. But they pass. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2017
3/4 83% Detroit (2017) "Detroit" is a crushingly visceral experience, one filled with indignation not only for what went on in 1967 but for today's troubling displays of shoot-first law enforcement. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2017
2.5/4 78% Atomic Blonde (2017) Whether soaking away her pain in an ice cube-filled bath or savagely kicking Commie butt, this "Atomic Blonde" grabs our attention and won't let go. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2017
3.5/4 91% A Ghost Story (2017) Stick with it and you will be treated to what very well may be the year's most unique cinematic vision. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2017
3/4 98% The Big Sick (2017) It's hard to overstate just how effectively "The Big Sick" balances its romantic inclinations against life-or-death drama, or how its comedy co-exists with potential heartbreak. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
2.5/4 79% The Beguiled (2017) Ultimately "The Beguiled" is clinical when it should be compelling. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
3/4 93% Baby Driver (2017) The results are both familiar and fresh. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2017
2/4 29% Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Early reports on "Dead Men" suggested it was a step up from the last couple of "Pirates" pictures. That's like saying Grandma showed impressive speed in outrunning Great-Grandma. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2017
1.5/4 31% King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) Hunnam looks good but can't do much with the material, for there is not one genuine moment of emotion in the whole laborious mess. Even the action scenes are more confusing than stimulating. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
2.5/4 69% Free Fire (2017) "Free Fire" is a no-subtext zone. What you see is what you get. But concentrate on the action and the smart-ass insults and you'll be OK. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
2/4 48% Going in Style (2017) Light, glib and easy to forget. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2017
3/4 71% Beauty and the Beast (2017) Bottom line: This Beauty is big, well-designed, tuneful and -- finally -- romantic. But here's the odd thing: It made me want to revisit the original. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2017
3.5/4 93% The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) (2017) A one-of-a-kind film that lingers long in the memory, "The Red Turtle" suggests that when it comes to animation, there are still whole new worlds to explore. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2017
100% 2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Documentary (2017) Like the nominees in the feature-length best documentary category, the five films in this group demonstrate a commitment to both relevance and experimentation. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
100% 2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action (2017) That said, the overall quality of these short efforts is spectacular, particularly with the live-action and documentary slates. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
3/4 100% 2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation (2017) Usually this category is good for at least one gut-bustingly funny entry. This year's nominees, though, are overwhelmingly somber. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
100% 2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films (2017) The overall quality of these short efforts is spectacular, particularly with the live-action and documentary slates. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2017
3/4 84% Julieta (2016) There is perhaps less here than meets the eye - this is second-drawer Almodovar - but in Suarez's performance as the mature Julieta, the director has an ideal vessel for expressing parental pain and loss. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2017
3/4 89% 20th Century Women (2017) Mills' setup could be played for sitcom shallowness, but here his two leads inhabit their characters with small gestures and moments that add up to an unexpectedly compelling film. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2017
2.5/4 83% Silence (2017) In the end, "Silence" offers scant comfort and little uplift. And did it really require 2 hours and 41 minutes to state its dour case? - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2017
2/4 30% Passengers (2016) The film is afraid to address the troubling issues it raises. This is understandable -- agonizing moral issues are a downer. But why bring them up if you're just going to blow them off? - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2016
3.5/4 91% La La Land (2016) Despite his tender years, Chazelle is a master of composition, color and camera movement, and there are shots here so drop-dead gorgeous you wonder how he and cinematographer Linus Sandgren pulled them off. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2016
4/4 96% Manchester by the Sea (2016) Yeah, it's heavy. It's also unexpectedly funny, deeply moving and almost unbearably wise when it comes to the labyrinthine workings of the human heart. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2016
3/4 93% The Eagle Huntress (2016) It has great cinematography. Deep connections between humans and animals. And a ton of female empowerment. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2016
2/4 55% Rules Don't Apply (2016) If "Rules Don't Apply" is a comedy, why aren't we laughing? If it's a romance, why don't we feel something? If it's a tragedy, why don't we care? - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2016
4/4 89% Loving (2016) An emotional powerhouse that will leave audiences drained and exultant, "Loving" is the best film I've seen so far in 2016. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2016
3.5/4 94% Arrival (2016) That "Arrival" works so well is in large part due to Adams, whose fear/eagerness in confronting beings from another world registers squarely with viewers. She can project deep emotions with a minimum of expression. It's all in the eyes. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2016
2.5/4 51% The Accountant (2016) In the end ... we're left thinking about how much better it could have been. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2016
3.5/4 72% The Birth of a Nation (2016) It makes each viewer a member of the slave community. By the time it's over we wonder not that Nat Turner turned to murderous violence but that it took him so long. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2016
2/4 65% Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) Tim Burton's latest is pretty much par for the course: two hours of great art direction in search of a movie. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2016
3/4 60% Snowden (2016) Most of "Snowden" is talk - pretty smart talk, actually. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2016
2.5/4 58% Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil (Jheronimus Bosch, Touched By The Devil) (2016) When the camera zooms in to study the paintings in detail, the film comes alive. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2016
3/4 86% Sully (2016) Hanks is this generation's Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda all wrapped up in one perfect package. Nobody else working in movies can take common decency and make it so compelling, can project integrity without a hint of sanctimony ... - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2016
2.5/4 61% The Light Between Oceans (2016) What was deeply moving on the printed page seems mechanically melodramatic when dramatized in Derek Cianfrance's film. You want to be moved but can't shake the feeling that mostly you're being manipulated. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2016
3.5/4 92% Southside With You (2016) "Southside With You" is a terrific film - funny, romantic, respectful without being stuffy and, yes, inspiring. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2016
3.5/4 97% Hell or High Water (2016) "Hell or High Water" is about two brothers on a crime spree. But David Mackenzie's film has a lot more on its mind than mere suspense and thrills. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2016
3.5/4 87% Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) It's the rare film that discovers dignity in foolishness. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 11, 2016
3/4 75% The BFG (2016) Spielberg brings back the awe with "The BFG," a fantasy designed to tickle the kid in each of us. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 30, 2016
2.5/4 46% Free State of Jones (2016) Rarely rises above the level of a well-staged history lesson. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2016
2/4 30% Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) The best way to approach "Looking Glass" is as a two-hour 3-D special effects demonstration reel. With lowered expectations it might not be so bad. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2016
3/4 52% Demolition (2016) It's not a smooth or easy ride. But it's worth sticking with. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2016
1.5/4 18% I Saw the Light (2016) "I Saw the Light" gets the music right, though there's not near as much of it as there could have been. But as drama this one is dead in the water. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2016
3/4 95% Eye In The Sky (2016) A taut, well-acted thriller that raises all sorts of moral questions - Hitchcock with a conscience. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2016
2.5/4 84% Hello, My Name is Doris (2016) Doris may be a convenient cinematic conceit, but Field gives her real juice, moving from a timid wraith to someone who realizes to her amazement that she might be lovable. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2016
3.5/4 96% Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015) There's no shortage of film-themed documentaries that have dealt in some way with Sir Alfred and his career, but "Hitchcock/Truffaut" introduces a new element by allowing Hitch to comment on his movies. - Kansas City Star EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2016