Ryan Syrek

Ryan Syrek
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Ryan Syrek has served as a film critic for The Reader in Omaha since 2002. He is now the contributing editor for the film section at that publication, and his reviews are also syndicated in the Boulder Weekly. Ryan has a weekly segment on KVNO 90.7 at 8:30 am on Wednesdays. He also participates in an annual "Movies vs Books" fundraising event for public libraries, serves on numerous academic panels about popular culture, and cowrote a chapter in African American Children in Early Childhood Education.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
C- 55% The Lion King (2019) Simply animating things that were already animated using a different animation technique is Apple-level fanbase abuse. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
A 94% Wild Rose (2019) If Lady Gaga got an Oscar nomination for A Star Is Born, Jessie Buckley gets two for Wild Rose. That's just fair market value, folks. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
B+ 100% The Proposal (2019) Some art is a scream, whereas other art is but a whisper. The Proposal is a scream buried inside a whisper, basically the kinkiest of all ASMR. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
A- 83% Ant-Man (2015) Ant-Man is great; an optimistic jaunt with plenty of cleverness and oodles of joy. Yet another feather in Marvel Studio's increasingly peacocked cap. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C+ 55% Minions (2015) Considering that this prequel is a full-length feature film about characters incapable of coherent dialogue, it certainly isn't as miserable as the calculated nature of its creation suggested. What a ringing endorsement, right? - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C 76% The Good Dinosaur (2015) For me, The Good Dinosaur will be a pleasant, forgettable experience. But for some kid out there, it's going to be the first time they grappled with the concept of mortality. In that sense, the movie may not be that good, but at least it's doing good. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 97% Spotlight (2015) As a much-needed ode to the type of media coverage this country is desperately, painfully, ominously in need of, Spotlight is a very important film. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
F- 74% The Hateful Eight (2015) The Hateful Eight is worthless, mean-spirited, racial and sexist fetishism doused in schlocky fake blood, and an artist as skilled as Tarantino should know it. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 88% The Big Short (2015) You'll leave with both a firm understanding of tranche-bundled CODs and a strange fascination with Carell's wig. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A 93% Room (2015) Room is a "one and done" film for me for all the right reasons. Too heartbreakingly dense for repeat viewings, it leaves its scar, beautiful enough to last, after just the once. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B 91% Bridge of Spies (2015) Bridge of Spies is a perfectly good movie from a titan of cinema whose resume is littered with greatness. And there's nothing wrong with that. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 73% Suffragette (2015) On a subject this vital, at a time when women's rights here in America seem under assault more now than in recent memory, I not only would have excused an exclamation point, I badly wanted one. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C- 63% Spectre (2015) Spectre's entire problem harkens back to that long-grieved desire about both having and eating cake. A film can be gritty and brutal or campy and silly. If a movie is all of those things, it leaves you shaken and not stirred. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 79% Where to Invade Next (2016) Where to Invade Next is a bit overlong and slightly overkill, but it is also fascinating and utterly depressing in a very profound way. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C 78% The Revenant (2015) The Revenant is like Iñárritu's last effort, Birdman, in that it's a movie that convinces you it's more significant and important than it is, when it's really just pretty and kinda dumb. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A+ 93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) Basically, if you don't think Star Wars: The Force Awakens is as good as the original trilogy, that's almost certainly on you and not the film. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C 94% The Jungle Book (2016) Technical marvel without emotional grounding is masturbatory special effect self-congratulations. I don't want to care how many hairs on Bagheera's head move. I want to care what's inside his head. But, hey, that's just the bare necessities for me. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 18% The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016) You can't, and shouldn't, shut your brain off for any entertainment. But you can be asked by said entertainment to forgive its stupidity in exchange for a good time. A Winter's War asked. I said yes. And that's how babies are made. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A+ 91% Captain America: Civil War (2016) Twice during Captain America: Civil War, I thought the audience was going to have the first recorded joyous nerdshart. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
F 90% The Witch (2016) The biggest magic The Witch has to offer is making 93 minutes feel like the rest of your natural life. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 93% The Nice Guys (2016) Sporting dialogue hotter than a recently spent shell casing and comedy slightly less dark than a necrophiliac stand-up comedian's set, The Nice Guys targets a niche audience. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B 47% X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) There are some issues, even forgiving a loose plot that doesn't do much character work. I mean, I've read the comics, and I still don't understand what Apocalypse's powers are. He can...dissolve stuff? Make people get swallowed into walls? Who knows? - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 71% Swiss Army Man (2016) Ultimately, somewhere between the profound and profane, Daniels has made what is inarguably one of the most original films of the year, an accomplishment unto itself. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A+ 86% Hail, Caesar! (2016) Hail, Caesar! captures laughs from literal slapstick, insane imagery and witty banter. But all of it is under the moon of a fascinating argument about "faith" and art. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B 97% Zootopia (2016) A review eviscerating the film would make as much sense as one praising it, so it comes down to a coin-flip judgment call; let's go with the optimistic view that kids hear "stereotypes and fear of others is bad" and adults reinforce that message. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 78% Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) An unbalanced, messy film filled with this wide an array of quality gags is infinitely more pleasing than most of what comprises the surprisingly shrinking comedy genre these days. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 90% 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) 10 Cloverfield Lane is a fresh, well-acted, sci-fi-influenced little nugget of goodness more than capable of nourishing those of us who long for the dulcet tones of Rod Serling welcoming us to a dimension of sound, sight and mind. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B- 83% Midnight Special (2016) It's a lot like a frantic attempt to get at candy in the middle. But there is no candy. It's just a Tic-Tac. And sure, Tic-Tacs are fine, but if you're expecting actual candy, a Tic-Tac may as well be a hot booger. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
F 27% Warcraft (2016) I'm just not a fan, and there is nothing in it for non-fans. At all. So, oh dear God did I hate this movie. One day, there will be a video game adaptation than unites lovers of the original genre and movie lovers. This is not that day. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B 94% Finding Dory (2016) Pleasant, endearing and possessed of enough charm to make you overlook its lack of originality, the film is about as much as you could hope for from such a calculated follow-up. Sadly and honestly, even now, I don't know if that's a compliment. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
D 29% Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) ndependence Day: Resurgence is expectedly dumb but surprisingly ugly, with computer-generated chaos replacing anything resembling comprehendible action. Apparently, it took five writers to come up with "but what if everything was bigger?" - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
F 28% Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Some diehard DC comic fans will try to do mental gymnastics to describe the crap biscuit they were just force-fed as delicious. They shouldn't. They should demand better. And "better" than this shouldn't be hard. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C 37% Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016) Honestly, if Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates had less of Mike and Dave, it may have been more than passable. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B 95% Sing Street (2016) Carney and company make songs in loads of different 1980s genres, and all work perfectly. Combine that with a few nice, softer moments and a literal "fist-pumping" ending, and you have a film that's hard to dislike, even if it could stand more harmony. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 74% Ghostbusters (2016) What Feig and company did by inverting gender expectations was create a reboot with intent and purpose, bringing a wholly new vibrancy and dynamic to expected events. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 86% Star Trek Beyond (2016) This is the most truly "Star Trek"-esque installment of the new series, albeit one that retains enough CGI "kerpow and kaboom" to Rodden your Berries. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
D 55% Jason Bourne (2016) Like passionless martial coitus or a zombie doing Zumba, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass simply go through the motions with Jason Bourne, a film without purpose beyond profit. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B+ 77% Keanu (2016) Keanu is basically a 90+ minute sketch from the "Key & Peele" show. And that does make it derivative at times, with several obvious riffs on their best bits. But it's also nonstop, top-to-bottom funny in every avenue available. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
B- 27% Suicide Squad (2016) It's not an exemplar of the comic book genre nor a foundation from which DC Comics can make an assault on Marvel. It's a gussied-up, mixed bag of nonsense I found to be dumb-fun not dumb-awful. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A 83% Sausage Party (2016) If it stands, this will mark the first film where injecting bath salts is a key plot point and in which taco-on-hot-dog-bun action bubbles with sexy innuendo to ever break into critics' top 10 lists. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A- 97% Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Kubo and the Two Strings is nothing if not beautiful. Its message may be equal parts repetitive and derivative, but the splendor on display is yet another reason we're lucky Laika studios continues to do this work. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A 88% Pete's Dragon (2016) Pete's Dragon is a powerful, gorgeous, lyrical ode to youth, one that's made all the more impressive by the way in which it feels like it is speaking individually to you. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C- 85% Sully (2016) There's no doubt the real Sully is a good dude who did a good thing. There's also no doubt that good dudes doing good things don't always make for good movies. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
D- 60% Snowden (2016) Snowden is a plodding, pedantic exercise in how not to approach culturally compelling material, featuring one of the most laughable lead performances in an alleged prestige picture. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C- 64% The Magnificent Seven (2016) By jettisoning the nihilism that permeated its predecessors, Mag 7 basically reduced itself to a rote modern Western. That's fine for the most part, so long as no one pairs this by-the-books crowd pleaser with either of its ancestors. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
C- 65% Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) They say hating someone requires a form of passion, meaning the truest rebuke is not caring one way or the other for someone's existence. Here's your C-, Mr. Burton. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
F 45% The Girl on the Train (2016) The Girl on the Train is Hitchcock by way of 50 Shades of Grey. It is ugly, stupid and troubling. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2019
A+ 82% Midsommar (2019) If Aster's Hereditary was grief told in the style of The Conjuring, Midsommar is a mystic Swedish Beyoncé video. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 4, 2019
A 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Watching Spidey get Laffy Taffy-ed between responsibility and his own desires is the best version of the character. His universality has always been his Sisyphusian quest to summit Mt. Happiness as the boulder of doing what's right keeps getting heavier. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 4, 2019
C+ 93% Echo In the Canyon (2019) Echo in the Canyon is a narrative, organizational mess. It's as if a drunken sailor is navigating the seas, wobbling from story port to story port. And that drunken sailor is Jakob Dylan. - The Reader (Omaha, NE) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019