Scott Tobias

Scott Tobias
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I see movies, watch DVDs, and read books, then I get paid to write what I think of them. Beats doing stuff.
Favorites:
Top 5 (no order): Sansho The Bailiff, Duck Soup, Tokyo Story, Shoot The Piano Player, Taxi Driver
Location: Chicago

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
58% Aladdin (2019) From Disney's perspective, an acceptable Aladdin probably meets the standard for franchise revivification, because it echoes the pleasures of the original film enough to get by. Audiences have a right to expect more. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
100% Our Time Machine (2019) Maleonn's wondrous creations are enough of an attraction on their own, but the film... has many more layers to reveal about the legacy of Cultural Revolution, familial relationships, the agonies of love and loss and the circle of life. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
15% The Hustle (2019) The Hustle will fail to seduce the most important mark in any heist movie: the audience. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
81% Long Shot (2019) Rogen and his co-star, Charlize Theron, are seasoned professionals in comedy and they spark off each other extremely well. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
67% Bolden (2019) The film generalizes the story to the point of erasing the man at its center - borrowing from so many places that it ultimately amalgamates its forgotten master out of existence. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
92% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché works hard to carve her name in the firmament, making an expansive argument for her as a pioneer in technique, a varied and gifted artist, and a shrewd businesswoman. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
95% Les Vampires (1915) Even at nearly eight hours, the series has ingenuity to spare. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
24% The Silence (2019) There may come a time when the Netflix algorithm grows sophisticated enough to cut out the middle man and write its own scripts, but until that day arrives, niche-targeted dreck like "The Silence" will have to suffice. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
85% Her Smell (2019) Her Smell is a journey through hell and back that feels more gratifying for being difficult. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
63% Unicorn Store (2019) In fact, "Unicorn Store" becomes an argument for itself: If such a tacky fantasy can get produced, then clearly it's a viable enterprise for grown-ups. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
83% High Life (2019) At a time when the Earth itself seems to be hurtling toward doom, the presence of genuine wonder and new life in the film carries a sliver of optimism. - The Verge EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
No Score Yet Billboard (2019) Zelker's three-ring circus of digital and social-media content needs a compelling main event, and this movie seems unlikely to inspire many to check out the supplementary materials. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
94% Us (2019) Us is a serious film about the American underclass, those who toil out of sight and out of mind. Us is also a lot of fun. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
100% Midnight Traveler (2019) A documentary that feels like a modern-day message in a bottle, an urgent appeal for help from a family that's still searching for a home. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
98% 3 Faces (2019) Panahi's sympathies are clear, but his humanity is boundless. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
95% Transit (2019) An utter beguilement, tied closely to characters whose motives and feelings are not entirely obvious, even to them. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
69% The Changeover (2019) The Changeover is one of those supernatural thrillers where the rules are both abstract and arbitrary, rendering Laura's internal struggle as dull predestination rather than an act of intention and will. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
45% What Men Want (2019) What Men Wants misses the opportunity to drag through the unutterable sludge of the male psyche, trolling for dirty thoughts or more eccentric digressions from ordinary conversation. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
50% Dream for an Insomniac (1996) The chemistry between Skye and Astin is based entirely on grueling, non-stop referential dialogue, as if neither of them has forgotten a word of Kierkegaard, Tennyson, or Cobain. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
68% 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) Quirky, inventive, and brimming over with clever visual gags and colorful supporting characters, 10 Things uses Shakespeare as a jumping-off point to playfully send up a society that doesn't know what to do with a strong woman. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
33% King of Thieves (2019) With a cast this rich in experience and history and a fact-based heist of such enormous scale, King of Thieves sounds like a shake-and-bake classic in the making, which makes its pedestrian execution all the more puzzling to behold. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
32% Io (2019) A film more interested in symbols of human resilience than in the flesh-and-blood passions that animate it. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
97% The Heiresses (Las Herederas) (2019) By the end of the film, the audience feels like it knows his heroine at almost precisely the same time she has gotten to know herself. It's a minor kind of magic. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
49% Escape Room (2019) Escape Room is a throwback without the bite, a bloodless PG-13 thriller that recalls the mechanized horror trend while sanding off its serrated edges. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
93% Stan & Ollie (2019) It strives for a middlebrow respectability that it's doomed to achieve, a platform for actors who deserve better. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
93% Revenge (2018) With her stylish and bloody rape-revenge thriller, French first-timer Coralie Fargeat turns a disputable subgenre upside down. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2018
92% Bumblebee (2018) Mankind has split the atom, sent a man to the moon, and now, in arguably its most unlikely achievement, it has produced a watchable Transformers movie. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
56% I, Robot (2004) The result is a cluttered, awkward blockbuster that's just smart enough to get itself into trouble. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
29% Dreamcatcher (2003) Perhaps due to the talent of everyone involved, Dreamcatcher moves with an oddly exhilarating awfulness that sets it apart from more run-of-the-mill horror films, which lack the imagination and budget to be so thoroughly misconceived. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2018
82% Ben is Back (2018) It's like watching You Can Count On Me spliced together with the last two reels of In the Bedroom. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
77% Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) Conspicuously short of the mark. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
89% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) The opposing trajectories of Ralph and Vanellope's friendship, fueled by their mutual insecurities and hurt, gives Ralph Breaks the Internet the little bit of heart it needs to keep from becoming mere product. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
59% The Front Runner (2018) The issue of how men in power treat women brings the film into the here and now all the more robustly, but the tone is hectoring and opportunistic, with none of the true pop of American politics. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
No Score Yet Family First (Chien de garde) (2018) Dupuis isn't exactly the first to tackle a "just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in" gangland scenario, and the no-frills storytelling mostly works against her, rendering the film's Verdun, Montreal, underworld disappointingly nondescript. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
89% Bodied (2018) It's juvenile. It's irritating. Yet it's also fiendishly clever in the way it anticipates and dismantles every argument that could be made against it, and how it sneakily affirms the power of the words it slings around so freely. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
58% Martyrs (2008) Martyrs is something of a horror milestone-a dire one to some, but a movie to be reckoned with all the same. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
56% Uzumaki (2002) Uzumaki progresses like the life cycle of a butterfly, only the subjects begin as human beings and contort into giant snails, powerless to stop their bodies from betraying them. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
80% Mid90s (2018) The best period pieces, like Dazed and Confused or American Graffiti or Diner - to name three... influences on Mid90s - address the past with an eye toward an uncertain and troubling future. Hill cares merely to memorialize it. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
94% Private Life (2018) Jenkins has made a film about marriage and family and personhood, catching Rachel and Richard at a time in their lives where something is missing, and a child just seems like that crucial piece of the puzzle. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
53% The Notebook (2004) In a romance where paradise is a duck-filled pond, it helps to be mild-mannered. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2018
60% The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) The whole thing is played too broadly, but home-improvement victims will appreciate the unending weeks it takes for a simple bathroom to be converted into a piece of avant-garde sculpture. - AV Club EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
No Score Yet Divine Wind (2018) There are limits to Allouache's approach. Aside from one heavily telegraphed twist, "Divine Wind" unfolds exactly as expected, beat-for-beat, as certain in its mission as its suicide bombers. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2018
66% The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) The short-term excitement of jump-scares and readily accessible spells are a poor trade-off for the steadily deepening mysteries and fears that have made Bellairs' book such an enduring classic. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
80% The Elephant Queen (2018) There's a gap between the story Stone and Deeble want to tell about love and family, and the much grimmer story nature itself is telling, in unsentimental terms. In the end, it's hard to reconcile the two. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2018
92% Maria By Callas (2018) What the film loses in dimensionality it gains in intimacy and focus, because only one voice is deemed necessary for us to hear. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
41% Where Hands Touch (2018) Stenberg carries the magnetism she brought to her breakthrough role in the YA romance "Everything, Everything," but she's betrayed by a stilted rendering of a rarely illuminated piece of history. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
78% Mouthpiece (2019) A thoughtful interrogation of modern womanhood, leavened by gallows humor. - Variety EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
60% A Paris Education (Mes provinciales) (2018) Honest, reflective, a little pretentious, and completely at peace with its own modesty. It may be a very French film, but it's not a whiny one. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
23% The Happytime Murders (2018) When it becomes obvious that the film is merely interested in being naughty for the sake of it, the pace sags like Kermit's limbs. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2018
62% Dog Days (2018) Whenever Dog Days lags, Marino's connections to the weird-comedy world help resuscitate it with random, minor flickers of inspiration. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018