Serena Donadoni

Serena Donadoni
Tomatometer-approved critic

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
96% Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid) (2018) Christensen portrays Lindgren as a born storyteller but delves into the vital time in her development when confounding expectation gave way to building her own narrative. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
95% Jinn (2018) There's nothing preachy about Jinn, even though Nijla Mu'min's elegant debut feature is about a teenager coming to terms with her mother's newly embraced religion. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
64% Weightless (2018) Still, while his first feature may be gorgeous, the characters in this rural family drama prove so amorphous that their struggles engender detachment instead of empathy. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
36% Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) It's as safe and formulaic as many of the Bond films themselves, always reasserting the British steadfastness and gumption that its villains scorn. - Denver Westword EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
36% Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) Taken on its own terms, there is much to enjoy, especially Emma Thompson as an extravagantly exasperated prime minister sporting Hillary Clinton's pant suits and Madeleine Albright's brooch collection. - Miami New Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2018
98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) No one does dissolute hubris with as much charm as Grant, and his ebullience is the perfect foil to the misanthropic McCarthy. - Denver Westword EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
65% Stella's Last Weekend (2018) Draper captures the kind of loving openness that binds together families when the two qualities truly coexist. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
50% Shine (2018) It's Zayas who anchors Shine. His gravitas shot through with mischief sets the film's tone, showing that serious-minded storytelling can still be fun. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
80% Living in the Future's Past (2018) The film presents arrogance as being as dangerous as greed, and it's with the soft smile of Hollywood irony that a grizzled actor reminds the audience that only you can prevent environmental disaster. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
50% Age of Summer (2018) There's plenty of sun and fun, but it's Kiely's presentation of a teen finding his bliss that makes Age of Summer a disarmingly pleasant diversion. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
89% MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. (2018) Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions... is key to both Arulpragasam's music and the life she's constructed with audacity and wit. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
20% The Little Mermaid (2018) Devoid of social or political undercurrents and untethered from recognizable reality... - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
59% Memoir of War (La douleur) (2018) While clearly adoring Duras's work, Finkiel doesn't credit the strength it took for her to ruthlessly detail the experience. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
87% The Swan (Svanurinn) (2018) Anchored by a remarkable child's performance, The Swan is a sensitive example of an overlooked element in coming-of-age films: awakening to the outside world. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2018
94% Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras) (2018) A heady blend of heightened reality and grounded fantasy... - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2018
89% Pin Cushion (2018) Haywood's formidable first feature is at once a ruthless dissection of cruelty, capturing the relentless torment of outcasts for the pleasure of self-styled superiors, and a warm evocation of an interdependent mother-daughter bond. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
79% Never Steady, Never Still (2018) Hepburn doesn't demand that her characters conform to norms of sacrifice and redemption, preferring to follow Jamie and Judy's meandering, unhurried journey to cognizance and mutual appreciation. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
25% Beach House (2018) By making Beach House so spare - four characters in one location - Saltiel heightens even the most mundane interactions. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2018
100% Half the Picture (2018) It's experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2018
69% The Quest of Alain Ducasse (La Quête d'Alain Ducasse) (2018) De Maistre makes the case that haute cuisine serves the same function as haute couture, creating an indelible experience while encouraging new ideas to filter through the industry. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2018
No Score Yet Yadvi - The Dignified Princess (2018) The Singhs aren't able to make Yadvi more distinctive than any other women whose fate is controlled by the hubris of men, or who've lost the wealth their titles once afforded them. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2018
64% Anything (2018) The overall tone of Anything is that of tender magnanimity. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2018
50% Measure of a Man (2018) By shifting events in Robert Lipsyte's One Fat Summer from the 1950s to 1976, screenwriter David Scearce adds new layers of poignancy to the young adult novel's end-of-an-era narrative. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
93% Angels Wear White (2018) Qu unpacks much that matters in Angels Wear White, including the abuse of power and importance of status and wealth in Chinese society, but her most thoughtful, nuanced observations involve female sexuality. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2018
85% Tully (2018) Tully encapsulates the psychological process of maturity with pithy humor and vertiginous insight. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2018
54% Godard Mon Amour (Le redoutable) (2018) Although writer/director Hazanavicius based the biopic on Wiazemsky's memoir Un An Après (One Year Later), Wiazemsky gets portrayed as a passive observer, a minor character in her own story. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2018
100% After Auschwitz (2018) A powerful testament to individual humanity emerging from inhuman horrors. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2018
100% Oh Lucy! (2018) Hirayanagi introduced a more broadly comic Setsuko in her 2014 short of the same title, and her feature screenplay (written with Boris Frumin) still finds humor in the character's flailing attempts to break free from habitual loneliness and obedience. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
80% Goldstone (2018) Sen, who's also screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and composer, stocks Goldstone with taciturn characters oozing menace. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
91% Are We Not Cats (2018) Robin uses well-timed jolts and gross-out moments to awaken his solitary characters from their stupor, to shock them into acknowledging that their existence isn't confined to the soul's protective shell. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
64% The Boy Downstairs (2018) What's missing in Brooks's gentle approach is the rom-com fizz and pop, with comic zingers that wound and enlighten. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
59% Entanglement (2018) Ben's carefully plotted healing diminishes the complexity of mental illness, and gives James's sweet vision a bitter aftertaste - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
66% Permission (2018) [Hall and Stevens'] glowing performances are contained in a wan road-not-taken drama. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
75% Mama Africa (2018) This queen deserves a monarch-sized portrait that fully showcases her part in the tumultuous social, political, and cultural movements that reshaped the world around her. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2018
78% Kangaroo (2018) Kangaroo is a sobering depiction of how deep cultural divides affect the future of a species, even one so seemingly ubiquitous and resilient. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2018
73% Abe & Phil's Last Poker Game (2018) A compassionate portrayal of lives stripped down to bare essentials by aging, illness, and loss. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2018
51% Freak Show (2018) Bitterly funny and warmly empathetic ... - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2018
50% Love Beats Rhymes (2017) [A] formulaic hip-hop romance. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2017
100% Holy Air (2017) With a masterful sense of framing, Srour and cinematographer Daniel Miller turn beautifully composed shots into absurdist delights with a simple twist. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2017
100% Soufra (2017) Cinematographer Johny Karam lovingly captures Soufra's enticing dishes, but his strength is an ability to open up cramped quarters. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2017
86% Santa & Andrés (2017) With quiet precision, Lechuga charts Andrés's resilience and Santa's awakening, using a naturalistic visual style and sparse dialogue that reveals how these characters instinctively read between the lines. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2017
86% Dream Boat (2017) [A] sincere and reverent feature documentary ... - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2017
95% Dealt (2017) He may have begun the years-long project to illustrate Turner's accomplishments, but Korem ended up with a richer profile of a perfectionist who realizes he still has things to learn. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2017
62% Maya Dardel (2017) Is Maya Dardel serious? The regal Lena Olin plays her with frank ferocity and arrogant certainty, but so much about the grandiose poet borders on parody. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
100% Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017) As with many recent environmental documentaries, the filmmakers' call to action is simple and upbeat: This isn't so hard, people, we can do it if we try! - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2017
No Score Yet Architects Of Denial (2017) By uniting the measured voices of human rights advocates and impassioned pleas from the Armenian diaspora, the filmmakers lay out the importance of a few words in the long quest for justice. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2017
17% Trafficked (2017) Trafficked ... manages to illustrate the sexual, physical and mental abuse that human traffickers inflict on victims to make them feel less than human. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2017
89% Abundant Acreage Available (2017) Cinematographer Andrew Reed captures the harsh beauty of post-harvest winter in sharp relief: crunchy stalks left in the field, the sky a crystalline blue. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
85% Loving Vincent (2017) An engrossing exploration of the artist's final days rendered in his signature painting style. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
36% Wetlands (2017) Wetlands has the visual markers of noir ... but the genre's clockwork fatalism is missing from Della Valle's haphazard script. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2017