Stephen Saito

Stephen Saito
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet It Started As a Joke (2019) "It Started As a Joke" really makes it feel like you've been privy to something special, not only in terms of comedy, but in terms of the potential of people. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
92% Villains (2019) Your conscience may tell you everyone is up to no good, but it's too much devious fun not to enjoy. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
100% South Mountain (2019) The writer/director infuses rich, granular details more commonly associated with literature even in a lean 85 minutes. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
100% Yes God Yes (2019) Yes, God, Yes captures the uncertainty of those post-pubescent years in all their excruciating, cringe-inducing glory so well it deserves an amen and its laughs are cathartic. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
83% Olympic Dreams (2019) You realize that in pairing an athlete's mentality with an artist's imagination, the filmmakers behind "Olympic Dreams" articulate a truly beautiful way of looking at the world, all the more so in pulling the curtain back on parts of it we've never seen. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
100% Mickey and the Bear (2019) Attanasio shows off a distinctive voice all her own, unusually empathetic without sentimentality and cinematically bold without being pretentious. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
100% Jezebel (2019) While the characters may have to fight for every inch of the lives they carve out for themselves, the filmmaker's light touch with such combustible material show an ease with pushing into new territory. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
93% Midnight in Paris (2011) The lack of professional polish feels just right to tell the story of kids who aren't 100 percent sure of what to expect from the big night, but those big, brassy anticipatory trumpets blaring The Temptations' "Get Ready" can't be denied. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
60% The Hottest August (2019) "The Hottest August" is nonetheless resplendent when it comes to showing people of all walks of life co-existing in the same place. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
No Score Yet The Edge of Democracy (2019) A dense, complex undertaking Costa impressively wraps her arms - and our minds - around, made even more daunting by the dual purpose "The Edge of Democracy" serves as both an immediate witness to an extraordinarily precarious historical moment. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
No Score Yet The Elephant Queen (2018) While "The Elephant Queen" is family friendly, it sets up real stakes and the filmmakers take great care in conveying hardship once it hits, ably balancing the exuberant moments from the circle of life with capturing its less savory aspects. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
100% Driveways (2019) Although "Driveways" carries considerable weight, it never feels heavy and as it follows its characters take small steps out of their comfort zone, it becomes extraordinarily moving. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
No Score Yet Serendipity (2019) "Serendipity" comes by its galvanizing power quite organically, neither making you ever feel pity for Nourry in her unenviable current circumstances or offer some manipulative-feeling sense of empowerment by its end. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
93% Hail Satan? (2019) "Hail Satan?" finds that simply presenting reason and historical precedent proves to be audacious and Lane follows the lead of her subjects in showing that it can be done with enormous amounts of fun. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
100% Midnight Traveler (2019) Fazili's musings when paired with the staggering imagery he collects of the family's journey gives human dimension to a migrant crisis so often only seen from a macro perspective, but then again that's why it feels like such a monumental undertaking. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
100% Selah and the Spades (2019) As fun as the it becomes to watch Selah scheme, the way in which Poe's grand design for her emerges over time is extremely satisfying, clearing the room to really watch her think as doubts set in. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
88% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Told with great care, tenderness and eye-popping originality, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" puts a face on the people that have been left behind by supposed progress. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
90% Big Time Adolescence (2019) Orley's script is smart and knowing in all the right ways, delivering a steady stream of ridiculously bad ideas and sharp one-liners for his cast to run with, but also showing how vulnerable all his characters are. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
100% Greener Grass (2019) In DeBoer and Lubbe's hilarious debut, there's something in the water alright, but thankfully for an audience, it's only the laughter that's infectious. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
75% Imaginary Order (2019) It's Eisenstadt's perspective that proves most distinctive and by the time "Imaginary Order" ends, even if the characters struggle to see the full picture, it's as energizing to see how well she does, bringing it all into focus. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
No Score Yet Jawline (2019) For a subject that's been covered by many others, "Jawline" breaks new ground, and in the process is more than likely to bust your gut as well. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
100% Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019) The subsequent 90 minutes of Janice Engel's spirited biography proves the state produced at least one larger-than-life figure you could believe in. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
36% Corporate Animals (2019) The deliciously savage satire finds silly yet sophisticated ways to consider how outdated corporate power structures have bent without breaking to achieve real innovation. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
100% Sister Aimee (2019) Buck and Schlingmann's naughty pre-code sensibilities give the film additional bite, but what they've created is blazingly original and while "Sister Aimee" sees its star running away from the Lord, you can expect to be saying "Praise Be" by the end. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
82% Light From Light (2019) Ireland and Gaffigan express so much with a single glance and they're both exquisite here, radiating intelligence and uncertainty as complementary traits instead of compromising one another. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
83% Hala (2019) It's an exquisite, well-crafted drama and like Hala, you'll be eager to see where Baig goes next. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
90% To the Stars (2019) While "To the Stars" can make you feel that you know everyone in Wakita intimately, it beautifully makes the point that there are always some things about them that you can't. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
90% Sea of Shadows (2019) Ladkani has a way with conveying just how big the stakes are and brings them to land. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
100% Midnight Family (2019) "Midnight Family" channels madness quite vividly, yielding a constantly riveting film that wrings out every kind of emotion. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
100% Premature (2019) While the future isn't promised, this much is sure - "Premature" is the kind of film that makes it feel like anything is possible for those who made it. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
86% Always In Season (2019) Even if Olive is limited to newspaper clippings in some cases, there's a fluidity and vibrancy to "Always in Season" that never lets it escape the current moment as it connects the dots. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
100% The Disappearance of My Mother (2019) Acknowledging that is the first step "The Disappearance of My Mother" takes towards doing justice to a remarkable life in a film that even if it reveals only a fraction of Benedetta's true self is powerful to behold. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
90% Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary (2019) While the film's subject may be wily by profession, Berman does him justice by showing how sleight of hand can ultimately reveal the whole person, especially when he does it so entertainingly well. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
No Score Yet Cat Sticks (2019) Rather than being depressing, the liveliness of Sen's presentation activates the senses at every turn and although it's unlikely to win over those averse to slow cinema, Cat Sticks has a way of quickening the pulse. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
86% The Raid: Redemption (2012) Here, there's no need for such things when a well-executed kick to the face will do. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
37% Restless (2011) The film can't feel as natural, given its script's adherence to a well-worn formula. Still, it does take on a lightheaded, dreamlike quality that makes it gently romantic. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
84% Essential Killing (2010) Gallo is as inscrutable as ever, game to do such things as eating ants and let his piercing eyes do the acting, exuding a fearlessness that is the pulse of the film, even if it's absent a beating heart. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
81% Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2011) The kind of escapist entertainment that they just don't make anymore, which also makes its allusions to real-world concerns such as political hegemony and torture feel a bit misplaced in this movie fantasia. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
99% The Interrupters (2011) Ironically, the power of Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz's incredible documentary is the fact that it's unmediated. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
59% Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011) "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" has the distinction of mixing some old-fashioned spine-tingling scares in with a decidedly new spine to be tingled. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
79% Melancholia (2011) "Melancholia" isn't an angry film, just one that doesn't offer anything in the way of comfort, except for the satisfaction that can be taken away from great art and appreciation of von Trier as the rare filmmaker not to compromise. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
16% Tanner Hall (2011) Tanner Hall" seems to be a learning experience both for the people onscreen as much as the ones off it, leaving the expectation that there's better to come. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
89% Passione (2011) Passione" succeeds at being as entertaining as its subject matter, replicating the "avalanche" of sound. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
30% Autoerotic (2011) On a subject that's been too often reduced to grossout humor to deal with awkwardness, the film is a rare comedy of manners. But a dirty one. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
76% The Last Circus (2011) Comedies don't come any blacker than this, but few filmmakers are able to do more with their palette than De La Iglesia. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
83% Warrior (2011) Edgerton and Hardy both deliver performances worthy of such immediate and unfettered adoration, bulking up characters that must've been thin on the page with an authentic grit that allows for a little movie star charisma to sneak in. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
55% The Devil's Double (2011) A truly satisfying resolution is slightly out of reach when there's less room to play fast and loose with accuracy, yet there's no denying that this was one historical footnote well worth exploiting. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
92% Los ojos de Julia (Julia's Eyes) (2010) "Julia's Eyes" doesn't deviate enough from other Spanish thrillers of late to consider it a breakthrough, but it is a more than solid entry into the genre with some truly extraordinary thrills to be had. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
60% Red State (2011) Once inside the compound, "Red State" starts to take shape as it settles into the rhythm of a siege thriller - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
92% Into The Abyss (2011) A film that refuses to fit into any single ideology about the subject or the approach taken by any of its cinematic predecessors. For all the director's talk about what it means to be human, it may also just be his most humane. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019