Stephen Saito

Stephen Saito
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
86% Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020) Once Upon a Time in Venezuela makes visible the kind of destruction of a community that often can't be seen physically until there is nothing left, and if for no other reason, the film serves as valuable cultural preservation. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
84% Nine Days (2020) Nine Days may tell a story of those awaiting their time to live, but as an experience, it is alive with possibility and wonderment. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
97% Shirley (2020) [Director Josephine Decker and writer Sarah Gubbins'] drama excites at every turn. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
100% Some Kind of Heaven (2020) [Director Lance] Oppenheim's debut is particularly refreshing and although it's debatable the stars of the film are better off opening themselves up to new experiences, this work of an extraordinarily gifted filmmaker leaves no question for the audience. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
100% Sylvie's Love (2020) [Eugene] Ashe has clearly studied the mechanics of how these dramas unfold, but finds the space between honoring tradition and doing something new within their confines. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
88% Spaceship Earth (2020) A film that finds great inspiration in what may have been prematurely dubbed a failure. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
81% Cuties (Mignonnes) (2020) [A] startling feature debut. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
100% Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020) In uncertain times, the film brilliantly finds the strongest national institution we have isn't made of bricks or even laws, but of people and as unpredictable as they may be, they can all offer something solid. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
89% The Mole Agent (2020) There's no small irony here when it takes the perceived artifice of a movie to get at a reality about aging that most of us would rather not face, but the more Sergio is asked to go undercover in "The Mole Agent," the deeper it gets for everyone. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
70% Beast Beast (2020) [A]n exuberant yet critical snapshot of the social media era. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
94% The 40-Year-Old Version (2020) [A] ferocious feature directorial debut. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
93% Miss Juneteenth (2020) [W]hat appears to be a small slice of life presented without much fuss is the work of what seems like a major new filmmaker. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
91% Whirlybird (2020) [A] story that's as sprawling as the city its set in and while its subjects have their feet planted firmly on the ground these days, "Whirlybird" earns its place in the heavens. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
100% Welcome to Chechnya (2020) [A] devastating documentary chronicling the still-unfolding situation in the republic of Russia where gay men and lesbians have been targeted for torture and murder. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
63% Us Kids (2020) "Us Kids" becomes a damning indictment of a country that needs to grow up. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
80% Summer White (Blanco de Verano) (2020) "Summer White" is clearly the work of an important new filmmaker with a fantastic eye and a strong sense of pacing. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
75% Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (2020) [It's] impressive as an engaging and exhaustive oral history of a groundbreaking show, but more so for being able to hold multiple truths about someone as simultaneously admirable and repulsive as Kricfalusi. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
100% The Truffle Hunters (2020) Any fear that this might be pretentious should be erased by the distinctly Italian brio inherent to the film's style and sense of humor that the two American filmmakers are able to summon. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
100% Feels Good Man (2020) Pepe is once again repurposed by the filmmakers for the more admirable goal of providing a sobering and comprehensive account of the spread of nihilistic ideas that led to the election of President Trump that is incredibly entertaining. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
88% Luxor (2020) Riseborough is exquisite in the central role and gives the film the weight and gentility that summon the spirit of both the emotional and physical place she's in, and while Hana tries her best to forget throughout "Luxor," the film is one to remember. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
65% Worth (2020) In being so generous in how it portrays all involved, "Worth" pays off mightily. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
100% I Carry You with Me (2020) Ewing crafts a truly epic romance that brilliantly moves back and forth in time so fluidly it feels as if it's stream of consciousness. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
89% Time (2020) "Time" rarely states the obvious - or has the luxury to - with Bradley weaving a transfixing narrative together. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
91% Clemency (2019) It is dangerous to make assumptions in Clemency, as Chukwu brilliantly will present each of her characters in one light before showing them in another, sometimes flipping the switch within a scene. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2019
67% He Dreams of Giants (2019) The strength of He Dreams of Giants emerges gradually from its many nuances and while telling the story of this singular filmmaker from such a unique perspective, the style of the film is equally compelling as a measure of progress. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
No Score Yet Vas-y Coupe! (2019) Befitting of the beverage that is ultimately produced in Vas-y-Coupe, the chronicle of a season in wine country offers a gratifying taste of life there. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
100% MS Slavic 7 (2019) A woman who has trouble articulating herself finds a place of her own in researching the letters of her great-grandmother in this entrancing character study. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
No Score Yet Narrowsburg (2019) Wildly entertaining. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
57% The Invisible Life (2015) The Invisible Life can feel magical in creating bonds that cannot be broken, whether it's that of siblings whose love for each other can transcend any distance placed between them or that of a work of art that can reach right into your soul. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2019
90% Adam (2019) what goes without question is [director Maryam] Touzani's ability to get the maximum impact from a slender narrative, opening a door for tremendous empathy from an audience by simply asking whether her characters will let each other in. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
83% How to Build a Girl (2020) While Dolly embraces irony and sarcasm, How to Build a Girl is refreshingly earnest and sincere, a throwback to the coming-of-age comedies that were made when the film is set during the mid '90s. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
No Score Yet Born to Be (2019) Tania Cypriano brilliantly captures a moment of transition for individuals - and an entire culture - with the opening of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
100% The Dog Doc (2020) "The Dog Doc" doesn't just tug on the heart to make its point about alternative treatment, but resonates with the mind. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
68% Human Capital (2020) "Human Capital" may show the worst in people, but in giving face to the green-eyed monster so vividly, it turns harsh economic realities into the stuff of great drama. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
100% Workforce (Mano de obra) (2019) Zonana is able to capture the abstract power that uncertainty has over their lives...elegantly expressing the strength that can emerge from a little communal generosity and the weakness of a society that has no place for them. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
83% The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019) A cleverly constructed drama about a young man struggling to carve out an identity for himself is bound to throw you for a loop in more ways than one. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
79% Proxima (2019) The inherent mystique that Green has primarily been asked to deploy as a means of seduction is shrewdly used here as an ineffable sense of purpose that eludes others who don't have her passion... - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
75% The County (Héradid) (2019) ...a drama that resonates as a blast of fresh country air while conveying all the ways in which it can be suffocating. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
84% The Perfect Candidate (2019) Al Bahraini is magnetic and although Maryam struggles to win supporters on the trail, the actress's confidence and charisma contributes to raising the stakes as you wonder what it would take not to cast a vote for her. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
60% The Moneychanger (Así habló el cambista) (2019) [Its] approach is sly, but fittingly for the story...The Moneychanger sneaks up on you while actually fulfilling its promise of a good time. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
81% Sea Fever (2019) Ironically, there's far more to the rest of "Sea Fever" than it appears at first glance and while the water isn't safe to swim in, the film is well worth taking a dip. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
77% The Friend (2020) The Friend may tell its story by jumping around in time, but it's just the film the world needs right now. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
64% Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2020) If it's the unknown that stays with Abby in Clifton Hill, it's how well you get to know her that ultimately sticks and like her, you're bound to get a little obsessed with finding out more. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
92% Antigone (2019) It's invigorating to see Antigone do justice to such a family and honor the complexities of their situation while delivering an emotionally direct and electrifying drama. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
100% Straight Up (2020) As a whole, Straight Up is immediately pungent - perhaps its central character may be conflicted about the person he should be, but Sweeney arrives fully-formed in his identity as a filmmaker. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
88% Plus One (2019) Simply in seeing love take various forms in different cultural contexts as Ben and Alice take in one set of vows after another, it makes whatever commitment they inevitably make to each other especially satisfying. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
88% The Days to Come (Los días que vendrán) (2019) A tender, moving experience that evokes the same panoply of feelings that its characters feel. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
77% Buffaloed (2020) It's a heavy subject, but one that is unpacked with great verve by Wexler. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019
90% Standing Up, Falling Down (2020) ...there's a refreshing honesty to the film that makes the lack of a Hollywood ending just as satisfying as if there was. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2019
100% Initials SG (2019) Set amidst an Argentinian bid to win the World Cup for the first time in a generation when the nation's imagination may be consumed by soccer, Initials S.G. carves out another place to get your kicks. - Moveable Fest EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019