Valerie Kalfrin

Valerie Kalfrin
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I'm a multiple award-winning journalist who has left crime reporting behind to focus on fictional mayhem. I write reviews, essays, criticism, and deep dives into film, entertainment, pop culture, and storytelling for The Hollywood Reporter (Heat Vision), The Script Lab, Script magazine, Film Racket, ScreenCraft, CC2K, Final Draft, and more.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
85% Hacksaw Ridge (2016) The cinematography, editing, and sound pack a surprising amount of suspense, no small feat considering audiences know the outcome. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
91% La La Land (2016) [Stone and Gosling] might not have the fancy footwork of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but they're radiant together nonetheless, zinging through their rapport as well as their steps. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
31% Passengers (2016) The considerable charisma and chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence keep the sci-fi adventure Passengers afloat, even if the script easily fixes its most fascinating problems. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
89% John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) [Keanu] Reeves's Zen-like cool serves him well here. He's like an athlete resorting to muscle memory, lethal and lightning quick as he automatically falls into what he's done best. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
91% Captain America: Civil War (2016) It's also packed with stellar action sequences, flashes of humor, and chemistry among the characters that are sheer fun to watch. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
93% Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) It's a wonderfully rollicking adventure populated with beloved, familiar characters and intriguing new ones, all with earnest performances and striking chemistry. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
97% Spotlight (2015) The script... is a marvel of conveying a dense amount of information and characterization with intelligence, grace, and a surprising amount of tension. - The Script Lab EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
3.5/5 77% Frozen II (2019) [A]n ultimately satisfying story of more mature themes for an audience that's grown out of the dress-up stage. - Their Own League EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
4.5/5 95% Little Women (2019) It has such verve, humor, and emotion, it's a delight that tempts viewers, like the March family's visitors, to linger in their world for a while. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2019
2/5 68% Jay & Silent Bob Reboot (2019) A blend of fan service (in the best way) and participatory theater. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3.5/5 73% Galveston (2018) [Galveston] starts off like a dramatic thriller but winds up, like its characters, on an unexpected and affecting journey. - Their Own League EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
4/5 86% This Changes Everything (2019) [P]acks enough statistics and anecdotes from top names in the industry about gender inequality ... to prove eye-opening, even to those who support women in film and television. - Their Own League EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
2.5/5 43% The Addams Family (2019) The story skitters off in so many directions, it feels like the disembodied hand Thing on a tear. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
1.5/5 68% Amaurosis (The Unseen) (2019) [I]t meanders and blurs, like its protagonist's vision. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2019
3/5 55% J.T. LeRoy (2019) For those unfamiliar with the real-life details of the LeRoy saga, JT LeRoy will seem light on details - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
B+ 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a flight worth taking that ends on a beautiful note. - CC2K EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
2.5/5 62% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Although not as gruesomely clever or funny as Tales, it gets in some decent barbs amid its behind-the-scenes backstabbing and bloodletting. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
2/5 38% The Remarkable Life of John Weld (2018) It certainly makes for an interesting life, but the interviews and presentation don't elevate Weld as truly remarkable. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
2/5 34% King of Thieves (2019) [T]he film's shifts in tone, unfocused script, and lagging pace, particularly in the second half, make for disappointing plunder. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
2/5 82% All These Small Moments (2019) Costanzo tugs on a lot of threads in this family tapestry, but the result is misshapen. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
B+ 84% Creed II (2018) [T]he film explores well enough how much of the past shapes who we become, and with Jordan, Thompson, and Stallone, it creates an endearing onscreen family. - CC2K EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
B+ 90% A Star Is Born (2018) The third remake of this decades-old Hollywood tale has a lot on its mind about art and fame in the modern age. Yet it also crafts an old-fashioned, touchingly tragic love story. - CC2K EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
4/5 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) By expanding the possibilities of spider-heroes, it engagingly shows how heroics hinge most on a person's character. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
4/5 91% Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) If you're a superhero fan-or perhaps have superhero fatigue-this deliriously funny film will at least put a smile on your face. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
4/5 94% Incredibles 2 (2018) Both funny and poignant. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2018
3.5/5 69% Ocean's 8 (2018) [L]ight on its feet with a calculating mind. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2018
3.5/5 70% Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Solo fleshes out a solid past for a guy who learns to trust less and still has enough goodness within to join up with a galactic rebellion later. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2018
3/5 84% Deadpool 2 (2018) [A] lot like 2016's Deadpool, actually, only with more outlandishness and a larger supporting entourage. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2018
3/5 86% Tully (2018) After seeing this, you just might want to give a mom a hug. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2018
2/5 38% Anon (2018) Anon creates a compelling and timely premise, but it gazes one way while something more intriguing happens out of view. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2018
1/5 18% The Titan (2018) The Titan takes a timely and tantalizing premise about finding a new home after Earth becomes uninhabitable and squanders it completely. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2018
3.5/5 92% Love, Simon (2018) Teens in my screening laughed at all the right moments, and even applauded at the end. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2018
2.5/5 80% Unsane (2018) Unsane is unsettling whenever it stays grounded. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2018
3/5 52% Tomb Raider (2018) [A]n exhilarating reintroduction in Tomb Raider. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2018
2/5 42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) [It] never quite dazzles despite its big-name cast, elaborate costumes, and loads of glitter. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2018
1/5 20% Mute (2018) Something in this material clearly spoke to Duncan Jones. But whatever that was is lost in translation. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2018
1.5/5 55% Half Magic (2018) Half Magic has something to prove when it should have had a sharper focus and more storytelling magic. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
4.5/5 88% Annihilation (2018) Annihilation also is about how we react to change itself. That leaves no easy answers. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2018
2.5/5 81% Early Man (2018) Even if the story doesn't soar to the studio's other heights, Early Man still has its kicks. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2018
1/5 20% The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) It's like watching a story assembled by Mad Libs. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2018
2.5/5 56% The Commuter (2018) [It] stretches credibility. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2018
2.5/5 88% Anti Matter (2017) Viewers might not be entirely satisfied with the answers in the somewhat ambiguous ending, but Anti Matter deserves kudos for asking the questions. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2017
2/5 58% Despicable Me 3 (2017) [T]his film could have been way more bananas. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 21, 2017
3.5/5 92% Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) [W]e finally have an onscreen Peter and Spider-Man who captures the character's essence from the comics, flaws and all. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
2/5 48% War Machine (2017) A quicker pace and tighter structure could have helped War Machine pack more power. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2017
2/5 41% Brimstone (2017) [A] Western mystery/thriller that wants to portray women's lack of power in the Old West but ultimately becomes repetitive. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2017
3.5/5 81% T2 Trainspotting (2017) Poignant and funny. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2017
4.5/5 96% Moana (2016) Here's hoping Moana opens the floodgates for more adventures with both girls and boys at the helm. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2016
2/5 60% Allied (2016) It has the right look and certain elements of other wartime romances and espionage thrillers but ultimately seems more of a pastiche than a satisfying whole. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2016
4.5/5 94% Arrival (2016) [A] cerebral wonder of a film. - Film Racket EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2016