Wenlei Ma

Wenlei Ma
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 98% One Night in Miami (2020) There's a Shakespearean quality to One Night in Miami, wrestling with grand ideas about the complexities of the human experiences through these flawed but noble characters. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2021
3/5 92% Sylvie's Love (2020) Sylvie's Love ticks many of the boxes with assurance and style, there's much to recommend it if you like a little flutter of the heart. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
4.5/5 96% Soul (2020) There's a lot of poignancy to Soul without being bogged down in sentimentality. It's a cure for any existential malaise 2020 may have burdened on us, a celebration of the mundane and the grand, all-consuming passions. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
3.5/5 50% The Midnight Sky (2020) It's a carefully balanced movie that gives as much time to human connections, loss, regrets and hope in the small moments as it does to what we reveal of ourselves when survival is at stake. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2020
5/5 96% Nomadland (2020) Chloe Zhao's thoughtful balance of majesty and intimacy makes Nomadland one of the most accomplished films of the year, an emotional tour de force that moves you but never imposes or manipulates. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2020
3.5/5 98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Chadwick Boseman gives a powerful performance that reverberates with pride, pain and thwarted ambition. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2020
3.5/5 60% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) This is a movie that absolutely crackles on a big screen, the large canvas playing deserving host to the scale of Wonder Woman 1984's ambitious action sequences, pop art colour palette and scene-stealing villains. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2020
2.5/5 57% The Prom (2020) The Prom takes giant leaps (literally and metaphorically) in its story progression without earning it. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2020
4.5/5 94% Palm Springs (2020) All charm, heart and hilarity, Palm Springs is one of the year's best films. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
1.5/5 26% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Adams and Close deserved better than this relentlessly gloomy, often trite, movie. We all did. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
4/5 83% Happiest Season (2020) There's nothing guilty about this pleasure. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
5/5 82% Mank (2020) More than a magnificent technical achievement, Mank is hypnotically entertaining. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
3.5/5 70% Tenet (2020) If Tenet had paid as much attention to its writing and character work as it did to its visual and conceptual ambitions, it could have been a masterpiece instead of merely great. But it's still great. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
3.5/5 87% The Trip to Greece (2020) The Trip to Greece is like an old jumper. When you pull it on, you know all the familiar grooves of the threads, and you also know where all the snags are. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2020
3/5 65% The Lovebirds (2020) This is exactly the kind of movie you want to watch on Netflix, an inoffensive, silly and riotous comedy with sharp dialogue, that comes in at a brisk 87 minutes. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2020
3.5/5 81% Hearts and Bones (2020) Starring Hugo Weaving and directed by Ben Lawrence, the sombre and empathetic drama is a complex story about memory, trauma and family. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
3.5/5 94% Bad Education (2019) Fuelled by a fascinating story and its sensational performances, Bad Education is a movie worthy of its star-power and ambitions. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
1.5/5 28% The Rhythm Section (2020) When it comes to action movies, absurd, suspend-your-disbelief twists can be forgiven if the movie was exciting and propulsive. But what can't be forgiven is dullness. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
2.5/5 67% Extraction (2020) The action is what saves Extraction from being totally written off considering its story and characters are so generic - the screenplay from Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame) does it no favours. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
3/5 81% Tigertail (2020) Yang is a talented filmmaker whose writing has always evidenced a deep, sophisticated understanding of the sometimes-contradictory nature of human emotions - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
3.5/5 88% Onward (2020) There's a lot to like in Onward, the least of which is its bright, appealing animation, character design and world building, but you wouldn't expect anything less from an outfit as accomplished as Pixar. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
3/5 61% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) Fuelled by impressive performances from a sensational cast, The Current War is a sturdy, well-paced historical drama. The production values - its set design, cinematography, costumes - are particularly winsome. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
4/5 83% Queen & Slim (2019) Queen & Slim bowls you over with its powerful, charged story. Not one to be missed. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
3/5 77% Military Wives (2020) Military Wives may follow a formula of sorts and you'll see every plot turn coming but it'll put a smile on your face nonetheless. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
2/5 37% Spenser Confidential (2020) Spenser Confidential is too anaemic to be anything other than a paint-by-numbers bore offering nothing new and trying to skate by on Wahlberg's charisma alone. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
2.5/5 83% The Way Back (2020) The Way Back is a humdrum movie saved from complete tedium by an affecting Affleck performance. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
4/5 90% Dark Waters (2019) Dark Waters is as gripping as it is terrifying, and it'll claw into your consciousness in the same way that poisonous forever chemicals have claimed squatter's rights in your body. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
2.5/5 38% Downhill (2020) Downhill is best watched without having seen Force Majeure because the comparisons are so unflattering. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2020
3.5/5 87% Emma. (2020) This version of Emma is an amusing, pastel-coloured movie which fully embraces the rhythm of Austen's dialogue. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3/5 75% To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) The earnest movie can feel a little generically too sweet at times. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3/5 77% Richard Jewell (2019) Where it falters - and badly - is in its portrayal of real-life reporter Kathy Scruggs. It leaves a bitter taste and mars the whole package, undermining its own good work elsewhere. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
4/5 90% The Lighthouse (2019) The Lighthouse may be challenging, it may even be off-putting, but it's gutsy, accomplished and the kind of movie that sears into your memory. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
4.5/5 92% Uncut Gems (2019) The thing that elevates it above all else is the frenetic energy that infuses every scene, yet calibrated so perfectly so that it stays, barely, on the right side of frustrating. There's nothing more thrilling than that. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3.5/5 95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) The Peanut Butter Falcon is a sweet, tender and joyful portrayal of an unlikely friendship, and it won't fail to charm. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3.5/5 81% A Hidden Life (2019) A Hidden Life is definitely on the long side, and there will be people whose patience may be exhausted, but if you give yourself over to it, it's a moving, emotional film with truly breathtaking visuals and wonderful performances. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3.5/5 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is like an anti-Joker in how it confronts the mental health challenges of its main character. Instead of nihilism, hopelessness and violence, this film opts for hope. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
4/5 84% Just Mercy (2020) Just Mercy is a deeply moving film, a human story about injustice and justice and how intangible and ephemeral they both really are. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
4/5 94% Honey Boy (2019) Honey Boy, despite its heavy subject, is a deeply empathetic and generous drama that strikes at the heart of complex parent-child relationships and inherited trauma. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3.5/5 92% The Invisible Man (2020) This confident, modern reworking of The Invisible Man owes a lot less to Claude Rains' classic screen monster and much, much more to Alfred Hitchcock. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3/5 67% Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020) Sure, it's cheesy and the punny repartees are on the nose, but that's part of the enjoyment. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
3/5 63% Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) Sonic The Hedgehog doesn't set out to rewrite the rules of the kids' movies, and given its inauspicious start, you could call the end result a win. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2020
3/5 78% Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Aggressively OK. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2020
4.5/5 89% 1917 (2020) It's an immersive, visceral and meticulously crafted film that has the emotional stakes to match. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2020
3/5 69% Bombshell (2019) Bombshell is a fine enough movie, one that's entertaining and well-paced when you're watching it but forgettable as soon as you leave the theatre. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2020
2.5/5 75% The Gentlemen (2020) The parts are more than its sum. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2019
5/5 95% Little Women (2019) Greta Gerwig has an intrinsic understanding of Louisa May Alcott's story and she's retold it with great compassion. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2019
3.5/5 88% The Truth (La vérité) (2020) While The Truth isn't as refined or free-flowing as Kore-eda's other films, there is complexity and charm to it, and to Deneuve's performance. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
5/5 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) It was a privilege to have seen and experienced Portrait of a Lady on Fire. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
3.5/5 87% Sorry We Missed You (2020) Like many of Loach's films, Sorry We Missed You is stark and spare. He doesn't rely on visual flourishes, instead putting the onus on the power behind the performances and the story. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
3.5/5 80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) While Jojo Rabbit is a charming and entertaining film good for many laughs, its main problem is that it's two movies. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019