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      David Poland

      David Poland

      Tomatometer-approved critic

      Movies reviews only

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      Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
      The Creator (2023) It may be the best not-really-good movie of the year… of the decade, maybe. I admire the work like I admire a brilliant painting that I don’t really like. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2023
      The Holdovers (2023) There are films that hunt deeper emotions and plenty that just want to entertain. But the best do both. This is what Alexander Payne is about and why he is one of his generation’s finest filmmakers. And The Holdovers is one of his finest films. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2023
      Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) "Even after two viewings - and I will see it again, gladly - I found myself trying to figure out how and why Scorsese, clearly allowed to do as he pleased, didn’t really stick the landing." - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2023
      Bottoms (2023) One of the things I love about Bottoms is that it leans hard into the young lesbian universe without really being about being gay and without being exclusionary in any way. The movie could have been about 2 nerdy guys just as easily. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2023
      Blue Beetle (2023) It’s like the movie is screaming for Blue Beetle to be a hero for La Gente (The People), but it didn’t want to lean too hard on that so as not to scare the white audience and instead, subbed in the soft-ball Shazam stuff. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2023
      Oppenheimer (2023) So much of our lives is about the fear and fearlessness around turning theory into action, at all levels of our lives. Oppenheimer is a run with those bulls, fearless and relentless. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Aug 02, 2023
      Sound of Freedom (2022) Seeing the film, weeks after its release, the biggest surprise for me was that it is not remotely religious or political. There is nothing right wing about caring about trafficked kids. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2023
      Haunted Mansion (2023) Yes, you are doing this old fashioned ghost comedy on a much bigger stage. But that’s the core. Embellish your ass off! But don’t make it a big blurry mess. But that’s what it is. What a waste. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2023
      Barbie (2023) The real ideas in the film are enough to make the movie work without the focus on weak men, even though that focus entertains. It brings a weird darkness to the effort because, at core, it’s mean in much the way the film's women feel the world is to them. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2023
      Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One (2023) McQuarrie figured out a great way to use action that fit his skill set in his first 2 movies. So suddenly he needs to try for Spielberg and DePalma combined? He was more than enough. But he seems to desire to be something else. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 05, 2023
      Joy Ride (2023) With Oppenheimer and Barbie just around the corner, I would be silly to proclaim Joy Ride “The Movie of the Summer!!!” But so far, Joy Ride is the most completely fulfilled major summer film. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 04, 2023
      No Hard Feelings (2023) I sat in that theater and laughed. My 13-year-old laughed. But I kept wanting the whole thing to be funnier. Then it struck me what the flaw was. The movie has almost no real stakes because it chooses the wrong lead. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2023
      Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) This is a beautifully made okay movie with familiar characters and actors we love that turns into a really repetitive and then, bad, movie. The very end is magic… but not magic enough to make it worth a two-and-a-half hour sit. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2023
      Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) The Transformers themselves are as sophisticated as CG allows and In that way, it is cutting edge. But the soul of this movie feels like it came out of Cannon Pictures. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jun 08, 2023
      Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) I honestly have a hard time imagining that there will be 9 films this year, of any format, better than this one. Make of that what you will. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted May 31, 2023
      The Little Mermaid (2023) I wouldn’t tell anyone NOT to see this movie. It is all about fan service and if you are a fan who wants this, you should try it… in a theater. But it’s not a good movie. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted May 22, 2023
      Fast X (2023) The ensemble is literally 20 deep... every actor gets “their moment.” The franchise adds Rita Moreno because, why f-ing not? We are at the point where Dominic mentioning “family” is a laugh line, like he is Great Grandpa Dom farting at the dinner table. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted May 17, 2023
      Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) Very, very few people will come out of the movie unhappy. But many will have the uncomfortable feeling that they should have been more satisfied, not as interested in deconstruction as I and other film writers are. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted May 06, 2023
      Renfield (2023) It would be really easy to oversell Renfield. But it’s a really great time if you are up for this kind of ride. I might suggest that it is the best of the 2023 Universal Trilogy Of Fun Violence. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2023
      The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) Don’t get me wrong. I am fine with Princess Peach leading Mario and them being the central characters of a movie. She is more interesting than Luigi. But they did to Luigi what “they” have done to lead female characters in action films forever. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Apr 05, 2023
      John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) John Wick 4 is beautifully realized within its own context… but the context has become so disconnected from any reality, so myopic visually, so cartoonish, without any rhyme or reason. Some are calling that "minimalist." I call it "boring." - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2023
      Creed III (2023) Creed II frustrated me. I thought it'd be about the guy with everything & a big moment of self-awareness. But instead it makes excuses for success-fueled aggression, lack of perspective, & an inability to find the best way to make a right out of a wrong. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Cocaine Bear (2023) A go-to-the-full-movie-theater and laugh and scream and hide your eyes while sneaking peeks between your fingers as the body parts fly and the characters try to survive. The film delivers on that. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2023
      Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) Way too much of the film feels like they took the story they wanted to tell and then amped it up to be “bigger.” I actually loved many of the ideas, for places and characters… but it was all just too much, distracting from the core story. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2023
      M3GAN (2022) It is a lot of fun. It’s familiar and fresh, smart and stupid, completely expected and full of surprises. If you are willing, it’s hard not to like. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jan 05, 2023
      Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical (2022) The Matilda team, especially Warchus, deserve enormous credit for what they (re)created here. I don’t know if it can get the following of Encanto. I think those songs were more commercial. But this is a movie that families will watch over & over again. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2022
      Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022) As it turns out, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody is not really like any of the musical biopics we have seen in recent years. In fact, it’s something I have never seen in a major motion picture. It’s a jukebox musical movie. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2022
      Babylon (2022) Like Kubrick, Damien Chazelle is working on 2 levels here. The party is real. But it is also an embodiment of the idea of how it feels to make a movie. The relentlessness. The hierarchies. The intense joy. The reality of what it takes to feed the machine. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Avatar: The Way of Water is the most classic movie-movie you will see this year (or most others) and it is the most remarkable, newfangled, nothing-else-like it, how the hell did they do that? game-changing entertainment at the same time. (Spoiler-Free) - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2022
      Emancipation (2022) The “untold story” of the real-life "Whipped Peter" is clearly not the real story, but a fantasy in which “Peter” keeps finding himself in the center of scenes and constantly escaping or rising as others fall. It’s Black Forrest Gump. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Dec 01, 2022
      Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) Very likable. My audience applauded at the end. Most audiences will, I suspect. There are many adults who will watch this more than once on Netflix next month. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2022
      Strange World (2022) There is a movie here… it’s just unbalanced. It’s never horrible. It’s just not the kind of adventure where the audience is fully engaged because we never really know the lay of the land until the last 20 minutes or so. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2022
      The Fabelmans (2022) For film loving people who consume in smaller chunks, not seeking closure or demanding more consistent storytelling, The Fabelmans will be their favorite film in a long while. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Nov 09, 2022
      Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) For all the really cool imagery and fx, the film is really about characters and how they see themselves in the context of the world, not about big action sequences. A version of this film could have been made in the 1970s and would be just as effective. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Nov 08, 2022
      Ticket to Paradise (2022) Who do you want to play it opposite Julia? Well, what if you could get a guy associated with Julia and widely considered the most charming man in the last decades of movies? Clooney. So why is it so clear that this movie is miscast? - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2022
      Black Adam (2022) I find it a remarkable thing to make a movie that is hysterically relentless in extreme action, yet somehow, someway, boring as hell. And this is what is achieved with Black Adam. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Halloween Ends (2022) For me, the last 15 minutes of Halloween Ends is the best work in all 3 films. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2022
      Tár (2022) That challenge, whether offered by Todd Field or any other filmmaker, is when cinema is at its best for me. That, or when it is just great relentless entertainment. These experiences are when cinema is an immeasurable gift. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Oct 09, 2022
      Bros (2022) I was all there for Bros. I am an Apatow fan and I love Nic Stoller’s Neighbors and I was ready to laugh hard and be charmed and surprised by Billy Eichner. And I got some funny moments and some fun cameos and a few laughs. Sigh... - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2022
      Blonde (2022) I don’t see it as an achievement that you can walk out of the nearly 3-hour long Blonde (or get up from your couch) without the film having made any kind of coherent argument about what happened to Marilyn Monroe that led to her death at 36 years of age. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2022
      Empire of Light (2022) There is so much to love here… but just as we are ready to get to the end, a couple new tracks are laid out and the just plain get in the way of the movie. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Women Talking (2022) Women Talking asks the audience think and rethink and rethink again about what they are seeing… what conversation they are being asked to engage. For me, that is the most daring and valuable and unusual thing in filmmaking, especially in America - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2022
      The Wonder (2022) Leilo’s film is really focused on The Nurse, played by Pugh. She works through pretty much every emotional and intellectual string of what is happening to this young girl. I expect Pugh to be Oscar-nominated for this work. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Don't Worry Darling (2022) Don’t Worry Darling lingers in what it seems to think is its strength for 2 full acts and once the twist lands, its exploration is so meager that there is little scraped from the bones of the ideas. The entire film is a good first act of another movie. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Bones and All (2022) There are fans who will love this. There are people who watch much of what they watch in 5 minute increments. There are memories to take away. But it’s not enough. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Sep 05, 2022
      Bullet Train (2022) There are multiple ways to focus on Bullet Train. You can take it as a wild ride… a live-action anime. Or you can film critic it and ask for it to be more than the sum of its parts, while appreciating the parts along the way. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Aug 02, 2022
      Nope (2022) Did I like it? Yup. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2022
      The Gray Man (2022) "The Russos have all the skills. The problem is, they use all the skills. If they did half of everything they can do, their non-Marvel movies would be doubly good… or if you want me to do the math… good, maybe really, really good." - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2022
      Where the Crawdads Sing (2022) The thing is, I am not a fan of cliches. But in this case, they would have been more believable than what there was. I could have loved this movie. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2022
      Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) I had a good time throughout the movie. There is a lot of fun stuff. Great actors. And Waititi is a great directorial and comedy force. But would it make any real difference to the future of the MCU if this film didn’t exist? No. Not really. - Hot Button
      Read More | Posted Jul 05, 2022
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