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      Esther Zuckerman

      Esther Zuckerman

      Tomatometer-approved critic

      Movies reviews only

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      Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
      The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) Ballad is a satisfying, well-acted melodrama with moral gray areas and real stakes for its characters. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2023
      Dicks: The Musical (2023) Lane and Mullally are national treasures who’ll go to any length for a laugh, and Megan Thee Stallion's willingness to get involved with this whole thing just makes me love her even more. - GQ
      Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2023
      Fair Play (2023) It’s moody and tense, and it features captivating performances from its leads, Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor. But it’s peppered with false moments that undercut the experience, repeatedly pulling the viewer out of the action. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2023
      Wicked Little Letters (2023) The Oscar winner and Oscar nominee, respectively, play warring neighbors in a tiny English village in the 1920s, and there is a glorious gusto to their very funny performances. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2023
      Next Goal Wins (2023) It’s still a pleasure to watch actors like Kightley and House bicker, and to see a star such as Kaimana emerge. And yet Next Goal Wins is largely a misfire, one that’s too unwilling to stop kidding around for even the most important of moments. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2023
      Knox Goes Away (2023) Ultimately, one just gets the sense that Knox Goes Away is unsure of what it’s supposed to be. On one hand, it leans into the chillingly gruesome; on the other, it wants to laugh at the grimness of its own scenarios. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2023
      The Royal Hotel (2023) Laughter and wails are almost interchangeable. That tension makes the film excruciating but exciting; like the characters, the viewer has to try to suss out what is a danger and what is just a good time. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2023
      Janet Planet (2023) There is nothing artificial here, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t mystery. It’s the mystery of people and their unusual behaviors and the way they can flit in and out of our lives and our consciousness. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Sep 02, 2023
      Oppenheimer (2023) This is dense material that’s thoroughly engrossing and by its end, shattering. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2023
      Barbie (2023) It would be easy to lean into the camp aspects of the role, but Robbie takes on Barbie with a wide-eyed earnestness. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2023
      The Flash (2023) Although it’s not without some fun moments, The Flash often substitutes cameos for genuine thrills, and a general aura of exhaustion hovers over it all. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Jun 07, 2023
      Asteroid City (2023) Asteroid City has all of the ticks that make Anderson Anderson: The slow pans, the deliberate framing, the erudite dialogue, and a narrator to boot. It’s also his best film since 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 23, 2023
      May December (2023) A wonderfully tawdry, upsetting, and often hilarious film, that leans into its tabloid inspirations through an art house lens and features a breakout role for Charles Melton of Riverdale fame. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 22, 2023
      The Zone of Interest (2023) The Zone of Interest is being hailed as the first great movie to emerge from this year’s Cannes and for good reason. It’s a disturbing and brilliant film that challenges what it means to make a Holocaust movie. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 22, 2023
      Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) It's anchored by performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert de Niro that both rank among their best, but the soul of the movie belongs to Lily Gladstone, who broke out in 2016's Certain Women. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 22, 2023
      The Sweet East (2023) It’s the kind of movie designed to push buttons with a little bit of a “u mad” attitude towards political correctness. It can also be very funny in its outrageousness, even if it ends on a moment that ups the provocation. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 19, 2023
      Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) The de-aging and other CGI manipulations of Ford’s body only serve to demonstrate that Dial of Destiny just wants to turn back the clock instead of doing anything new. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 19, 2023
      Homecoming (2023) A movie that registers as slight by its end, despite the talent found within its confines. What is nonetheless evident, however, is that Bemba and Gohourou are worth watching as they go forward in their careers. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted May 18, 2023
      Jeanne du Barry (2023) Confusing? Misguided? Maybe the most pro-French monarchy movie you'll ever see? (Sorry, Marie Antoinette.) But none of that really has to do with Depp beyond his very casting. Depp is essentially a nonentity in the movie. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted May 17, 2023
      The Goldman Case (2023) With another subject, Kahn’s approach might come off as dispassionate, but Goldman is such a strangely alluring figure that he — and by association, Worthalter — give the film its fiery bent. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted May 17, 2023
      Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023) It’s hard to imagine that an earlier take on the book would have been made with this much honesty and care. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2023
      Wild Life (2023) A documentary that comes off mostly as a PR stunt. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2023
      Champions (2023) A film that lands in an uncomfortable space between understanding and mockery. Like its grouchy hero, it wants to be applauded for its tolerance, while also mining laughs out its characters’ differences. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Mar 08, 2023
      Cocaine Bear (2023) It’s not a bad time, exactly, so long as you can tolerate copious amounts of blood. But if you’re going to do a Scarface-meets-Yogi Bear hybrid, it should have more than one note. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2023
      Theater Camp (2023) The jokes are good. Sure, many require a knowledge of musical theater, but even newbies will find something to love. And that's curtain. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2023
      Rye Lane (2023) At just 82 minutes, Allen-Miller’s film is short, but packed to the brim with her affection for her characters and the place in world they occupy, the South London neighborhood of Peckham. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2023
      Young. Wild. Free. (2023) Trust me, you’ve heard this one before. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2023
      Going Varsity in Mariachi (2023) It’s handsomely shot by Michael Crommett, who highlights the crisp lines of the trajes and the caked-on makeup the women wear. There are nail-biting moments and heart-wrenching ones as well. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2023
      Infinity Pool (2023) The effect is certainly disconcerting -- and it's intended as such -- but as the plot goes on you start to wonder if it isn't just hollow artifice. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2023
      Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023) Fox is nothing if not a likable figure, and he and Guggenheim have crafted a likable film about both his suffering and resilience without turning him into a martyr. - indieWire
      Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2023
      She Said (2022) As an exercise, the movie is an admirable endeavor. Still, that doesn’t make it entirely successful. The result reveals little and is almost suffocatingly restrained. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2022
      Ticket to Paradise (2022) Watching Ticket to Paradise, the new starry theatrical rom-com, you may occasionally find your mind drifting. Hey, you might think, if nothing else, George Clooney and Julia Roberts got a great vacation out of this experience. I bet they had fun. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Tár (2022) It’s a jagged, uncomfortable masterpiece. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Oct 07, 2022
      The Menu (2022) At the risk of sounding hokey: it's a new spin on a familiar flavor, like pickle ice cream or a chocolate hamburger. The Menu lands its joke about the Chef Table-ification of cuisine while also finding nuance in its “capitalism is a plague” messaging. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2022
      Wendell & Wild (2022) The saga is slightly too convoluted with some world-building short-changed, but it twists and turns to a place of genuine emotion and a rousing call to take down the ghouls of the real world rather than the demons of the underworld. - Vanity Fair
      Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2022
      Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022) Sure, it’s clever at first, but after a while it starts to feel like you’re watching yet another tiresome biopic that hits the same beats as every other biopic—except this one is supposed to be fake and funny. - The Daily Beast
      Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2022
      Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022) The result is a film that uses its own clichés to undermine expectations, turning age-old tropes into thrilling fantasy. - Bloomberg News
      Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2022
      Funny Pages (2022) While this story of an arrogant aspiring comic book artist will be entirely off putting to some, it’s that very cringeworthy energy that makes it well worth your time. - IGN Movies
      Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2022
      Prey (2022) The result is pretty fun, if also a tonal mishmash of goofiness and gorgeous landscapes. - TIME Magazine
      Read More | Posted Aug 09, 2022
      Not Okay (2022) Director and writer Quinn Shephard's movie is an enticingly cynical exercise, featuring a great performance from Zoey Deutch. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2022
      Nope (2022) Nope is an experience that's creepy, wriggling its way under your skin, raucous, and thoughtful in all the right ways. It's a spectacle about the human need for spectacle. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2022
      Murina (2021) Through Filipović's performance you can feel the way she itches to escape on your skin. It's mesmerizing and a little bit terrifying. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Jul 08, 2022
      Elvis (2022) It accomplishes what it sets out to do in reminding audiences of the power of Elvis Presley. He's Romeo or Gatsby or Satine at the Moulin Rouge. He's impossible to ignore. With Butler as his copilot, Luhrmann sets loins afire. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Bitterbrush (2021) It’s horse girl cinema, yes, but it’s also deeply human cinema as well. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2022
      Crimes of the Future (2022) Crimes is classic Cronenberg: a sci-fi fable about evolution, complete with fleshy incisions. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted May 23, 2022
      Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Chip 'n Dale is both a frequently charming diversion that will play great on Disney+ and a real missed opportunity. It somehow defies the IP exhaustion associated with nearly every cultural product these days and plays right into it. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted May 20, 2022
      Pleasure (2021) Nothing is that unfamiliar in the plot of Pleasure, but Thyberg, who hails from Sweden, approaches her subject with such a clinical gaze that it's hard to shake the feeling that she's doing something revolutionary - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted May 11, 2022
      Men (2022) Men is craggier than Garland's other work, less sure of its intent and choppy in its genre swerves. And yet the potency of its images, gooey and tangible, are nightmare fuel for whoever dares watch. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted May 09, 2022
      Petite Maman (2021) Petite Maman asks existential questions with the purity of youth, while at the same time remaining utterly true to life. It’s rare that a film feels as special as this one. Hold it tight. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2022
      Paris, 13th District (2021) Audiard and his co-writers aren’t relishing in their characters’ anguish. Instead, Paris, 13th District builds toward swooningly romantic conclusions that defy expectations in their sweetness. It’s also, quite frankly, very hot. - Thrillist
      Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2022
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