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      Looking Closer

      Looking Closer is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): J. Robert Parks, Jeffrey Overstreet.

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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      B
      My Father's Dragon (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet LeFauve's screenplay ... feels far closer to the perpetual-motion entertainment of B-grade Pixar than the four masterful tapestries that Cartoon Saloon has woven for us before.
      Posted Nov 30, 2022
      B+
      Nothing Compares (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet Never mind the familiar documentary techniques. ... This film is an argument: a case for the defense. And the argument is a good one. ... Love wins — and love is, to all appearances, all that has ever been on [O'Connor's] mind and heart.
      Posted Nov 24, 2022
      A-
      Tár (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet I find Blanchett compelling. I find Field’s directorial strategies exciting and sometimes virtuosic. What I enjoy most, though, is Nina Hoss’s heartfelt performance.
      Posted Nov 24, 2022
      A-
      All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet Berger never gives us the luxury of a hero fantasy, a quest formula, or a sentimental turn. Every time we think we might find our way to some note of relief or inspiration, we are denied that comfort.
      Posted Nov 24, 2022
      B-
      The Duke (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet It just doesn’t feel like anybody is on their A-game. ... It's not a grand finale to [Michell's] career; it's like an encore where he plays an endearing crowdpleaser with a simple chorus about making the world a better place, one we can sing along to.
      Posted Aug 20, 2022
      B-
      Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet This movie practically dares you to scoff at it; it feels like a judge is watching you watch the movie, poised to find you guilty of cynicism if you flinch.
      Posted Aug 20, 2022
      B-
      Shadow in the Cloud (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet What makes this film unusually compelling is how Moretz brings such conviction to her performance that we want to see how she comes out of this — even as the world around her poses greater and greater threats to our suspension of disbelief.
      Posted Aug 20, 2022
      B+
      Hit the Road (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet The director’s style carries his father’s comical take on realism forward with such confidence; I was never expecting special effects, images that play like waking dreams, or musical numbers sung to the audience.
      Posted Aug 20, 2022
      B+
      Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet Collaborating with a small team of visual effects artists working in practical media, [Daniels] have achieved a joyous spectacle as exhausting as it is constantly surprising. ... For all of its imagination, this movie's finale feels overlong and preachy.
      Posted Jul 20, 2022
      A
      Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet Marcel is the kind of film that I suspect Jim Henson would have loved: It's childlike, playful, hopeful and wise — and all of this without ever stooping to sentimentality.
      Posted Jul 11, 2022
      A-
      Identifying Features (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet A nerve-wracking journey reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's ventures into blood-soaked wildernesses, where what you imagine ... will only teach you that your imagination is not large enough to fathom the wickedness wreaking havoc in the world.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      B+
      Spencer (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet The film’s intriguing tone, which involves metaphors so heavy-handed that [the writer] couldn’t possibly expect us to take them seriously, feels less like a biopic and more like a campy psychological horror movie. ... And Stewart plays it perfectly.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      A-
      The Power of the Dog (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet A parable about how illusory civilizations really are ... while we are wilder and more mysterious than we want to believe. It’s also about how that wildness, when suppressed, leads to distortions more threatening than insufficient architectures of order.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      A-
      The Worst Person in the World (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet It’s one of the most thoughtful movies about human nature — and one of the most thoughtful about a woman — that I’ve seen since the peak of Kieslowski.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      A
      C'mon C'mon (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet What kind of art do I believe can make a significant difference? ... Art that loves the world. I want to see art that invites us to see human beings through eyes of love. ... In 2021, C’mon C’mon was the film that best fulfilled this description for me.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      C
      Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet As much fun as it is when a familiar formula is well-executed, this movie is also an altar to America's obsession with youthfulness, its exaltation of white super-men, its worship of heavy artillery ... and (sigh) its objectification of women as trophies.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      B+
      The Northman (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet Hopefully it will be received by audiences for what I believe it is: a memorable, harrowing, cautionary nightmare.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      A-
      Petite Maman (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet I was vividly reminded of two very special films: Doillon’s Ponette and Sayles’s The Secret of Roan Inish. The films share some unusual strengths: In all three, we follow observant and intelligent children through territory scarred with loss and sadness.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      B+
      Crimes of the Future (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet It investigates the mysterious and personal nature of art: where it comes from, how it asks artists to expose themselves in costly ways, how commercial and corporate interests corrupt it, and how crowd-pleasing can run counter to an artist’s own visions.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      B
      Emergency (2022) Jeffrey Overstreet Williams and Dávila cook up engaging chemistry between colorful characters, zigzagging between plot threads efficiently; every character matters, every twist makes pretty good sense. ... There’s a current of truth and sincerity running through it.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      A-
      Memoria (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet Quite unlike any theatrical experience Ive had before. Its meant to surround you with shifting soundscapes of weather, radio signals, far more mysterious noises, and silences that seem more like living presences than quiet.
      Posted Apr 15, 2022
      A-
      The French Dispatch (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet Anderson's devoting every resource at his disposal to realizing grander visions. The results are more like museums than paintings, more like restaurants than mere meals.
      Posted Nov 10, 2021
      A-
      Mass (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet I'm hard-pressed to think of a more difficult conversation I've seen at the movies. ... Some will discover it, look up the 2021 Oscars, and wonder: Why was this overlooked?
      Posted Nov 05, 2021
      A-
      Pig (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet The less you know about the plot, the better. ... It's a film of imagination, honesty, and grace, one that has reached the big screen in a time when such occasions are rare.
      Posted Jul 19, 2021
      B-
      A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet It's the most overtly Spielberg-ian exercise to hit the big screen since Super 8. ... Krasinksi proves he's learned a lot from the master of adventure and suspense.
      Posted Jun 25, 2021
      B+
      In the Heights (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet This never feels like a stage show adapted for the screen; it's a thrillingly imagined motion picture. If you haven't seen it on the big screen, you haven't really seen it.
      Posted Jun 19, 2021
      B-
      The Truffle Hunters (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet These hunters, while entertaining at first in their eccentricity, ultimately remain stubbornly and annoyingly opaque.
      Posted May 04, 2021
      B
      Together Together (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet I love it when screenwriters cultivate characters and relationships so unique that I can't think of relevant comparisons from other films.
      Posted May 03, 2021
      C+
      Tenet (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet Exhausted and disoriented by Nolan's curlicue-rollercoasters, we end up fooled into thinking we've been stirred when, in fact, we've mostly been shaken.
      Posted Apr 04, 2021
      A
      Nomadland (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet On the map of cinema, I never expected to find an intersection joining the corners of Varda, Malick, and Sayles. Zhao strikes me as an artist who finds her films by listening.
      Posted Apr 03, 2021
      B
      Abigail Harm (2012) Jeffrey Overstreet It's committed to a strangeness I feel when reading foreign folktales -- more a cautionary tale than an inspirational story of what happens when we wish upon a star.
      Posted Feb 27, 2021
      B+
      Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Jeffrey Overstreet Impressive in its cinematographic finesse, obvious in its allusions, familiar in its form, and painful in its truth-telling, [this film] is a necessary testimony.
      Posted Feb 27, 2021
      B
      Mank (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet Every scene offers up cleverness in everything from lighting to writing. But I doubt that [it] will inspire many love letters. ... I was surprised by how disappointed I felt.
      Posted Dec 10, 2020
      B
      Flannery (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet The film's greatest gift is its gallery of insight from experts as diverse as Sally Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Conan O'Brien, Mary Karr, Richard Rodriguez, and Alice Walker.
      Posted Sep 01, 2020
      B+
      The Quarry (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet The film's weighty spiritual inquiries may suggest we're on a narrative arc toward a heart-warming redemption. But Teems and Brotzman are braver storytellers than that.
      Posted Jul 20, 2020
      C+
      Palm Springs (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet These two appallingly irresponsible characters ... have a lot to learn. [The movie] wears itself out trying to figure out what some of those things might be.
      Posted Jul 15, 2020
      B+
      Da 5 Bloods (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet [Its] strength is also its weakness: It is trying to be at least three kinds of movie at once. ... But few of my 2020 moviegoing experiences will remain as vivid in my memory.
      Posted Jul 15, 2020
      B+
      The Vast of Night (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Its strongest thread [is] the idea that we cannot hope to arrive at truth unless we open the lines to all callers and listen in particular to voices that have been silenced.
      Posted Jun 26, 2020
      B+
      Shirley (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet Decker and her collaborators have achieved something meaningful and compelling here. [Shirley's] a tragic, fascinating figure, and I'll come back to learn from her sadness again.
      Posted Jun 09, 2020
      C+
      Onward (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet There's something about the character design, the voices, and the personality here that feels ... Dreamworks-y. That isn't a compliment. It feels sub-Shrek-ian.
      Posted May 09, 2020
      B+
      Strange Negotiations (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Bazan finds the vocabulary of America's churches too toxic to accept. But in his honesty and sacrifice, he reveals what a life touched by a true Gospel might look like.
      Posted Feb 08, 2020
      A-
      A Hidden Life (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Malick knows the power of nature's beauty as a language that transcends our spoken and written texts. [But his] visual poetry ... is becoming increasingly predictable.
      Posted Jan 22, 2020
      B-
      1917 (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Even if we grant it the distinction of being the first war film to play as one unbroken scene, we may also conclude that it's ultimately less than the sum of ... its part.
      Posted Jan 19, 2020
      C-
      Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet It's a Star Wars jukebox that generates remixes and medleys of the Top 250 moments from earlier installments. But at no point do we hear anything resembling a new melody sung.
      Posted Dec 21, 2019
      B+
      Light From Light (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Very little else in my year at the movies has stayed so vividly on my mind as Light from Light. It's haunting me.
      Posted Dec 10, 2019
      A-
      A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Few women [get] to direct pop culture events as significant as this one. And Heller isn't content to give the people what they want: She takes risks from the opening scene.
      Posted Nov 24, 2019
      C+
      Ford v Ferrari (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Sure, it's a 'true story,' but everything is so streamlined and polished for a mass audience that I don't believe a minute of it.
      Posted Nov 24, 2019
      A-
      Wild Rose (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet It demonstrates wisdom far deeper than almost any road-to-stardom story I can think of. It's more about how a soul is saved than how a star is born.
      Posted Aug 11, 2019
      B-
      The Farewell (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet I recommend it, [but] ... it unfolded for me as a progression of obvious chords, played repetitively and softly. ... There's a difference between artful subtlety and dullness.
      Posted Aug 09, 2019
      A-
      Toy Story 4 (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet This is the funniest Toy Story yet. ... [And it's] the first story in this world to focus on children as much as toys. In this, it raises important new questions.
      Posted Jul 07, 2019
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