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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Shadow of Fire (2023) Mark Schilling The film’s main cast, channeling the spiritual and emotional cost of war with an authenticity that feels earned, not abstractedly learned, powers Shadow of Fire to its evocative and ambiguous climax. The fires of war may go out, but the shadows linger.
      Posted Dec 01, 2023
      My Mother's Eyes (2023) Mark Schilling The film’s psychodrama, concluding with an image at once bizarre, beautiful and somehow inevitable, is unsettlingly persuasive -- though not, I hope, to the point of canceling your kid’s cello lessons.
      Posted Dec 01, 2023
      Lumberjack the Monster (2023) James Hadfield After an energetic opening act, the movie seems to decide that what its audience really wants is talking -- lots and lots of talking.
      Posted Dec 01, 2023
      Komada - A Whisky Family (2023) Matt Schley In surer hands, it might have been a compelling story about the real kind of drama that unfolds in a workplace, or simply an educational introduction to the world of whisky production. As is, it’s hard to find a worthy drop here.
      Posted Nov 16, 2023
      Flags of Our Fathers (2006) Giovanni Fazio When away from the island, the film lags at times, and the viewer will crave the excitement of battle. But the combat here is so frighteningly random and brutal, once back in it, you can't wait for the film to move on.
      Posted Nov 10, 2023
      Godzilla Minus One (2023) Matt Schley Visually, Godzilla Minus One evokes the original film more than any Godzilla film since the ’50s. But by locating itself in the past, it avoids taking on contemporary issues, more content to be an entertaining ride.
      Posted Nov 09, 2023
      The Concierge (2023) Matt Schley Pleasant but slight.
      Posted Oct 27, 2023
      The Forbidden Play (2023) Mark Schilling The mishmash of genres and influences -- imagine The Exorcist and Terminator 2: Judgement Day run through a J-horror blender -- goes down better than expected.
      Posted Sep 21, 2023
      Traffic (2000) Giovanni Fazio A hard-edged look at the realities of the so-called war on drugs in Mexico and America.
      Posted Sep 06, 2023
      Moulin Rouge (2001) Giovanni Fazio Where Luhrmann's film needs to seduce us, it can only get in our face and -- like a bad drunk -- bellow, "Love me, love me, love me!" In the end, there's not one honest, heartfelt moment in this entire tarty, phony valentine.
      Posted Sep 05, 2023
      When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) Kaori Shoji When a Man devotes itself to creating the image of a lovestruck husband who is ready to do anything to put a smile on his wife’s face. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, Mandoki’s good intentions are appreciated. But that’s about as far as I can go.
      Posted Sep 01, 2023
      White Men Can't Jump (1992) Mark Thompson Snipes is better than ever and Harrelson portrays a good mix of mental thickness and street smarts. But the key player is Perez... With a voice that soars through 10 pitches in one breath, she makes the lines sing even when they're flat.
      Posted Aug 31, 2023
      Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023) James Hadfield It doesn’t even get much mileage out of its most incisive joke: that there’s only a fine line separating a sleep-deprived office drone from an honest-to-god zombie. That would’ve taken brains -- and teeth. This moribund comedy doesn’t have either.
      Posted Aug 10, 2023
      Macbeth (1971) Foumy Saisho Polanski's Macbeth seems more terrifying because he is presented to be a completely ordinary man turned into a tyrant.
      Posted Jul 21, 2023
      12 Months of Kai (2021) Mark Schilling Playing Kai, Kudo deftly suggests the uncanny valley between robot and human, while effortlessly embodying a Ken-doll-like ideal.
      Posted Jul 20, 2023
      La Haine (1995) Giovanni Fazio In this cynical age, where it seems there is precious little left to believe in, Kassovitz is a godsend, his righteous anger representing the real thing.
      Posted Jul 20, 2023
      The Boy and the Heron (2023) Matt Schley I’m not sure where The Boy and the Heron will eventually fall on my list of Miyazaki favorites, but there were moments that took my breath away.
      Posted Jul 19, 2023
      Gladiator (2000) Giovanni Fazio Gladiator is not a bad film at all; in fact, it's visually stunning, easily the most impressive work Scott has done since "Blade Runner." But it is apparent that reaction to this film is splitting along a fault line called "age."
      Posted Jul 13, 2023
      Mulholland Dr. (2001) Giovanni Fazio Ultimately, there's no need to sweat the "why?" too much. Just sit back and savor Mulholland Drive for what it is -- like Escher's staircase, it's an endlessly fascinating illusion of perfect impossibility.
      Posted Jul 11, 2023
      Magnolia (1999) Giovanni Fazio Cruise's is only one of many superb performances: Jason Robards' bitter death-bed confession of betrayal is profoundly moving.
      Posted Jun 30, 2023
      Phantom of the Paradise (1974) Sheelagh Lebovich I watched with delight and surprise, never bored and increasingly amazed at the brilliance and originality of what I was seeing. I was very sorry when it was over and long to see it again.
      Posted Jun 27, 2023
      Back to the Future (1985) Andy Adams Back to the Future is one of the most entertaining films of the year from virtually every aspect: the performances of the cast and production crew, the tongue-in-cheek comedy, the special effects, etc.
      Posted Jun 27, 2023
      Dreaming in Between (2023) Mark Schilling The film’s real discovery, however, is [Miyu] Yoshimoto, who takes what would ordinarily be a minor role and nearly steals the film with a riveting presence and bravura acting.
      Posted Jun 15, 2023
      Patriot Games (1992) Kaori Shoji Patriot Games is great for fans of fast-paced action thrillers, but be prepared to fight for your seat in a sea of people who all look 17.
      Posted Jun 06, 2023
      Monster (2023) James Hadfield Although this is an uncharacteristic Kore-eda film in some respects, the way it leads you toward a deeper understanding of the characters is typical of the director’s staunch humanism.
      Posted Jun 01, 2023
      The Color Purple (1985) Andy Adams The Color Purple is a dramatically moving film, professionally produced in every way, but one might take issue with the way Spielberg artificially tries to manipulate the audience’s emotions.
      Posted May 30, 2023
      Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Andy Adams Raiders of the Lost Ark is what the business of making film entertainment is all about.
      Posted May 02, 2023
      Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Kelly Cresap Buttered to the point of slickness, salted without being pungent, this is another bag of popularized corn few will be able to resist.
      Posted May 01, 2023
      9 to 5 (1980) Andy Adams Nine to Five is a lot of fun.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      A Sunday in the Country (1984) Nick Bornoff Reconstructing with scrupulous accuracy, it makes a period normally reserved for nostalgia vehicles seem utterly contemporary. A warm, witty, perceptive film.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) Andy Adams The Falcon and the Snowman is a tense, fast-paced film with fine performances by Hutton and Penn.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Mishima (1985) Sheila K. Johnson Mishima is an impressive work. Like Oshima's "Gishiki" and "Nihon no Yoru to Kiri," which unquestionably influenced the American filmmakers, it uses both realistic and hallucinatory sequences to paint a disturbing portrait of contemporary Japan.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Funny Lady (1975) Sheelagh Lebovich Funny Lady has revealed a side to Miss Streisand that I did not imagine existed.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Dersu Uzala (1975) Don Kenny Dersu Uzala will undoubtedly go down in film history as a fine expression of the creative style, and the deeper urges and beliefs behind that style, of a truly great director.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      And the Ship Sails On (1983) Nick Bornoff During two hours and 10 minutes of consummate Fellini cinema, one has been taken for a ride.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      1984 (1984) Andy Adams Even though it paints a stark, bleak picture without any hope of redemption, it has an inevitability about it, a relentless driving force that carries you forward whether you want to go or not.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Egoist (2022) Mark Schilling Through Matsunaga’s moving and intimate direction, Suzuki’s committed performance of Kosuke’s agony is raw and immediate.
      Posted Feb 09, 2023
      Bad City (2022) James Hadfield At one point, Torada deploys a police megaphone to impressive effect while beating up a bunch of yakuza goons. That’s typical of the messy and improvisational nature of the film’s fight scenes, which are frequently electrifying to watch.
      Posted Jan 27, 2023
      Small, Slow But Steady (2022) Mark Schilling It is quietly moving in its examination of human fragility without being pessimistic about human resilience.
      Posted Dec 15, 2022
      Fragments of the Last Will (2022) James Hadfield It’s hard to ignore the resemblance to Masaki Kobayashi’s three-part The Human Condition... Compared to the moral complexity of Kobayashi’s film, this is tame stuff, but if you’re looking for heartwarming holiday viewing, you could do far worse.
      Posted Dec 09, 2022
      Motherhood (2022) James Hadfield As Motherhood rushes toward a happy ending that’s as unlikely as it is unearned, it offers a fleeting glimpse of the opportunity missed.
      Posted Nov 28, 2022
      A Man (2022) Mark Schilling [A] multilayered, masterful drama.
      Posted Nov 18, 2022
      Suzume (2022) Matt Schley Let’s get this out of the way up front: If there was any doubt that Makoto Shinkai is the undisputed visual champion of the anime form, Suzume provides the final knockout punch.
      Posted Nov 11, 2022
      Drifting Home (2022) James Hadfield If it was about 20 minutes shorter, Drifting Home would represent a minor triumph for Ishida. However, he lets things drag on interminably.
      Posted Sep 16, 2022
      Love Life (2022) James Hadfield It’s a muted and elusive piece of work that takes a roundabout route to reach its (actually quite resonant) conclusion.
      Posted Sep 08, 2022
      What to Do with the Dead Kaiju? (2022) James Hadfield Satoshi Miki’s inverted monster movie bites off more than it can chew...
      Posted Aug 12, 2022
      Plan 75 (2022) James Hadfield Chie Hayakawa’s Plan 75 puts a realistic spin on the dystopian scenarios of 1970s sci-fi movies like Soylent Green and Logan’s Run, and is all the more chilling for it.
      Posted Jun 24, 2022
      Broker (2022) Mark Schilling In the hands of another director, the story might have taken a shouty, manipulative turn, but Kore-eda opts for emotionally grounded nuance.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Gensan Punch (2021) Mark Schilling Veteran character actor Shogen's soft-spoken and self-abnegating portrayal of the hero manages to exude a quiet grit that comes off as authentic.
      Posted Jun 02, 2022
      INU-OH (2021) James Hadfield This anachronistic rock musical promises a return to the playful, literary surrealism of The Tatami Galaxy and its 2017 spin-off, Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, but comes up short.
      Posted May 27, 2022
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