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      Vanyaland is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Nick Johnston.

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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Fast X (2023) Nick Johnston What Fast X embodies is the often-goofy amiability of the American blockbuster, and the innate charm that still gives it global appeal without the requisite amount of compromises that may assume it may need in our world-spanning modern cinema.
      Posted May 22, 2023
      A Compassionate Spy (2022) Nick Johnston The main problem is that James descends into easy hagiography on a subject where there really are no heroes or villains, just complex and messy people who pave the road to a potential nuclear hell with their good intentions.
      Posted May 12, 2023
      Brooklyn 45 (2023) Nick Johnston I’m cognizant of the fact that “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” is an absurdly overused cliche, but there are few other concise ways to describe why exactly I enjoyed Ted Geoghegan’s Brooklyn 45 so much.
      Posted May 12, 2023
      BlackBerry (2023) Nick Johnston What separates Johnson’s film from the pack, or at least from Aaron Sorkin’s contributions to the genre, is that BlackBerry is willing to treat the entire ordeal as farce: Tell a would-be tragedy enough times and eventually the humor emerges.
      Posted May 12, 2023
      Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) Nick Johnston It’s often surprisingly effective at tugging on the viewer’s heartstrings. But that application of personal investment and care to an enterprise that would, in another’s hands, be soulless and generic is what Gunn did best during his time at Disney,
      Posted May 05, 2023
      Beau Is Afraid (2023) Nick Johnston When the film does finally just come out and try to prod us into a big and overwhelming laugh, right at its climax, it lands with a thud, having worn everyone out so thoroughly that even something as ridiculous as the ultimate reveal is rendered limp.
      Posted Apr 21, 2023
      Evil Dead Rise (2023) Nick Johnston Evil Dead Rise is the kind of horizon-broadening horror sequel -- a back-to-basics approach that retains the aesthetic development of its direct predecessor -- that the genre needs as it slowly emerges from the Elevated Horror era.
      Posted Apr 20, 2023
      Renfield (2023) Nick Johnston Renfield suffers from a disease somewhat endemic to modern comedy, which is that, in its desperation to try and outrace the limits of its high-concept premise, it overcomplicates everything.
      Posted Apr 19, 2023
      Air (2023) Nick Johnston A genuinely novel and unique sports film, as well as one of the best modern-day films about advertising you’ll ever see.
      Posted Apr 07, 2023
      The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) Nick Johnston An 80-minute speed-run through Mario World, with little in the way of the fun that actually makes the video games themselves special, crammed full of generic fan service that will be lost on at least half of the viewers.
      Posted Apr 07, 2023
      Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) Nick Johnston A solid romp that is charming enough to elide those concerns, crafting a personality that eludes a lot of other like-minded original fantasy films.
      Posted Apr 04, 2023
      Enys Men (2022) Nick Johnston Jenkin indulges in the worst aspects of modern “elevated” horror filmmaking through his stodgy abstraction, with few entry points for one to engage with the work as either a scary yarn or a dreamy survey of isolated emotion.
      Posted Mar 30, 2023
      John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Nick Johnston Just think: All this carnage, all this fun, all for the want of a dog. Few can beat that.
      Posted Mar 29, 2023
      The Unheard (2023) Nick Johnston When all of the threads connect here, you’re left with a sum that’s ultimately less than the parts, no matter how well-crafted they may be.
      Posted Mar 29, 2023
      65 (2023) Nick Johnston 65 might not be the kind of high-concept meme movie worth screeching loudly about to your friends... but it is a decently solid time at the movies,
      Posted Mar 15, 2023
      Scream VI (2023) Nick Johnston It’s almost wholly passionless, and given the laziness of the parody and/or critique found in V, it’s almost kind of a blessing that any discussion of horror cliche is limited to a handful of scenes.
      Posted Mar 15, 2023
      Creed III (2023) Nick Johnston Like its stellar predecessors, Creed III finds substance, heart, and glory in the beating and bloodying.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023) Nick Johnston It’s still great to see Ritchie exploring his interests outside of the traditional studio framework with the same kind of panache he kicked off this decade with. Still, Operation Fortune can’t overcome the limitations of its genre forefathers.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) Nick Johnston As another Merry Marvel Continuity Exercise, it could be a lot worse. At least they have a compellingly-acted villain again, even if they aren’t quite sure what to do with him on the way to their destination.
      Posted Feb 23, 2023
      Magic Mike's Last Dance (2023) Nick Johnston The multiplex is better when it has Mike’s magic uplifting and enhancing its enchantments.
      Posted Feb 15, 2023
      80 for Brady (2023) Nick Johnston We get to see a whole lot of that gorgeous NFL Films footage [which] makes up much of the film’s most exciting moments. Take that away, and you’re left with an impeccably charming cast of brilliant actors all dressed up with nowhere to go.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      Knock at the Cabin (2023) Nick Johnston People should recognize that Shyamalan is an excellent craftsman, and I’d encourage those on the fence to give Knock at the Cabin a chance. Who knows: Your choice could save the world.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      Shortcomings (2023) Nick Johnston It is often devastatingly funny, occasionally moving, and particularly easy to misread in the earliest moments.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023) Nick Johnston A great testament to what making lemonade from life’s lemons can do for one’s soul.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      The Pod Generation (2023) Nick Johnston What’s fascinating is how Barthes lets the unease sit with some of the genuine benefits of a hassle-free world and their equally fundamental flaws, and how intensely she preserves the question of whether these means are justified by the end they achieve.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Infinity Pool (2023) Nick Johnston Cronenberg’s envisioning of this world is as fantastical as you might imagine and as bleakly rendered as you expect from the director’s last name.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Judy Blume Forever (2023) Nick Johnston Makes a case for inclusion in any canon of teen-lit or YA-adjacent authors as well as her continued relevance, and the film wholly succeeds thanks to Blume’s involvement.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Rye Lane (2023) Nick Johnston It’s got a whipfire and often cracklingly-smart script, full of big belly laughs and winsome smiles, with an un-patronizing kindness embedded in its core.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      birth/rebirth (2023) Nick Johnston Incredibly impressive, with a pair of brilliant performances anchoring the whole thing and a script that constantly tosses curveballs at the audience.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Theater Camp (2023) Nick Johnston Theater Camp is directly meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia for those lost glory days of joyous camaraderie and Phantom singalongs at the lunch table, but it’s surprisingly flat and, worse, not particularly funny.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Magazine Dreams (2023) Nick Johnston It’s tremendous and ferocious work, beautifully shot and staged, and it is a testament to Majors’ abilities.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Radical (2023) Nick Johnston Radical feel less like a pointed polemic and more like a genuine debate about the purpose of education in a child’s life.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Plane (2023) Nick Johnston Plane lives and dies on Butler and Colter’s shoulders, and both do a solid job with what they’ve been given.
      Posted Jan 13, 2023
      Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Nick Johnston [Cameron] is once again unparalleled at presenting us with an ecological and ethnographic survey of a fictional world that is, like the whole concept, familiar and yet novel.
      Posted Dec 22, 2022
      Babylon (2022) Nick Johnston I encourage you to take the plunge.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Emancipation (2022) Nick Johnston Fuqua crafts some truly astonishing and nightmarish imagery.
      Posted Dec 09, 2022
      The Menu (2022) Nick Johnston Like the appetizers, entrees, and apertifs so lovingly filmed here, The Menu is a fetish object styled as an indulgent antidote to unearned pretension, one meant to be appreciated, not to be enjoyed.
      Posted Dec 03, 2022
      Violent Night (2022) Nick Johnston A surprisingly large success in my book.
      Posted Dec 02, 2022
      Bones and All (2022) Nick Johnston It’s not as affable as Call Me By Your Name, nor as ambitious as Suspiria, but Bones and All proves to be its own enticing and engaging animal...
      Posted Nov 25, 2022
      Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) Nick Johnston What results is an undoubtedly muted and depressing film, with almost all of the issues that plagued the production manifesting themselves on screen and having a deleterious impact.
      Posted Nov 17, 2022
      Black Adam (2022) Nick Johnston Black Adam is surprisingly compelling, both as a reactionary statement against the state of superhero cinema with geopolitical ambitions and a fun expression of all of the things it’s railing against.
      Posted Oct 26, 2022
      Halloween Ends (2022) Nick Johnston Halloween Ends kind of forgets what made Gordon Green’s Halloween fun in the first place -- the pace.
      Posted Oct 20, 2022
      Moonage Daydream (2022) Nick Johnston It’s through Morgen’s style that this initial contextualization grows into a transcendent understanding between subject and viewer, ultimately making Moonage Daydream less a general cultural overview and more of an intensely empathetic mind-meld.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Don't Worry Darling (2022) Nick Johnston If the film had been amazing, it still would have been fascinating, but because Don’t Worry Darling is such an out-and-out failure, it is even more so -- all of this chaos for so few returns.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Blonde (2022) Nick Johnston It most formally resembles Jesse James, being a nearly three-hour treatise on the nature of fame and infamy, whose visuals are lush and performances within are deeply felt and fully realized.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Holy Spider (2022) Nick Johnston It’s an empty work whose failure is made even more bitter by the paradoxical existence of Abbasi’s passion for exposing these wrongdoings and presenting them to unfamiliar audiences.
      Posted Sep 23, 2022
      Triangle of Sadness (2022) Nick Johnston It’s as severe of a collapse as I’ve seen in a highly-acclaimed comedy in quite a while.
      Posted Sep 23, 2022
      Empire of Light (2022) Nick Johnston If one could simply watch its landscapes and portraits set to the gorgeous score... it’d be hard to argue with anyone claiming it was Mendes’ best film. But the director also wrote it, and it’s the story that proves to be the Achilles’ heel.
      Posted Sep 23, 2022
      My Policeman (2022) Nick Johnston It’s well-acted by Styles and his co-leads, who seem to be perfectly chosen to ac-cent-tchu-ate his positives and e-lim-in-ate his negatives as he makes his way from bit parts to lead roles.
      Posted Sep 23, 2022
      The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) Nick Johnston McDonagh’s new film, The Banshees of Inishirin, is as close as he’s come to equaling the success of In Bruges.
      Posted Sep 23, 2022
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