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      Hot Button

      Hot Button is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): David Poland, Ray Pride.

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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) David Poland 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."
      Posted Mar 24, 2023
      Creed III (2023) David Poland 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.
      Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Cocaine Bear (2023) David Poland 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.
      Posted Feb 25, 2023
      Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) David Poland 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.
      Posted Feb 14, 2023
      M3GAN (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Jan 05, 2023
      Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Dec 26, 2022
      Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Dec 24, 2022
      Babylon (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) David Poland 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)
      Posted Dec 13, 2022
      Emancipation (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Dec 01, 2022
      Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Nov 30, 2022
      Strange World (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Nov 30, 2022
      The Fabelmans (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Nov 09, 2022
      Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Nov 08, 2022
      Ticket to Paradise (2022) David Poland 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?
      Posted Oct 22, 2022
      Black Adam (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Halloween Ends (2022) David Poland For me, the last 15 minutes of Halloween Ends is the best work in all 3 films.
      Posted Oct 14, 2022
      Tár (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Oct 09, 2022
      Bros (2022) David Poland 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...
      Posted Sep 28, 2022
      Blonde (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Sep 14, 2022
      Empire of Light (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Women Talking (2022) David Poland 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
      Posted Sep 09, 2022
      The Wonder (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Don't Worry Darling (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Bones and All (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Sep 05, 2022
      Bullet Train (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Aug 02, 2022
      Nope (2022) David Poland Did I like it? Yup.
      Posted Jul 20, 2022
      The Gray Man (2022) David Poland "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."
      Posted Jul 16, 2022
      Where the Crawdads Sing (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Jul 14, 2022
      Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) David Poland 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.
      Posted Jul 05, 2022
      The Black Phone (2021) David Poland The movie made me work… made me feel… made me thrilled. I don’t know what more you could ask of a genre film.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Elvis (2022) David Poland It is a movie about the person who was Elvis’ biggest fan (in this conceit) and the many ways he saw Elvis, his glory and his simple humanity.
      Posted Jun 22, 2022
      Lightyear (2022) David Poland The empty calories of Sonic The Hedgehog and its sequel were a step better than the empty calories of Lightyear, which tried so hard, but never really found its joy and never really found its deeper meaning… just didn’t find magic.
      Posted Jun 14, 2022
      Jurassic World Dominion (2022) David Poland It’s like the entire film is the opposite of Hitchcock… never let your audience anticipate/play along for more than 30 seconds… or they might realize this makes no sense.
      Posted Jun 08, 2022
      Top Gun: Maverick (2022) David Poland From beginning to end, there was nothing that happened that I could not anticipate, either in the flow of storytelling or from the idea of the movie I had before I sat down in a movie theater.
      Posted May 12, 2022
      Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) David Poland I didn’t much like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness a whole lot. But I didn’t dislike it enough or in a way that would make my tomato rotten.
      Posted May 04, 2022
      The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) David Poland The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is fun cute full of conceptual easter eggs not good enough.
      Posted Apr 24, 2022
      The Northman (2022) David Poland "When I was an hour into the film, I thought how Eggers could have just gone ahead and taken on Conan. But by the end, I was pulled into Eggers grander, more complex vision."
      Posted Apr 24, 2022
      Ambulance (2022) David Poland "To put too gross a point on it, Ambulance is Michael Bays artistic diarrhea. Everything comes out (EVERYTHING!!!) and it feels painful and grumbly and out of control."
      Posted Apr 06, 2022
      Turning Red (2022) David Poland Turning Red is a charming, thoughtful, loving, funny, girl power animated movie that speaks without shame to the challenges of going to bed a little girl one day and waking up the next to the literal burden of being a woman.
      Posted Mar 07, 2022
      The Batman (2022) David Poland In the end, this may be the best Batman movie. But it also may be the least entertaining Batman movie.
      Posted Mar 05, 2022
      Scream (2022) David Poland Like Spider-Man: No Way Home and the current trilogy of Halloween films from David Gordon Green, the new Scream is very much aware of its roots and the history of the genre. And I would say that the success level is right in between those two films.
      Posted Jan 12, 2022
      The Matrix Resurrections (2021) David Poland Mostly, the matrix is a background to this story of a love rekindled at all costs. Unlike the original film or the sequels, it's not really about saving the world this time.
      Posted Dec 22, 2021
      Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) David Poland Spider-Man: No Way Home is everything you don't want in a Marvel Movie... until it becomes the act of genius that overcomes everything that, in lesser hands, would be an eye roller.
      Posted Dec 14, 2021
      Nightmare Alley (2021) David Poland "Human desire is a powerful thing, whether good, bad or completely insane. Money and self-delusion can't save you. The love of a good woman? Ha! Save it for the funny papers."
      Posted Dec 09, 2021
      Licorice Pizza (2021) David Poland "When the characters run, they feel god's pleasure. They feel everything. They are their best selves. When they run... they just are."
      Posted Dec 05, 2021
      West Side Story (2021) David Poland "The constant effort to improve on the original is almost always a distraction from the story that is being told and is never backed up by new action."
      Posted Dec 02, 2021
      House of Gucci (2021) David Poland "There is a ton of tasty candy inside this misshapen shell. I just wish that it didn't have the aftertaste of having used the 'wrong' recipe."
      Posted Nov 24, 2021
      Encanto (2021) David Poland As false as animation is by its nature, when it finds an emotional truth and it works, it hits a deep chord. Encanto hit mine.
      Posted Nov 18, 2021
      The First Wave (2021) David Poland "The First Wave is a movie that will remind you as deeply as one can feel about your humanity... our strength and our vulnerability. "
      Posted Nov 18, 2021
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