The Reader (Omaha, NE)

The Reader (Omaha, NE) is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Ryan Syrek
Rating Title/Year Author
A I Blame Society (2020) Ryan Syrek Writer/director/actress/mischievous malcontent Gillian Wallace Horvat's I Blame Society is a wry, anarchic mockumentary that will almost immediately turn some people all the way the hell off. Pity those poor, incorrect fools. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
A- Queer Japan (2019) Ryan Syrek Like a big, consensual hug from a nonbinary person dressed in a sheep costume, Queer Japan is the very best kind of documentary: the kind that leaves you feeling very intimately connected to its subjects. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2021
F- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Ryan Syrek Warner Bros spent $200 million to waste 2.5 hours of everyone's life as a small measure of revenge. "You think we're dumb? We'll show you dumb!" was the only studio note on the entire script, which doesn't exist, because this is all fake. It has to be. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2021
B+ Tenet (2020) Ryan Syrek From Tenet's opening sequence to the final climactic battle, not knowing exactly what the hell is going on has never been so fun! That's actually kinda sincere... EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
A- Sound of Metal (2019) Ryan Syrek Although writer/director Darius Marder's character study is a nuanced, thoughtful, surprisingly delicate exploration of the horrifying recalibrations life often demands of us, my goodness are just there so many ways in which it could have sucked. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
B Another Round (2020) Ryan Syrek "Sad men remain sad after drinking lots" somehow proves remarkably watchable but ultimately pretty irrelevant. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
A His House (2020) Ryan Syrek His House is a Russian-nesting-doll of terrors; every layer unpacks a fresh-and-awful trauma and at least one level reveals a legitimately shocking plot point. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
A Possessor: Uncut (2020) Ryan Syrek Possessor is show-don't-tell terror that doesn't finger-wag at technology users but flips the bird to the ugly manipulators who actually profit from controlling us like disposable puppets. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
F The Craft: Legacy (2020) Ryan Syrek I'm not saying that no one can enjoy The Craft: Legacy. Around 70 million people made a bad choice on Election Day, so it's easy to do. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
B Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Ryan Syrek Subsequent Moviefilm is overlong but otherwise hits nearly every target at which it aims. It often Robin-Hoods itself, splitting a bulls-eyed observational arrow in half with an even bigger reveal just a moment later. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2020
C+ The Planters (2019) Ryan Syrek "Sorta, yeah!" is the answer to a lot of questions about The Planters, as it can come after queries like: "Is it funny?" "Is it annoying?" "Is it heartwarming?" "Is it offensive?" EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
A- White Riot (2019) Ryan Syrek White Riot sure could have been obnoxious and self-congratulatory. Instead, Shah's doc is so much savvier than that. It's a snapshot, a blueprint, and a bitchin' mix tape all at once. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
C+ Enola Holmes (2020) Ryan Syrek In the end, minus the himbo Sherlock and the whiff on intersectional feminism, Brown forcefully rolls Enola Holmes just over the hump of mediocrity. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2020
B Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (2019) Ryan Syrek Director Ric Burns's documentary is more than doe-eyed saint-making. The film uses Sacks's personal and professional journey to articulate a defense of compassionate storytelling and storykeeping and of advocacy for the marginalized. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
A Buoyancy (2019) Ryan Syrek For those of us who consider empathy to be the price of a ticket to live, films like Buoyancy can make us feel small and useless. But there is power in letting them in. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
A I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Ryan Syrek If we have all collectively agreed that "shut your brain off" movies are okay and even fun, why can't "turn your brain all the way on" movies be just as okay and even fun? EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2020
B+ Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) Ryan Syrek Face the Music is a celebration of foolish nonsense. It is a reminder that giving up is, well, bogus. Would it help if we had a phone booth time machine? Depends on who was pushing the buttons. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2020
B I Used to Go Here (2020) Ryan Syrek Writer/director Kris Rey's film argues you should be careful when you go poking at your memories with a stick. The most likely result is that your brain goes full pinata, spewing chunky globs of your perception and self-worth all over your mental carpet. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2020
B Represent (2020) Ryan Syrek The film follows three women running for office for the first time as they face aggressions too macro to be micro and voters whose attitudes may make you question the feasibility of this whole democracy thing. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2020
A+ She Dies Tomorrow (2020) Ryan Syrek Whether or not this steaming brew of genius is your particular cup of tea depends entirely on whether or not you prefer decaf or an extra shot of existential dread. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2020
B A Thousand Cuts (2020) Ryan Syrek It can be hard to allocate the amount of time needed to understand all the various injustices around the world that deserve attention. Give the Philippines less than two hours, okay? EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2020
A- The Fight (2020) Ryan Syrek The Fight is a documentary about how the ACLU is working hard to make sure "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" doesn't become just "the pursuit" under President Trump. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2020
B- The Rental (2020) Ryan Syrek Okay?! What business does a horror flick that reimagines Jason Voorhies as a tech-savvy, Yelp-conscious, thoroughly-modern-murder-enthusiast have being okay!?! EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
B+ First Cow (2019) Ryan Syrek As she has with her previous films, genius writer/director Kelly Reichardt doesn't shout a thesis in your face or deeply probe a story for thematic insights. She just kinda pokes at themes with a stick. But it's such a lovely stick... EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2020
A- Relic (2020) Ryan Syrek Writer/director Natalie Erika James and cowriter Christian White somehow timed their film about compassion towards the demons faced by the elderly to a moment in history when we seem to have stopped giving a shit about old people. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2020
B+ The Old Guard (2020) Ryan Syrek Were it not for its wholly inappropriate, incredibly distracting, poorly chosen, Europop-trash soundtrack, it would have been as flawless as Charlize Theron whacking bad dudes across the face with a colossal axe-type weapon. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2020
B+ Palm Springs (2020) Ryan Syrek Of all the Groundhog Day riffs, Palm Springs is the first to allow JK Simmons to hunt another man for sport. Finally! EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2020
A+ We Are Little Zombies (2019) Ryan Syrek Grief and trauma hangs thick in the air these days, a fog of death, abuse, and inequality. This film isn't a how-to manual for dealing with that so much as it is a near-genius glimpse at young people making their way in a world that doesn't make sense. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2020
B Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) Ryan Syrek Nothing in us as human beings is so broken that a juvenile sex joke presented as an Icelandic folk song cannot heal us. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2020
B John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020) Ryan Syrek What's a word that describes the feeling of being overwhelmingly depressed and inspired at the same time? American, maybe? Whatever the precise term, that's how director Dawn Porter's new documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble, will make you feel. EDIT
Posted Jun 26, 2020
A Da 5 Bloods (2020) Ryan Syrek Spike Lee is at his best when he's screaming, and Da 5 Bloods is an absolute holler. It is a messy, overwrought, tonally inconsistent, finger-wagging-in-your-face cinematic lecture, which makes it just the best kind of Spike Lee Joint. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2020
C- Shirley (2020) Ryan Syrek I wish I liked Shirley better. The brazen weirdness of the film makes me want to root for it. The core thematic element that condemns masculine domination of artistic spaces is great. The music is-it cannot be stressed enough-divine. But it never gels. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2020
B+ Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2019) Ryan Syrek The new doc takes Thomas Piketty's book about the history of global wealth and power, boils it in a cinematic spoon, and injects it straight into your eyeballs. It does not feel good! But feeling good is so "pre-2016" anyway. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2020
A Lucky Grandma (2019) Ryan Syrek With her slouched posture and cigarette always about to leap to its death from the corner of her mouth, Grandma is a curmudgeonly force of nature. In a better world, this film would launch a franchise, starting with Lucky Grandma 2: Go Luck Yourself. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2020
B Other Music (2019) Ryan Syrek If music is your love language, Old Music will be your jam. What feels claustrophobic, repetitive, and self-congratulatory to those of us with other primary areas of interest will likely feel immersive and beautiful to you. Have fun. EDIT
Posted May 15, 2020
A Circus of Books (2019) Ryan Syrek If you hear "mom and pop gay porn store" and don't immediately send Jerry Falwell a check, watch Circus of Books. It's genuinely moving and impeccably made. EDIT
Posted May 15, 2020
B+ Extraction (2020) Ryan Syrek Sad Angry Man is played by the largest Hemsworth, Chris. Part of the film's brutality is due to Hemsworth's stupidly massive proportions. If the lithe and nimble Keanu Reeves makes John Wick feel like murder ballet, Hemsworth's Extraction is Stomp. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2020
A- The Garden Left Behind (2019) Ryan Syrek Narrative fiction can be a tunnel beneath borders that segregate us. Ebert's "empathy machine" metaphor is sexier than my analogy, but the idea is the same. This film is a soft, brief, genuine connection to a community that deserves compassion. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2020
B The Booksellers (2019) Ryan Syrek If you have been personally victimized by Marie Kondo's book disposals, let's giggle about a glorified "very special episode" of Antiques Roadshow. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2020
B+ What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (2018) Ryan Syrek Pauline Kael would probably have hated the Pauline Kael documentary, is what I'm saying. Hell, she almost certainly would have, and it would have been great. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2020
A- Saint Frances (2019) Ryan Syrek In the nicest possible way, Saint Frances is a Lifetime TV movie that has a degree in feminist literary theory. EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2020
A Nighthawk (2019) Ryan Syrek A deeply serious satire about what happens when the oppressed stop being polite and start getting real, Bacurau is the most fun you can legally have with a machete right now. EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2020
B Road House (1989) Ryan Syrek Rewatching Road House isn't just a snort of nostalgia from a time when cocaine was more prevalent in bathrooms than hand sanitizer. It is a reminder of a whole genre of film that has dried up. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2020
A- Swallow (2019) Ryan Syrek Anyone who hears Swallow is a feminist thriller about a woman who eats strange objects and thinks "I should check that out" is certainly going to be satisfied. That is, they'll be satisfied with the movie, and uncomfortable with what Hunter done ate. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2020
C Onward (2020) Ryan Syrek For proprietary reasons "Toasted Os" can't taste exactly like Cheerios and "Hillbilly Holler" doesn't quite have the kick of Mountain Dew. Onward tastes more like a knockoff of brand name, rather than a true Pixar picture. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2020
A Extra Ordinary (2019) Ryan Syrek In an era where cult classics are rarer than actual cults, Extra Ordinary deserves to be one. A cult classic, not a cult, just to be clear. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2020
B The Invisible Man (2020) Ryan Syrek The major update here to the classic concept of "dude becomes invisible, is a real jerk about it" is that it is now framed as a #MeToo allegory. Maybe not the nimblest or nuanced of metaphors, but it mostly works. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2020
B- Bliss (2019) Ryan Syrek Enduring the tepid, cliched drug spiral of the film's first half earns you the reward of bonkers practical horror effects guts-n-gore set to epilepsy-inducing strobe effects and grimy punk music. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2020
A- Horse Girl (2020) Ryan Syrek The conclusion is meaningfully painful and actually felt like an invitation to revisit the film, a privilege afforded to streaming flicks that is too rarely exploited. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2020
C- Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) Ryan Syrek Basically, Sonic the Hedgehog is a distilled encapsulation of all the useless, banal grotesqueries inherent to our collective capitalist nightmare in a fuzzy blue ball. Eat it up, kiddos! EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2020