Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
86/100 Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words (2020) Philip Martin The whole idea of the movie is to show Thomas as an avuncular gentleman of high principles and ideals... There's no pretense otherwise, and though I guess you could call this agitprop, it's a very honest kind of agitprop. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2020
83/100 The Call of the Wild (2020) Dan Lybarger By aiming for spectacle instead of drama, Sanders has sacrificed the sense of danger that is necessary to make chases, or in this case mail deliveries, from becoming thrilling. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2020
86/100 Downhill (2020) Piers Marchant Louis-Dreyfus virtually saves the whole damn thing with her performance. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2020
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Piers Marchant Hittman's eye for detail and emotional complexity is incredibly acute, and she pulls tremendously understated performances out of her two leads. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
() Piers Marchant Machoian's tightly wound narrative, and the precise cinematography of Oscar Ignacio Jiménez, give the film an effectively claustrophobic feel. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
Promising Young Woman (2020) Piers Marchant Actual satire is in short supply. In order to make this work, the director needs to have the pitch-perfect tone control which, at least to this point, Fennell does not possess. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
Zola (2020) Piers Marchant Bravo leans in on the social media vibe, stuffing her film with indelible flourishes, and stylistic creativity... There is a fun, ribald energy to the proceedings. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
85/100 The Last Full Measure (2020) Philip Martin It's a pleasure to watch these performers, even when sometimes stilted dialogue and occasional awkward pacing make the film feel pedestrian and awkward. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2020
87/100 A Hidden Life (2019) Philip Martin This is Malick's most parsable and straightforward film since Badlands. It's hardly his best. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2020
75/100 Dolittle (2020) Dan Lybarger The concerns running through Dolittle are more dire than anything this doctor could cure. Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing Traffic, has trouble figuring out what kind of movie he's trying to make. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2020
87/100 Just Mercy (2019) Philip Martin Just Mercy is a good movie in that it tells an important story in a straightforward, unequivocal fashion. But aside from Foxx's performance, it's hardly a memorable one. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2020
89/100 1917 (2019) Piers Marchant Despite its high-tech credentials and world-beating male cast, Mendes has managed to make a high-gloss war film feel surprisingly personal. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2020
85/100 Spies in Disguise (2019) Dan Lybarger Thankfully, there's enough energy and whimsy to keep the tale moving like one of the drones. Sometimes the delights of a movie about spycraft are anything but covert. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2019
90/100 Uncut Gems (2019) Philip Martin Sandler, who has proved his worth as a dramatic actor before, has never been better, or funnier, than he is here. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2019
90/100 Little Women (2019) Karen Martin Credit to the success of Little Women extends from the finely tuned cast to director Gerwig, whose fine-honed skills on both sides of the camera empower her to be the perfect choice to present this story to a new generation. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2019
77/100 Bombshell (2019) Dan Lybarger Director Jay Roach demonstrated a flair for comedy, and he handled drama well with Trumbo. Bombshell, however, plays as if he and screenwriter Charles Randolph were unable to decide whether they should be funny or serious. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2019
68/100 Cats (2019) Dan Lybarger [Tom] Hooper is a capable, creative director, but you'd never know it from the furball he's just coughed up on the screen. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2019
80/100 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Piers Marchant It's very much time to put the Skywalkers to bed, at last, and free up the galaxy for entirely new possibilities. The force is strong with them, and all of that, but it's clear that there's nothing more to see here. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2019
85/100 Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Dan Lybarger Much of what's fun about Kasdan's video-game-set updates to Jumanji is that he relies as much on his performers as he does on the special effects. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
82/100 Richard Jewell (2019) Philip Martin Richard Jewell is a wasted chance, a ham-handed and self-congratulatory bit of agitprop. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
90/100 The Irishman (2019) Philip Martin It's about the lies we tell ourselves, our equivocations and delusions. So maybe Frank is making all this up too... EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2019
90/100 Marriage Story (2019) Philip Martin Every marriage is a black box with its works mysterious even to those intimately involved.... When sharp tools are employed, there will be blood. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2019
75/100 No Safe Spaces (2019) Philip Martin No Safe Spaces isn't designed to engender debate or honestly engage the very real problem it purports to investigate. It's self-serving and obvious. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
87/100 Honey Boy (2019) Philip Martin There are few movies that feel as honest, and as genuinely brave, as this one. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
89/100 Dark Waters (2019) Piers Marchant The film's relatively strict adherence to the facts, rather than Hollywood award-bait hokum, makes it something close to essential viewing. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
80/100 Queen & Slim (2019) Dan Lybarger [Lena] Waithe and [Melina] Matsoukas would like to "print the legend" as John Ford put it in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In this case, the legend seems underdeveloped, and the real world reminds us this wouldn't happen off-screen. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2019
90/100 Knives Out (2019) Piers Marchant The film is a magician's trick so thoroughly satisfying, you have no choice but to give in to its mischievous entreaties. You won't have a better time in the cineplex this year. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2019
84/100 Frozen II (2019) Dan Lybarger Frozen II has several delightful moments, but it seems unlikely that it will stay put in viewers' minds quite like the first installment did. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2019
83/100 The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (2019) Philip Martin Unfortunately, the film works far better as an educational tool than as entertainment, with production values far below the norm for the sort of Hollywood action movie this film aspires to be. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
80/100 Charlie's Angels (2019) Piers Marchant Despite her best efforts, the characters barely rise above their cardboard TV roots, sending a mixed message to the young female viewers [Elizabeth] Banks is hoping to inspire. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
86/100 Dolor y gloria (2019) Philip Martin It is [Pedro] Almodovar in a minor key, and it takes some getting used to. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
88/100 Ford v Ferrari (2019) Piers Marchant On the whole, it's surprisingly effective, the kind of film people who have no idea about cars, racing or the delicate mechanics of a small block V8 can still come away from having been thoroughly entertained. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
73/100 Midway (2019) Dan Lybarger While the actors earnestly try to look horrified or determined by the potential doom coming their way, the Nintendo Wii-level images ruin the illusion. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
81/100 Last Christmas (2019) Dan Lybarger Perhaps if [Emma] Thompson, [Paul] Feig and company had given Last Christmas more of a winter chill or biting wit, it might have had a more welcome place under the Christmas tree. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
88/100 Jojo Rabbit (2019) Piers Marchant The New Zealand director somehow, inexplicably, keeps hitting the right notes to make his peculiar composition work EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
85/100 Doctor Sleep (2019) Piers Marchant [Steven King] might not ever appreciate that his personal redemption story was turned into something so deeply pitiless and provocative, but as this new film inadvertently further proves, there's only one masterpiece here, and it certainly isn't his. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
88/100 Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Piers Marchant In short, we have the makings for a genuinely entertaining action flick, that seems to know its place in the pantheon, breaking just enough new ground to stay fresh, but still largely in keeping with the best the series has offered before. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
86/100 Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Dan Lybarger For a movie about a seemingly dry topic like urban development, it's a fascinating look at how the social sausage of government is made. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 Harriet (2019) Dan Lybarger Despite being anchored by a terrific performance from Cynthia Erivo, Harriet lacks the focus and the narrative drive to do her story justice. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
89/100 The Lighthouse (2019) Piers Marchant It doesn't have the succinct terrors of his first film but it offers much of the same kind of unsettling tropes, set against an even more pitiless locale. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 The Current War (2017) Dan Lybarger As it stands, The Current War ably captures how a 19th-century dispute led to how we use electricity today. The story of the people who made that possible has yet to be told properly onscreen. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2019
73/100 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Dan Lybarger There's nothing magical about substandard writing. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
77/100 Gemini Man (2019) Piers Marchant As a Hollywood analogy, Ang Lee's film would seem to have some interesting juice with which to work, but the script largely ignores its own metaphoric possibility, in search of more foolish thrills. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2019
82/100 Judy (2019) Dan Lybarger Renée Zellweger has Judy Garland down; effortlessly imitating the Wizard of Oz star's delivery and mannerisms. But had the film consisted simply of Zellweger bellowing show tunes, it might have been more substantial. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
83/100 Joker (2019) Piers Marchant There's... a strong sense that Phillips is brandishing this bleakness as a kind of affect, like the rich kid who wears his brand new black leather jacket to a punk show but only after intentionally scuffing it against the grill of his Bentley first. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
87/100 Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) Philip Martin [Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice] does take us on a rich, nostalgic journey that will be received as a bittersweet valentine by old fans and might introduce newbies to a remarkable artist who refused to stay in her lane. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2019
86/100 Abominable (2019) Dan Lybarger If [Jill] Culton's plotline is routine, her handling is sincere and occasionally charming. The protagonists are consistently endearing, and Culton does create some delightful eye candy built around Chinese landmarks. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2019
70/100 Running With the Devil (2019) Dan Lybarger Despite featuring gunplay, nudity, illicit drugs and a setting that crosses two continents, Running With the Devil feels more like a leisurely, chemically enhanced stroll. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
86/100 Official Secrets (2019) Philip Martin It should be said that all the actors do well here. And the screenplay is responsible and economical in boiling down the complex issues the movie tackles. It's a fair, understated film about things we ought to care about. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
87/100 Ad Astra (2019) Dan Lybarger If the emotions or ideas in Ad Astra aren't comfortable, they are thankfully not dull. [James] Gray creates a consistent sense of danger and makes the tormented Roy just sympathetic enough to get an audience worked up about his fate. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019