Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
86/100 The Mauritanian (2021) Piers Marchant Despite its obvious political bent, the film doesn't spare either side, which paints a troubling portrait of a country all too keen to sell out its morality when it becomes inconvenient to do otherwise. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
88/100 Saint Maud (2019) Piers Marchant The terrors that Glass' film forces us to confront are instead of the psychological variety, and couldn't be more timely in an era half-obsessed with group-think misinformation and rising belief in outrageous conspiracy theories. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
88/100 The Night (2020) Piers Marchant It's a carefully laid-out picture, albeit perhaps a bit too restrained to become anything more than solidly unnerving. Still, strong moments abound. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
I Care a Lot (2020) Courtney Lanning I Care a Lot is a deliciously evil film that grows more intense with every minute. It didn't give me anyone to root for, but I was hooked all the same, filled with a desire to keep going and see what happened to these malicious characters. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
87/100 The Dig (2021) Dan Lybarger It's refreshing to find a drama where the living people are just as fascinating as the treasures in the dirt. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
78/100 Land (2021) Piers Marchant Her journey is inert, and all the most beautiful natural world vistas in the world can't make it any more compelling. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
91/100 Nomadland (2020) Philip Martin A Western without horses or violence ,Nomadland is one of those rare films that trusts the audience to see the poetry in an ordinary woman living an unorthodox but ordinary life. It trusts us to divine the courage in Fern. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
91/100 Minari (2020) Philip Martin A gentle, soothing American story that carries the authority of experience and the generosity of a deeply empathetic artist turned toward home. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2021
88/100 Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Piers Marchant King's film features absolutely blazing performances from its two male leads -- Kaluuya, in particular, is incredibly good at conveying Hampton's inherent humanity. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2021
Land (2021) Courtney Lanning Wright does a fantastic job of playing a woman tormented by loss and unable to take even one more second of society. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
Earwig and the Witch (2020) Courtney Lanning Earwig and the Witch is a decent movie, and a prime example of style over substance. The music, the characters, and the aesthetic come together to outweigh the lukewarm animation and thin narrative. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
Mass (2021) Piers Marchant Unsurprisingly, Kranz has an actorly sense of conflict and explication, but, despite the limited setting, he gives his actors plenty of room with which to work, and the quartet are more than up to the task. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
A Glitch in the Matrix (2020) Piers Marchant The views are intentionally conflictive -- one subject suggests the very idea of such conflict is the basis of the simulation -- and anything but conclusive, but, of course, that's the very point. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
Cryptozoo (2021) Piers Marchant A film whose halting animation style takes a bit of getting used to, but Shaw's screenplay is smartly taut, creating a narrative fantastic in subject matter and execution. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
In The Earth (2021) Piers Marchant Too much of the film feels rushed, and not entirely worked out (the script alone could have used another draft of two), and the psychotropic ending dazzles the eye but doesn't add much depth. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
84/100 Rams (2020) Dan Lybarger If you haven't seen the previous film or don't want to wade through subtitles, the new version of "Rams" is worthy in its own right. Thankfully the Australians knew which of the sheep in their flock to keep. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
87/100 Little Fish (2020) Piers Marchant Cooke and O'Connell are both very strong, bringing depth to their characters even in the small, imbalanced scenes they share together. The sense of kinship, even as one of them begins to slip away, is palpable. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
85/100 Malcolm & Marie (2021) Piers Marchant If all the character profundity and insight becomes overreaching by the end and you grow weary of the grinding drama wheel, you can still appreciate the skill and care taken in the film's production, and the charisma of its leads. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
The Little Things (2021) Courtney Lanning The Fugitive, this movie is not. Malek and Washington can only do so much to save the film... But by God they try. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
88/100 Supernova (2020) Dan Lybarger With actors as good as Oscar-winner Colin Firth and Oscar-nominee Stanley Tucci, Macqueen can make a film that concentrates on small, even mundane moments and make them engrossing. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
83/100 The Little Things (2021) Piers Marchant By the third act, though, it's clear Hancock doesn't have nearly the vision or intellectual conviction of the films he so clearly admires, and it more or less falls to pieces. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
Batman: Soul of the Dragon (2021) Courtney Lanning It's a tasty blend of (somewhat) cheesy action and a solid dose of funk -- in style and soundtrack. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019) Karen Martin There's a lot of storytelling along with the music that, along with backstage goofing around, adds to the entertainment value. Not to be missed is a sensational bit of archival footage featuring [Joni] Mitchell playing her new song "Coyote." EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
76/100 Our Friend (2019) Philip Martin Teague's story is honest, and hard to read. Our Friend is not hard to watch, though it might be hard to follow. It feels padded, and tricked up in ways designed to make it seem deeper and more poignant. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
85/100 No Man's Land (2021) Philip Martin The rest of the movie plays out as you guess it might, but the quality of the acting is good enough to mostly make up for the script's lack of subtlety. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
Ammonite (2020) Karen Martin Ammonite feels a little airless and cool, and it pales in comparison to Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Color, to name but two recent examples of quality arthouse lesbian romance. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
The White Tiger (2021) Philip Martin My opinion is that it's terrific... This is one of the best films of the year. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
85/100 MLK/FBI (2020) Philip Martin Pollard marshals a wealth of material, archival footage, surveillance reports, FBI files (some newly unclassified) and interviews to document this outrage. That we already knew -- or should have known -- this doesn't make it any less gut-wrenching. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
89/100 The White Tiger (2021) Piers Marchant It's a powerful idea, masterfully executed by Bahrani, whose precision and compelling mise en scene help forge Balram's journey from an individual's arc into an indictment of an entire social order. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
Herself (2020) Philip Martin It's the sort of drama Hollywood used to make in the '70s, a showcase for fine and precisely calibrated performances. It's also Lloyd's best movie to date. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2021
90/100 One Night in Miami (2020) Piers Marchant The set-up might reek of Grand Contrivance, but in King's talented hands, it becomes a fascinating and illuminating examination of racial politics and the bondage of fame. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2021
88/100 40 Years a Prisoner (2020) Piers Marchant Through his charisma, and the vigilance of he and the MOVE legal team, the film earns a satisfyingly simple dramatic climax, but it feels as if it leaves far too much of the story on the table. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
The Irishman (2019) Piers Marchant In a very real sense, Martin Scorsese is fighting against his own mythic legacy. In another way, of course, his return to the form in which he made some of the more compelling American cinema of the last five decades is a perfectly fitting closing coda. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
The Go-Go's (2020) Philip Martin That it's hardly groundbreaking or seriously in-depth is likely the source of its charm -- in just under two hours it provides a surprisingly satisfying "Behind the Music"-style survey of the career of a fascinating and criminally underrated band. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Courtney Lanning Wonder Woman 1984 isn't quite as good as [the first] Wonder Woman, and it's a little silly at times, but it's still a good movie. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Soul (2020) Courtney Lanning It introduces several great concepts, themes and plots, but Soul doesn't give any of them the proper attention to grow. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
83/100 Pinocchio (2019) Dan Lybarger Garrone's take is darker than Uncle Walt's, but like Disney, he imbues his take with a reliable sense of wonder. As a result, Pinocchio's path away from being a literal blockhead is delightful. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
86/100 The Dissident (2020) Dan Lybarger Without denying the cost that Abdulaziz and Khashoggi have paid, it demonstrates how vital their resistance has been for the rest of the world as well as the Middle East. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
88/100 News of the World (2020) Piers Marchant As a standalone film, it's a credible mix, if not by much, but as a kind of exhausted testament to the surging misery of the last four years, and the further splintering of the country as a whole, it does offer at least the faintest sort of solace. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
75/100 Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Piers Marchant You can see how Jenkins and company were attempting to offer healing to a world ravaged by bad news and ever-dividing political fractiousness, but despite good intentions, this flabby mess most certainly won't help. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
88/100 Soul (2020) Piers Marchant Like a perfectly soothing, candlelit bath on an otherwise beastly cold night. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) Piers Marchant A Dogme 95-style naturalistic masterpiece, as intricately woven and delicately put together as an ancient tapestry. The lives of the characters are fully invested, imbued with ambiguity and shimmering with verisimilitude. They won't soon leave you. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
89/100 Black Bear (2020) Piers Marchant I've long championed the Christopher Abbott cause, and he is, once again, outstanding, but in this film, it's Plaza's skills which are most notable. She's an absolute whirlwind, a revelation of ferocious, billowing emotion from one direction to the next. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Klute (1971) Piers Marchant The film is meticulously made, offering a swirl of tension -- aided in this by Michael Small's haunting score -- and Fonda is indeed fantastic, even if the role she's playing happens to be a Hollywood staple of outdated moors. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
81/100 Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) Dan Lybarger You shouldn't have to believe in magic for a movie like Wild Mountain Thyme to work. It might have been helpful if the filmmakers did, though. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
87/100 I'm Your Woman (2020) Piers Marchant Through it all, the film's oddball pacing consistently throws the genre standards out of whack, which gives it a jolt of off-kilter energy. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
83/100 The Never List (2020) Dan Lybarger What keeps The Never List from being a shallow diversion is that [the filmmakers] consistently acknowledge that the chemical recreation the two fictional girls engage in sometimes has catastrophic consequences in the real world. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
89/100 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Philip Martin Boseman is remarkable, and Domingo, Turman and Potts track and weigh his every word. There's no sense that they're waiting to deliver their next line, their alarm, their bemusement and their pity seem real. As real as our own. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) Piers Marchant It's hardly a masterpiece, but there is a scrappy, inventive sort of energy that becomes infectious. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
83/100 Uncle Frank (2020) Piers Marchant The writer/director's peculiar misunderstanding of his audience, and penchant for clichéd characters makes a hash of what would be a strong, lead performance from Bettany, a wonderful actor, long regulated to the sidelines. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020