Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
85/100 Wild Rose (2018) Dan Lybarger Like a good country or blues song, Wild Rose sounds familiar and heartfelt. EDIT
Posted Jul 19, 2019
80/100 The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Piers Marchant One potential downside to making a comedy this low-wattage is its stated banality. You might think you've created something underplayed and quirky, but it can just as easily settle into forgettable. EDIT
Posted Jul 19, 2019
90/100 Stuber (2019) Piers Marchant Beyond [Joe] Talbot's studied filmmaking, the real revelation here is [Jimmie] Fails, playing, essentially himself, always more difficult than it sounds. EDIT
Posted Jul 12, 2019
Judd Apatow: The Return (2017) Karen Martin Apatow's confident, yet self-deprecating delivery of relatable tales focusing on fatherhood, social media, and growing older make for a comfortable get-together that feels like catching up with a long-lost friend who's skilled at amusing those around him. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2019
Midsommar (2019) Dan Lybarger Aster paces Midsommar languidly, but he doesn't waste the film's long running time. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Dan Lybarger Curiously, the movie is at its most enjoyable when it forgets that it's about a superhero. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2019
Toy Story 4 (2019) Piers Marchant It might not reach the heights of earlier installments, with little of the madcap inspiration that propelled the earlier films, but it still manages to arrive at a satisfying enough endpoint. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2019
87/100 Annabelle Comes Home (2019) Piers Marchant The ever-smiling Annabelle might seem demur, but that little hostess can throw a hell of a party when she sets her mind to it. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
82/100 Yesterday (2019) Dan Lybarger [Richard] Curtis never resolves how Jack deals with calling the Beatles' songs his own, and the film drags as Yesterday struggles to make Jack's guilt more entertaining. Thankfully, Patel can sing the Beatles' songs with conviction. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
81/100 Shaft (2019) Dan Lybarger [Tim] Story clearly isn't aiming for posterity with this one, but simply telling a dirty joke successfully seems like a lost art. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
77/100 The Dead Don't Die (2019) Piers Marchant [Jim] Jarmusch's proclivities have always leaned toward such lightly affecting material which has also endeared him to his faction of fans. For everyone else, though, it doesn't leave much to look at. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
78/100 Men in Black: International (2019) Dan Lybarger [Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth] read off each other like books in Thor: Ragnarok, but Matt Holloway and Art Macum's script concentrates more on recycling effects from the first movie instead of finding ways to maximize the duo's formidable chemistry. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
88/100 Double Lives (2018) Philip Martin Sparkly and sad, Non-Fiction is a witty movie about the existential crisis facing readers and writers with some casual French adultery mixed in. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
78/100 The Tomorrow Man (2019) Karen Martin No doubt this effort is well intended, but the details are too distracting to hold it together. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
77/100 The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Dan Lybarger It's like watching a cat tear into a rolling ball of yarn but not nearly as entertaining. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
75/100 Dark Phoenix (2019) Piers Marchant One thing this story should never have been is perfunctory, but here, with [Simon] Kinberg's second miserable attempt, that's exactly what he's accomplished. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
76/100 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Piers Marchant Moving at constant breakneck speed, [Michael] Dougherty's film lacks even basic lucidity or continuity. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
78/100 () Piers Marchant Apart from a truly absurd script, director Tate Taylor's film performs ungainly political gyrations -- asking us to root against a survivor of sexual abuse and humiliation for trying to gain (albeit misplaced) revenge on her attacker. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
78/100 Aladdin (2019) Dan Lybarger Because the new film's magic carpet is following in the flight plan of its animated ancestor, it can't reach new heights on its own. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
90/100 Booksmart (2019) Piers Marchant [Olivia Wilde] creates a fricative bond between the two young women that feels genuine -- they are each other's biggest and most supportive fans. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
76/100 A Dog's Journey (2019) Dan Lybarger A Dog's Journey takes a little time to explore ways that dogs can help people in ways we are only now beginning to understand. Learning how they can literally sniff out tumors is frankly more interesting than a plot recycled from a soap opera. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
72/100 The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) Dan Lybarger It's almost as if Russo-Young and editor Joe Landauer sat in the cutting room with a stopwatch making sure each smooch or long walk lasted long enough to ensure a 100-minute running time. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
82/100 Red Joan (2018) Philip Martin Unfortunately there's nothing about Red Joan that feels believable, other than [Judi] Dench's rather complicated portrayal of a woman who might only be discovering her own motives. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
88/100 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) Piers Marchant At its best, the [John] Wick films offer a visual, violent fantasia, with the indefatigable Wick dispatching hitman after hitman in often comically creative ways. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
74/100 Tolkien (2019) Dan Lybarger The production is handsome, and the cast seem committed, but their characters don't change enough to make the story move. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
90/100 () Philip Martin What the film provides is proof of how thrilling she was in the moment, and her gobsmacking effect on the witnesses who, time and time again, the camera catches in unabashed awe. She's shockingly good. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
87/100 Hail Satan? (2019) Philip Martin You don't have to embrace the Satanic Temple to understand that it ought to have a place at the American table and that it serves as a corrective to certain tribalistic assumptions. Its members have a role to play as devil's advocates. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
81/100 Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Dan Lybarger While the efforts to bring Pokemon to life are successful, the human thespians sometimes struggle to keep up with their furry, feathered and scaly co-stars. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
89/100 High Life (2018) Dan Lybarger In her own way, [Claire] Denis is reaching for the stars by making a film that lives outside the theater. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
82/100 Long Shot (2019) Dan Lybarger What starts off as biting and clever gradually loses its bite as it slowly reaches its drawn-out conclusion. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
Avengers: Endgame (2019) Piers Marchant In producing a film as affecting and carefully crafted as this, Marvel is bestowing upon their audience the fulfilling sense that their love of these stories isn't just childish, escapist nerdism. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
75/100 The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Piers Marchant In place of anything really unsettling, all we get is the standard, bored tropes: flickering lights, creepy attics, shrieking kids -- and a steady diet of would-be jump scares until you just want Llorona to show up already and get it over with. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
87/100 Penguins (2019) Dan Lybarger Because [David] Fowler treats Steve as an "everypenguin," there is more entertainment value with this film than with its acclaimed predecessor. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
86/100 Teen Spirit (2018) Philip Martin Teen Spirit is by no means a great film, but [Elle] Fanning's performance is affecting and [Zlatko] Buric makes an adorably gruff fairy godfather. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
88/100 Missing Link (2019) Dan Lybarger Laika Entertainment understands the northwest mythology and has come up with enough delightfully goofy content of its own to make us wonder if there really are furry humanoids trampling through the woods. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
79/100 Hellboy (2019) Piers Marchant As nonsensical as it is, you get the feeling it's the purest distillation of what [Neil] Marshall wanted the film to be: loud, abrasive, violent, and without the least tendril of narrative beyond killing people in vaguely inventive ways. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
82/100 The Aftermath (2019) Piers Marchant With its broad strokes and easily identifiable markers, [The Aftermath] plays more like the fabricated film playing on the TV in the background of another, likely much better, movie. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
87/100 The Mustang (2019) Dan Lybarger Basing her story on a real-life program that takes place in Nevada and other states, freshman feature director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and a horde of co-screenwriters craft a story about bonding with horses that's uplifting and refreshingly candid. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
88/100 Shazam! (2019) Dan Lybarger While screenwriter Henry Gayden may be adapting a character from Fawcett Comics, through much of the movie, he's cleverly updating Penny Marshall's Big. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
82/100 Unplanned (2019) Philip Martin Unplanned is a competently made film that has some moments of genuine grace and a winning lead performance by Ashley Bratcher. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
80/100 Dumbo (2019) Dan Lybarger [Tim] Burton's human cast is loaded with terrific performers, but he and Kruger still have trouble coming up with people as endearing as Timothy the Mouse or Dumbo's mom. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
83/100 Hotel Mumbai (2018) Philip Martin Most movies are ultimately, like the people who watch them, prisoners of their times, and seeing Hotel Mumbai in the present moment was, for me, a genuinely depressing experience. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
89/100 Gloria Bell (2018) Philip Martin Gloria Bell is an understated, beautifully observed portrait of a woman on the verge of a well-earned takedown. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
89/100 Us (2019) Piers Marchant I'm happy to report [Jordan] Peele has done nothing here to suggest his debut was a lucky flash in the pan. This film continues his uncanny understanding of human interaction, and his flare for visual audaciousness. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
79/100 Five Feet Apart (2019) Piers Marchant Apparently, Hollywood has another dire problem on top of everything else: They are running out of dramatic, life-threatening diseases with which to inflict upon fetching teens falling in love. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
83/100 Climax (2018) Dan Lybarger Sometimes, you have to wonder if these folks are capable of enjoying a good buzz once in awhile. It certainly beats brooding. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
() Piers Marchant So compelling and encompassing is [Julien] Elie's argument, by the end it's impossible to see any way out of the horrific, crime-infested wormhole the country and its citizens have been sucked into. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
American Factory (2019) Piers Marchant What begins with hope for the newly hired American workers... becomes instead a relief map of exactly the ways the dream of a multicultural workforce gets torn apart by the political reality of the two nations. EDIT
Posted Mar 8, 2019
Cold Case Hammarskjold (2019) Piers Marchant In the end, the film's (as yet unsupported) claims suggest a much deeper tangle of malfeasance, and the stuff of a conspiracy theorist's worst nightmare come to pass. EDIT
Posted Mar 8, 2019
Apollo 11 (2019) Piers Marchant It's difficult to explain how effective it is in re-capturing that sense of wonder and hope that swept over the country that week in an otherwise tumultuous year, but it most certainly does. EDIT
Posted Mar 8, 2019