Looking Closer

Looking Closer is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): J. Robert Parks, Jeffrey Overstreet
Rating Title/Year Author
B Mank (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet Every scene offers up cleverness in everything from lighting to writing. But I doubt that [it] will inspire many love letters. ... I was surprised by how disappointed I felt. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
B Flannery (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet The film's greatest gift is its gallery of insight from experts as diverse as Sally Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Conan O'Brien, Mary Karr, Richard Rodriguez, and Alice Walker. EDIT
Posted Sep 1, 2020
B+ () Jeffrey Overstreet The film's weighty spiritual inquiries may suggest we're on a narrative arc toward a heart-warming redemption. But Teems and Brotzman are braver storytellers than that. EDIT
Posted Jul 20, 2020
C+ Palm Springs (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet These two appallingly irresponsible characters ... have a lot to learn. [The movie] wears itself out trying to figure out what some of those things might be. EDIT
Posted Jul 15, 2020
B+ Da 5 Bloods (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet [Its] strength is also its weakness: It is trying to be at least three kinds of movie at once. ... But few of my 2020 moviegoing experiences will remain as vivid in my memory. EDIT
Posted Jul 15, 2020
B+ The Vast of Night (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Its strongest thread [is] the idea that we cannot hope to arrive at truth unless we open the lines to all callers and listen in particular to voices that have been silenced. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2020
B+ Shirley (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet Decker and her collaborators have achieved something meaningful and compelling here. [Shirley's] a tragic, fascinating figure, and I'll come back to learn from her sadness again. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2020
C+ Onward (2020) Jeffrey Overstreet There's something about the character design, the voices, and the personality here that feels ... Dreamworks-y. That isn't a compliment. It feels sub-Shrek-ian. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2020
B+ Strange Negotiations (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Bazan finds the vocabulary of America's churches too toxic to accept. But in his honesty and sacrifice, he reveals what a life touched by a true Gospel might look like. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2020
A- A Hidden Life (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Malick knows the power of nature's beauty as a language that transcends our spoken and written texts. [But his] visual poetry ... is becoming increasingly predictable. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2020
B- 1917 (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Even if we grant it the distinction of being the first war film to play as one unbroken scene, we may also conclude that it's ultimately less than the sum of ... its part. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2020
C- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet It's a Star Wars jukebox that generates remixes and medleys of the Top 250 moments from earlier installments. But at no point do we hear anything resembling a new melody sung. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2019
B+ Light From Light (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Very little else in my year at the movies has stayed so vividly on my mind as Light from Light. It's haunting me. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2019
A- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Few women [get] to direct pop culture events as significant as this one. And Heller isn't content to give the people what they want: She takes risks from the opening scene. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2019
C+ Ford v Ferrari (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet Sure, it's a 'true story,' but everything is so streamlined and polished for a mass audience that I don't believe a minute of it. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2019
A- Wild Rose (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet It demonstrates wisdom far deeper than almost any road-to-stardom story I can think of. It's more about how a soul is saved than how a star is born. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2019
B- The Farewell (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet I recommend it, [but] ... it unfolded for me as a progression of obvious chords, played repetitively and softly. ... There's a difference between artful subtlety and dullness. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2019
A- Toy Story 4 (2019) Jeffrey Overstreet This is the funniest Toy Story yet. ... [And it's] the first story in this world to focus on children as much as toys. In this, it raises important new questions. EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2019
A- I Am Not a Witch (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet Yes, the leashes that bind these women are imaginary. But they're tied to real-world suffering. ... This is not a fantasy. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
B+ Her Smell (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet This isn't about Courtney Love -- not exactly. We're released from the burden of arguing over historical accuracy, set free to imagine a mythical diva, a tempest in a t-shirt. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
B+ Ash Is Purest White (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Zhao's harrowing silences and penetrating stares suggest subterranean turmoil -- appropriate given the important scenic backdrop: a lush, green, dormant volcano. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
A Chungking Express (1994) Jeffrey Overstreet These flirtations may be as glossy and shallow as the soundtrack's pop songs, but they represent longings for magic, for transcendence, as deep as any 'California Dreamin'.' EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
A The Incredibles (2004) Jeffrey Overstreet Kids are going to love it, and ... their parents will love it even more. Packaging [the film] as family fun, Bird baits grownups into family therapy. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
B I Heart Huckabees (2004) Jeffrey Overstreet Russell directs with the ambition of Altman and the nervous energy of Paul Thomas Anderson, and his script sounds like it was co-written by Howard Hawks and Charlie Kaufman. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
C A Star Is Born (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Cooper leaps from one All Caps Scene to another. It's like we're watching a lengthy, spoiler-packed trailer of a longer movie's major moments. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
B The Hate U Give (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Its eagerness to educate and inspire keeps breaking the spell of its storytelling. ... [But as] preachy productions go, this is a stirring sermon that has me saying 'Amen!' EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
B Madeline's Madeline (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet It's a cautionary tale about visionaries who see everything, including the sufferings of others, as 'material' - and who forget the importance of telling the truth in love. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
A They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet A tremendous and sobering work. It honors those who gave up their own free lives that many more might be born into their own. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2019
C Widows (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet This thing doesn't have the luxury of time; it can't develop the characters or complexity it needs. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2018
B+ First Man (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet As when he made Whiplash and La La Land, Chazelle is interested in what compels some to reach for the stars ... perhaps even more in what it costs those who do. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
B+ Puzzle (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Kelly Macdonald shines in the lead. Her face is a powerfully expressive text ... representing hairpin turns of understanding and decision that are always convincing. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
B- Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet The camera ogles over the dresses, the jewelry, the houses, the cars, the feasts ... with a determination to render us helpless by sheer relentlessness. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
A Eighth Grade (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet It's like Burnham had the film tested for authenticity by real eighth graders. ... It ends with my favorite big-screen conversation of the year, a joy in its spontaneity. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
A+ Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Neville makes a quiet movie about a quiet man. ... [It] plays like a vivid, urgent beacon from a lighthouse during a storm. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
B Hearts Beat Loud (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet If I stumble onto Hearts Beat Loud on TV, I'll probably decide to 'watch a few minutes' and end up watching to the end. It's just so easy, enjoyable, and cost-free. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ Three Identical Strangers (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet You might begin to wonder if this isn't a documentary at all, but an unnervingly lifelike sci-fi/horror film. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ Prospect (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet What might be the film's most powerful advantage is its Pacific Northwest rainforest setting. ... If Terrence Malick were making hardcore science fiction films, they would look a lot like this. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2018
B+ Leave No Trace (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Leave No Trace immerses us in rugged and rain-saturated terrain, where it is easy to get lost and even easier to get into trouble. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2018
A- The Rider (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet The Rider has a wisdom all its own. ... It becomes a film about how the pain of loss and disappointment enables us to bear one another's burdens. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2018
A- Incredibles 2 (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Just as Elastigirl is stretched past recognition and restored to her proper definition, this is Brad Bird's demonstration of spectacular flexibility -- and a return to form. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2018
C Ocean's 8 (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet Soderbergh's movies live on the Ebert principle: 'The movie isn't about what it is about -- it's about how it is about it.' But Ross's film lacks any interesting 'how.' EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2018
B+ First Reformed (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet A rare and intriguing example of theological inquiry in American cinema ... driven by an aching conscience. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2018
C Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet File Solo under 'Frivolous Fan Fiction.' ... The starship streaking into light speed here is strictly the millennials' Falcon. EDIT
Posted May 26, 2018
B+ Isle of Dogs (2018) Jeffrey Overstreet A new high in Anderson's visual pageantry ... [but it] is also, for me, the least affecting Anderson narrative. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2018
B+ The Post (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet It's a sentimental, hagiographic history lesson ... but [moviegoers] would do well to studyhow the electricity intensifies, scene by scene, in a way we rarely experience. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2018
B+ Good Time (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet In his monstrous compulsion to lure others into his schemes, drain them of resources, and cast them aside, Connie's the first real vampire that Robert Pattinson has played. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2017
B+ Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet Watts and Company give us a new Parker and a new Spider-Man entirely sufficient to the task of course-correcting and extending the webslinger's adventures on the big screen. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2017
B+ Maudie (2016) Jeffrey Overstreet Shines as a substantial illustration that love can take root even in the context of failure, frailty, and poverty --in fact, those things just might be what make it possible. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2017
B+ Dunkirk (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet It's high on noise, chaos, and anxiety, and low on visual poetry. [But] it provides a necessary corrective to the dangerous machismo of most war films. EDIT
Posted Jul 28, 2017
A- Get Out (2017) Jeffrey Overstreet Peele comforts the afflicted ... and he afflicts the rest of us, the comfortable, who often perpetuate racist behaviors and vocabularies even when we have the best intentions. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2017