Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): John Beifuss
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/4 Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) John Beifuss The marketplace of ideas and the literal marketplace overlap, with devastating consequences... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) John Beifuss A confident debut... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Shiva Baby (2020) John Beifuss Frank, embarrassing, deeply Jewish, and resourceful... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Vitalina Varela (2019) John Beifuss A painstakingly painterly film that is as funereally deliberate as it is ecstatically wrought. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Les misérables (2019) John Beifuss A harrowing thriller... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Minari (2020) John Beifuss A film of journalistic precision and radical empathy. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Sorry We Missed You (2019) John Beifuss Digs dig deep into a subject filmmakers usually ignore: the struggle to make an honest living. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Soul (2020) John Beifuss This may be Pixar's most 'adult' film, in terms of its themes, its mostly middle-aged characters, its sometimes experimental and -- yes -- jazzy animation (heaven is run by characters who are nothing but squiggly lines), and its soundtrack. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020) John Beifuss Created with an artist's insistence that realization of a vision justifies what some might call exploitation... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Wolfwalkers (2020) John Beifuss With animation that eschews Pixar realism for the stylized beauty of woodblock prints, Medieval tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and Celtic patterns, the latest Cartoon Saloon stunner offers a rejuvenating balm for hungry eyes and weary souls. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Born to Be (2020) John Beifuss Compassionate and clarifying... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 The Hunt (2020) John Beifuss As funny and vivid as it is opportunistic. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Nighthawk (2019) John Beifuss A politicized thriller in which bloodthirsty recreation represents an acute form of racist hubris and colonialist exploitation. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Color Out of Space (2019) John Beifuss A parody of self-actualization in which an isolated family undergoes grotesque cosmic metamorphosis after being irradiated by a prismatic meteorite. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 Possessor: Uncut (2020) John Beifuss The destabilizing Francis Baconesque montages and detonations of extreme gore in Brandon Cronenberg's brainy, bloody thriller may be as psychically disruptive for the viewer as for Andrea Riseborough's contract killer EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
3.5/4 The Invisible Man (2020) John Beifuss Leigh Whannell's update of the classic concept stars Elisabeth Moss as the ex-girlfriend of a millionaire inventor turned high-tech gaslighter whose goal is to erase his victim's humanity as effectively as he has obscured his own visibility. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 The Assistant (2019) John Beifuss Ingeniously compact... EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
4/4 Parasite (2019) John Beifuss In the movie's most vivid set piece, Bong demonstrates that water (to use a euphemism) rolls downhill: A downpour that is picturesque at the level of the mansion becomes a flood by the time it washes into the poor family's vulnerable neighborhood. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Us (2019) John Beifuss Writer-director Jordan Peele's followup to the epochal 'Get Out' is as messy and overstuffed as its predecessor was direct and elegant. Still, it's a nonstop kick, bristling with milestone achievements, potent jokes and scares, and confidence... EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Transit (2018) John Beifuss In updating the story from World War II to a mysteriously Fascist-occupied present-day Paris, director Christian Petzold transforms Anna Segher's 1942 novel into both a Philip K. Dick-esque 'alternate history' thriller and a Kafkaesque neo-'Casablanca.' EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Midsommar (2019) John Beifuss Ari Aster's flower-draped folk-horror followup to 'Hereditary' was not everybody's cup of menstrual blood tea, but I loved it. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Little Women (2019) John Beifuss When 'Marmee' (Laura Dern) tells her daughters 'Be good to each other,' you may find yourself resolving to do just that. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Hyenas (1992) John Beifuss This comic masterpiece about a wealthy woman who plunges an African village into chaos is definite in its targets (the persistence of colonialism as consumerism, especially) but universal in its consideration of human existence as both tragedy and farce. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Hail Satan? (2019) John Beifuss Rarely has so-called blasphemy seemed like so much prankish fun. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Dolemite Is My Name (2019) John Beifuss Craig Brewer's Netflix-hosted return to feature filmmaking is a spiritual sequel of sorts to 'Hustle & Flow' and a hilarious homage to the Memphis director's own family-and-friends filmmaking roots. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Chained for Life (2018) John Beifuss The film works as both an affectionate movie-industry comedy (with references to Franju and 'Freaks') and as a provocative inquiry into the parameters of onscreen 'representation.' EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Burning (2018) John Beifuss Lee Chang-dong delivers what may be cinema's most elliptical serial killer drama... EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 Apollo 11 (2019) John Beifuss Presents the first mission to the moon as both nail-biting adventure and visionary achievement... EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3.5/4 The Dead Don't Die (2019) John Beifuss If his 2003 vampire movie was Jarmusch looking into the mirror (the bloodsuckers were stylish hipsters with a fondness for urban decay and Neil Young), the new zombie movie is Jarmusch looking out the window -- and being distressed by what he sees. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) John Beifuss Recognizes the hope and futility that accompany the attempt to capture another person's essence, in love or in art. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 The Souvenir (2019) John Beifuss Literary in tone and cinematic in expression, the film is entirely singular: It embraces sincerity and bravery and rejects cynicism, even as it recognizes the appeal of dissolute privilege. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Peterloo (2018) John Beifuss Leigh presents history as breaking news and as augury: The age of 'gilded reptiles' -- to borrow a labor agitator's characterization of the 19th-century ruling class -- is with us still. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Babylon (1980) John Beifuss The central M.C. is played by Brinsley Forde, leader of the British reggae band, Aswad; his musical presence is just one element of authenticity in a movie that never strikes a false note. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Honeyland (2019) John Beifuss This eye-opener about a honey-harvesting elderly woman in rural Macedonia is (yes) sweet, but (yes again) it stings. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Uncut Gems (2019) John Beifuss Dizzying in its overlapping talk-talk-talk, incessant ambient din and translucent set design (glass is everywhere), the movie seems to radiate energy, heat, light and pressure -- it crushes scenes into diamonds. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) John Beifuss Until the ugly climax (mitigated if not exactly redeemed by a poignant coda), this is Tarantino's most tender and transcendent film, filled with yearning for a minutely specific-yet-fairy tale past, and brimming with swoon-worthy performances... EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
4/4 The Irishman (2019) John Beifuss The very definition of a late-period masterwork, this reckoning with a quarter-century of American corruption and damnation touches upon historical and fanciful milestones as if they were the stations of an inverted cross. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
3/4 Wild Guitar (1962) John Beifuss In the annals of American reinvention, perhaps no pseudonym is as starkly brazen or absurdly hopeful as Cash Flagg, the name fledgling auteur Ray Dennis Steckler chose for his acting credit in the movie that marked his directorial debut, 'Wild Guitar.' EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
3.5/4 Upgrade (2018) John Beifuss It may be ersatz Verhoeven and Cronenberg lite, but so what? I was smitten by its unpretentious old-school economy and its unexpected visual panache: the digital effects and 'camera' moves are ingenious, simple and fun. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 Annihilation (2018) John Beifuss Portman's trek might as well be across the landscape of genre history: It begins with a pulp-magazine-worthy attack by a monster alligator and ends with a trippy '2001'-like alien encounter. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 Mr. Soul! (2018) John Beifuss Like the more celebrated 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?,' this is a documentary about a public television programs that offered a utopian vision of a community built on love, creativity and respect. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) John Beifuss A celebration of kindness and acceptance that offers an antidote to the hostility endorsed by much of the current social and political culture. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 Minding the Gap (2018) John Beifuss May be a form of therapeutic exorcism for the filmmaker but it's a portrait of all-American despair (economic and otherwise) for us, complete with racial discomfort, cycles of domestic abuse, skateboard acrobatics and Fourth of July fireworks. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 Let the Sunshine In (2017) John Beifuss Demonstrates that realistic behavior -- self-defeating whims, conversations that go nowhere, distracted small talk, a visit with a psychic that is more banal than dramatic -- is so alien to the moviegoing experience that most viewers cannot recognize it. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 Isle of Dogs (2018) John Beifuss A delight, thanks to an impressive voice cast, the Japanese-inspired design (a source of some controversy, these appropriations motivate further flattening of Anderson's Cornell-box-like compositions) and the uncanny charm of the stop-motion process. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) John Beifuss A swoon in motion-picture form: Its lush score, expressive decor and color-coded photography give the Harlem streets and the characters who inhabit them a glamour that historically has been denied to cinematic representations of the black experience. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 The Favourite (2018) John Beifuss Working for the first time from someone else's script, Lanthimos trades his signature sadism for cutting wit; meanwhile, his jaundiced eye remains evident in the fish-eye lenses that distort the compositions. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) John Beifuss The movie's seemingly credible re-creation of 1990s New York as a place of dark, inviting bars and even darker and more inviting used bookstores represents at least one idea of paradise. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 Black Panther (2018) John Beifuss An international box-office blockbuster that ignited like a blast of cultural vibranium in the ugly face of resurgent global racism... At this point, 'Wakanda forever!' feels like not just a boast but a prophecy. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 I Am Not a Witch (2017) John Beifuss This story of an 8-year-old 'witch' literally tethered into servitude is both political exposé and political satire; the sense of sorrow and anger is enhanced by director Rungano Nyoni's artist's appreciation of the absurdity at the root of tragedy. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019