Newark Star-Ledger

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Face (2002) Lisa Rose A film with visual flair, musical inspiration and dramatic gravity. From the top to the bottom of the cast list, there are performances rich in detail and intelligence. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2018
2.5/4 The Clapper (2017) Stephen Whitty Mostly it's a quiet salute to classic romantic comedy - and to a star who, frankly, is far nicer than the times he was born to work in. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2018
2.5/4 Mom and Dad (2017) Stephen Whitty "Mom and Dad" will do just fine as an impulsive, late-night, on-demand rent. Even if it's not quite worth two movie tickets and a baby sitter. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
3/4 12 Strong (2018) Stephen Whitty Shannon and Hemsworth employ all their uncomplicated masculine charisma, and the war scenes are pumped with adrenaline. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
2/4 Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) Stephen Whitty Just when you think things are being wrapped up, they come unwrapped, and the picture goes on for another 40 minutes, prolonging your pain with a sadism that would make even the movie's sneering villain feel a bit guilty. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2018
2.5/4 The Commuter (2018) Stephen Whitty It's a completely forgettable movie, but it has some slam-bang moments, and it gets you where it's going. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2018
3/4 Blame (2017) Stephen Whitty It's a story where, perhaps, there's enough guilt to go around. But the credit for telling it goes completely to a bright young talent. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2018
2.5/4 Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) Stephen Whitty McGuigan - whose previous films include "Victor Frankenstein" and "Lucky Number Slevin" - seems like a bit of a hack, particularly when it comes to his on-the-nose music choices. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2017
3.5/4 Aus dem Nichts (2017) Stephen Whitty A solid, sober, moving story and one, that like so many of Akin's pictures, mines the same deep vein - our deep, and apparently inexhaustible reserves of pain and anger, loss and regret. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
2.5/4 Downsizing (2017) Stephen Whitty Payne deserves credit for trying something outside of usual, reality-based, Omaha-set comfort zone. But what he actually got onscreen don't match his huge ambitions. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2017
2.5/4 All the Money in the World (2017) Stephen Whitty It has style, and good people, and interesting locations around the world. Yet in the end it's a little like Getty himself. It's got everything that money can buy -- except for that one little, genuine spark of life it can't. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2017
3/4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Stephen Whitty Rian Johnson clearly remembers something that Lucas' most fervent followers sometimes forget: These are movies for the young, or at least the young at heart. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2017
3.5/4 The Shape of Water (2017) Stephen Whitty "The Shape of Water" is such a gorgeous, deeply felt movie I wish that del Toro didn't still have some of his schoolboy urge to gross us out. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2017
3.5/4 The Disaster Artist (2017) Stephen Whitty A perfect recreation of Wiseau's very imperfect creation, and a celebration of anybody who ever made art - no matter how egregious. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2017
3/4 Coco (2017) Stephen Whitty Its backgrounds ... have a vibrancy, and its atmosphere carries a warmth. And even after it's done, both linger, just a bit -- like a perfectly struck guitar chord. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2017
3/4 Darkest Hour (2017) Stephen Whitty Oldman ... seizes upon the role of Winston Churchill the way an old bulldog takes hold of a lamb bone. He gets his teeth into it. He shakes it about. And he will absolutely not let go until he's gotten every bit of marrow out of it. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2017
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Stephen Whitty There is no sin, it insists. There is just joy - and whether you find that in a cold glass of apricot juice or the warm embrace of a village beauty should matter to no one but you. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2017
3/5 Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Stephen Whitty The story's unclear and the characters seem to contradict themselves. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2017
4/4 Mudbound (2017) Stephen Whitty It's a film about being brutalized, about being diminished, about small sobbing cries in the night. But also, the small desperate hope that somewhere, someone, will hear. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2017
2.5/4 Justice League (2017) Stephen Whitty There's a lot of loud action. There are a lot of flashy visuals. Everything goes by quickly. It's just that, like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's not a hell of a lot of fun. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2017
2/4 Wonder (2017) Stephen Whitty It wants desperately to tug at your heartstrings. But all it seriously did was rub my nerves raw. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2017
2/4 Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Stephen Whitty The picture simply goes on too long, and is far too in love with Branagh's performance. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2017
4/4 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Stephen Whitty A movie that starts strong and just builds, always pushing forward yet still finding time for interesting detours. EDIT
Posted Nov 9, 2017
3/4 Last Flag Flying (2017) Stephen Whitty This isn't one of Linklater's storytelling experiments. This is a hang-out movie and - what's more - a deeply heartfelt, American one. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2017
3.5/4 Lady Bird (2017) Stephen Whitty A small, gentle charmer about what life's like for a teenager who knows she's far more interesting than the town she lives in. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2017
3/4 The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Stephen Whitty "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" takes strange and unexpected turns along the way, and some of them are brutal, and a few of them are shocking. But that surprise is a good deal of its power. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2017
3/4 Novitiate (2017) Stephen Whitty It's a faith-based film that's about the actual search for faith - and about how often that journey leads us where it will, rather than where we want to go. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2017
3/4 Thank You for Your Service (2017) Stephen Whitty A well-intentioned, but merely decent movie. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2017
3/4 Suburbicon (2017) Stephen Whitty Really, all in all, Clooney's made a good movie. But he could have made a great one -- if he'd been willing to settle for one movie. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2017
3/4 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Stephen Whitty Like the antic entertainer at a children's party, director Taiki Waititi keeps us distracted with sudden noises, bright objects and silly jokes. It's not a bad plan. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2017
1.5/4 The Snowman (2017) Stephen Whitty A frigid Fassbender turns his head this way and that, as if he were posing for a bust, and boy, this movie is one for sure. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2017
2.5/4 Wonderstruck (2017) Stephen Whitty It feels a little like a very expensive and ornate frame - without a picture in the middle. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2017
2.5/4 The Foreigner (2017) Stephen Whitty A warning to Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and the rest. You want to keep trying to make your AARP action movies, you go right ahead. But the real grandmaster is back and ready to go. EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2017
2/4 Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Stephen Whitty Why would anyone want to watch a movie about these people? EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2017
3.5/4 The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) Stephen Whitty A solid and satisfying treat. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2017
3/4 Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017) Stephen Whitty In the end, it's a nice tribute not only to one of the comics' greatest characters (and this year's favorite movie hero) but the sort of truly unhindered, uncensored imagination that makes all fiction possible -- and all love real. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2017
3/4 The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) Stephen Whitty In the end, "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" never really offers the closure that it is looking for so determinedly - but then, closure is kind of a myth, anyway. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2017
3/4 The Mountain Between Us (2017) Stephen Whitty A cold-weather drama with just enough shocks to make you shiver, and just enough romance to warm you up. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2017
3.5/4 The Florida Project (2017) Stephen Whitty Shots are held just long enough for us to ponder all the details; strong closeups bring the characters' emotions uncomfortably near. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2017
3.5/4 Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Stephen Whitty In a world filled with cinema replicants - sturdy, shiny, carefully engineered jobs that almost duplicate the look and warmth of a real movie - "Blade Runner 2049" is that rarest of sequels: An original. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2017
3/4 Lucky (2017) Stephen Whitty If you're a Harry Dean Stanton fan, seeing him get a rare lead in "Lucky" is a kind of present and fond farewell. And if you're not a fan - yet - it's an essential introduction. EDIT
Posted Sep 29, 2017
2/4 Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) Stephen Whitty Skip this film, and re-watch "All the President's Men" instead. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2017
3/4 American Made (2017) Stephen Whitty It gives Liman a chance to stage a few tense aerial sequences ... it gives Cruise the opportunity to re-establish his brand of aggressive good humor and carefree - make that careless - adventure. They know what they're doing. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Woodshock (2017) Stephen Whitty Dunst has been a very good actress to a very long time, and she does what she can with the role - except there is no role. Lost on screen without a backstory or even much dialogue, she's left to stare out the windows, searching for a thought. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2017
3/4 Victoria & Abdul (2017) Stephen Whitty The two leads are superb. And the idea that two people -- separated by class, a creed, a continent and half a century - could still share such a perfect bond of innocent friendship seems like an awfully important one. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2017
2.5/4 Stronger (2017) Stephen Whitty It goes so overboard on humanizing Bauman, it actually diminishes him. With such a barely-there hero, we start looking around for other people to become interested in. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2017
1.5/4 Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Stephen Whitty Just when you think it couldn't get any worse - it promises a sequel. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2017
2/4 Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017) Stephen Whitty Why, given unfettered access to such an inventive, imaginative, iconoclastic performer would you take such scant opportunity to actually show her performing, live? EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2017
3/4 Brad's Status (2017) Stephen Whitty Brad could be a difficult person to spend 101 minutes with, but White keeps the film tart, not bitter, by both staying inside Brad's head and letting us see how disordered his values are. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2017
2/4 mother! (2017) Stephen Whitty Unlike the mansion it's set in, it's a small, hammered-together thing, and it can't bear all this meaning and metaphor. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2017