Tampa Bay Times

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (2016) Brittany Volk The monsters here serve as larger metaphors, but thankfully Danger's heavy-handed themes don't kill a fun campy Saturday movie night. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2018
Operation Finale (2018) Sharon Kennedy Wynne A movie that recalls how everyday bureaucrats played a part in the Holocaust is a worthy reminder of the banality of evil. And maybe it's a good reminder that it's not so ordinary after all. EDIT
Posted Aug 29, 2018
The Miracle Season (2018) Brittany Volk The Miracle Season is sensationally corny. It's like one of those earnest Disney Channel movies we routinely watched in the early 2000s. It will manipulate your tear ducts and tug at your heart. EDIT
Posted Aug 17, 2018
Whitney (2018) Jay Cridlin Even in the film's most sobering moments, you can't erase from your memory the indelible images of 21-year-old Houston beaming, dancing and belting out those still-unmatched vocal runs. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2018
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) Tom Jones Make sure you have a box of tissues with you when you watch. Make that two boxes. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2018
B Beirut (2018) Steve Persall Hamm makes for a compelling guide, Bogart-weary and mind racing, assessing each situation with a readable face for the camera. Beirut won't make him a bigger movie star, but more interesting actors are tough to find. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2018
B+ A Quiet Place (2018) Steve Persall A Quiet Place isn't revolutionary, relying on enough abrupt shocks and grisly effects to satisfy chronic horror fans. But it works better as a mutation of the genre, placing aural dread ahead of visceral gore. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2018
B Una mujer fantástica (2017) Steve Persall Daniela Vega is haunting in the title role. EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2018
B+ Wait for Your Laugh (2017) Steve Persall A portrait of an indefatigable entertainer emerges, restless when she wasn't working and fearless when she was. EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2018
C+ Ready Player One (2018) Steve Persall It's a theme park ride but not the rollercoaster Spielberg hopes. More like It's a Small Virtual World, careening through gamer nirvana, jerking viewers to and fro among everything Gen X retro. EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2018
A- The Death of Stalin (2017) Steve Persall Kind of like Veep with a hammer and sickle, smart, tart and daftly topical. EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2018
B Unsane (2018) Steve Persall If you think Steven Soderbergh is talented with a movie camera, you should see what he does with a cellphone in Unsane. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2018
C Tomb Raider (2018) Steve Persall Lara's appealing enough in humor and drive but Vikander brings deeper notes than the script and green screens require, from sorrow and fear to first-kill horror. Tomb Raider isn't a place to expect good acting, but Vikander persists. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2018
A- Annihilation (2018) Steve Persall Alex Garland's Annihilation is a bracing blend of cerebral sci-fi and grindhouse terror, a genre movie that's more, maybe too much for some viewers. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2018
B- Game Night (2018) Steve Persall Good movie comedies are in short supply these days, making Game Night more fun than it deserves to be. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2018
B Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) Steve Persall Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool plays the will-she/won't-she tell him and spoil a lovely romance too long. Yet the revelation is staged wonderfully by McGuigan as part of a breaking point quarrel. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2018
A Black Panther (2018) Steve Persall Coogler delivers action with frenetic grace, keeping the violence more intimate than usual for a superhero movie. Less soulless metropolis crumbling and more face-to-face combat (although the armored rhinos aren't bad). EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2018
B Early Man (2018) Steve Persall It's fairly easy to guess where this is heading - well, the giant duck is a bit surprising - and mildly fun getting there. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2018
D The 15:17 to Paris (2018) Steve Persall The finale is Eastwood at his laziest, allowing news footage to do his job. At least Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler now have the ultimate souvenir of their vacation. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2018
C Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Steve Persall More often laughs are unintentional, depending on what Ana and Christian are doing before sex. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2018
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Chelsea Tatham It's a bit of a mess. A tense, sometimes fun mashup of classic sci-fi, but often overwhelmed by absurdity and chaos. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2018
C 12 Strong (2018) Steve Persall Extraordinary heroism deserves a less ordinary movie. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
A Call Me by Your Name (2017) Steve Persall Call it what you want but this movie is an instantly fond memory. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
Den of Thieves (2018) Steve Persall [Gerard] Butler's the same bullet-spewing, order-barking bop bag he always plays in Den of Thieves. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
C Hostiles (2017) Steve Persall Hostiles is another Western in which Indian characters are props for white man problems. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
C+ Phantom Thread (2017) Steve Persall Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread is passionless window-shop cinema, each static tableau lovingly arranged for display and easy dusting. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2018
C The Commuter (2018) Steve Persall The inevitable derailment - of the train, not his movie - is a model of ludicrous action. It takes too long for The Commuter to build a head of steam but it's medium speed ahead after that. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2018
C The Post (2017) Steve Persall [Meryl] Streep doesn't play her as a crusader; twice Kay walks into boardrooms, a lone woman among grim men, making no impression. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2018
I, Tonya (2017) Steve Persall Gillespie's movie glides like a drunken skater, contained but changing direction with each tangent and tantrum. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2018
Silence (2016) Steve Persall Silence is a monumental achievement in Scorsese's career, a project three decades in development, and his passion shows. It's the unofficial conclusion of Scorsese's theological trilogy. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
The Founder (2016) Steve Persall Even in repetitive or undernourished moments Keaton, Offerman and Lynch always entertain. Their performances have fallen through the cracks of awards season. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B- 20th Century Women (2016) Steve Persall By sheer repetition, 20th Century Women becomes Dorothea's coming of age story 40 years late. Mills' movie is ultimately as aimless as her life has been, messy and marked by fleeting pleasures but not enough. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
Split (2016) Steve Persall Shyamalan hasn't goosed a crowd this successfully since Signs. As someone who'd written him off, it's fun to have been wrong. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B+ Julieta (2016) Steve Persall As usual, Almodóvar enjoys toying with dynamics of feminine relationships, friends and foes alike. Deceptions aren't dead ends but doorways to other emotional twists. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
A- Forushande (2016) Steve Persall The Salesman is a quiet revenge tale, in which a husband must decide how to stick up for his wife, or if he should. Tension builds from this gender-unequal culture to a crushing finale. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
C The Last Word (2017) Steve Persall Each move is a telegraphed step away from the movie we started out liking. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
Gifted (2017) Steve Persall Webb gets good performances from everyone, particularly Evans, suggesting an acting life for him beyond Captain America. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
C- The Lost City of Z (2016) Steve Persall Lost City of Z is beautifully shot by Darius Khondji yet lacks a dramatic arc matching its length. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B+ Colossal (2016) Steve Persall Colossal is darkly comical when it isn't being flippantly serious, flawed yet unlike anything you've seen before. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
Personal Shopper (2016) Steve Persall Thrills aren't part of the bargain unless Stewart's intense vulnerability counts. Now more than ever, it should. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B- The Dinner (2017) Steve Persall Moverman's adaptation of Herman Koch's novel is loaded with lacerating dialogue delivered with conviction. Yet as the narrative widens the drama loses steam and we're left recalling performance moments, Bobby Bukowski's camera work and little else. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B+ The Lovers (2017) Steve Persall Winger's performance is a gem, funny and heartbreaking at once, one to keep in mind for year-end honors. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
The Little Hours (2017) Steve Persall The Little Hours is less than the sum of its many comedy parts but some of those many are hilarious. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B- Brigsby Bear (2017) Steve Persall Director Dave McCary maintains a suitably goofy tone and inspired casting makes for a pleasantly uneven experience. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B Wind River (2017) Steve Persall The movie's strength is Sheridan's knack for vivid characterization through little more than casual remarks and consistent voices. Renner isn't an actor of great range but that works here by trusting the words. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B I Do... Until I Don't (2017) Steve Persall Bell is a generous writer, not keeping juicy lines to herself. I Do . . . Until I Don't fairly drips with them. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B- Patti Cake$ (2017) Steve Persall For every predictable move Jasper's screenplay makes, Macdonald creates a surprising moment, some small gesture that reveals. She's a duckling turned swan. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
C The Mountain Between Us (2017) Steve Persall The Mountain Between Us is movie star chemistry interrupted by a survival yarn without much danger. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
B Brad's Status (2017) Steve Persall Brad's Status is White's second admirable screenplay this year after Beatriz at Dinner, each rapier sharp about human conditions. This script brings out Stiller's best. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017
The Florida Project (2017) Steve Persall The Florida Project is a remarkable movie. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2017