Groucho Reviews

Groucho Reviews is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Peter Canavese
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/4 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Peter Canavese [SPOILER-FREE:] Laugh-out-loud funny...transcends offensiveness by holding a mirror up to the very worst of human impulses, making us laugh at crimes against humanity not because the satirists don't care but precisely because they do. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
3.5/4 Onward (2020) Peter Canavese Wildly manipulative in its emotional underpinnings, but Onward works smart to earn its sentiment...A very sweet, very entertaining blend of whimsy and peril. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2020
3.5/4 The Assistant (2019) Peter Canavese Has the benefit of relevance to the current news cycle, but it's about something much larger even than the famous convicted felon who threw his weight around Hollywood. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2020
2.5/4 Downhill (2020) Peter Canavese As long as Faxon and Rash...stay in this pitch-black pocket of uncomfortable truth-telling, Downhill retains its power. But since this is an American comedy... EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2020
3/4 Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Peter Canavese Practically dares its audience to make the mistake of taking it seriously, and yet it's a bizarrely uplifting story of credibly tough women...survivors all, supporting each other to vanquish a sneering, preening abuser whose time's up. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2020
2.5/4 1917 (2019) Peter Canavese Attempts to thread the needle of a moving anti-war film in that narrow space between...[war as] thrill ride and the filmic wizardry that, when examined too closely, rings as hollow as a war machine rapped with a wrench. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2020
2/4 Bad Boys for Life (2020) Peter Canavese Contemplating any of this action-comedy camp in real-world terms...would be a maddening mistake. Accept Lowrey's assessment that 'Violence is what we do,' or pick another movie. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2020
2.5/4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Peter Canavese [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:] If Abrams has topped himself, it's by making a Star Wars film that's even more of a multiplex-filling Hollywood widget than his first. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2019
3/4 Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Peter Canavese If The Next Level plays fast and loose, it also makes an effort to prompt viewers to reflect not only on the freedom of fantasy, but on the fraught but essential relationship of mind and body. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2019
2.5/4 Waves (2019) Peter Canavese If the film's psychology and dialogue remain frustratingly basic...the viscerally effective audio-visual approach amplif[ies] the story's emotional intimacy in ways the situations and mostly platitudinous dialogue sometimes fail to do. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
2.5/4 The Good Liar (2019) Peter Canavese 'Be careful. It's deeper than it looks.' The line is meant as a commentary on character but also a literary self-congratulation. And that would be all well and good if the film had a well-crafted plot with fascinating characters and surprising twists. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
3.5/4 Parasite (2019) Peter Canavese Wild-ride entertainment that's by turns funny, squirmy, horrifying, and poignant, all in service of a zeitgeist-y story of working-class frustration...boiling over in ways the blithely wealthy can no longer ignore. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/4 Doctor Sleep (2019) Peter Canavese In some ways, Doctor Sleep has to feel like a pop cultural footnote, but that's not fair to what's a ripping yarn in its own right. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2019
1.5/4 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Peter Canavese Audiences can't be blamed for turning off their brains and focusing on the aesthetic this film featuring a flying protagonist, nothing really lands. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
3.5/4 Pain and Glory (2019) Peter Canavese The filmmaker contemplating his own creation as a man and an artist...plays as a poetic remembrance of things past, a reconciliation of self, powerfully capturing the emotional essence of keenly formative experiences and deep loves. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
2.5/4 Joker (2019) Peter Canavese Joker isn't the film to seriously tackle the issue[s]--it's more concerned with flair than genuine inquiry--but Phoenix's pained, raw-nerve performance is one for the ages. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2019
3/4 Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019) Peter Canavese A primer...proves most valuable by gathering a number of Miles' friends, lovers, musical collaborators, admirers, and share their recollections and perspectives on Davis, his musicality, and his personality. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
2.5/4 Official Secrets (2019) Peter Canavese It's a story worth shining a light on, Gun a hero deserving of a movie-star moment. And yet this docudrama struggles to give feature-length narrative shape to the story in a way that brings it to vibrant dramatic life. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
3.5/4 Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) Peter Canavese A deeply moving story of a remarkable woman, its only real fault an arguable virtue: adhering to the old showbiz adage of leaving the audience wanting more. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/4 Downton Abbey (2019) Peter Canavese Forgive me for suggesting that Conservative peer Fellowes--or, as he's sometimes known, Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL--might consider Downton the cake he's letting us eat. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/4 Ready or Not (2019) Peter Canavese Thin characters...thinner satire...maybe best to think of Ready or Not not as trolling us but as gifting us a mosh pit for primal-scream therapy. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
2.5/4 Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Peter Canavese The film's darkest-before-the-dawn middle passage honors the complexity of mental-health struggles for the sufferer and those who, unsure at every step, try to steer their troubled loved one down a path to healing. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
3.5/4 Luce (2019) Peter Canavese Primarily concerns itself with African-American identity, plagued by withering lowdown stereotypes and polar-opposite pressures...In some ways, the film's subtle political satire proves even more distressing. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
2.5/4 The Kitchen (2019) Peter Canavese Because of its hurried pacing, the film doesn't quite make us feel the potentially Shakespearean sweep of this arc, and the leading performances feel similarly hemmed in by the script's limitations. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2019
3.5/4 The Farewell (2019) Peter Canavese The setup makes for genuinely amusing light farce, but in their patient observation, Wang and cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano conjure a heartfelt intimacy with the family...[and] the actors always offer up finely etched emotional truths... EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
3.5/4 Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) Peter Canavese Content finally joined by the movie gods to form--for at last, the moving-picture magpie has lighted on Hollywood as his setting and, in no small part, his subject. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2019
1/4 Stuber (2019) Peter Canavese Unexciting action and unfunny comedy...Bautista and Nanjiani have star power, and could've made a buddy comedy work, but not with this script and this little help behind the camera. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
3/4 Maiden (2018) Peter Canavese This Maiden voyage's degrees of heroism and ugly behavior, of victory and defeat, illuminate a gripping and inspiring story that demands to be remembered. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
3/4 Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Peter Canavese Marvel deserves credit for the ways it has so far managed to freshen up formula, harness genres to its purposes, and hold a mirror up to contemporary society. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2019
2/4 Yesterday (2019) Peter Canavese Make the mistake of considering this feature-length stunt's many logical fumbles and obvious but ignored questions, and you're likely to get angry... All you need is love...and a better script. EDIT
Posted Jun 26, 2019
3.5/4 Toy Story 4 (2019) Peter Canavese At a moment when studios and pundits have begun again to question the efficacy of sequels, Pixar's graceful follow-up justifies the practice, when executed with smarts and heart. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2019
2/4 Men in Black: International (2019) Peter Canavese Outside of the win for representation represented by the likeable Tessa Thompson's leading role, there's no creatively compelling reason to tell this story, which--not for nothing--drags on seventeen minutes longer than the 1997 original. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/4 Crystal City (2019) Peter Canavese Potent... Crawford's empathy and care for his subjects shine through, inevitably taking the audience on an emotional journey. EDIT
Posted Jun 10, 2019
2.5/4 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Peter Canavese The CGI creatures impress--a star is reborn in Mothra...It's just unfortunate that the picture as a whole lumbers a lot like its forty-story star. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2019
3/4 Non-Fiction (2018) Peter Canavese Slyly we think and how we consume media, how we tell stories to each other and ourselves, and what we need out of our personal connections. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
2/4 Aladdin (2019) Peter Canavese The results aren't exactly magical...Heck, I'd even take a low-rent theme-park version if it spared me this film's descent into the uncanny valley. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 All Is True (2018) Peter Canavese An elegiac valediction for Shakespeare's genius...a celebration of the centuries of scholarship that got us here...[and] an ode to parental love, complicated as it is by ego. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
2/4 Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Peter Canavese With Reynolds cracking wise and a number of frantic action sequences, this looks like an effective enough franchise launcher. all feels a little too much like work. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/4 Long Shot (2019) Peter Canavese Diverting enough for date night...good enough for government work. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2019
3.5/4 Avengers: Endgame (2019) Peter Canavese Marvel tourists may surprise themselves how much they care...while fanatics will have a geekgasm of heretofore undiscovered proportions at what amounts to the biggest series finale ever. To put it more politely, they'll love it "times 3000." EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
2.5/4 Teen Spirit (2018) Peter Canavese Serves mostly as a vehicle for star Elle Fanning, who provides her own vocals in the film's multiple vocal-performance sequences and, more importantly, provides the film its soul of quietly defiant determination. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
3.5/4 Peterloo (2018) Peter Canavese [Leigh] bustles his audience into a time machine and transplants them to a time and place--1819 England--for full immersion into the physical and social landscape where a politically charged tragedy played out. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
3/4 Shazam! (2019) Peter Canavese DC's answer to Marvel's Ant-Man: a family-friendly, comical comic-book adventure that never crosses the line into camp. EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2019
2.5/4 Dumbo (2019) Peter Canavese Dumbo has morphed into an fable of modernized entertainment business models and the handling and packaging of IP...strange thematic material for a PG Disney movie aimed at families...and it gets stranger. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
3.5/4 Us (2019) Peter Canavese Peele's messy stew of allusive ingredients and jokey allusions...can taste overwhelming, but it gives us a helluva lot more to chew on than a Halloween reboot. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
1.5/4 The Wedding Guest (2018) Peter Canavese I'll be damned if I can detect a pulse...Proves deliberately withholding, as if to punish us, along with its unlikeable characters, for expecting too much. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
3/4 Captain Marvel (2019) Peter Canavese To watch another obscure hero beget a franchise-building smash-hit movie means marveling at Marvel once again. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
3/4 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Peter Canavese The little franchise that could is all grown up and ready to leave the nest, so wipe that tear away, and say your goodbyes, kids...For now... EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Peter Canavese Silly, but..big dumb fun. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 Arctic (2018) Peter Canavese While Penna shoots and edits the material well enough, its familiar paces probably wouldn't be tolerable were it not for Mikkelsen, whose grim visage crucially gives the film a racing mind and a beating heart. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2019