Lessons of Darkness

Lessons of Darkness is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Nick Schager
Rating Title/Year Author
A- Looper (2012) Nick Schager A scintillating neo-noir gem of existential quandaries and inescapable fatalism. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2012
A- The Master (2012) Nick Schager At once explosive and ramshackle, unpredictable and expertly modulated, it's a magnetic performance [by Phoenix]. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2012
B+ The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Nick Schager Subpar material gets a tonal and aesthetic - and, by extension, thematic - boost from directorial virtuosity in David Fincher's American remake. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2011
B+ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) Nick Schager Bolstered by a superb cast and ... a very subtle, sly black-humor drollness, Tinker Tailor generates tension from both its aesthetic and narrative stillness. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2011
B+ The Adventures of Tintin (2011) Nick Schager Spielberg takes full advantage of not only CG's anything-goes potential but also of 3D. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2011
C+ The Descendants (2011) Nick Schager Wants to be mature but can't help shortchanging its drama through constant reliance on its protagonist's unimpeachable nobility. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2011
B+ Carnage (2011) Nick Schager Offsets its familiar thematic arguments with deliciously nasty wit and fractured, tension-wracked visual framing. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2011
B+ Take Shelter (2011) Nick Schager Nichols' formally assured direction exhibits dawning-dread restraint through slow zooms and tense framing. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2011
B Moneyball (2011) Nick Schager Recognizes that sometimes, happily-ever-afters are more complicated than uplifting Hollywood films can manage. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2011
B- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Nick Schager A reasonably muscular popcorn film with a surprisingly tender soul. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
C- Take Me Home Tonight (2011) Nick Schager Pap in service of wistfulness about a time period now thoroughly mocked to death. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
A- Drive (2011) Nick Schager [Refn's] stewardship is as precise and magnetic as Gosling's performance. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
C+ 3 (2011) Nick Schager Rarely gets deep enough under [its characters'] skin to make them seem like more than devices in a socio-political thesis. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
B+ Contagion (2011) Nick Schager A portrait of the terrifying fragility of the tangled biological, social and emotional networks that govern our lives. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
C+ Our Idiot Brother (2011) Nick Schager A pleasant-enough trifle that ensnares itself in the uneasy middle ground between indie drama and dumb-guy comedy. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2011
B- Attack the Block (2011) Nick Schager Evokes far more childlike Spielbergian wonder than this summer's similar Super 8. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2011
B+ Tabloid (2010) Nick Schager Morris' lightest, most amusing film since 1997's Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. EDIT
Posted Jul 12, 2011
B- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) Nick Schager So totally surpassing its aggro-testosterone dictates that it plays out like an assault or, more precisely still, like a final conquering salvo. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2011
C The Ward (2010) Nick Schager A musty shadow of the filmmaker's smart and stylish classics. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2011
B- Cedar Rapids (2011) Nick Schager Hopelessly benign but still boisterous enough to deliver a mild buzz. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2011
C Green Lantern (2011) Nick Schager A tedious hodgepodge of rote conflicts and character hang-ups. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2011
C Submarine (2010) Nick Schager Oliver's oddball earnestness and desperation [come] across as wan affectations. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2011
D Red Riding Hood (2011) Nick Schager What truly needs abolishing is the notion that the wretched Twilight saga is worth emulating. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2011
A- Donnie Darko (2001) Nick Schager Defines itself through sustained mood, otherworldly intrigue and deep, abiding humanism. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2011
B- Hall Pass (2011) Nick Schager Wilson and Sudeikis make an amusingly goofy pair. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2011
B- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) Nick Schager Captures an aura of existential despondence that's married to a far less evocative (and durable) strain of counterculture romantic doom. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2011
C- Kaboom (2010) Nick Schager Isn't anarchic and invigorated but sloppy and limp. EDIT
Posted Jun 16, 2011
B- Fear X (2003) Nick Schager The director captures a sense of hazy, harrowing obsession that's amplified by his immaculate camera set-ups and pans. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2011
C Drive Angry (2011) Nick Schager A rather straightforward supernatural-heroism tale straining oh-so-very-hard to be indecent. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2011
A- Pusher 3 (2005) Nick Schager Expands [the trilogy's] overarching vision of underworld nastiness, the universal yearning for escape, and the cruel hand of fate. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2011
B+ Pusher II (2004) Nick Schager Doesn't so much carve out new ground as merely provide jolt after electric jolt. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2011
B+ Pusher (1996) Nick Schager Refn's electrifying debut soon morphs into something far more opaque and unsettling than a mere genre retread. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2011
C- Home Movie (2008) Nick Schager Its characters' behavior eventually becomes so implausible as to be insulting. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2011
A- The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) Nick Schager Laced with a fatalism as romantic as its Beantown milieu is damp and grungy. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2011
A Bigger Than Life (1956) Nick Schager A masterful melodrama whose aesthetic beauty works in service of a stinging social critique. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2011
C Takers (2010) Nick Schager A mini-Michael Mann effort populated by one-dimensional clichés. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2011
B+ The Holy Mountain (1973) Nick Schager A rambling stream-of-consciousness quest that - in its final, self-conscious act - celebrates the primacy of the filmed image. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2011
C X-Men: First Class (2011) Nick Schager Serviceable but seems more dutiful than dynamic, and is muddled by all sorts of random false notes. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2011
B El topo (1971) Nick Schager Has lost little of the maddening, bewildering weirdness that made it a seminal midnight-movie phenomenon. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2011
C- The Rite (2011) Nick Schager Parades about with a self-seriousness at odds with a second-half dominated by veiny-faced, limb-contorting special effects and screaming, screaming, screaming. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2011
C- John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) Nick Schager A suspense-free snark-fest desperate to turn its protagonist - vampire slayer Jack Crow (James Woods) - into a Snake Plisskin-style icon of supernatural-badass cool. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2011
C The Rocketeer (1991) Nick Schager Almost never takes thrilling flight. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2011
C Carriers (2009) Nick Schager Brings absolutely nothing new to the table. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2011
C- The Green Hornet (2011) Nick Schager Aside from a brief split-screen sequence and a few deft special-effects, there's almost no sizzle to this goofy take on superheroics. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2011
C+ Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Nick Schager A feast for the senses that fails to satisfy the heart, libido or mind. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2011
B Valhalla Rising (2009) Nick Schager Mikkelsen verifies that, even without saying a word, he's an unnervingly unhinged presence. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2011
C+ Hanna (2011) Nick Schager Folklore undercurrents that prove initially spry and intriguing are soon rendered ... leadenly obvious. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2011
C The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) Nick Schager A perfunctory and unintentionally goofy attempt to keep the series running without its stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2011
D Hoodwinked! (2005) Nick Schager Somnambulistic from start to finish, it's a film whose title clearly refers to its paying-customer audience. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2011
C- Scream 3 (2000) Nick Schager Merely adheres to the very convoluted whodunit formula that it outwardly addresses via a from-the-grave video recording by Jamie Kennedy's genre know-it-all. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2011