Filmspotting

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Booksmart (2019) Adam Kempenaar As good as Feldstein and Dever are as a pair... Booksmart really soars when our heroines reach their destination and, separately, get to spread their wings. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
4/5 Avengers: Endgame (2019) Adam Kempenaar The MCU has generally successfully balanced planetary and personal stakes. Endgame is a worthy culmination of that storytelling approach. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
2.5/5 On the Town (1949) Adam Kempenaar It's hard to make a good musical with mediocre songs... One exception... the sweetness and gracefulness [of Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen] in "Main Street." EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2019
4/5 Her Smell (2018) Adam Kempenaar We basically don't get any escape [from Becky Something]. We are either right up in her face, with those close-ups and handheld camera, or they're employing a steadicam that follows her around as she stalks the rooms and corridors backstage. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2019
4/5 Opening Night (1977) Adam Kempenaar Tying back to A Woman Under the Influence... [Cassavetes] explores what happens when women don't play their prescribed roles. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
4/5 Us (2019) Adam Kempenaar ...the reason the humor is so effective... is that it's always borne out of family dynamics. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
3.5/5 The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) Adam Kempenaar The genre elements are mostly subterfuge because otherwise [Cassavetes would] basically be bleeding on the screen. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 Transit (2018) Adam Kempenaar Transit isn't untethered from history so much as it's unburdened, transforming a Holocaust story into a universal one of loneliness and longing. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 Apollo 11 (2019) Adam Kempenaar That perspective - what a group of individuals can do when coming together for a collective good - shapes everything we see. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
4.5/5 A Woman Under the Influence (1974) Adam Kempenaar 'Be yourself,' Nick implores Mabel. But how do you be yourself if you have no longer have a self? EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
4.5/5 The Matrix (1999) Adam Kempenaar Neo offers Reeves the perfect combination of Ted Theodore Logan's curiosity and wonder, Johnny Utah's earnestness and the badassedness of Jack Traven. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2019
4/5 Faces (1968) Adam Kempenaar In Faces, Cassavetes forces us to confront people - and, consequently, ourselves - at their most vulnerable. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2019
2/5 Glass (2019) Adam Kempenaar What's disappointing isn't that Shyamalan chose not to make Unbreakable 2; it's that what began so successfully with Unbreakable has devolved into such thoroughly unsatisfying pulp, void of any real humanity. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2019
3.5/5 Creed II (2018) Adam Kempenaar ... refreshingly less concerned with trite triumphs than it is with fractured men forced to confront who they perceive themselves to be or aspire to be vs. who they are - and the fight to reconcile that. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2018
4.5/5 The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Adam Kempenaar ... an unabashedly bleak yet oddly hopeful and entertaining meditation on the Coens' perennial preoccupations - the folly of human nature and death. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2018
4/5 Widows (2018) Adam Kempenaar Really a film about power ... and the compromises that accompany those transactions, be they political, professional or personal. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
4/5 Wildlife (2018) Adam Kempenaar ... a portrait of the artist as a young man, [the artist] just doesn't know it yet. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2018
2/5 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Adam Kempenaar Bohemian Rhapsody is made up almost entirely of contrived biopic signposts - a Queen's 'Greatest Hits' of ah-ha moments. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2018
3/5 Suspiria (2018) Adam Kempenaar [The new element] that resonated with me the most was the sense of history and survival -- the strength and resolve of this [female] collective making quite political art for 30 years. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2018
3.5/5 Hold the Dark (2018) Adam Kempenaar Holding the dark - embracing it within, or keeping it away - is what all of Saulnier's films are about. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/5 Private Life (2018) Adam Kempenaar Kayli Carter bridges the ache and absurdity and becomes the movie's salvation, just as her character, Sadie, tries to be. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
4/5 Monrovia, Indiana (2018) Adam Kempenaar Wiseman once again reveals his enduring inquisitiveness without being an inquisitor. There's no easily discernible - or dismissible - agenda or narrative, just curiosity, observation and discovery. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
4/5 Halloween (1978) Adam Kempenaar What's crucial isn't that Laurie survives because she's the only virgin; it's that she's the only virgin and still almost doesn't survive. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2018
2/5 Halloween (2018) Adam Kempenaar In the original, the killing has a certain [satisfying] logic to it ... Here, Michael Myers kills anyone he happens to cross paths with. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2018
4/5 First Man (2018) Adam Kempenaar Chazelle's ambivalent portrait of Armstrong is a strength. I'm not looking for movies to further mythologize heroes; I need real heroes - imperfect people of action. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2018
3/5 A Star Is Born (2018) Adam Kempenaar When this movie really hums, it's about Cooper the actor and director supporting those who are supporting him. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
4/5 The Sisters Brothers (2018) Adam Kempenaar ...not precious about challenging tropes, and like so many Westerns, fundamentally about change ... How do men who make their living out of such brutality evolve - or not? EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2018
4.5/5 Minding the Gap (2018) Adam Kempenaar The skateboarding footage is pretty stunning in its gracefulness ... a thrilling diversion from all the trouble we're witnessing, just as it is for the subjects themselves. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2018
1.5/5 The Predator (2018) Adam Kempenaar Interesting ways people are being dismembered is never going to be enough for me. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2018
3.5/5 Blaze (2018) Adam Kempenaar ..unconventional in its use of Foley's music to form the film's structure, and in the fascinating detours it takes focusing on peripheral characters. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2018
Tully (2018) Adam Kempenaar Playing opposite ends of a spectrum -- one despairing and worn down, one so hopeful and youthful -- [Davis and Theron] could both have become caricatures of those people and never do. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
3/5 Deadpool 2 (2018) Adam Kempenaar ...no grand satire here, just self-awareness - and enough surprises, solid jokes and well-crafted action sequences to be entertaining. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
2/5 Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Adam Kempenaar How did we get an origin story where Han Solo is not only NOT the most interesting character in the movie, he's honestly maybe sixth or seventh? EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
4/5 Incredibles 2 (2018) Adam Kempenaar What thrilled me the most ... watching these characters do the thing they were born to do [and] fully be themselves instead of repressing something fundamental about themselves. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
4/5 Leave No Trace (2018) Adam Kempenaar The subtle ways we witness [Tom's] epiphany, her little flickers of rebellion, are striking. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 Sorry to Bother You (2018) Adam Kempenaar The injustice and dread at the core of the movie is overwhelming -- in the same way so many feel overwhelmed by it every day in real life. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018) Adam Kempenaar F. Scott Fitzgerald said "action is character" -- which, if true, means the Ethan Hunt we see in Fallout is the most complex movie character of all time. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
BlacKkKlansman (2018) Adam Kempenaar ...a movie that has to be reckoned with, about a subject that we seem doomed -- hopelessly -- to reckon with. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
3.5/5 Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Adam Kempenaar Constance Wu is a bona fide movie star ... She carries the emotional weight of the movie with sophistication and strength and vulnerability and humor. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2018
5/5 No Country for Old Men (2007) Adam Kempenaar Javier Bardem's Chigurh is the embodiment of Sheriff Bell's exasperation -- a mythological, Grim Reaper-like figure whose existence makes order and civility implausible. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2008