NPR

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Blue Story (2019) Bob Mondello For a big screen directing debut, "Blue Story" is pretty accomplished. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
Minari (2020) John Powers I promise that if you see Minari, you'll be happy you did. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2021
Sylvie's Love (2020) Aisha Harris A stylishly moody period drama riffing on love and desire both romantic and professional. EDIT
Posted Feb 20, 2021
Nomadland (2020) Bob Mondello "Nomadland" is a chronicle of the Great Recession that plays like a quietly thoughtful, real-life "Grapes of Wrath," with McDormand's Fern as its understated Tom Joad - strong, resolute, haunting. EDIT
Posted Feb 20, 2021
Supernova (2020) Glen Weldon In scene after scene, as the two men visit friends and family one last time, we glimpse the showier, more maudlin film that Supernova could but never does devolve into, hovering just at the edges. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2021
Blow the Man Down (2019) Scott Tobias It's normally not a great sign when the lead characters are less compelling than anything around them, but the Connollys' predicament opens up the weird bits of village mythology and feminine conspiracy that secretly drives the film forward. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2021
Malcolm & Marie (2021) Aisha Harris Ultimately, Malcolm and Marie are reduced to thinly-sketched outlines ticking off a checklist of flaws, traumas and hashtags. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
News of the World (2020) Bob Mondello There's a lot that's familiar and conventional in "News Of The World" to go with little tugs of something more interesting in its premise. Savor the tugs. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2021
Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself (2020) Linda Holmes The place of magic in In & Of Itself is not to amaze for amazement's sake, although I was certainly stunned by some of what happened. It's that the unreal is used to create the super-real. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
Spoor (2017) John Powers A film that's strange, darkly funny and powerful. Imagine a pulpy murder story that's also a utopian fable about feminism, social justice and ecology. EDIT
Posted Jan 20, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Glen Weldon WW84, while entertaining and frequently funny, lacks the propulsive drive of its predecessor. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Bob Mondello August Wilson's tale of what it means to be a Black artist in a racist society is hardly new, but the telling of that tale has never been more artful or more urgently performed than it is in this incarnation of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Aisha Harris This is a reclamation of Black music and culture as told through an array of distinct characters, crackling dialogue and sharp filmmaking. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
Mosul (2019) Eric Deggans "Mosul" isn't the kind of easy, sentimental TV viewing often provided during the holidays, but it is a potent reminder of the deadly struggles and sacrifices some people have endured to earn their freedom. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
Farewell Amor (2020) Justin Chang Even with its share of conventional elements, Farewell Amor never plays out quite as you might expect. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Wolfwalkers (2020) Glen Weldon Wolfwalkers does its world-building through emotional voice-work, through lush, hand-drawn animation, and through visual style for days. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
The Prom (2020) Bob Mondello The effect, stretched over two-plus hours, can be a bit much, but credit Murphy with harnessing both dance energy and unfettered star power to showcase an inclusive story about gay sweethearts. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
Sound of Metal (2019) Glen Weldon There is sentiment here, but no sentimentality, no reaching for unearned emotion, no need to couch Ruben as a subject of our condescending pity, or blanket praise. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
Mank (2020) Aisha Harris If you care at all about movie history and the intersection of politics, or you just want to watch a filmmaker at the top of his craft, Mank is a must-see. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
Happiest Season (2020) Linda Holmes It's funny, it's charming, it's warm, and it's got a bunch of really good performances. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2020
Uncle Frank (2020) Glen Weldon Uncle Frank's intentions are to be admired, and its acting is outstanding - but if it's so frustratingly unwilling to truly invest in its characters, why should we? EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine (2020) Linda Holmes Cooper and Lyonne have succeeded in making a curiously dark bit of fiction that hangs a lot of smaller comedy ideas from a larger, sturdier tonal experiment. It's really good. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
Bad Hair (2020) Aisha Harris If Bad Hair feels overstuffed and ultimately slight when it comes to its central conceit around hair, at the very least it's still a fun ride. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
Rebecca (2020) Glen Weldon What the filmmakers have produced is not a fresh reimagining, but a dully dutiful remake. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) Justin Chang Blank clearly delights in skewering the tone-deaf condescension of white men who fancy themselves cultural gatekeepers. But one of the reasons The Forty-Year-Old Version is so disarming is that Blank saves the toughest criticism for herself. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2020
The Boys in the Band (2020) Glen Weldon The Netflix film is content to let Crowley's play remain a perfectly preserved artifact from a bad time, without struggling to impose contemporary parallels or meta-meanings atop it. And that's the right impulse. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2020
Cloud 9 (2008) Ella Taylor Cloud 9 is most moving when it steps quietly into the gap between physical decline and the persistence, at full blast, of unfulfilled longing and desire. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2020
Enola Holmes (2020) Glen Weldon The world of this film is a pleasure to disappear into, and in Enola, Brown has found a role to which she seems perfectly - even uncannily - matched. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2020
Coup 53 (2019) John Powers An exhilarating... historical documentary that unfolds with the pace and complexity of a thriller. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2020
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Glen Weldon I'm Thinking of Ending Things may be downbeat - and hoo boy, is it - yet it avoids the dour misanthropy of much of Kaufman's work EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2020
Mulan (2020) Justin Chang Despite its PG-13 rating, a rarity for a Disney release, Mulan feels like a watered-down version of a potentially captivating story. EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2020
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) Linda Holmes I don't know that I needed a third Bill & Ted movie, but I've got to say, I was happy to see it. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2020
Class Action Park (2020) Linda Holmes What emerges is both a solid history of the park and a surprisingly thoughtful piece about how we contextualize our own childhoods. EDIT
Posted Aug 27, 2020
Boys State (2020) Justin Chang Like politics itself, the action can be a little confusing; unlike politics, it's never boring, mainly because the movie wisely focuses on a select few participants. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2020
Black Is King (2020) Cate Young Drawing on the themes of The Lion King - inheritance, self-identity and determination - Knowles repurposes the story as a clarion call to Black people. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2020
Black Is King (2020) Eric Deggans It's obvious that she has been very deliberate about who she works with, what she says, what it looks like. And it makes a powerful statement when you bring it all together. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2020
An American Pickle (2020) Linda Holmes It's a clever idea, it has some good jokes, and it approaches the idea of immigration to the United States in a way I haven't seen. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2020
The Weight of Gold (2020) Eric Deggans There are two non-white athletes, Jones and Ohno. But the lack of darker-skinned competitors leads to concerns about colorism and seems a serious lapse in an otherwise well-crafted film. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
She Dies Tomorrow (2020) Glen Weldon The Most 2020 Movie of 2020. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
The Go-Go's (2020) Glen Weldon In her contemporary interviews with the band members, Ellwood has captured them all at a time of life when they are prepared to look back at their youthful selves with a mixture of generosity and clear-eyed candor. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Relic (2020) Justin Chang A disturbing and ultimately devastating movie about what it means to love someone unconditionally, even when they've lost the power to love you back. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2020
Amulet (2020) Justin Chang Amulet is more than the sum of its visual frights. Garai sets you up to expect one kind of movie, but she's made something else entirely... EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2020
Showbiz Kids (2020) Linda Holmes What [Alex Winter has] made here is a perceptive, sensitive film in which actors tell their own stories - some sad, many simply complicated. EDIT
Posted Jul 21, 2020
Palm Springs (2020) Linda Holmes Watch it; it's fun. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2020
The Old Guard (2020) Linda Holmes If you miss the blockbuster and the star vehicle and the big action sequence, and if you want something that can be all those things while still having humanity and thought and a point of view, this is your film. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2020
Greyhound (2020) Glen Weldon Like a sailing vessel, Greyhound benefits from the sleekness of its design and its characters' lack of baggage, both literal and emotional. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2020
Welcome to Chechnya (2020) Justin Chang A documentary that plays like a chilling undercover thriller. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2020
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (2020) Linda Holmes Use stupid things to give a beautiful message of love and peace? I've heard worse philosophies of life. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2020
Hamilton (2020) Linda Holmes [T]he film adaptation is a marvelous and welcome addition to the show's legacy in spite of a few imperfections. Even for those who know the celebrated cast album backwards and forwards. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Irresistible (2020) Linda Holmes There's nothing in it that challenges anyone's ideas about anything. Who is going to find this provocative? The people who love Beltway insiders? SuperPAC stans? EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2020