Movie Dearest

Movie Dearest is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Fr. Chris Carpenter
Rating Title/Year Author
A- Phoenix (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Riffs on a classic theme in significant ways that resonate beyond its melodramatic trappings. One of the best and most haunting films of 2015. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2015
B The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An important, generally enjoyable tutorial on a great show-woman's life. My only gripe against it is the too prominent played on film by biographers Lloyd and Susan Ecker, who also co-produced. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2015
B+ Tangerine (2015) Fr. Chris Carpenter Low-budget but accomplished. The high dramatics on display are effectively told. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2015
C The Tribe (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An intriguing setting and risky but successful no-dialogue or -subtitles approach is undermined by a dark plot that grows increasingly off-putting. The cinematography though is superb. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2015
B- Jurassic World (2015) Fr. Chris Carpenter See the movie for its reptilian stars but try to ignore the humans. The retro gender politics employed are disappointing. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2015
B+ Lord Montagu (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter In terms of revealing a bisexual man of integrity's rise from the ashes of intolerance, "Lord Montagu" is a heroic portrayal. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2015
B Tomorrowland (2015) Fr. Chris Carpenter Contains enough plot mechanics and dazzling special effects to fuel a few summer blockbusters. The storyline may be too complex and mature for younger viewers. Adults and teens, however, will find much to appreciate and enjoy. EDIT
Posted Jun 2, 2015
B+ Marie Heurtin (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Respectfully Catholic and beautifully shot. Isabelle Carre and Ariana Rivoire give stunning, physically rough and tumble performances. EDIT
Posted Jun 2, 2015
A- Sagrada - El Misteri de la Creacio (2012) Fr. Chris Carpenter Fascinating. Anyone with an interest in architecture, history or religion/spirituality will find much to appreciate. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2015
B White God (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Suffers at times from a scattershot tone...(but) Its marauding former pets and unresolved ending reminded me most of Hitchcock's "The Birds." That's certainly not a bad film to aspire to while crafting a needed cautionary tale. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2015
B+ 52 Tuesdays (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter One of the more remarkable depictions to date of a transgender person's journey. Sensitively written and naturalistically performed. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2015
A- The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) Fr. Chris Carpenter A gorgeous (2015) digital restoration. A fun, wittily directed and technically impressive achievement. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2015
B+ Eastern Boys (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter (Writer-director Robin) Campillo's script takes several surprising turns, and the film's denouement is quite touching. The film manages to be both sexy and compassionate, which makes it all the more impressive. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2015
C+ Maps to the Stars (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter A dark film to be sure, even for (director David) Cronenberg. It emerges as an unpleasant, overly harsh critique. Only Julianne Moore's knowing take on the self-absorbed, washed-up actress can be called truly significant. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2015
A- Queen and Country (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter A welcome, thoroughly enjoyable follow up (to "Hope & Glory'). John Boorman hasn't lost his touch for finding humor and even wonder in the seemingly mundane experiences of life. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2015
A- The Last Five Years (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Excellent. In addition to the sophistication of Jason Robert Brown's songs, it uses a sophisticated dramatic device...that is pulled off beautifully. One couldn't ask for a better pairing than Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2015
A- Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (2012) Fr. Chris Carpenter Proves to be the most intimate and detailed account yet of Shepard's life, death and cultural impact. (Director Michele) Josue remains impressively objective for one who was so close to her subject. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2015
B Zero Motivation (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Recommended. A M.A.S.H-esque combination of satire and seriousness. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2015
A- Mommy (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Often intense but thoroughly likable and relevant. (Writer-director Xavier) Dolan's best film out of the five he has made to date. It is likely premature to call it his masterpiece though, since he is all of 25 years old. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2015
B+ Cake (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Jennifer Aniston gives an astonishing performance. An abundantly compassionate yet frequently funny script by Patrick Tobin. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2015
B Diving Normal (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter The screenplay has its share of inconsistencies...but the film's lead trio of actors is immensely likable, and (the character) Dana's efforts to overcome her dependency on alcohol and drugs are admirable. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2015
A- Alive Inside (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter (Director Michael) Rossato-Bennett and (subject Dan) Cohen struck me at times as being perhaps a little too self-congratulatory, yet the significance of this beautifully-composed documentary and the breakthroughs it depicts can't be denied. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2014
B Foxcatcher (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter As always, (Bennett) Miller exhibits observant, masterful control as director and coaxes excellent work from his great cast. But I found the screenplay problematic in terms of failing to provide much psychological insight. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2014
B Pelican Dreams (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Captures genuinely fascinating aspects of the birds' lives. Although informative and well-intentioned, (the film) is a bit dull whenever the focus moves off the birds. This isn't helped by Irving's flat narration. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2014
B+ Force majeure (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter A sharp, honest critique of what constitutes "manhood," revealing how fragile a concept it can be. An engrossing (if occasionally slow-moving) treatise. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2014
B White Bird in a Blizzard (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An interesting companion piece to the current hit "Gone Girl" if not as compellingly-crafted. From a visual standpoint, though, it is (director Gregg) Araki's most accomplished and eye-pleasing film so far. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2014
B+ Whiplash (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An intensely exciting, unforgettably dramatic ride. J.K. Simmons reaches new heights with his ferociously manipulative, borderline bipolar performance. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2014
A- Der Anständige (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An extraordinary if necessarily unpleasant documentary. One of the most potent exposes to date--as well as one of the few surviving insider accounts--of Nazism and its self-described "decent" architects. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2014
A- Gone Girl (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter The best, most satisfying mystery/psychological thriller in a long time. It also works as a wicked satire. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2014
B- Lilting (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter (The film) is beautifully acted by Cheng and Whishaw and is often genuinely moving. To its detriment, it is very slow-paced and I found myself increasingly frustrated by (Whishaw's character's) tiptoeing approach the longer it goes on. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2014
B Boy Meets Girl (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter A unique story and fine, well-acted film. Best Feature award winner at our 2014 Long Beach QFilm Festival. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2014
B+ Pride (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Inspiring. Despite a number of one-dimensional characters (especially where the women are concerned) and less-than-subtle directorial flourishes, (the film) succeeds greatly on the strength of its cast and undeniably powerful true story. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2014
B The Skeleton Twins (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Those expecting a load of laughs will be disappointed. All in all, it is good to see this usually comedic cast do some truly dramatic work. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2014
B La Bare (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter While (director Joe) Manganiello takes a generally straightforward, positive approach to his subject(s), he does show a bit of the dark side. Anyone interested in the art and/or commerce of male stripping will surely enjoy it. EDIT
Posted Aug 29, 2014
C+ I Am Happiness on Earth (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter (Director Julian) Hernandez provides loads of sexy scenery but not much sense. The film is heavy on slow, sensual storytelling that more often than not demands viewers' intuition rather than offer clearly delineated characters and relationships. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2014
B Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter It takes a good hour for (director James) Gunn to find the proper blend of comedy and seriousness. Once it hits its stride, though, the movie offers undeniable pleasures and unexpected emotional heft. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2014
B+ Fifi Az Khoshhali Zooze Mikeshad (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter Beautifully modulated. Offers a remarkably uncensored glimpse into a very significant life through creation, exile and its inevitable yet noble end. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2014
B Letter to Anita (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Interesting bio of trailblazing lesbian educator-activist Dr. Ronni Sanlo that is unfortunately marred by the oddly journalistic employment of out actress Meredith Baxter. Still, Sanlo's inspiring life shines through the directorial excess. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
C Back on Board: Greg Louganis (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Offers little that is new to anyone who has read (Louganis's) autobiography or seen the TV movie adapted from it. Not particularly interesting or well made. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
A I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter An eye-opener. (Director Jim) Tushinski's film accomplishes what the best documentaries do, informing and entertaining in spades. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
B+ Last Weekend (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Lovely. Features an award-worthy performance by the never-disappointing Patricia Clarkson that fully utilizes her sensitivity, comic timing and other distinctive acting gifts. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
B+ Snowpiercer (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter Few of the screenplay's class-struggle elements are new, and they are driven home in some scenes with a very heavy hand. However, the cast, visual conceptualization, production design and art direction are so strong that these criticisms are fairly minor. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2014
B To Be Takei (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Excessively flattering but still recommended. The doc is a must for Trekkies/Trekkers, younger Japanese Americans, and gays everywhere. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2014
B+ Life Itself (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter (The film) boasts lively, engaging editorial style but is also a tad overlong and redundant in spots. It is most revealing, at times excruciatingly so, of Ebert's final hospital visits prior to his death. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2014
B- Violette (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter A chilly but not uninteresting biography of the tortured, bisexual writer Violette Leduc, played by a fully committed Emmanuelle Devos. EDIT
Posted Jun 27, 2014
B+ The Last Sentence (2012) Fr. Chris Carpenter An unusually balanced, seemingly unbiased biopic. The cast can't be faulted in any way. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2014
A Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter One of the best, most intelligent, most exciting and surprisingly funny special effects-laden epics I have seen in several summers. A model of cinematic craftsmanship from page to screen. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2014
B+ I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter An endearing life story. Wonderfully nostalgic but also heart-wrenching at times for anyone who grew up with the support of PBS's Children's Television Workshop. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2014
B+ Love Is Strange (2014) Fr. Chris Carpenter Nothing if not timely. Molina and Lithgow are both excellent. (Ira) Sachs' no-nonsense, naturalistic style of directing also serves the film well. Should not be missed. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2014
B+ Test (2013) Fr. Chris Carpenter A potent and sexy drama. The film's period soundtrack offers a great nostalgia fix. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2014