Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Pavarotti (2019) Zachary Lewis A warm-hearted documentary that not only brings Pavarotti roaring back to life, but also humanizes a figure who in his prime was larger than life itself. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2019
B+ Toy Story 4 (2019) Laura DeMarco Toy Story 4 is not as great as the original two, or as moving as the third installment, but it's a sweet summer movie that honors the innocent, creative spirit of childhood. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2019
B The Dead Don't Die (2019) Laura DeMarco A Ghoulardi-like irreverent, rock 'n' roll, B-movie, anti-establishment spirit is all over The Dead Don't Die. Jarmusch may be serious in his condemnation of what we're doing to our planet, but he's warning us with a wink and a laugh. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
B Late Night (2019) Mark Dawidziak Kaling's script has its predictable and by-the-numbers elements, and Late Night doesn't deliver as many laugh-out-loud moments as you'd expect. Still, the chuckles and grins are in great supply, as are the winning performances. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
D Men in Black: International (2019) Chuck Yarborough Each succeeding venture has gotten more and more cliché... which brings us to this version. Good Lord, I think the main reason this iteration is a full 114 minutes is so they could fit in all the tricks and such. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
B+ All Is True (2018) Mark Dawidziak This meeting of the great Shakespearean minds is everything you hope it would be, and more. It was for such riches that the phrase "worth the price of admission" was invented. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
B+ Changeland (2019) Melodie Smith A small film in which everyone is nice... But it still works, because of the two leads' natural chemistry, and because Green avoids any hint of millennial hipsterism or cynicism. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
B- Dark Phoenix (2019) Chuck Yarborough Sure, it's full of comic-book violence, space creatures, mutants and superheroes. But at its core, it's a primer on raising the next generation. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
A- The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Laura DeMarco It's a wonderfully entertaining, luminously illustrated film, again with a slight undercurrent of sadness that adults may pick up on more than kids, but which makes the happy moments all the brighter. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
B The Last (2019) Mark Dawidziak It is well worth seeing because it reaches emotional depths in revelations that are as haunting as they are powerful. There is many a glimmer of greatness here, even if the film itself falls short of greatness. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
A Rocketman (2019) Chuck Yarborough What's odd, considering John's flair for the flamboyant, is that the film is bare-bones and brutally honest, even as it's full of allegory and metaphor. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2019
Deadwood: The Movie (2019) Mark Dawidziak The highest compliment you can pay Deadwood: The Movie is that it is the continuation and the conclusion that both the series and its fans deserved. It's just that good. It's powerful, at times profound, at times bittersweet. EDIT
Posted May 28, 2019
() Chris Ball Much copied since, the style gives a poignant power to events from the past. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
C- Booksmart (2019) Julie Washington The strong chemistry between actors Dever and Feldstein sparks the movie... On the other hand, Booksmart fails at the funny. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
B- Aladdin (2019) Chuck Yarborough Nobody could match Williams, with the possible exception of Will Smith, who comes within a hairsbreadth of doing just that, which in itself is an amazing accomplishment. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
A- Trial by Fire (2018) Melodie Smith The movie can feel overwrought at times, but the performances are filled with such conviction, it's impossible not to become invested in Todd's story... EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
B- A Dog's Journey (2019) Chuck Yarborough A Dog's Journey is hackneyed, saccharin, weepy, cliched, predictable and formulaic. And it's a must-see for any dog lover. EDIT
Posted May 15, 2019
A Tolkien (2019) Chuck Yarborough It's wonderful: part romance, part buddy film, part period piece, part war movie. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2019
B Long Shot (2019) Julie Washington Theron has done more drama than funny stuff... But she more than rises to the occasion here. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
Avengers: Endgame (2019) Julie Washington With a plot that spans the universe, a huge cast and a three-hour run time, the movie could easily feel bloated. But directors Joe and Anthony Russo skillfully keep the action nimble... EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
A High Life (2018) Laura DeMarco Denis' brilliant formalism is in play from the first moment... Despite its out of this world location, High Life is ultimately a tightly focused human drama. EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2019
Penguins (2019) Chuck Yarborough What we really have here is an old-school nature film that's so good that kids won't realize they're learning while watching it. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
Mosul (2019) Laura DeMarco The powerful documentary is comprised of combat footage and raw interviews taken by Iraqi journalist, Ali Maula from October 2016 to August 2017. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
Olympia (2019) Andrea Simakis Director Harry Mavromichalis, using extreme close-ups that caress the stunning, dramatic topography of [Dukakis'] face, eschews traditional narration and chases after the firebrand as she attends the unveiling of her star on the walk of fame. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
Dogman (2018) John Petkovic Fonte is brilliant in his portrayal of a hapless weakling, trying to scrape and deal and survive amid a society of derelicts. Pesce skillfully transforms his character from thug to a sort of rabid attack dog that preys on the fear of townsfolk. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
B The Strangers (2008) Clint O'Connor Some good chills in this intense offering from first-time writer-director Bryan Bertino. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2019
B Step Brothers (2008) Clint O'Connor Though not as cleverly conceived or fully formed as Talladega Nights or Anchorman, this movie works because Ferrell and Reilly are completely believable as 13-year-olds stuck in 40-year-old bodies. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
C+ Jennifer's Body (2009) Clint O'Connor Touted as a sexy horror movie, it's not especially sexy or scary. EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2019
A Dumbo (2019) Laura DeMarco Instead of the over-the-top quirkiness that has come to dominate his movies, Burton allows this (bitter)sweet, inspiring story of outsiders under the big top to shine on its own merits. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
A Gloria Bell (2018) Laura DeMarco Ultimately, "Gloria Bell" is not a film about finding love, but about finding yourself. Or, like fifty-something Gloria in this lovely, poetic, bittersweet film, rediscovering yourself . EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
B Captive State (2019) John Petkovic "Captive World" is effective at creating an environment and stocking it with characters; less so with weaving them together with a compelling narrative. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
B- Climax (2018) John Petkovic At times, "Climax" cuts a bloody slice of ultra-violent horror that resides somewhere between "Suspiria" and "Salo." Ah, but this is Noe's psychedelic rave -- one that will no doubt be heralded by some and hated by others. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
A Todos lo saben (2018) Laura DeMarco Everybody Knows has plenty of twists and scares, but it's the insight into human nature and the lies we all tell that elevate this Spanish film to more than just a thriller. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
A Captain Marvel (2019) Michael Sangiacomo Without qualification, Captain Marvel is a brilliant, blazing success and the perfect lead-in to the Avenger's Endgame. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
A Never Look Away (2018) Laura DeMarco Loosely based on German artist Gerhard Richter, it's a decade and world-spanning drama whose ambition is matched by its finesse. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
B Isn't It Romantic (2019) Julie Washington Wilson's sense of fun rubs off on Hemsworth and Chopra, who rise to the occasion admirably. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2019
C Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Melodie Smith The reboots this time feel, for lack of a better word, repetitive. It's like being told the same joke repeatedly without ever reaching the punchline. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2019
B What Men Want (2019) Melodie Smith Henson is fierce, funny and always fun to watch. She and Hodge have a palpable chemistry, and their characters' burgeoning romance should have been the real focus of the movie, not [Henson]'s workplace drama. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
A They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) Brian Albrecht Color and three dimensions drop the war into your lap... "They Shall Not Grow Old" is not an inspirational film. But it is an important one. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2019
A Cold War (2018) Laura DeMarco It's a lot of thematic ground to cover, but it's all conveyed effortlessly in this poignant, poetic film that is never heavy or didactic despite its weighty subjects. EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2019
A- Stan & Ollie (2018) Mark Dawidziak It's an emotional ride, to be sure, prompting many an affectionate grin and an occasional tear. And none of that would be possible if not for the sensational lead performances by Steve Coogan as Stan and John C. Reilly as Ollie. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2019
B Glass (2019) Michael Sangiacomo Glass is like a comic with an incredible cover that promises an amazing story, but inside the art and story are lackluster. But anyone who enjoyed Unbreakable or Split should go to Glass to see how it all ends up. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2019
A- On the Basis of Sex (2018) Janet H. Cho Because the script was written by her nephew Daniel Stiepleman and blessed by Ginsburg, it offers an especially sweet and intimate glimpse into her marriage to her college sweetheart, Marty. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2019
A Aquaman (2018) Michael Sangiacomo A fast-paced free-for-all with fantastic special effects and a solid story about a troubled young man who finds himself the last hope for two worlds. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2019
B+ Vice (2018) Michael Heaton Christian Bale not only embodies Cheney physically, his appearance and voice, he also portrays him as having an almost a superhuman and reptilian acumen... [and] Sam Rockwell plays Bush with the uncanny accuracy of a polished impressionist. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2018
B+ Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Michael Heaton This is a by-the-book historical account and the fireworks come primarily from the true political tenor of the times and the nuanced performances by Ronan and Robbie. They hold up their end of the cinematic bargain here. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2018
B- Welcome to Marwen (2018) Michael Heaton The plot of the movie is cleverly constructed. Carell and Mann are believable in the lead roles, and the dolls of the Marwen village are marvels of special effects. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2018
A Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Laura DeMarco No spoonful of sugar is necessary to help this modern delight go down. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2018
A The Favourite (2018) Michael Heaton The movie hits the mark in every single frame. There isn't a misstep in the entire two hours... It's played as farce, and it works. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B What They Had (2018) Michael Heaton The conflicts in this family are real and heartfelt. Occasionally, though, the dialogue sounds stilted and overwritten. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2018