Shared Darkness

Shared 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): Brent Simon
Rating Title/Year Author
Scoop (2006) Brent Simon The big scoop on Scoop is that there really isn't one. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2018
B 120 Days (2013) Brent Simon This doc throws an affecting spotlight on the personal side of immigration, [and] shows that we as a society can't and don't really want to know the full truth about the issue. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2014
B+ Ivory Tower (2014) Brent Simon Full of questions for which there are not always necessarily easy real-world answers. But doesn't that describe the college experience itself, however? Our mission: try, try again, fail again, fail better. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2014
B Sunken City (2012) Brent Simon Fans of The Big Lebowski will appreciate this loose-limbed crime comedy, which locates its sweet spot in stoner humor and dry send-up of noir conventions, plus a strong lead performance. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2014
B Joe (2013) Brent Simon A tender, lyrical slice of underclass drama that also exercises a certain metaphorical connection to the low-lying fog of economic desperation that presently holds so many in its grip. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2014
A Mistaken for Strangers (2013) Brent Simon An engaging work of many colors, at once funny and heart-piercing. There may not be a better film this year about adult sibling jostling, rivalry and affection. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2014
C+ Noah (2014) Brent Simon Poised somewhere between a film of pure wonder and a more explicitly religious action text, Noah is a big and interesting and evocative and at times sigh-inducing work, for a variety of reasons. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2014
B Cheap Thrills (2013) Brent Simon A tense, knotty (in more ways than one) valentine of leaching amorality -- a satisfyingly warped walk on the wild side. EDIT
Posted Mar 31, 2014
B+ A Birder's Guide to Everything (2013) Brent Simon Instead of pandering to one and only one sentiment, this engaging offering -- poised pleasantly between quaint and quirky -- does entirely right by adolescent feeling. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2014
C Divergent (2014) Brent Simon Attractively mounted and boasting some nice performances, but also peddling a thunderously stupid conceit whose dodgy details ask viewers to ignore all they know of basic human psychology. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2014
C- Non-Stop (2014) Brent Simon Starts off intriguingly but runs out of interesting little character quirks and recognizable faces stuffed into supporting roles, succumbing to less interesting, jerry-rigged thrills and payoffs that leave one feeling a bit empty. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2014
D Pompeii (2014) Brent Simon Elicits a genuine curiosity to learn more about Pompeii, since one has so much free time to ponder the story's historical underpinnings whilst letting waves of inanity wash over them. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2014
C+ Down and Dangerous (2013) Brent Simon There's a weirdly dirty charm to this curio, which has more going for it than not. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2014
C That Awkward Moment (2014) Brent Simon An awkward mash-up [that] in the end will represent nothing more than a momentary, wholly understandable blip on the respective filmographies of its talented young cast. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2014
B+ 12 O'Clock Boys (2013) Brent Simon An arresting nonfiction look at a subculture of young African-American dirt-bike enthusiasts who view their hobby as a ride-or-die proposition -- a dangerous way to act out proxy battles with authority. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2014
B+ Charlie Victor Romeo (2013) Brent Simon An unique and unsettling piece of minimalist experimental cinema [that] blends low-fi technique with high-tension situations, and wrings a real rooting interest out of viewers. EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2014
D The Grounded (2014) Brent Simon Passion is outstripped by incoherence in this homeopathic doc, whose aims and claims remain so hazy as to circumvent embrace from even the most sympathetic and open-minded viewers. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2014
B+ If You Build It (2013) Brent Simon A bittersweet exploration of outreach and advocacy [that] illustrates the benefits of the practical application of alternative education, and the ripple effects it can create for a community. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2014
D Reasonable Doubt (2014) Brent Simon A ramshackle delivery vehicle for Dominic Cooper's misadventures in accent and the sort of disinterested glowering that Samuel L. Jackson reliably pulls out for paycheck gigs. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2014
A- The Crash Reel (2013) Brent Simon The Crash Reel simply swells one's heart; the Pearce family is a smart and loving one, and the lessons sprinkled throughout this amazing documentary are multitude. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2013
C+ The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) Brent Simon It ably delivers scenes the sort of which the series' most ardent fans wish to see, [but] for those who aren't hardcore Tolkien enthusiasts it can be a bit of a slog. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2013
C- Lenny Cooke (2013) Brent Simon Lazy, fly-on-the-wall filmmaking. The Safdie brothers have the benefit of some rare extant footage, but absolutely no idea how to shape it into an interesting narrative. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2013
C+ Crave (2012) Brent Simon An artful if overlong howl of urban lamentation that puts an intriguingly melancholic top-spin on notions of vigilantism. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2013
C+ Oldboy (2013) Brent Simon Part knuckle-bruising revenge thriller and part dark mystery, Lee's streamlined genre offering achieves a certain level of idiosyncratic hold without ever planting deeper roots of its own. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2013
B Sarah Silverman: We are Miracles (2013) Brent Simon The inimitable stamp of Silverman's dark, tart personality is again on rich display in her latest stand-up comedy offering. EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2013
C Dear Mr. Watterson (2013) Brent Simon A big-hearted but overly fawning documentary that -- despite some great interview material -- feel like a soggy toss-off, and missed opportunity. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2013
B- Seduced and Abandoned (2013) Brent Simon An entirely odd but nonetheless endearing sort of valentine to the madness of movies in general and the dizzying swirl of Cannes much more specifically. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2013
C- Men at Lunch (2012) Brent Simon Men at Lunch loses sight of its lede and fumbles away viewer interest. The photo itself says more than this muddled documentary. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2013
C- Escape From Tomorrow (2013) Brent Simon Part black-and-white student thesis film, part subversive attack on corporate-peddled American fantasy, Moore's film casts a spell -- until it doesn't. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2013
C- Cassadaga (2011) Brent Simon Cassadaga flirts with conventions of both paranormal horror films and more traditional serial killer thrillers, but is marked by listless characters and indistinct dialogue. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2013
B Broadway Idiot (2013) Brent Simon A film about both [creative] challenges and choices... Broadway Idiot does a good job of tapping into the source material's thick veins of feeling. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2013
A Gravity (2013) Brent Simon An immersive masterwork -- a game-changer, both for the sci-fi genre and Hollywood filmmaking as a whole. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2013
C Herb & Dorothy 50x50 (2013) Brent Simon Defined more by its inessential nature than any of the updates it provides. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2013
B+ Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (2012) Brent Simon There's a gut-punch sadness to the movie -- a melancholic dawning. While enlightening as it relates specifically to the Fed, its chief lesson is evident in other walks of life: money talks, and a well-heeled elite class has a private line. EDIT
Posted Sep 21, 2013
D Hell Baby (2013) Brent Simon A slog through improv run amok -- a film that seems allergic toward anything that might be construed as a legitimate throughline, lest that somehow be interpreted as 'selling out,' and not subversive enough. EDIT
Posted Sep 17, 2013
B+ Stephen Hawking Biography (2013) Brent Simon Smartly crafted. An engaging, inspirational portrait of as unlikely an iconic figure as the last half-century has produced. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2013
D+ Mara (2012) Brent Simon The story here is yawningly thin and the acting immature and not fully formed at best, which immediately and effectively undercuts any attempted stabs at chilly, orchestrated atmosphere. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2013
F Everyone Must Die! (2012) Brent Simon Nothing in the way of performance, execution or imagination to distinguish it from the attempted giallo homage you and your stoner pals put together over the course of three summer weekends in 2007. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2013
B Informant (2012) Brent Simon It suffers from a slow start, but blossoms into a rather fascinating piece of nonfiction psychological portraiture. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2013
C- A Teacher (2013) Brent Simon Despite a deeply invested lead performance, A Teacher gives off strong vapors of phoniness; it's an exercise in lazy minimalism. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2013
C The Lifeguard (2013) Brent Simon With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again; The Lifeguard just proves that sometimes it's not the best course of action. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2013
C+ The Frozen Ground (2013) Brent Simon A true crime period piece that somewhat interestingly eschews a lot of investigatory grind in favor of moral certitude and throwback, cat-and-mouse tension. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2013
B Scenic Route (2013) Brent Simon Lined with a certain bruised grace... a spare, streamlined, desert-set psychological thriller that doubles as a study in masculine relationship drift. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2013
B- We the Parents (2012) Brent Simon A fascinating look at the new frontier of America's public education crisis -- a timely, relevant snapshot of a cause in active motion. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2013
B- Jobs (2013) Brent Simon A serviceable little amuse-bouche [which] trades readily on the tremendous native interest that attaches itself to and drives this story, given the significant role Apple products play in so many modern lives. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2013
A- In a World ... (2013) Brent Simon So alive, identifiably clumsy and deliciously complicated -- so of the real world -- as to put a smile on viewers' faces. EDIT
Posted Aug 17, 2013
A+ The Social Network (2010) Brent Simon Fincher keeps the movie's tech-y elements on the periphery, focusing instead on the time-honored dramatic elements of isolation, determination, avarice and betrayal. EDIT
Posted Aug 17, 2013
C+ Clear History (2013) Brent Simon There's enough here to still merit a curious click, but Clear History may not be what hardcore David acolytes most crave. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2013
B+ Prince Avalanche (2013) Brent Simon Deeper meaning rises sneakily to the surface in the offbeat, austere Prince Avalanche, writer-director David Gordon Green's re-imagined, loose adaptation of a 2011 Icelandic film. EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2013
C Off Label (2012) Brent Simon Acute moments of heartbreak punctuate Off Label, a collage-type snapshot of runaway pharma-culture which otherwise struggles to find a topic sentence or cultivate a cogent point-of-view. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2013