Houston Chronicle

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 Pixie (2020) Cary Darling British director Barnaby Thompson's coolly comedic "Pixie" may not be the most original in concept in the world but the winning execution makes up for it. And, yes, there really are deadly gangster priests. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2021
5/5 Nomadland (2020) Cary Darling The contemplative "Nomadland" whispers instead of shouts its grievances about contemporary American life, and is all the more powerful for it. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2021
4/5 The Mauritanian (2021) Cary Darling Rahim fleshes out Slahi as a real person; he's not just a victim or someone to be saved. Though Rahim has been in English-language projects previously... American audiences should really sit up and take notice of his performance here. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2021
4.5/5 Supernova (2020) Cary Darling A delicate, beautifully understated dance of emotions that is so much more than just watching someone in terminal decline. It's also a celebration of a life well lived on its own terms. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
3/5 Our Friend (2019) Cary Darling While "Our Friend" is effective as drama - the acting is uniformly excellent - and is beautifully shot, the film pulls its punches to its, and the audience's, detriment. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2021
3.5/5 Love in Dangerous Times (2020) Cary Darling "Dangerous Times" taps into the sense of emotional dislocation and quiet panic many are feeling these days while simultaneously offering a pandemic twist on the traditional boy-meets-girl formula. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2020
3/5 The Never List (2020) Cary Darling Houston director Michelle Mower, working from a script by Ariadne Shaffer, has made a sweetly serious film about friendship, trauma and not letting yourself get lost. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
4/5 Sylvie's Love (2020) Cary Darling While "Sylvie's Love" may not be as rooted in the real world as such other recent African American romances as "The Photograph" and "If Beale Street Could Talk," it nevertheless has a similarly rapturous feel. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
4/5 Beasts Clawing at Straws (2020) Cary Darling "Beasts Clawing at Straws" is obvious in its influences - a little Coen Brothers here, a little Tarantino there, all seasoned with a sprinkling of Hitchcock paranoia - but Yong-hoon manages to give them his own twist. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2020
4/5 Sound of Metal (2019) Cary Darling While "Sound of Metal" doesn't venture to unexpected places, director Darius Marder - working from a script based on a story by "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance - keeps it all rooted in a heartfelt reality. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2020
B- Love and Monsters (2020) Danny Minton At times it is quite creative and others it feels way too familiar. While the monsters' very presence and actions don't make a lick of sense, they are at least uniquely conceived, even if the supporting characters are many times unnecessary formulaic... EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
A- Kingdom of Silence (2020) Danny Minton [It] helps us better understand why our leaders need to represent the high ideals of our country and when they stray, bad things can and will happen. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
3.5/5 Yellow Rose (2019) Cary Darling A sweetly earnest character study and coming-of-age tale that's impressive because of its low-key authenticity. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2020
5/5 Time (2020) Cary Darling It's as much poem as protest, one scored by the downcast, bleakly beautiful piano music of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou, a reclusive Ethiopian nun whose work has been rediscovered in recent years. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2020
LX 2048 (2020) Cary Darling It's always fun when a little film comes out of nowhere that has the ability to surprise. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
Vinyl Nation (2020) Andrew Dansby Vinyl Nation becomes a forward-looking story about connections: between artist, tradesperson, retailer and listener. And also between families, friends and strangers... EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
3.5/5 I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Cary Darling "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" is a very strange and singular work that seems just about right for a very strange and singular year. EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2020
4.5/5 Mulan (2020) Cary Darling The colorful "Mulan" is striking in its visual beauty and production design. (Special kudos to Australian cinematographer Mandy Walker.) "Mulan" deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible. EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2020
3.5/5 The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) Cary Darling "Copperfield" may not be Iannucci's most personal work, his engaging, inventive and visually colorful, multicultural embrace of Dickens' old-school English world is appealing, especially if you're not wedded to every word and twist of the original text. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2020
2.5/5 Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) Cary Darling "Peninsula" is much more of a generic, CGI-reliant action movie that often feels like a video game coupled with a few pages ripped from the scripts of "Mad Max" and "Escape From New York." EDIT
Posted Aug 19, 2020
Caddyshack (1980) Jeff Millar The humor in this film is very high-yield. I laughed and laughed, even when I probably shouldn't have. EDIT
Posted Jul 28, 2020
4/5 The Rental (2020) Cary Darling Now comes "The Rental," an effectively chilly little thriller about a vacation gone very wrong that is, for the home-sharing business, like a poisonous, little cinematic cherry on top of an especially toxic pandemic parfait. EDIT
Posted Jul 21, 2020
4/5 House of Hummingbird (2018) Cary Darling This slow-moving but exquisitely drawn character study and coming-of-age story, which has picked up several awards at film festivals around the world, takes its time getting where it's going, but the cumulative impact of the journey is powerful. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2020
3/5 The Old Guard (2020) Cary Darling There's something affecting about "The Old Guard" and its story of a group of tired, superhero soldiers going through the motions of saving humankind with an increasing level of frustration and quiet anxiety. Who can't relate to that these days? EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2020
3.5/5 The Outpost (2020) Cary Darling While "The Outpost" might not have ambitions to offer a wider perspective on America's longest war, it's an effective re-creation of what must have seemed to those involved to be the war's longest battle. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2020
4/5 Miss Juneteenth (2020) Cary Darling A warm, rich story of broken dreams, family struggle and emotional triumph that puts black Texas women in the center of the frame. EDIT
Posted Jun 16, 2020
3.5/5 The King of Staten Island (2020) Cary Darling At 136 minutes, "The King of Staten Island" takes too long to get where it's going...But it's a good-natured enough journey with enough good performances - including Steve Buscemi as Ray's boss - to make it a trip worth taking. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2020
3/5 1 Angry Black Man (2018) Cary Darling A more thoughtful and intellectual exercise than its prosaic and incendiary title at first suggests, though the issues it attempts to juggle...are at the heart of many of today's thorniest topics and loudest arguments. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2020
3.5/5 The High Note (2020) Cary Darling A twist on the music-industry, up-from-struggle fantasy that bounces from Hollywood cliché to Hollywood cliché but does it with a solid cast and enough energy coupled with a slightly different perspective to get away with it. EDIT
Posted May 26, 2020
4/5 The Vast of Night (2019) Cary Darling Patterson's talent means that..."The Vast of Night" will be remembered as his smart, stylish springboard. EDIT
Posted May 13, 2020
A- James Dean (2001) Ann Hodges For Freaks & Geeks' James Franco, James Dean is a major breakthrough. He not only looks like him, but his mannerisms and his whole persona are startlingly real. This movie rests on his thin, hunched shoulders, and he carries it off. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2020
3.5/5 True History of the Kelly Gang (2019) Cary Darling "True History of the Kelly Gang" may not be history as recorded by historians. But it's history as recorded by a director with verve and vision. EDIT
Posted Apr 22, 2020
4/5 Abe (2019) Cary Darling Like a chef who surprises the palate with an unexpected flavor, (the director and writers) turn what could have been just a heavy-handed after-school special about tolerance and turn it into something resembling real life. EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2020
2.5/5 Bloodshot (2020) Cary Darling When the best thing about an action movie is its use of a great but 43-year-old Talking Heads song, you know you're in trouble. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2020
4.5/5 Hope Gap (2019) Cary Darling Films about marriages cratering on the craggy shores of deceit and betrayal are as common as oxygen, but one that makes as big an emotional impact as "Hope Gap" is a breath of fresh air. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2020
3/5 The Banker (2020) Cary Darling Thanks to the three strong performances at its heart - especially that of a wisecracking Samuel L. Jackson (who's also one of the producers) - "The Banker" often is as entertaining as it is enlightening. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2020
4/5 Blood on Her Name (2019) Cary Darling Anchored by a magnetic performance from Bethany Anne Lind ("Ozark") who is in nearly every scene, "Blood on Her Name" is an engrossing exercise in Southern neo-noir that doesn't waste a moment of its marathon-runner lean 83 minutes. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2020
4/5 The Invisible Man (2020) Cary Darling Leigh Whannell, who made the wildly entertaining, low-budget action film "Upgrade," has turned the classic science-fiction tale inside out and fashioned it into a tense, suspenseful story about a brutalized woman's journey from seclusion to visibility. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2020
3.5/5 The Photograph (2020) Cary Darling A nostalgic, easygoing romantic-drama...that's roughly the cinematic equivalent of putting on a Quiet Storm classic-soul track when you're lovelorn and feeling that everything is going to be okay after all. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
4/5 The Man Standing Next (2020) Cary Darling Stylistically, there are echoes of such notable '70s American political thrillers as "Parallax View" and "The Conversation." Even if you're not sure what's going on at any given moment, it is never less than compelling. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2020
4.5/5 Citizen K (2019) Cary Darling Americans may go into "Citizen K" not knowing who this rather anonymous looking man is or how to pronounce or spell his name. But they will come out totally on Team Khodorkovsky. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2020
The Wave (2019) Cary Darling Smash together bits of Martin Scorsese's "After Hours," Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and an episode of the old TV show "Scrubs"...and you might get "The Wave," an appealingly ambitious debut feature from director Gille Klabin. EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2020
2.5/5 Quezon's Game (2018) Cary Darling It's a little-known bit of history that first-time features director Matthew Rosen...brought to the screen in a straightforward, efficient film that may not win many plaudits for style or acting but has a story that's never less than fascinating. EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2020
4.5/5 Clemency (2019) Cary Darling It's the kind of film that stays with the audience long after the credits roll. Unlike a pretty little gold statuette, that's not something that can fit neatly on (director) Chukwu's mantle but she should cherish it nonetheless. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2020
B- Salem's Lot (2004) Mike McDaniel TNT's four-hour miniseries boasts fine performances, exceptional photography and all the other bells and whistles that mark a great show. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2020
B Carrie (2002) Mike McDaniel In the hands of director David Carson (Star Trek: Generations; From the Earth to the Moon), NBC's updated Carrie is more effective than I anticipated. The film -- especially the first half -- had me in a spell. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2020
4.5/5 1917 (2019) Cary Darling Union general William Tecumseh Sherman once said, "War is hell." Sam Mendes with "1917" says, "Hold my beer." EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2020
3.5/5 A Hidden Life (2019) Cary Darling It quietly demands viewers wind down to become in sync with Jägerstätter's rural life, a world of planting and harvesting, back-breaking labor and joyous celebration, community and kinship. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2019
3/5 Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019) Cary Darling In "Ip Man 3," Yen went mano-a-mano with Mike Tyson. They've got to try and outdo that, right? Well, not really. "Ip Man 4" is entertaining enough, but fails to deliver a knockout punch. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019
3/5 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Cary Darling Neither the best nor the worst of the "Star Wars" franchise...And don't shed too many tears. Disney is going to make sure that the echoes of your goodbyes will barely have had time to fade by the time of the rollout of the next "Star Wars" story arc. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019