Houston Chronicle

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/5 Late Night (2019) Cary Darling Playing an imperious Brit who sneers at lesser mortals from a pedestal of "The Devil Wears Prada"-style privilege and power, Thompson crackles with just the right amount of condescension, cruelty and whip-smart comic timing. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
4.5/5 The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Cary Darling The way Talbot blends haunting imagery with a mournful score (by Emile Mosseri) is dreamlike, recalling the work of "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
2.5/5 Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch (2019) Cary Darling it's an efficiently made and routine police action-drama that has some effective moments but doesn't add up to anything that hasn't been done many times before. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
4/5 The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019) Cary Darling Director/writer Lee Won-tae, for whom this is only his second feature, keeps the pace moving swiftly, showing off an energetic sensibility that heralds a new voice on the South Korean film scene. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2019
2.5/5 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Cary Darling It's fitting that a film that is so unapologetically conventional and predictable (even by the standards of the genre) ends with the song "Godzilla," a cover of a Blue Oyster Cult track...As with so much of the movie, it has been done before and better. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2019
4/5 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) Cary Darling "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" is by far the most entertaining of the series, a film that noisily fits the definition of a summer popcorn movie and makes no pretense of having any higher goals. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
2.5/5 Tolkien (2019) Cary Darling What's left is a kaleidoscope of well-staged episodes - Tolkien on the field of battle surrounded by a circle of dead bodies is harrowing - that often seem more like prettified postcards from midcentury Britain than real-life being lived by real people. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
4/5 Shadow (2018) Cary Darling A rapturously beautiful work...combining the exquisite details of Chinese ink-brush painting with the melodramatic extravagance and suspension of disbelief of opera. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2019
3/5 Family (2018) Cary Darling "Family" is rarely laugh-out-loud funny...but it has a good-natured charm, the underutilized presence of Brian Tyree Henry as a martial-arts instructor, and [Taylor] Schilling to make it more memorable than it has a right to be. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
3.5/5 Maze (2017) Cary Darling "Maze" doesn't have much action until the end and even that is fairly muted and low-key compared to what might be expected from a Hollywood movie on the same topic. But that's exactly what makes "Maze" impressive. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
3.5/5 Avengers: Endgame (2019) Cary Darling "Endgame" is the most emotional of the Avengers movies, a tear-stained farewell that effectively tugs at the heartstrings while simultaneously blowing them up with a large army's worth of CGI warfare. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2019
4.5 Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018) Cary Darling Unlike "Triple Threat," "Master Z" isn't a triple letdown. It's a charming throwback to the martial-arts films of the '70s and '80s, with dazzling combat sequences punctuated by stiffly delivered exposition and hammy acting. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
4/5 Us (2019) Cary Darling The chills in "Us" don't come from the gory and the gruesome but, as in Peele's "Get Out," from his playing with the notion that the scariest moments come from inside us. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
2.5/5 Triple Threat (2019) Cary Darling "Triple Threat" does not deliver on its kinetic casting promise. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2019
4.5/5 Pájaros de verano (2018) Cary Darling The corrosive effects of the drug trade have been brought to tragic life on screens both big and small so often that there doesn't seem much new could be said on the topic. That's where the film "Birds of Passage" vividly proves otherwise. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
3.5/5 The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) Cary Darling While "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," which Ejiofor wrote based on the bestselling memoir by Kamkwaba and Bryan Mealer, is thoroughly predictable and holds few stylistic surprises, it maintains interest thanks to the strength of the performances. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
4/5 Hai Phuong (2019) Cary Darling The next time Jennifer Garner wants to do an action movie like the flavorless "Peppermint," she could take a few lessons from Veronica Ngo, the explosively charismatic star of the head-cracking, bone-breaking Vietnamese martial-arts slam-o-rama "Furie." EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/5 Donnybrook (2018) Cary Darling Tim Sutton's artfully directed but self-important downer of a movie that's meant to be some sort of Grand Statement about life among dispossessed whites in rural, Midwestern America. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2019
4/5 Tejano (2018) Cary Darling An entertaining blast of Texas noir that nods toward the work of the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino and fellow Austinite Greg Kwedar's 2016 low-budget thriller "Transpecos" as well as "Breaking Bad." EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2019
4/5 Capernaum (2018) Cary Darling "Capernaum" overcomes its built-in clichés to forcefully tell a story as urgent as the latest breaking-news bulletin. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2019
3.5/5 Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Cary Darling It's "I Know What You Did Last Summer" with a better cast and an MFA degree. EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2019
Sunset Blvd. (1950) Mildred Stockard [Gloria Swanson] proves that in the years she has been off the screen she has lost none of her glamour, the magnetism that made her an outstanding personality of the early Hollywood days. EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2019
3.5/5 The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Cary Darling It's often quite funny, the effects are satisfying if not out of this world, and its message that we should ally with those with whom we disagree to defeat the larger evils in this world is meant as much for adults as kids but it's never too heavy-handed. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2019
3/5 Swing Kids (2018) Cary Darling "Swing Kids" is such a dizzying, anachronistic mash-up of genres and cultures -- tap-dancing musical, violent war movie, social-justice drama, and slapstick comedy -- that it deserves respect, even if it falls short as it strains to cover all these bases. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2018
4/5 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Cary Darling The animation captures a comic book's sense of engagement and imagination but the visuals never overwhelm the story. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2018
5/5 Roma (2018) Cary Darling Cuarón has made a roster of impressive films...but "Roma," though perhaps not as immediately accessible, is his masterwork, a heartfelt evocation of a time and place that celebrates the unsung and the unheard. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2018
4/5 Burning (2018) Cary Darling This absorbing, if fitfully frustrating, portrait of love, obsession and jealousy is rarely less than fascinating. It's also a fine showcase for Steven Yeun ("The Walking Dead"), who proves he's much more than a Happy Meal for zombies. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2018
3/5 Creed II (2018) Cary Darling "Creed II" steps inside the ropes under the heavy weight of expectations, is not as nimble and has put on some pounds around the middle. Yet while the film doesn't get heads ringing like the first one, it's still able to go the distance. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
3.5/5 Jonathan (2018) Cary Darling This intriguing and skillfully wrought indie science-fiction tale has the feel of a low-key "Black Mirror" episode. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
4.5/5 Wildlife (2018) Cary Darling "Wildlife" is the kind of movie whose low-key hush could get lost in all the buzz over the big-name, holiday-season releases. Sometimes, though, it's the quiet ones who make the most noise. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2018
4/5 Widows (2018) Cary Darling Powered by an understated performance by Viola Davis, "Widows" shows what can be done within the boundaries of the expected while delivering something unexpected. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2018
3.5/5 Prospect (2018) Cary Darling The defiantly lo-fi "Prospect" is a smartly entertaining throwback that doesn't need a Marvel movie's worth of CGI to make its point. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
4/5 Rampant (2018) Cary Darling Tthe swashbuckling, bloodthirsty South Korean film "Rampant" is a rollicking genre mash-up that's what you might get if Hamlet were being chased by the undead for two hours. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2018
3.5/5 Mid90s (2018) Cary Darling Not a lot happens in "Mid90s" but as a slice of teenage life, it feels almost like a documentary from that time, full of well-observed - if foul-mouthed and sometimes dangerous - moments that ring true. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3.5/5 Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) Nguyen Le [The film] places as much focus on a smart gender twist and sympathetic concerns about how the characters will progress. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2018
2.5/5 Race to World First (2013) Nguyen Le Much trust was placed on Legendary Pictures and the talents courted for "Warcraft" to break the film-to-game curse, but this match has ended with a loss. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2018
4/5 First Man (2018) Cary Darling While it celebrates the struggle and technological marvel that was Apollo 11 without resorting to empty histrionics, it's also a well-wrought character study of a man whose tight-lipped demeanor belied the emotional turmoil roiling beneath the surface. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2018
4/5 The Hate U Give (2018) Cary Darling Ultimately, "The Hate U Give" is a life-affirming rebuttal to apathy, despair and surrender. It's also one of the year's most important films. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
2/5 Golden Job (2018) Cary Darling "Golden Job" is just a generic heist movie that wants to fuse the clever camaraderie of "Ocean's Eleven" with the turbo-charged swagger of "The Fast and the Furious" movies, yet the sum ends up being decidedly far less than its already predictable parts. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2018
3.5/5 The Sisters Brothers (2018) Cary Darling A frequently aimless but ultimately rewarding take on brotherhood and bonding amid the itchy trigger fingers and lust for quick riches of the California gold rush. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2018
4/5 The Great Battle (2018) Cary Darling What's not to like when there are weapons with such names as malevolent wood, siege tower and wolf teeth striker? When, after an attack is launched, one character matter-of-factly says, "quite intense," audiences will know exactly how he feels. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2018
3.5/5 A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. (2018) Cary Darling Qasim Basir's melancholic mood piece, "A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.," certainly has its pretensions...But to get caught up in its impressive stylishness is to miss the larger point of finding strength through human connection. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2018
2.5/5 Peppermint (2018) Cary Darling An efficiently made but predictable and very violent "Taken"/"Death Wish" revenge-apalooza that does little new with the formula. EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2018
4/5 Searching (2018) Cary Darling "Searching" is like a refreshed web page, a new take on something woefully familiar. EDIT
Posted Aug 29, 2018
4/5 Papillon (2017) Cary Darling The result is a film with much of the same appeal as "The Lost City of Z." Let's hope it doesn't have the same fate. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2018
2/5 Mile 22 (2018) Cary Darling "Mile 22" looks like what happens when someone on a jittery Red Bull jag decides to make a movie at 2 a.m. after fast-forwarding through "The Bourne Identity." EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2018
3.5/5 BuyBust (2018) Cary Darling When "BuyBust" finally combusts, it's often simultaneously spectacular and disturbing. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2018
2.5/5 The Meg (2018) Cary Darling All those who like their summer movies as big as the Pacific and as dumb as a bucket of sand will appreciate "The Meg," a sometimes ridiculously entertaining, if forgettable, killer shark movie. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2018
3.5/5 Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018) Cary Darling Cruise once again shows that being 56-years-old is no barrier to being an action hero while the movie itself proves that being a summer blockbuster cash cow that doesn't veer wildly from the unexpected doesn't have to be uninspired. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2018
4.5/5 Sorry to Bother You (2018) Cary Darling A politically charged, love-it-or-hate-it, speculative-fiction fantasy that ruthlessly skewers and satirizes the modern age while also being darkly absurdist and brutally funny. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2018