Houston Chronicle

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/5 The Guilty (2021) Cary Darling This version feels both unnecessary (like so many remakes of foreign-language hits) and much more like an Oscar-look-at-me star turn for Gyllenhaal. Having said that, Gyllenhaal brings a steely-eyed intensity to the role. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2021
3.5/5 Copshop (2021) Cary Darling (Alexis Louder) is absolutely magnetic in "Copshop," an energetically entertaining B-movie joyride through the visuals, music and blood-splattered plots of... '70s crime films...with a detour through the American Western for good measure. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2021
Playing God (2021) Chris Vognar What doesn't work on a logic level makes sense according to the characters and performances. And the twists - a con movie always has twists - are quite satisfying, even if you see them coming. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2021
4/5 Small Engine Repair (2021) Cary Darling The last 40 minutes or so constitute a tense exercise in claustrophobic suspense...It's here that "Small Engine Repair" may be at its stagiest but it's here where it's also at its best. EDIT
Posted Sep 8, 2021
4.5/5 Mogul Mowgli (2020) Cary Darling "Mogul Mowgli"...crackles with a stylistic and visual energy...This is a film that announces a major new talent. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2021
4/5 CODA (2021) Cary Darling Beyond its portrayal of a well-rounded deaf family, "CODA" may not revolutionary in its execution but it's like a memorable pop song: it has great hooks, a solid beat and it's fun to sing along to. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2021
4/5 Raging Fire (2021) Cary Darling (Director) Chan doesn't reach the dizzying heights of the best of (John) Woo or Gareth Evans, who made "The Raid" films, but there are moments that echo their ingenuity and sense of propulsion. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2021
4/5 Escape From Mogadishu (2021) Cary Darling An involving and suspenseful action-thriller that Ryoo Seung-wan handles with flair, capably staging big action scenes - like the final, nerve-rattling drive to potential salvation - while not neglecting the human stories at their heart. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2021
3.5/5 The Suicide Squad (2021) Cary Darling An enjoyably overstuffed summer blockbuster that easily could have been as calamitous as its predecessor. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2021
2.5/5 Old (2021) Cary Darling "Old," which has its moments, never really comes alive or crackles with suspense. As with some of his lesser films, Shyamalan takes a kernel of a good idea and doesn't do much with it...Same "Old," same "Old." EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2021
4/5 Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021) Cary Darling "Roadrunner" is a sadly beautiful evocation of Bourdain's "be a traveler, not a tourist" ethos combined with a colorful life story etched in pain and loneliness. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2021
3.5/5 Black Widow (2021) Cary Darling Shortland has made a credible action film that also functions as a twisted family portrait as well as a story of a woman coming to terms with her past. EDIT
Posted Jul 6, 2021
4/5 Zola (2020) Cary Darling Unlike an Avenger, Zola isn't saving the world from some evil mastermind or extraterrestrial threat. Still, she proves the old maxim that not only do all heroes not wear capes, sometimes they wear next to nothing at all. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2021
2.5/5 F9 The Fast Saga (2021) Cary Darling "F9" has its pleasures...That may be enough for the "F&F" faithful...Others though, who don't want to traverse the familiar action-movie terrain that "F9" roars through, will be left looking for the exit ramp. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2021
3/5 12 Mighty Orphans (2021) Cary Darling It's an up-from-struggle story tailor-made for an old-fashioned, family-friendly, earnest, feel-good movie, and that's exactly what Roberts delivers, EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2021
4/5 In the Heights (2021) Cary Darling What Chu and Miranda have made may be the ultimate summer movie - but one without explosions, superheroes, aliens and disasters. Instead, glowing like an August sunset, "In the Heights" mirrors the shimmering optimism of the season itself. EDIT
Posted Jun 10, 2021
1/5 The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021) Cary Darling If there's one film that could make you wish that all theaters had not only stayed shuttered after the pandemic but burned down, it's "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." EDIT
Posted Jun 10, 2021
4/5 A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Cary Darling A well-executed thrill ride that leads to just one destination: "A Quiet Place Part III" due next year. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2021
The Boy from Medellín (2020) Joey Guerra An absorbing documentary... EDIT
Posted May 14, 2021
2.5/5 Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (2021) Cary Darling A rote, generic, by-the-numbers thriller with few real thrills. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2021
4/5 Limbo (2020) Cary Darling Bleakly humorous and wonderfully deadpan...a movie whose deliberately slow pace and sense of quiet desperation aptly mirrors its title. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2021
We Don't Deserve Dogs (2020) Cary Darling The documentary from Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker goes to four continents to explore the human-dog relationship. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2021
4.5/5 Moffie (2019) Cary Darling A riveting portrait of a particular time and place while also being a broader assault on the type of pressure-cooker masculinity where torture, cruelty, humiliation and racism are the coins of the realm. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2021
3.5/5 Nobody (2021) Cary Darling Of course, what makes or breaks a film like this are the action scenes and they are plentiful and they are painful. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2021
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 (2019) 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