Concrete Playground

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Night Shift (2020) Sarah Ward It's a testament to director and co-writer Anne Fontaine that little here feels as straightforward as it sounds, even if it primarily remains in familiar territory. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2021
() Sarah Ward Teams spectacular imagery with a spirited narrative. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2021
Delete History (2020) Sarah Ward Always purposefully odd and absurd, and yet also clearly grounded in relatable situations and emotions as well. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2021
The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) Sarah Ward Vivid, clever and ferocious about art, money, freedom, borders and the way the world treats asylum seekers. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2021
Summer of 85 (2020) Sarah Ward Catches the eye as much as it demands the audience's emotional investment. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2021
Brazen Hussies (2020) Sarah Ward An engaging, informative and impassioned snapshot of a reality that's still so recent, and of the hard work that was required to even reach the current imperfect status quo. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2021
About Endlessness (2020) Sarah Ward Overflows with intricacy, intimacy and emotion, and with glorious artistry in every single frame. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2021
Chaos Walking (2021) Sarah Ward This isn't a complex, layered or thoughtful film... 'noise' is the absolute right word for it. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2021
Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) Sarah Ward Judging something based on its most obvious traits is ill-advised within this touching tale, and when it comes to the film as a whole as well. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2021
Jojo Rabbit (2019) Sarah Ward Much of Jojo Rabbit's comedy works in the moment. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2021
The Rental (2020) Sarah Ward The excellent cast help immensely, and so does the commitment all-round to ensuring this isn't just a cookie-cutter cabin-in-the-woods effort. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (2020) Sarah Ward More than just a nostalgic look back. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
The Queen of Black Magic (2020) Sarah Ward Leans on more than a few horror tropes, but never feels like a by-the-numbers haunted house movie. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
One Night in Miami (2020) Sarah Ward A film not only of exceptional power and feeling, but of abundant texture and detail as well. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (2021) Sarah Ward Raw, frank, relatable, accessible and playful. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Boss Level (2021) Sarah Ward Attempts to paper over a slight narrative with rhythmically choreographed punches, bullets, swords and stunts, plus greeting card-level life lessons. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Blackbird (2019) Sarah Ward Blackbird's cast does always stress its work (no one here is overly subtle here), but they also help breathe feeling into a feature that'd be a far lesser affair without them. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Sarah Ward The unflinching work of a star passionate about making a statement. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
I Care a Lot (2020) Sarah Ward I Care a Lot is always the icy Pike's movie. Well, hers and writer/director J Blakeson's (The Disappearance of Alice Creed), with the latter crafting a takedown of capitalism that's savagely blunt but also viciously entertaining. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Soul (2020) Sarah Ward A smart, tender and contemplative piece of stunning filmmaking all on its own terms. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Sarah Ward Boseman's performance in this stage-to-screen production is such a powerhouse effort that it's like watching a cascading waterfall drown out almost everything around it. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Baby Done (2020) Sarah Ward Charting one woman's pregnancy experience, and her backlash to the widely accepted notion that motherhood is the pinnacle of a woman's life, proves poignant and charming more often than not here. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Corpus Christi (2019) Sarah Ward There's much about Bielenia's exceptional performance that sears itself into memory, but that firm, mournful gaze that adorns his face again and again is unshakeably powerful and poignant. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Kajillionaire (2020) Sarah Ward It's rare for a film to feel so rich, so unique and so completely the sum of its parts, but July's third feature manages that feat. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Never Too Late (2020) Sarah Ward Attempts to ruminate on the vagaries of ageing, the struggles of living with regret and the fact that it can take a lifetime to chase one's dream, but the film's cast sport wrinkles deeper than the movie's themes. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Honest Thief (2020) Sarah Ward Another bland action film with little else going for it beyond its main attraction. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
The Woman Who Ran (2020) Sarah Ward Hong's penchant for long, patient takes, playful repetition and echoes, and expertly timed crash-zooms are all used to winning effect, in a movie that slots perfectly into his busy oeuvre and yet always feels distinctively insightful. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Babyteeth (2019) Sarah Ward Raw, sensitive, astute and arresting... could never be mistaken for a standard sickness drama. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
House of Cardin (2019) Sarah Ward Benefits from its subject's sometimes-abrupt recollections about his experiences and career, as well as ample examples of the designer's dazzling pieces. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
The Vigil (2019) Sarah Ward Always feels like it is simply dressing up well-worn genre elements in different packaging. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
The Shadow of Violence (2019) Sarah Ward A social realist-leaning (and sometimes blackly comic) look at life on the margins, a sharp exploration of toxic masculinity and a potent quest for redemption, too. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019) Sarah Ward Doesn't lack in plot, themes or attempts to ape Patricia Highsmith's best tales, but its twists prove as routine as its insights into authenticity and forgery on multiple levels. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Zappa (2020) Sarah Ward Lively, detailed and riveting, this documentary attempts the difficult feat of condensing Frank's life and impact into 129 minutes - and, regardless of whether you're already a fan or not, it does an impressive and engaging job. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Days of the Bagnold Summer (2019) Sarah Ward Finds the right balance between deadpan quirkiness and lived-in naturalism. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Sarah Ward While Sorkin's work can veer from exceptional to frustrating, his second stint as a director makes the very most of his usual traits EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
Rocketman (2019) Sarah Ward Showing how fantastical the ups and downs of fame, fortune and rock stardom can be by sashaying through a sea of surreality, the result is a winning marriage of form and feeling. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2021
The Favourite (2018) Sarah Ward While a politically charged, 19th century, somewhat slapstick comedy isn't the filmmaker's usual wheelhouse, maybe it should be. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2021
The Croods: A New Age (2020) Sarah Ward An over-energetic, giddily lively rehash of a past hit. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
A Call to Spy (2019) Sarah Ward It helps that Katic, Thomas and Khan all turn in involving performances, although Thomas wrote herself the best role. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
End of the Century (2019) Sarah Ward Takes Weekend's lusty meet-up, combines it with Call Me By Your Name and Monsoon's passion abroad, and turns it into an evocative contemplation of love, sex, connection, choices, and roads both taken and forsaken. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
How to Be a Good Wife (2020) Sarah Ward It's easy to smile and internally cheer along with How to Be a Good Wife (and to revel in its period costuming and decor, too), but it's also just as easy to see when and where it overplays its comedic hand. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles (2020) Sarah Ward Glossy, gleaming eye candy for those with a sweet tooth. It never feels like a full meal, though. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Sarah Ward Wonder Woman 1984 doesn't spin the most complicated story, but it's so repetitive and meandering across its 151-minute running time that it's needlessly bulky, muddled and weighed down. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Nomadland (2020) Sarah Ward Intimate and almost disarmingly tender and thoughtful, as every movie made by Zhao proves. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (2020) Sarah Ward Putting the word 'disaster' in this movie's moniker couldn't be more apt. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Escape From Extinction (2020) Sarah Ward A film can make a plethora of valid and important points and still clumsily and forcefully push an agenda at the same time. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Unsound (2020) Sarah Ward This small feature with big ambitions and a heartfelt impact is always its own film. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
The People Upstairs (2020) Sarah Ward When the tightly written script and the cast performing it all sparkle, so does the feature. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
Long Story Short (2021) Sarah Ward Long Story Short packages the expected manchild and relationship cliches with familiar temporal-hopping tropes, and can't hide that fact by shouting out to Groundhog Day. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
The Truffle Hunters (2020) Sarah Ward An unhurried gem of a documentary. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021