The Film Stage

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
B Miss Juneteenth (2020) John Fink Playing familiar melodramatic chords in a new and interesting way, the film contains engaging and heartbreaking performances. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2020
B Into the Deep (2020) Jordan Raup A documentary that is truly hard to shake, it provides an intimate glimpse at true evil living amongst those who only saw the warning signs and red flags after the fact. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2020
B The Call of the Wild (2020) Dan Mecca It's the upbeat energy from Sanders' direction that keeps the engine going. The Call of the Wild is a welcome adventure for a cold winter's night. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2020
C- Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) Jake Kring-Schreifels Much like its redesigned, back-to-the-cartoon look, Sonic never really tries to be its own thing. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
B A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019) Jordan Raup A light, cuddly adventure that's a step below its predecessor in shear (sorry!) inventiveness but still containing a wealth of delightful comedic gags. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2020
B Olympic Dreams (2019) Jared Mobarak Olympic Dreams [is] a heartfelt & introspective journey that delves within the human psyche caught in stasis [to remind us] that we're more than our achievements or failures. EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2020
B The Misogynists (2017) John Fink No one will accuse the title of false advertising; this is Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men set amongst the backdrop of MAGA. EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2020
B Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Christopher Schobert Purposely untidy and at times cheerfully off-putting, Birds is more memorably unhinged than the likes of Joker, Venom, and Deadpool. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2020
C Save Yourselves! (2020) Dan Mecca The laughs fade about halfway through and the world-building never blossoms into something wholly engaging. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2020
B- Come to Daddy (2019) Glenn Heath Jr. That a film can be this venomous and sincere at the same time indicates genuine dedication to the finer points of B movie mayhem. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
B Softie (2020) John Fink Softie is a compelling act of defiance, made more alarming by the violent events documented throughout the film, including the torture and murder of an official charged with keeping the elections fair and safe. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
C Wander Darkly (2020) Dan Mecca Miele's reach exceeds her grasp in trying to examine these elements, resulting in a muddled thriller that gets confusing before it becomes obvious. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
B+ The Reason I Jump (2020) John Fink While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn't easy to forget, it's most effective when operating as an experimental work. EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
B+ The Truffle Hunters (2020) Jordan Raup The Truffle Hunters is primarily about those who make it their life's mission to track down this ever-rare species of food, and this documentary does endearing justice to their respective stories-humans and canines alike. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2020
B+ The 40-Year-Old Version (2020) John Fink An often hilarious and heartfelt autobiographical tale of reinvention. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2020
B+ Richard Jewell (2019) Glenn Heath Jr. While Richard Jewell might not be top tier Eastwood, Hauser's nervy, sweaty performance feels like a culmination for the filmmaker, a beautiful stripping away of the star power... that reveals something deeper about American self-destruction. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2020
B Dark Waters (2019) Glenn Heath Jr. With Dark Waters, the rare biopic that refuses to embrace climactic closure, [Todd Haynes] elides sentimental and rousing conventions one would associate with courtroom epics. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2020
C+ The Last Shift (2020) Dan Mecca There's a lot to admire here, even it all of it doesn't work. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2020
C+ Nine Days (2020) Jordan Raup This debut film is no doubt a visually striking, well-composed calling card for Edson Oda, but the ideas it plays with are more interesting to discuss over a post-screening meal than to witness how they actually play out. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2020
D Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia (2020) John Fink Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia falls flat trying to throw so many things into the blender in an attempt to resist criticism with an IDGAF attitude. I'm not falling for it. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2020
B () Dan Mecca Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind is a respectable monument worthy of its subject. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2020
B+ () Jordan Raup On the Record is a sobering, clear-eyed account of sexual misconduct and assault by Russell Simmons-who, in damning evidence, moved to Bali where there is no extradition policy with the United States. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2020
B+ Minari (2020) Jordan Raup This is a delicate, small-scale drama told with an immense amount of authenticity by a filmmaker who is clearly attuned to the emotional rhythms of each of his characters. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
A- () Jordan Raup This extraordinary portrait of a democratic process in microcosm is both a testament to how Washington, D.C. and the rest of the country could achieve bipartisanship as well as a look at what has led to such a fractured political system. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- () John Fink Lush and elegant with beautiful performances, the jazzy period melodrama Sylvie's Love plays many notes exceptionally well. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B Some Kind of Heaven (2020) Jake Kring-Schreifels The characters Oppenheim finds are compelling enough to stay invested in the ways they navigate this "Disneyland of retirement," a phrase used by its original owner Harold Schwartz. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
D- The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) Jordan Raup Impossibly dull, gratingly lethargic, and utterly incoherent. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
C+ Falling (2020) Jordan Raup With his debut, Viggo Mortensen shows mindful consideration behind the camera telling a story that's not terribly interesting. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- The Evening Hour (2020) Dan Mecca This is a drama full of effective performances, though Michael Trotter-who plays Reese, Cole's sometimes supplier-is the standout. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B Tesla (2020) Dan Mecca His films are a testament to the independent spirit. Limitations be damned! The messy creativity on display is something to admire. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
A () Jordan Raup A formally stunning masterwork of empathy, exhaustion, love, and rage. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- The Rhythm Section (2020) Glenn Heath Jr. I thought of Haywire often while watching Reed Morano's clunky but fascinating new bruiser The Rhythm Section. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B+ () John Fink An evocative character study with notes of vintage Terrence Malick. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- Surge (2020) Matt Cipolla Set over 24 hours, Anei Karia's Surge takes a cracked mind and lets it spill out and, be it through self-discovery or self-destruction, finds the humor in life's absurdism. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B The Assistant (2019) Dan Mecca An easy criticism would be that The Assistant has nothing to add to the conversation. This is a reductive take. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
D Run Sweetheart Run (2020) Matt Cipolla Run Sweetheart Run tries to be a feminist horror movie while focusing on a wholly uninteresting protagonist whose most defining traits are, yes, her maternity and her menstrual cycle. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
A- () Jordan Raup With the brilliant Dick Johnson Is Dead, leave it to the director to create an exploration of death that is fun, bittersweet, and bursting with colorful imagination. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
D+ Wendy (2020) Matt Cipolla Zeitlin hasn't made a blatantly awful movie. It's too anodyne for that. It just has no real reason to exist. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B+ Palm Springs (1936) Jake Kring-Schreifels Palm Springs doesn't get bogged down by extemporaneous storylines and marginal characters, traits that often plague small comedies like this. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
A- () Vikram Murthi Collective sports a procedural-like pace that keeps the information legible and the action linear. It doesn't preclude a lighthearted touch nor get bogged down in misery to underline its points. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
C+ The Night House (2020) Matt Cipolla Whether it's because of the script or David Bruckner's so-so direction, its attempts at eschatological dread don't quite stick. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- () Matt Cipolla It's a documentary in turns exciting and upsetting, and as a comment on voyeurism, it doesn't contradict itself. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B The Glorias (2020) Dan Mecca The Glorias offers a strange alchemy of straightforward biopic and style-driven inspiration. Overall, it's tame work from the filmmaker, clear-eyed in her love for her subject. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- Downhill (2020) Jake Kring-Schreifels Despite its safer bets, Faxon and Rash have made a fine movie-perceptive, sensitive, and inoffensive. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B+ Shirley (2020) Jordan Raup Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg are having so much scenery-chewing fun they practically end up swallowing the single location. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B The Nest (2019) Jordan Raup An exquisitely mounted drama that revels in letting minute character details slowly become elucidated as Durkin puts trust into his audience to pick up the pieces along the way. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- () Dan Mecca Uncle Frank the character is a bit more compelling than Uncle Frank the film. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
C- () Matt Cipolla The pace is too zippy at its darkest moments, and when it tries to have capital-D drama, it ends up contrived at best and risible at worst. It's not a bad movie. It's an empty one. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
C+ Blast Beat (2015) Glenn Heath Jr. Too bad the film opts for classic Hollywood closure rather than following through on the promise of its painful, shifting origins. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020
B- Spaceship Earth (2020) Jordan Raup A fascinating story full of twists yet one that could've used some more invention and focus in the ways in which this sprawling journey is told. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2020