Critics at Large

Critics at Large is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): CJ Sheu
Rating Title/Year Author
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) CJ Sheu If it weren't for Twilight's first-movie advantage, [this film] would take the top spot, because its plot is also entirely to do with Bella and Edward's romance[.] EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2021
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) CJ Sheu Finally we come to the nadir of the saga. Filmed back to back with the first part, [this film] is built around the ... boring premise ... of gathering forces[.] EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2021
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) CJ Sheu [E]ssentially a detour of a plot, and my interest waned along with the film's decreased focus on the character relationships. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2021
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) CJ Sheu After the lightning strike of Bella and Edward, it's nice to see a more gradual and human romance blossom, even if we know that it's doomed from the start. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2021
Twilight (2008) CJ Sheu The first film grounds everything, and does a fine job of world-building; even the climactic fight scene is fully integrated into the emotional core[.] EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2021
Stowaway (2021) CJ Sheu These heady considerations are grounded in the film's fluent visual language [...] It's gratifying to see a film that makes a habit of conveying key information wordlessly. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2021
The Park (2016) CJ Sheu Things get surreal. [...] The film as a whole is so engrossing[.] EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2021
Antigone (2019) CJ Sheu Now, thanks to Québécois writer-director-cinematographer [and co-editor] Sophie Deraspe ... , we finally have the film that [Jean] Anouilh deserves. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2020
Mulan (2020) CJ Sheu It may look like a film and quack like a film, but something's just not right with the new Mulan[.] EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2020
The Florida Project (2017) CJ Sheu But it's the elevation of the source material into such a delicate yet layered narrative that evinces true artistry. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
American Animals (2018) CJ Sheu The film entices us to empathize with the leads so that it can hit us on the head with our own empathy. But that's the thing about empathy: It literally doesn't judge. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Kate Plays Christine (2016) CJ Sheu The [lure] of a gory spectacle is what keeps us slogging through this two-hour circular meditation, ... to showcase Greene's ability to manipulate viewers into self-disgust[.] EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
The Disaster Artist (2017) CJ Sheu [T]he decision to film Disaster as a comedy relegates the characters' moral objections to fodder for the funnies. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
West of Her (2016) CJ Sheu The film does have a few missteps ..., but what works far, far outstrips what doesn't, and by the end you'll be sad that it's over. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Beautiful Things (2017) CJ Sheu Beautiful Things opens the door to l'art pour l'art in the machine age. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Cloud Atlas (2012) CJ Sheu Cloud Atlas is a glorious reward for readers who've slogged through a brilliant but flawed novel, and the soundtrack is the cherry on top of the icing on the cake. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
La La Land (2016) CJ Sheu The meta qualities of La La Land, which have led many to call it a love letter to classic musical films, owe a great deal to this [atmospheric framing] device. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Dancing Ninja (2010) CJ Sheu It points up the utter ridiculousness of comic-book superhero conventions while wearing its love of comic-book superhero conventions on its sleeve. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (2012) CJ Sheu Resnais displays an immaculate instinct for when to use which actors, ... and [how to use sound] to elicit the emotions that on stage would emerge from variations in volume. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Paterson (2016) CJ Sheu What makes Paterson such a wonderfully coherent and satisfying film ... is its cinematic conceit: we are seeing the world as it is perceived by ... the protagonist[.] EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Green Book (2018) CJ Sheu What the film does is less idiotic, more insidious: it erases historical and institutional legacies of racism. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Dealt (2017) CJ Sheu [T]he way that it introduces its subject, follows him through a turning point in his life, and conveys it all with a purposeful cinematicity just begs to be unpacked. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Metropolis (1927) CJ Sheu Fritz Lang must have been a rare kind of genius. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Widows (2018) CJ Sheu I hesitate not a whit in calling Widows the most satisfying heist film of the year. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Hunter Killer (2018) CJ Sheu Don't think for a second that I don't recognize Hunter Killer for the nearly uninterrupted series of clichés that it is. Yet ... it can be quite engaging. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Shirkers (2018) CJ Sheu Alas, Shirkers the narrative feature wasn't to be ... But that's okay: Shirkers the documentary is already full of creative magic. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Mountain (2017) CJ Sheu It's truly an awesome experience. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Hostile (2017) CJ Sheu [T]he melodramatic direction, tone-deaf dialogue, predictable plot, and overly intellectual transitions caused me to check out, mentally[.] EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
The Future (2011) CJ Sheu [T]he film is so distinctive and eloquent in style that ... [the two protagonists] are utterly compelling to watch as they relinquish their lives to fate and whimsy. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Phoenix (2014) CJ Sheu [A]n allegory has to string together coherent narratives in two distinct registers at once in a high-strung balancing act. Phoenix manages this remarkable feat[.] EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Burning (2018) CJ Sheu The filmmaking is assured to the point where long takes go unnoticed, and the impeccable pace makes the 148-minute running time feel all too short[.] EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
August at Akiko's (2018) CJ Sheu It has been a journey of spiritual healing all along, and we have been his fellow travelers. No wonder we leave the cinema with a deep sense of well-being. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Apocalypse Now Redux (1979) CJ Sheu It's about the absurd tragedies that occur when a rational strategy or cultural institution is guided by humans and their inherent irrationalities. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Blunt Force Trauma (2015) CJ Sheu But for those, like me, who see a fascinating culture and want to know more, this film is a languorous gondola ride for the mind. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Speed Racer (2008) CJ Sheu Speed Racer has the extraordinary style down pat, and its sense of abstraction is what sells the vast race-fixing conspiracy lurking in the background of the plot. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Nostalgia (1983) CJ Sheu What results is a work of devastating beauty just ripe for the GIFing. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Maborosi (1995) CJ Sheu It's a very Japanese understanding of suicide: as not bluntly tragic or a waste, but alluring, mysterious, not subject to total comprehension ... the state of grief itself. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
High Life (2018) CJ Sheu In its final moment, High Life transforms the scientific unknown into transcendent hope - the only kind of hope it accepts. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Aquaman (2018) CJ Sheu [T]hat the locales are announced via subtitle, often before the characters ... know where they are, evokes the levels and stages of an adventure game. [T]hat's what [it] is. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Serenity (2019) CJ Sheu But view it first and foremost from the perspective of a video-game aesthetic and Serenity starts to make sense. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (2020) CJ Sheu We don't get 'gotcha' revelations because it's not a tell-all; rather, it's a bildungsroman. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
So Long, My Son (Di jiu tian chang) (2019) CJ Sheu It was my best theatrical experience of 2019. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Notes on an Appearance (2018) CJ Sheu By emphasizing the banality of everyday life, even when events are extreme, D'Ambrose achieves the paradoxical feat of making an hour-long film .. both slow and action-packed. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Synonymes (2018) CJ Sheu We're all rooted in one place or another, but what if that place is a no-man's land? EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Cemetery of Splendor (2015) CJ Sheu [T]he best thing I can say about it is that it renewed my sense of the life force both within and surrounding me, motivating me from a within that's outside of me, as it were. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Angel Has Fallen (2019) CJ Sheu Now, this is a poorly made film, but can a good film be made according to this moral framework? EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
The Divine Fury (2019) CJ Sheu What makes the film stand out is that it works on both a theological level and a secular, psychological one, with each bolstering the other in a way few films attempt. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Time for Ilhan (2018) CJ Sheu In revealing an act of distancing, the film gains our trust. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Mr. Nobody (2009) CJ Sheu The plot, dealing with a branching personal timeline, is intricately complex yet masterfully coherent, despite what a few overworked film critics have written. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Knock Down the House (2019) CJ Sheu If only the film had expanded this focus [on AOC] to include the nexus of all four women. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020