Willamette Week

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Toy Story 4 (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson The tale is cathartic and moving, especially during an impressively mature climax that reminds us we didn't just grow up with the Toy Story series. EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2019
Yesterday (2019) Donovan Farley ...disdain for logic (and plot) is a constant throughout Yesterday, a film that wastes the talent involved by concentrating solely on its core conceit: "OMG, it's Beatles songs!" EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer The irony here is that Far From Home blatantly declares the need for a vacation. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) reeling Peter back in doesn't feel like the call of duty so much as the corporate office demanding he come in on a weekend. EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2019
Midsommar (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Plenty of times Midsommar barges past metaphor into a glaringly incomplete storyline. But as a cathartic effigy to bad boyfriends, so-called sanity and the American way, Midsommar earns its flower crown. EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2019
1/4 Shaft (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer This isn't a tale of musky, polyamorous noir; it's a cautionary one about trying to mass-produce an artifact and ending up with a movie from nowhere, about nothing, for no one. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
2/4 Men in Black: International (2019) Mia Vicino It's climactically a forgettable, though entertaining, sci-fi ride. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
3/4 The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Gentrification has many casualties: family, security, institutional memory. But rarely has a movie tapped into the tragic, bone-deep irony of a city's shape-shifting quite like The Last Black Man in San Francisco. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
3/4 The Dead Don't Die (2019) Donovan Farley Like most Jarmusch features, Dead will severely divide audiences. To me, it's one of his finest works. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
Ma (2019) Asher Luberto Unfortunately, it's hard as an adult viewer to always feel empathy for terrorized high school students. And the anti-bullying message tends to get lost-like the rest of the film-in the silliness that ensues. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
Late Night (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Kaling and Thompson's clash of the earnest cub and lioness in winter sustains the film's core, but this subgenre of the romcom argues that work is life. You can't get the work wrong. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
Dark Phoenix (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson While the clash between Xavier's bold idealism and Magneto's brutal pragmatism has been fertile narrative ground for filmmakers in the past, Kinberg-making his directorial debut-fails to infuse the story with momentum or personality. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
The Souvenir (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer The Souvenir is intended as a patchwork of memory, not a document. This side-door approach is as elusive and dissatisfying as revealing and true. Experiences are not life lessons until they're over. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
Rocketman (2019) Jay Horton Don't expect anything more than a jukebox musical outlining the piano player's true-ish story. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Jay Horton Alas, even as an empty spectacle intended solely to focus attention on the coming main event, the results never satisfy. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
Trial by Fire (2018) Donovan Farley Sadly, this cinematic retelling of a truly appalling story is too often hamstrung by its predictability and overreliance on the audience's outrage at Willingham's plight. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
Aladdin (2019) Corbin Smith Aladdin isn't really about the Genie and Jasmine's handmaiden trying to make it work in this crazy world. It's about Aladdin, and the guy who plays him, Mena Massoud, is a dull singer and a wooden actor. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
Booksmart (2019) Mia Vicino Ultimately, the vital takeaway is that nobody is one-dimensional, and neither is Booksmart. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
The White Crow (2018) Donovan Farley ... overall a pleasant and beautifully presented look at the artistry of dance, Cold War politics and a complicated man. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson Detective Pikachu may be too poorly made to be worth the price of a ticket, but you might have fun watching a bootleg copy with your friends from fifth grade... EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
UglyDolls (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson The film may insist that its characters let their "freak flags fly," but it doubles down on safeness and cuddliness, the very things that Kim and Horvath rebelled against when they created Wage. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
Dogman (2018) Donovan Farley Although Dogman suffers from a few plot holes, it is a visually gorgeous character study that shows you can kick a dog only so many times before he bites back-even if he's the runt of the litter. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
Long Shot (2019) Mia Vicino There are definitely some pacing problems-and a muddled message about centrism that could've been elaborated on or dropped-but if the ultimate intention of a romcom is to make you both laugh and swoon, then Long Shot is right on target. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
2/4 Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Ryan White ends up with a film conspicuously less intriguing than its subject. EDIT
Posted May 2, 2019
1/4 Red Joan (2018) Donovan Farley ... largely devoid of the intrigue that usually accompanies such weighty topics. EDIT
Posted May 2, 2019
2/4 Hail Satan? (2019) Corbin Smith It's an artless film, constantly reaching for obvious musical cues and film clips while the subjects are mostly uninteresting doofs. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
3/4 Her Smell (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Moss' performance has a way of not only alleviating these shortcomings but swallowing them. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
3/4 The Beach Bum (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Best to simply bask in one of the more ludicrous performances an A-list actor has ever committed to the screen. EDIT
Posted Apr 18, 2019
3/4 High Life (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Deep as it runs thematically, High Life isn't note-perfect. EDIT
Posted Apr 18, 2019
2/4 The Aftermath (2019) Mia Vicino As it so often goes with Keira Knightley period pieces that aren't Atonement or Pride & Prejudice, it's safe to assume you'll feel the same way about this one as you do all the others. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
2/4 Shazam! (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson Shazam! is a superhero movie that would have been better without superheroics. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
3/4 Pet Sematary (2019) Donovan Farley Pet Sematary isn't perfect, but its flaws are minimal enough to make it a fun and hair-raising escape from the actual horrors of the world, which is exactly what one wants from anything tied to Stephen King. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
2/4 The Mustang (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Any horse trainer (or even someone who loved The Rider) could spot the missing virtue here-patience. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
1/4 The Dirt (2019) Chance Solem-Pfeifer At least The Dirt has the decency not to pretend Mötley Crüe made important music, but then you're just watching a poorly lit TV movie about misogynists who had it out for hotel furniture. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
4/4 Gloria Bell (2018) Corbin Smith Moore is natural and truthful throughout, and the spaces her Gloria inhabits, be they dance clubs, bedrooms or casinos, are beautifully filmed. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
3/4 Dumbo (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson Dumbo gets an electric jolt of nastiness from Keaton-whose malicious grin is a character in its own right-and Green, whose regal spunkiness confirms she's the 21st-century equivalent of Grace Kelly. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
Step Brothers (2008) Chris Stamm It's a tad problematic, a mite disturbing and immensely funny. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
Captain Marvel (2019) Jay Horton Larson creates from whole cloth a recognizable template of unsinkable feminine swagger. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
Ash Is Purest White (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Call it subversion, call it suppression - the result is an artful malaise. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
4/4 Us (2019) Donovan Farley As good as these performances are, Us is undoubtedly a film carried by its female characters and the brilliant actresses playing them. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
2/4 Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018) Corbin Smith The first half is entertaining, though at times the storyline can feel mushed together. But when the plot really locks in, Ruben Brandt becomes a surprisingly compelling film. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
2/4 To Dust (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Even if the "why" is deep and bizarre, the "how" in To Dust is a little easy. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
3/4 Climax (2018) Donovan Farley The paranoia that slowly overcomes the group is masterfully presented... However, the characters are lesser for the illogical way they hasten themselves to incredible cruelty and violence. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
1/4 Greta (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer It's the rare thriller that escalates in such a tactless, telegraphed way you end up duped into believing a self-aware twist must be coming. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
2/4 Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Bennett Campbell Ferguson This results in a film whose director and protagonist have something in common-they're both pretenders, not the real deal. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
1/4 Miss Bala (2019) Mia Vicino The most memorable part of Miss Bala is when "Los Ageless" by St. Vincent plays during a party scene. That rules. The rest of the film, sadly, does not. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
2/4 The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Jay Horton What passes for narrative requires manufacturing an antagonist whose motivations never make sense and whose very existence disregards the absurd yet otherwise continuous rules defining Emmet's universe. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
4/4 Capernaum (2018) Bennett Campbell Ferguson Capernaum is a rare movie that inspires even as it confronts the horrors its characters inflict on one another. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Donovan Farley Rothe shines in this film as she did in the original, and so does most of the supporting cast, but her charms aren't enough to make Happy Death Day 2U a multiverse you'd be happy to be stuck duplicating. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
Isn't It Romantic (2019) Corbin Smith The best moments come when the movie embraces the slanderous metafiction skewering the genre its parodying, but it's hard not to feel that sooner or later the plotline sags and becomes the very thing it's supposed to be savaging. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
Never Look Away (2018) Chance Solem-Pfeifer A reach in every sense-for prestige, for 12 different themes, for an extra hour of your time. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2019