MLive.com

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
2.5/4 Rampage (2018) John Serba To its credit, it doesn't take itself seriously, and when you need a movie to not take itself seriously, you cast Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as your lead. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3/4 Isle of Dogs (2018) John Serba Maybe when dogs become less doglike, especially through an esoteric lens like Anderson's, it compromises the unconditional loyalty we sense from the real thing. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3/4 Ready Player One (2018) John Serba Even though these heroes are simplistic... Spielberg makes sure their motives and goals are transparent, the force driving us breathlessly to the movie's climax. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3.5/4 The Death of Stalin (2017) John Serba a ruthless livewire comedy... It tempts and teases the rigidly ideological portions of our minds to step into the light and laugh. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
2/4 Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) John Serba It aims for maximum impact, but is vaguely dissatisfying on both dramatic and spectacular levels. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3/4 Love, Simon (2018) John Serba It's a funny movie, but not an uproarious one. It's not overstated or understated, but clearly and honestly stated, and anchored by strong performances from its young cast. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
2.5/4 A Wrinkle in Time (2018) John Serba There's a sense of deeper meaning in the movie that never crystallizes beyond its base emotional hooks. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
2/4 Red Sparrow (2018) John Serba It's quite the emotional journey, going from peering through our fingers to derisive chuckles. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
1.5/4 Death Wish (2018) John Serba (The orignal 'Death Wish') at least illustrated the ugly internal and external consequences of such brutality. Eli Roth's remake... shows no such focus. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
2.5/4 Mute (2017) John Serba "Mute" is by no means unwatchable, but ultimately inspires us to re-watch the movies that inspired it. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3.5/4 Annihilation (2018) John Serba A potent and suspenseful trek into heady sci-fi. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3.5/4 Black Panther (2018) John Serba It's truly elevating to watch "Black Panther" reveal itself as Marvel's most ambitious movie to date. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2018
3/4 Hostiles (2017) John Serba Scott Cooper uses the Native American genocide as a springboard to show that aggression begets aggression, and only unity can transcend it. It's an obvious statement, but a noble one. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2018
2/4 The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) John Serba The movie's solid first and second acts fail to yield dividends, and the film crumbles into a confusing, poorly edited mess in the third. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2018
1.5/4 Fifty Shades Freed (2018) John Serba We're officially witnessing the cultural denouement of a trilogy that, if my math is correct, adds up to roughly 150 shades of embarrassment. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2018
3.5/4 Escanaba in da Moonlight (2000) Lorilee Craker Stamp is so funny as the dim bulb brother Remnar, and Cain's Reuben is hapless in a deer blind but wants a buck so badly you can truly relate to him and his quest. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2018
3/4 Molly's Game (2017) John Serba Chastain is one of the day's heavyweight screen presences, capable of counterbalancing Sorkin's bulldozer storytelling methods with her charisma. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
3.5/4 Darkest Hour (2017) John Serba Oldman's superlative work prohibits the movie from fading into the hedges like dozens of other dehydrated period pieces. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
4/4 The Shape of Water (2017) John Serba It is at the same time many things that came before it, and something altogether new. To experience it is to love it. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
2.5/4 The Greatest Showman (2017) John Serba Do not expect deep insight into (Barnum)... he surely deserves the statues built in his honor, and, even more surely, a better movie someday. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
2/4 Downsizing (2017) John Serba The movie is a scattershot collection of large-scale ideas framed by the irony of its premise, but never reaches its potential for satire or commentary. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
2/4 Wonder Wheel (2017) John Serba There are moments where Winslet's depth and charisma cuts through Ginny's jittery mannerisms and neuro-psycho-bric-a-brac, and we sense something real, but they're fleeting. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
4/4 The Post (2017) John Serba Spielberg's work is an expository blast of energy, a vital, vibrant and often humorous dramatization of the journalistic process. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
3.5/4 I, Tonya (2017) John Serba The movie (is structured) as purposefully corrupt, darkly comic storytelling, boldly bridging the vast gap between soapy trash and an Akira Kurosawa cinema classic. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
2.5/4 The Commuter (2018) John Serba I enjoyed it more than the recent reiteration of 'Murder on the Orient Express'... Given the option, I'd choo-choo-choose 'The Commuter' any day. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2018
4/4 The Disaster Artist (2017) John Serba Please savor the irony that one of the worst movies ever made has inspired one of the best movies of 2017. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2017
3.5/4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) John Serba The first half of the movie works in fits and starts, but Johnson makes up for it in the second, when the bundle of subplots intertwine tighter, and the narrative rockets forward, its action fleet of foot and tightly tied to its emotional highs. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2017
3/4 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) John Serba McDonagh's "In Bruges" is one of the great cinematic works of the new century. "Three Billboards" doesn't come close, even though it traffics in similar crackling dialogue and tremendous performances. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2017
3.5/4 Last Flag Flying (2017) John Serba Like Linklater's most significant work, "Last Flag Flying" is a heavyweight drama that's light on its feet. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2017
2.5/4 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) John Serba A goofy movie that feels relatively fresh, and freshness is a valuable commodity in a franchise that's now nine years and 17 movies deep. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
3.5/4 Lucky (2017) John Serba It's bittersweet without being sentimental, striking a remarkable tonal balance which, I reckon, can be credited to Stanton. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
1.5/4 Daddy's Home 2 (2017) John Serba A weird, misshapen conglomeration of innocuous juvenile yuks, politically incorrect humor and self-aware comedy punches aimed at the fourth wall. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
2/4 Murder on the Orient Express (2017) John Serba Branagh embraces a corny, old-fashioned tone that should make it stand out at the modern cineplex, but he's disappointingly inconsistent in rendering the movie lively. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
3.5/4 The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) John Serba I'm not certain exactly what Lanthimos is trying to say, but the language of his visuals and script is vigorous and confrontational. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
2/4 Justice League (2017) John Serba Where "Man of Steel" and "BvS" were like root canals, and "Suicide Squad" a brick in the face, and "Wonder Woman" a sweet, sweet rainbow, "Justice League" is merely a squandering of time and talent. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
4/4 The Florida Project (2017) John Serba One of those films that makes you feel like you're eavesdropping on others' lives. It's raw and authentic, heartbreaking and funny, profoundly humane. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
2.5/4 The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) John Serba It's not all that ambitious, but it is upbeat and occasionally clever. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
1.5/4 Suburbicon (2017) John Serba The movie spikes with broadly comic or grisly violent extremes, but smooths out for dull stretches, and is oddly deaf to the tones of its thematic ambitions. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
3.5/4 Coco (2017) John Serba It's no exaggeration to say it shows us things we've never seen before, something that happens so rarely in modern cinema. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
3.5/4 Thank You for Your Service (2017) John Serba Cuts close to the bone, and never stoops to waving a flag for cheap sentiment. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
4/4 Lady Bird (2017) John Serba The movie is wonderful and true, an act of love in all its contradictions and complexity. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2017
1.5/4 The Snowman (2017) John Serba 'The Snowman' made me laugh when it probably shouldn't have. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
1.5/4 Geostorm (2017) John Serba 'Geostorm' is exactly what we expect it to be: an aggressively mediocre display of expensive digital effects. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3.5/4 The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) John Serba (Baumbach) pens parallel discordant comedic harmonies that sometimes come together, at the point where his characters, finally, at last, are talking about the same thing. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3.5/4 Blade Runner 2049 (2017) John Serba A masterful progression from the original film. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3.5/4 American Made (2017) John Serba Cruise is terrific and entertaining, freewheeling and funny, and many years into his career, he still carries himself like one of Hollywood's top guns. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3/4 Battle of the Sexes (2017) John Serba Stone's signature blend of breezy charm and deep empathy is so winning, it eclipses the screenplay's broader strokes, and the more heavily affected performances of her co-stars. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3.5/4 Brad's Status (2017) John Serba Stiller's performance is funny and substantive, a subtle portrait of middle-age, middle-class, white-guy anxiety existing somewhere between his best commercial comedy roles and prickly indies. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3/4 It (2017) John Serba The young cast's uniformly strong acting is a boon for "It" - they easily shift from comic to earnest, handling the raunchy bickering and heavy dramatic moments with equal conviction. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017
3/4 Patti Cake$ (2017) John Serba Credit Danielle Macdonald for an emotionally authentic performance - one wrong turn, and she could be a caricature or, gulp, a Movie Character, fulfilling the screenplay's many familiar tropes. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2017