The Patriot Ledger

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
A Nomadland (2020) Al Alexander The focus is on McDormand's Fern ... but Zhao's valentine to the disenfranchised is inclusive and communal in every way America is not. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
B- Pieces of a Woman (2020) Al Alexander What saves it are Kirby's outstanding interpretations of a woman who's lost not only her will to live, but to care. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2021
B- The Mauritanian (2021) Al Alexander Rahim's turn as Salahi stands as a career-best, upstaging even Foster in snatching not just our attention, but our empathy for a credibly accused associate of Osama bin Laden. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
B Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Al Alexander There are few revelations involved in King's telling of the life and death of Black Panther icon Fred Hampton, but it sufficiently motivates rage at the systemic racism that left a 21-year-old community organizer lying in a pool of blood. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
A- Minari (2020) Al Alexander The movie is bittersweet but affirming. But even more impressive is its timeliness . . . as immigrants are under assault by a seemingly growing gaggle of white supremacists. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
B+ Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) Dana Barbuto "Barb and Star" is the Mumolo and Wiig show all the way. And their chemistry is killer. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Dana Barbuto It's all frivolous fun sprinkled with a recurring theme of female independence that seems well ahead of its time. EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2021
B Two of Us (2019) Al Alexander A terrific love story in which amour not only conquers, it heals. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2021
B- Malcolm & Marie (2021) Al Alexander The actors are constantly operating in the considerable shadows of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, as they attempt to "Woolf" down well-chewed scenery. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2021
B- The Little Things (2021) Dana Barbuto ... that's the thing about casting a trio of Oscar winners - you willingly follow them down the rabbit hole. They play off each other with ease and you relish watching them navigate the intense situations they find themselves in. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
B The Dig (2021) Dana Barbuto Stone has ample opportunity to turn this all into a mawkish nightmare, but thankfully he resists. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
B+ Supernova (2020) Al Alexander The obviousness of the big reveal is indicative of the story's precise clockwork. But it's no less powerful in its impact, as it boldly asks what use is love and friendship without memory. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2021
A- Saint Maud (2019) Al Alexander Maud's fall from grace is a riveting spectacle for the senses. It's shocking and disturbing, but it's often oddly beautiful. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2021
B+ The White Tiger (2021) Al Alexander It's thrilling. But it's foremost a cautionary tale of what can happen when you spat upon a certain class of people once too often. It can get ugly, fast. EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2021
B+ MLK/FBI (2020) Al Alexander It's the story of two men, King and former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in which resentment and jealousy fueled an unprecedented abuse of power by the latter upon the former. EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2021
B+ One Night in Miami (2020) Al Alexander It's an engaging mix of fine acting and timely ideas, all in service of a frank examination of race in America, a nation where principles of equality too often get forgotten. EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2021
B Herself (2020) Al Alexander Dunne holds you firmly in her grip as both a writer and actress possessing an intense passion for speaking up for the thousands of voiceless women lacking her bully pulpit. EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2021
B- The Marksman (2021) Dana Barbuto It's not great, but "The Marksman" doesn't aim high and Lorenz smartly relies on Neeson's charm and Everyman heroics to counter. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2021
A- Promising Young Woman (2020) Dana Barbuto The movie is a showcase for Mulligan ("An Education," "Suffragette," "Drive") and she does her best work yet. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2020
B+ Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Dana Barbuto ... if we've learned anything from the dozens of comic-book movies during the past decade, it's that you do not see superhero flicks for the plot. You see them to watch good defeat evil. You see them to forget about a year like 2020. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2020
B+ Soul (2020) Dana Barbuto Regular, old living is where it's at. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2020
B+ Us Kids (2020) Al Alexander What Snyder -- in her follow-up to the even more wrenching "Newtown" -- coaxes from the Parkland kids isn't so much their newfound activism, but the deeply submerged grief and sorrow they refuse to let rise to the surface. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B Zappa (2020) Al Alexander An often fascinating career retrospective chronicling the unlikeliest of American rock stars, a living, breathing contradiction in every aspect of his 52 too-short years on Earth. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B+ The Climb (2019) Al Alexander Easily the best bromance flick since "I Love You, Man," which is saying something. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B- The Life Ahead (2020) Al Alexander They just don't make dynamos like Loren any more, and "The Life Ahead" reminds of how much will be lost when a diva like she departs for her ultimate role far beyond the restraints of our mortal universe. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B- Let Him Go (2020) Al Alexander It's worth seeing it just to bask in the brilliance of Costner and Lane. They have the smarts and chemistry to fully sell their roles as adoring man and wife who will do anything for each other, including kidnapping, murder and coercion. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B- Another Round (2020) Al Alexander What Vinterberg lacks in freshness is considerably compensated by the presence of Mads Mikkelsen, the hunky Dane making every film he's in better. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B+ Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Al Alexander Like the true and compassionate actor Chadwick Boseman was, he departs the way most thespians can only dream by summoning an exit sure to reverberate for generations. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
C The Midnight Sky (2020) Al Alexander In addition to a plodding pace and clunky structure, "Midnight Sky" lacks weight as well as a point beyond the usual stop and smell the roses before a nasty smack down with nature's Armageddon. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B The Dissident (2020) Al Alexander I thought I knew all there was to know about the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But after seeing Bryan Fogel's "The Dissident," I realize there is far more to the story, most of it deeply disturbing. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
C Greenland (2020) Al Alexander "Deep Impact" it's not. What unspools is a far shallower collision between the heavens and Earth, where all life beyond the Garritys is rife for enhancing a rapidly climbing body count. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B Sylvie's Love (2020) Al Alexander What the script lacks in gravitas and surprises, is easily compensated by the candy-colored sets and evocative Technicolor backdrops of a city -- and restless hearts -- that never sleep. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B News of the World (2020) Al Alexander Leave it to Tom Hanks to enliven a dry, dusty Western like "News of the World." Without him, the latest effort from Brit writer-director Paul Greengrass would be as empty and decrepit as a West Texas ghost town. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
B- Black Bear (2020) Al Alexander Like its namesake, "Black Bear" is a large, slightly clumsy animal seeking sustenance. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2020
C I'm Your Woman (2020) Al Alexander If you're going to waste two hours on a dumb, pointless movie, you could fine far worse company than Brosnahan. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2020
A- Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You (2020) Al Alexander A heartfelt missive set to muscle and brawn of songs baring Springsteen's soul and addressing his growing awareness that the best things in life are finite. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2020
B+ Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Al Alexander Yes, this "Borat" is every bit as funny as the original -- possibly better -- but Cohen never lets you lose sight of the people and ideas his unique form of satire exposes for the blowhard frauds they are. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2020
C The Glorias (2020) Al Alexander This is a movie conspicuously missing a clear through-line, and worse, any attempt to get inside Steinem's head to articulate as to why she sacrificed so much of her life in pursuit of one cause. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2020
B The Croods: A New Age (2020) Dana Barbuto "Croods" is most assuredly kid-friendly, with a good mix of action, laughter and most of all, heart. EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
B- The Last Vermeer (2019) Al Alexander A film that more than paints in broad strokes in capturing a moment in Dutch history in which an artful dodger successfully bet it all in going for Baroque. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
A- Mank (2020) Al Alexander There may not be a Rosebud left burning at the end, but it's sure to leave a burning in the collective souls of even the most casual of movie fans. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
B On the Rocks (2020) Al Alexander It's not only fun to watch them spar, but bask in the finely nuanced examination of what it is between fathers and daughters that enables them to call BS so easily on one another. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2020
C Honest Thief (2020) Al Alexander It's a role Neeson could play in his sleep -- and half the time you swear he is doing just that. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2020
D The War With Grandpa (2020) Al Alexander Why is it that Hollywood thinks people over 70 are so uproarious in their dotage? If anyone deserves to be laughed at it's the wet-behind-the-ears dolts who thought "The War with Grandpa" was a bright idea. EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2020
B+ The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Al Alexander Leave it to Aaron Sorkin to take history, add a dozen "'West Wing' moments" and turn "The Trial of the Chicago 7" into a riveting dissertation on our nation's belly flop into the shallow end of fascism. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
A- Kajillionaire (2020) Al Alexander It took me three or four attempts to settle into "Kajillionaire," but once I did, I was awash in the profundity of a movie subtly reaching beyond its serendipitous musings. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
B Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (2020) Al Alexander An irresistible blend of music, politics and lifelong friendships neatly pulled together into a riveting entertainment that has your foot tapping and your heart soaring. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
A- I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Al Alexander This isn't a movie, it's a total mind f**k. And thanks to Kaufman, there's no end to his "Ending." Just more questions. And the more there are the more you find yourself falling in love. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
B The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) Al Alexander Initially, Iannucci's offering is a bit too twee to digest. But as David's march toward adulthood breathlessly propels forward, resistance becomes futile. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2020
B+ The Mole Agent (2020) Al Alexander The insight to be gleaned is immeasurable. And the empathy, like cream, rises to the top. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2020