The Patriot Ledger

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
B- Trial by Fire (2018) Al Alexander You can't help wishing Zwick's lockstep depiction of capital punishment felt a lot less like a death sentence. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2019
C The White Crow (2018) Al Alexander What should have been thrilling is rendered clumsily flat-footed by a filmmaker flailing to make sense of a tortured screenplay from playwright David Hare that's felled by an inability to stay on pointe. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2019
B+ Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) Al Alexander Westheimer says she strenuously avoids politics, but in "Ask Dr. Ruth," her agenda is clear. And that is a plea for us to make love wherever and whenever we can. And for once, she's not talking about sex. EDIT
Posted May 4, 2019
B+ Long Shot (2019) Al Alexander It's a flabby script, and it probably could have stood tightening and more prudent editing, but it scores solid punches; many of them outrageously funny. EDIT
Posted May 4, 2019
B- Stockholm (2018) Al Alexander Although compelling in places, Budreau's first attempt at a heist picture is no "Dog"; more a cute puppy, yearning to be loved. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
B Family (2018) Al Alexander Normally, I hate movies punishing women who've achieved success, but "Family" -- or more importantly, Schilling -- renders it a tad-bit palpable. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
B+ Avengers: Endgame (2019) Dana Barbuto "Endgame" is a satisfying swansong, nothing short of a fitting heroes' end. Thanks, Marvel. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
B- Wild Nights With Emily (2018) Al Alexander Often, the acting is cringe-worthy; the jumps in time clumsy; the tonal shifts jarring; and the method of Dickinson's writing woefully under-explored. But Shannon and a script rich in cheeky humor save "Wild Nights" from Olnek's own worst instincts. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2019
B+ The Brink (2019) Al Alexander Alison Klayman's fascinating study of an incredibly smart man with stupendously stupid ideas. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2019
A- Diane (2018) Al Alexander It's gloomy, but it's also an affirmation that there's life in death, evidenced through one woman's struggle to atone for her sins. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2019
C- Napszállta (2018) Al Alexander You keep watching in hopes of some big revelation or showdown, but Nemes merely lets his story fizzle out into hoary tropes. To save you the trouble, just know it's a colossal waste of time. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2019
B+ Shazam! (2019) Dana Barbuto Jack Dylan Grazer's Freddy flat steals the movie with his charm and sincerity. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
B Hotel Mumbai (2018) Al Alexander Maras scares the bejesus out of you, creating intense life-or-death situations that come non-stop. But at a certain point, you say, "enough already!" What's the point? EDIT
Posted Mar 31, 2019
B The China Syndrome (1979) Al Alexander The result is a film that would make Hitchcock proud, but there's no escaping the hinky feeling "Hotel Mumbai" leaves delineating acts of violence that brush up against gratuitous. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2019
B+ The Mustang (2019) Dana Barbuto The film gives new meaning to horsepower. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
B- Dumbo (2019) Dana Barbuto Disney stories often evoke powerful emotions, but this "Dumbo" is more glum than endearing with not enough heart and humor to ever achieve liftoff. EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2019
B+ Ash Is Purest White (2018) Al Alexander Zhangke contends China is moving recklessly into the future, thinking only about today, much like his impetuous lovers. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2019
C The Aftermath (2019) Dana Barbuto Ridiculous doesn't begin to describe James Kent's "The Aftermath..." EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
A- Us (2019) Dana Barbuto Blame Jordan Peele if you're unable to sleep peacefully again. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
A- Woman at War (2018) Al Alexander It's tricky, given the current political climate, to glorify an eco-terrorist, but Geirharosdottir enables Erlingsson to pull it off with her ability to remain likable in the face of Halla's escalating criminal activity. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
B+ Transit (2018) Al Alexander Christian Petzold's dread-inducing "Transit" serves as a stunning wake-up call to what will be a bleak, dangerous outcome if the "civilized" world doesn't snap out of it -- and quick. Yes, history is repeating itself. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
B+ Gloria Bell (2018) Dana Barbuto He's the rare director possessing the knack and insight to tell beautiful stories about women of all sorts. He does it again. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
B- Five Feet Apart (2019) Dana Barbuto It's hard to hate on a well-intended movie about life and love, but by the end, we're neck-deep in Nicholas Sparks territory, with not a lifeline in sight. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
B Giant Little Ones (2018) Dana Barbuto Behrman pulls the rug out to dissect a once-unbreakable friendship. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
B Pájaros de verano (2018) Al Alexander It haunts you. Not because of what befalls its characters, but what befalls a once pure culture now in limbo, devoured by the rot of avarice. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
C The Wedding Guest (2018) Al Alexander Winterbottom dwells on the "napping" in kidnapping, turning his would-be thriller into a snooze you lose. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
B Captain Marvel (2019) Dana Barbuto "Captain Marvel" end ups somewhere between empowering and entertaining, because when you strip away the bombastic comic-book accoutrements, "Captain Marvel" is a simple story of female strength, friendship and identity. Sign me up. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
A- Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018) Al Alexander Always clever and stirringly stylistic in its depiction of art's ability to etch indelibly into the mind. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
B- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Al Alexander It recycles plot points and scenes from the previous two films and flaunts enough tacked-on endings to rival "The Return of the King." But darned if your eyes don't well when it's time to bring a poignant end to the story. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2019
B- Never Look Away (2018) Al Alexander Like a good-bad Lifetime movie, you can't help submitting to "Away's" guilty pleasures. Then it occurs to you this digital pablum robbed "Burning" of its far-more-deserving slot in this year's Best Foreign Language race. Why? EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2019
B- 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation (2019) Al Alexander In the wake of the president's State of the Union address, I thought it opportune to deliver my State of the Oscar Shorts for 2019. And, sad to report, they are anything but strong. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
B- 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Live Action (2019) Al Alexander In the wake of the president's State of the Union address, I thought it opportune to deliver my State of the Oscar Shorts for 2019. And, sad to report, they are anything but strong. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
B 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Documentary (2019) Al Alexander In the wake of the president's State of the Union address, I thought it opportune to deliver my State of the Oscar Shorts for 2019. And, sad to report, they are anything but strong. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
B The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Al Alexander It's the half-dozen musical numbers that give this "LEGO Movie" its zeal. Well, that and all the great jokes. But truth be told, "2" plays a distant second to the original. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
C What Men Want (2019) Dana Barbuto It's the total opposite of what any guy (or woman, for that matter) would want, in spite of a totally game performance from Taraji P. Henson ("Hidden Figures"). EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
B+ Cold Pursuit (2019) Dana Barbuto ... it's a pitch-black comedic thriller that's, in fact, a bloody good time. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
B Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Al Alexander Like a demented second-coming of Bob Ross, it's fun to sit back and watch Gilroy draw -- blood. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
A- Capernaum (2018) Al Alexander The title translates to "chaos," and chaos is exactly what Nadine Labaki's brutal, unflinching film depicts in boiling down a worldwide crisis to the microcosm of an undocumented 12-year-old Lebanese boy suffering the mean streets of Beirut. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
B+ Stan & Ollie (2018) Al Alexander It's highly entertaining, but it's also profoundly moving thanks to the nuances Coogan and Reilly inject in impeccably depicting a partnership that wasn't fully appreciated until Hardy's rapidly fading health had the last laugh. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2019
A Cold War (2018) Al Alexander A filmmaking marvel that yields the perfect blend of artistry and passion. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2019
C The Upside (2018) Dana Barbuto Hart scored major box-office successes with "Jumanji," "Ride Along" and "Central Intelligence." But this time his talents are underserved by a script that fails to generate the same manic humor and heart that have become his trademark. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2019
C Destroyer (2018) Al Alexander The only excitement here is Kidman, who unleashes a chilling fury while doing everything in her power to waylay "Destroyer's" eventual destruction. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2019
C On the Basis of Sex (2018) Al Alexander The lackluster performances add to the tedium of a story that, frankly, just isn't that interesting, despite its importance in Ginsburg illustrious career and that of U.S. jurisprudence. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2018
A Vice (2018) Al Alexander By the time McKay's finished connecting the dots, we begin to see Cheney as the epicenter of an earth-shaking collapse of government norms so destructive you keep asking yourself, "Why am I laughing?" EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2018
A If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Al Alexander What puts you in rhythm with the story is Jenkins' thoughtful, and thought-provoking, examination of the three facets of love -- romantic, familial and friendship -- that never fail to provide hope, even when things look bleak. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2018
B+ Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Dana Barbuto Maybe it's because we're hungrier than usual for nostalgia, but this whole production just feels right. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2018
B- Vox Lux (2018) Al Alexander You can take it as it is and be disappointed, or see it as something fuller, richer and rewarding. Either way, your reaction will be far from passive. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2018
B+ Ben Is Back (2018) Dana Barbuto We've seen Ben's story before, in fact "Ben Is Back" is the second movie this season after "Beautiful Boy" to depict drug dependency challenging the concept of unconditional and boundless parental love. But this one has Roberts, and she's addictive. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B- Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Dana Barbuto Whatever side you land on, it's unavoidable to think of how much different history would have been if these women were friends instead of foes. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
A- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Dana Barbuto ...it has multiple web slingers - seven. Yup, that's a lot of Spider-Men for the price of one. Kapow! EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018