Epoch Times

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
1.5/5 Good Boys (2019) Mark Jackson Non-stop 11-year-old F-bombs and little white and Asian kids talking like gang members on a drive-by shooting isn't really funny. It's more "*sigh* What's the world coming to?" sad. And you don't even wanna know what they find in Max's parent's bedroom. EDIT
Posted Aug 18, 2019
3.5 Luce (2019) Mark Jackson "Luce" tempts us down our usual knee-jerk pathways to our particular phobias, notions, and prejudices; and just when we think we've got it all figured out, and we're comfortable, it whips the rug out from under us, and exposes all the ways we're biased. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2019
3.5/5 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Mark Jackson The Hobbs-Shaw relationship may constitute the most high-speed, ping-pong, alpha-male, insult-fest ever to scorch the big screen. It requires great cardio. This actually takes acting ability, and Johnson gets incrementally funnier with each film he does. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2019
3.5/5 Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) Mark Jackson Quentin Tarantino personally drives me up a wall, but love him or hate him, QT's a cinematic fixture, guaranteed to be in the director Hall of Fame. I have to give credit where credit is due: "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is too long but very amusing. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2019
1.5 The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Mark Jackson So ... what's the point? The downtrodden nebbish lived a resentful life, and, once empowered through karate, ruthlessly takes what he wants? Like sex-traffickers Keith Raniere and Jeffrey Epstein? How's their art of self-defense working out for them? EDIT
Posted Jul 27, 2019
3.5/5 Honeyland (2019) Mark Jackson "Honeyland" isn't an in-your-face, "Fracking-is-horrible!" type eco-doc, but carries the same message. Pumping chemicals into shale unbalances the environment, but so does the greed that causes bee genocide. We know what happens when all the bees die. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
3.5/5 Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Mark Jackson This Spidey flick is about young, geek love to the max, all of which can be summed up by that favorite millennial word: "Awkward!" But it's delicious awkwardness with great payoffs of dissonance-resolution. Nice Spidey suit too ... wing-suit capabilities. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
3/5 Yesterday (2019) Mark Jackson Himesh Patel has to deliver as a credible interpreter of the greatest classic rock band ever, in his movie-star debut. He absolutely pulls it off. He's got good timing, in both the musical and comedic senses, and quite an engaging voice, too. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
3/5 Stuber (2019) Mark Jackson Stuber would have hit the stratosphere had a different former WWE wrestler; the funny Dwayne Johnson, teamed up with Kumail Nanjiani. Because Kumail Nanjiani is a very, very funny man. But Dave Bautista might eventually catch up to Dwayne. Just not here. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
4/5 Maiden (2018) Mark Jackson Talk about a dangerous Hero's Journey. You ain't seen nothing till you've seen storms out on the freezing black Southern Ocean near Antarctica, with 500-foot water geysers from giant waves caroming off ghostly icebergs in the mist. These women are Heroic. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
2.5/5 Cold Blood (2019) Mark Jackson A lonely girl searched in vain for the warm heart of a cold billionaire father, only to find that warm heart at the core of a cold-blooded assassin. Great premise, shoddy delivery. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
4/5 Wild Rose (2018) Mark Jackson Wild Rose" is about trying to realize one's dreams at the expense of others, learning to embrace the difficulty of one's path by sacrificing the dream in order to live with integrity, authenticity, and responsibility-and thereby manifesting the dream. EDIT
Posted Jul 15, 2019
4/5 Toy Story 4 (2019) Mark Jackson It's highly refreshing to see that the toys are ensconced in their rightful, traditional, existential capacity of enhancing children's imaginations. Nary a cellphone in sight. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2019
2.5/5 Dark Phoenix (2019) Mark Jackson Jean Grey herein harnesses cosmic energy. The film fumbles in claiming Jean can handle this energy due to the use of her human emotions. Advanced martial artists can only master this when they move beyond human emotion, by mastering meditative techniques. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
4/5 Booksmart (2019) Mark Jackson Olivia Wilde slam-dunks her directorial debut. Is "Booksmart" the G.O.A.T. of high school movies? No, but it's definitely in the top 20. Maybe the top 10. It's heavily influenced by many of the greatest. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2019
4/5 The Biggest Little Farm (2018) Mark Jackson Depressing eco-docs about fracking absolutely will, and should, stand our collective hair on end, but 'The Biggest Little Farm' will restore your hope in Father Sky and Mother Earth. EDIT
Posted May 13, 2019
2/5 Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Mark Jackson Here's a bland movie about a bad boy named Bundy that bagged a bunch of showbiz buzz, but didn't open big, because, although it stars "Baywatch" beefcake Zac Efron, it's almost blasphemously blah. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2019
2.5/5 Tolkien (2019) Mark Jackson LOTR is an enlightenment tale. Frodo sheds karma, leaves Middle Earth for the Elvish equivalent of a Buddha paradise. You think you know Tolkien? Can you write the language? This scanty 'Tolkien' contains none of the above. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2019
4/5 Avengers: Endgame (2019) Mark Jackson According to Buddhist/Taoist teachings, smaller-particle dimensions are where the heavens are actually located. This is one of the many reasons why "Avengers" movies are tales, that by definition, have to be about gods. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
4/5 Long Shot (2019) Mark Jackson A male fantasy of epic proportions -- beautiful alpha female falls for chubby, sartorially challenged, broke-ity-broke Brooklyn weed-head -- Rogen and Theron make it work to the point where I actually want to see it again. EDIT
Posted Apr 28, 2019
3/5 Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018) Mark Jackson Not bad. What's next in the endless stream of Ip Man movies? Probably in the next Matrix, Ip Man teaches Keanu Reeves's Neo, who will then come out of his trance state and proclaim, "I know better kung fu." EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
3/5 Shazam! (2019) Mark Jackson This is what Shazam! does best: puts you in an underprivileged, bullied teen's head, and lets you feel how mind-blowingly exciting it would be to suddenly have powers with which to smack every bully upside the head. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
3/5 The Chaperone (2018) Mark Jackson If you relax your twanging synapses (after viewing any Avenger movie), breathe, and slow your pace down, The Chaperone is actually rather enjoyable. And it will give you much to ponder afterward. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
2.5/5 Dumbo (2019) Mark Jackson Burton's patented creepiness, assortment of oddities, and the CGI steampunk-iness on display here can't compete with the simple pen, ink, and paint of the original. EDIT
Posted Apr 27, 2019
4/5 Stockholm (2018) Joe Bendel It is a tight, energetic period thriller, helmed with a fair amount of flair by Budreau. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2019
3/5 Rust Creek (2018) Mark Jackson Director McGowan has definitely herewith put herself on the map. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
3.5/5 Five Feet Apart (2019) Mark Jackson The spiritual takeaway here, for our modern understanding, is that if you could never touch the one(s) you love, the pain of that would take over your whole life. So have gratitude that you can just reach out any time you like, and touch your loved ones. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
2.5/5 Captain Marvel (2019) Mark Jackson Samuel L. Jackson provides 99 percent of the chuckles here, but then, he does that in just about any movie he's in. Why is this movie suddenly a financial blockbuster? The only blockbuster-ness it warrants is the one Captain Marvel crash-lands in. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
3/5 Dragged Across Concrete (2018) Mark Jackson Definitely not for feminists and/or liberals; pretty much exclusively for veteran law enforcement personnel with the un-PC first-responder graveyard humor that always accompanies seeing too much death. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
4.5/5 Green Book (2018) Mark Jackson Sometimes life is stranger than art, sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes life imitates art. If life starts imitating hopeful art-that's uplifting. That's the goal of art, as I see it. "Green Book" uplifts. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
2.5/5 Run the Race (2018) Mark Jackson "Run the Race" won't convert any nonbelievers, or even spark a "Hmmm!" type of fleeting insight into the nature of faith, but for Christian faith-based families, it'll be quite satisfying. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
3/5 Fighting With My Family (2019) Mark Jackson The true tale of a British family of headbangers, for whom wrestling is the family business. Their little girl has a wrestler's Hero's Journey: She goes to America and meets "The Rock." Inspiring! EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
4/5 Wrestle (2018) Mark Jackson A thoroughly engrossing tale of one young coach's attempt to grow boys into men via the discipline of competition grappling, and a blistering depiction of failing public high schools in America. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
3/5 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Mark Jackson This Tame-your-dragon installment is not quite as awesome for kids as its two predecessors. Still quite good, though! EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
3/5 To Dust (2018) Mark Jackson A Hasidic cantor's wife dies, and he's driven batty by the fact that his faith provides no explanation of the decomposition process. He seeks out Ferris Bueller for some answers. Pretty funny. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
3/5 Teen Spirit (2018) Mark Jackson Elle Fanning might not be at Hailee Steinfeld's level and start a parallel career as a pop star, but as an actress nailing the part of up-and-coming pop star-nail it, she most certainly does. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
4.5/5 Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Mark Jackson Cute as a sugar glider with cooler moves than Bruce Lee, "Alita" is a heroine tweens can look up to, because her cyborg heart is pure. Fabulous world-building, and fists of fury-a wild ride! EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2019
4/5 Rodents of Unusual Size (2017) Joe Bendel At a whisker under 70 minutes, "Rodents" totally hits it and quits it, without any wasted time. Yet, it is an important and informative film, especially given the spread of the nutria population. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2019
3.5/5 The Invisibles (2017) Joe Bendel The strongest performance is that of Alice Dwyer as the desperate Lévy, but the late Schönhaus's recollections are the most fascinating. Nevertheless, the entire ensemble is quite strong. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2019
4/5 The Guilty (2018) Joe Bendel A lethally effective procedural thriller. Very highly recommended. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2018
3.5/5 Creed II (2018) Mark Jackson This episode in this extended tale of fighting men and the warrior creed demos father-son dynamics, and especially between Ivan and Viktor Drago -- forgiveness and compassion. These are the building blocks of nontoxic masculinity. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2018
3/5 Widows (2018) Mark Jackson Like Carmela Soprano, these widows were happy to live in bourgeois comfort on dirty money. When the easy living ends, they demonstrate they've got enough moxie and resourcefulness to get out of trouble. So what? It's quite watchable though. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
3/5 Outlaw King (2018) Mark Jackson "Outlaw King's" battle scenes might out-do "Braveheart's" in terms of ferocity. Ultimately, it's a reminder of why we should thank our lucky stars daily for central heating, volunteer military, Deet, and four-wheel-drive pickups with mudflaps. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2018
4/5 Instant Family (2018) Mark Jackson "Instant Family" could start a stampede towards re-branding foster kids as "rescue kids." Imagine if folks looking for a rescue dog took on a rescue kid into the bargain? This movie could make the world a better place... EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
4/5 A Private War (2018) Mark Jackson Colvin was a force of nature, and it's no surprise that she's now lauded cinematically. Hers is a story that begged to be told, because to witness this level of courage, integrity, passion, authenticity, and dedication is to empower yourself. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
2/5 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Mark Jackson Overblown Hollywood enhancing, embellishing, riffing, and too-much-ing on a known classic, with every imaginable thing plus the kitchen sink, and CGI on top of CGI. Like too much Christmas candy, it'll make your teeth hurt. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
3/5 Indivisible (2018) Mark Jackson Indivisible is a powerful reminder of what our armed forces and their families do for us. We stand in their debt. It will bless your days with the recognition, humility, and gratitude that our freedoms are not to be taken for granted. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
2.5/5 Wildlife (2018) Mark Jackson Ed Oxenbould starred in the kid movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. So it makes sense that he's now co-starring in what should be titled - - Paul Dano and his Terrible, (etc), Very Bad First Movie. Just kidding. Sort of. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
2/5 London Fields (2018) Mark Jackson Amber Heard has a particularly goddess-like face; it apparently syncs perfectly with the Golden Ratio. That's the only reason men will go see this movie, and probably love it. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
4/5 People's Republic of Desire (2018) Joe Bendel As director and editor, Wu shows a keen eye for human drama, but still gives viewers a good summary of the bigger picture. He vividly illustrates the disparity between migrant workers and the oligarchical patron class, without belaboring the point. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2018