Austin Chronicle

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (2021) Jenny Nulf The film's patient and honest introspective on young fame... makes it feel so much more than your standard pop music doc. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2021
3.5/5 17 Blocks (2019) Selome Hailu Some moments would have benefitted from a more nuanced and creative soundtrack rather than trite piano tracks that tell you how to feel. Still, even when the direction is heavy-handed, the Sanfords are just too compelling to ignore. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
3.5/5 Synonymes (2018) Josh Kupecki Nadiv's film forgoes an overarching narrative structure, which - depending on your patience with such things - is either exhilarating or exasperating. I found it to be the former, in no small part because newcomer Tom Mercier is absolutely riveting. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
2.5/5 Silk Road (2021) Josh Kupecki Silk Road is not without its pleasures - Clarke especially is fun to watch as he gets increasingly cornered with his shakedown shenanigans - just don't expect the kush; this is strictly schwag. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
2/5 Safer at Home (2021) Richard Whittaker What Host really had, and Safer at Home lacks, are credible characters. Instead, we're confronted with the same nonsensical solipsism that made everyone glad that Cloverfield had monsters. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
3.5/5 The Vigil (2019) Matthew Monagle It dares to look forward, finding a future for Yakov that merges his two identities - religious and secular - and suggests a path back into the light. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
Twilight's Kiss (2019) James Scott This film, bruising yet respectful in its honesty, portrays the still existing divide between the personal and public experience of being gay. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2021
CODA (2021) Richard Whittaker Grounded and sweet, delicately bawdy, and decidedly hilarious, Coda puts an effervescent and original spin on the coming-of-age comedy-drama. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
Users (2021) Richard Whittaker Users, sumptuous as it is to look at, has little new to say about the bane and boon that is modern technology. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) Selome Hailu The footage was shot by producer Hal Tulchin and amassed to about 40 hours in total, but sat dormant for decades... So by resurrecting the event, Questlove has made space for neglected memories. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
Cusp (2021) Selome Hailu These stories are, of course, important. We need to hear and believe young girls about the daily horrors they live with. But how much detail is too much? EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
4/5 Test Pattern (2021) Selome Hailu Test Pattern proves the fault of more uncreative depictions of racial and gendered violence that exploit bare bodies and blood for shock value rather than depth and specificity. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
1.5/5 Blithe Spirit (2020) Jenny Nulf Completely miscast with uninspired production, this remodeling of Blithe Spirit is a faint shadow of its Coward roots, a resurrected retired poltergeist without its same purpose or vigor. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
3.5/5 Nomadland (2020) Marjorie Baumgarten McDormand turns Fern into a great protagonist, but she lacks narrative direction. By the end, Nomadland frustratingly wanders off the edge of the map. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
3/5 Truth to Power (2020) Matthew Monagle Tankian has crafted a movie with an overt political ideology and cast himself as the well-intentioned face of a cultural revolution. But none of this takes away from the issues at the center of the film. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
2.5/5 Sin (2019) Steve Davis The film leaves you hanging, ending with a puzzling 11th-hour epiphany followed by a cheesy greatest-hits montage of Michelangelo's masterworks. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
4.5/5 Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Selome Hailu For a film marked by so much bloodshed and death, Judas and the Black Messiah repeatedly takes the care to avert its gaze to the survivors, understanding them as victims, too. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
2.5/5 Land (2021) Josh Kupecki When, in the final moments of the film, when the last piece of this very lovely looking landscape puzzle is placed, I couldn't help but feel that the film was a missed opportunity for something more intriguing, profound. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
4.5/5 Minari (2020) Richard Whittaker That's the nuanced naturalism that makes Minari so captivating, so intimate: It doesn't tell a complicated story, instead letting the roots and branches of its family drama grow and become entwined with the audience's own stories. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
4/5 The World to Come (2020) Steve Davis When in the presence of Kirby's warm and exotic pre-Raphaelite beauty, Waterston smiles with pure delight (at first, it's a jarring sight), relieved in the discovery that life can be more than everyday drudgery and pain. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
2/5 The Mauritanian (2021) Richard Whittaker The Mauritanian wants to be a fusion of Papillon and A Few Good Men, but it cannot work out whether it wants to make a purely emotive argument, or engage in a brutal cross-examination of the legal system. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
3/5 Film About a Father Who (2020) Jenny Nulf Film About a Father Who is not meant to give Sachs answers to her labyrinth of affection toward her father, but rather used to understand the man from whom she seeks so much approval. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
3/5 The Wanting Mare (2020) Richard Whittaker Bateman's worldbuilding introduces stranger elements that are always counterbalanced by more grounded emotional developments, keeping the audience engaged as hard as the esoteric mythology pushes them away. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
2.5/5 () Richard Whittaker A derivative score (you'll know it when you here it) and an overly-neat ending can't sabotage a still-enthralling drama, especially when Wayne pulls the rug at key moments. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
House of Hummingbird (2018) Richard Whittaker That there is less a plot than a series of events is what distinguishes House of Hummingbird as a character study. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
2.5/5 Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) Matthew Monagle Had the creative team sharpened the focus just a little - and perhaps cast someone a bit more charismatic than, well, whatever it is that Jamie Dornan is doing - there's a chance Barb and Star could've been a Popstar-esque revelation for these characters EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2021
Totally Under Control (2020) Richard Whittaker It takes a village to burn itself to the ground, and no one is better at contextualizing such huge events, and structuring the information into a clear and transparent narrative, than documentarian Alex Gibney. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2021
3.5/5 Two of Us (2019) Selome Hailu It's a romance as dreamy as any. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
The Reckoning (2021) Richard Whittaker [Kirk's] performance is more Faye Dunaway in cheeky bodice-ripper remake The Wicked Lady than Anya Taylor-Joy's rounded depiction of magical madness and misogyny in The Witch. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
3.5/5 Heartworn Highways (1976) Doug Freeman Heartworn Highways refuses that historicizing assessment, even resists it. The film would certainly not have become the canonical documentary it has without the subsequent success of its subjects, but their names are never the emphasis here. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
2/5 Earwig and the Witch (2020) Richard Whittaker If Ghibli wanted to make their own mockbuster, then they pulled it off. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
3.5/5 Atlantis (2019) Jenny Nulf Atlantis isn't an easy film to watch, and it's not meant to be. It's an anti-war film without solutions, but what it clear is that Vasyanovych believes in humanity rebuilding from tragedy. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
3.5/5 M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity (2018) Josh Kupecki Journey to Infinity prompts us to contemplate: our world is not binary, it is infinite. And so perhaps, are we. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
3/5 A Glitch in the Matrix (2020) Richard Whittaker Like code that works but inefficiently, the length is both a feature and a bug. Mercifully, Ascher's most visually original movie to date keeps those TED lecture seat-shuffling blues at bay. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
Mass (2021) Richard Whittaker As the audience, being the fifth silent figure in the room is exhausting because you feel for ever single one of them. Yet it is also a story of grace, perfectly told and etched into every understated frame. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2021
3.5/5 American Job (1996) Marjorie Baumgarten Director Chris Smith manages to situate the film within a mixture of tones -- it is simultaneously deadpan, stark, weird, realistic, provocative, and funny. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Richard Whittaker Prisoners of the Ghostland is an OK film by a great filmmaker who has made truly great films, most memorable for its cast and the fact he finally made an English-language movie. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
Censor (2021) Richard Whittaker It's more than emulating a cinematic look, like those faux-gialli. It's creating an engrossing, disturbing, yet authentic world that cracks wide open like Enid's fragile psyche. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
The Queen of Black Magic (2020) Richard Whittaker The meaner it gets, the more you care, and The Queen of Black Magic earns every twist of the knife. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
2/5 The Little Things (2021) Matthew Monagle Whatever points The Little Things scores for a morally ambiguous ending are washed away in the hours it takes to get there. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
2.5/5 Malcolm & Marie (2021) Selome Hailu Malcolm & Marie is less a coherent narrative than it is a beautified slideshow of ideas. These ideas are often compelling - but still, just ideas. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
3/5 Notturno (2020) Richard Whittaker The overall effect is like picking up a copy of National Geographic, turning to a long and ambitious photo essay, and not reading the captions. It also shows the limits of what Rosi can achieve. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
3/5 The Night (2020) Richard Whittaker It's a slow build to collapse, escaping the traditional trap of such supernatural suspense films in that both of them have secrets, and it's not the acts themselves but the deceits that have led them to this place. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
2.5/5 Hunted (2020) Richard Whittaker It's a hodgepodge of wildly divergent narrative styles, from the mystical to the grisly and into the ridiculous. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
4/5 Supernova (2020) Steve Davis With these two actors in command, Supernova doesn't just dare to speak the name of a love between two deeply committed men facing an untenable situation. It shouts it from the rooftops. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
3/5 True Mothers (2020) Jenny Nulf While True Mothers is not Kawase's tightest feature, it's the swollen sense of love for her underdog stories that makes them so enchanting. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
Death of a Telemarketer (2020) Josh Kupecki Writer/director Khaled Ridgeway's film has some chuckles, and Morris is clearly having fun with his unrepentant character, but that is part of the film's problem. There is no redemption for Kasey... EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
2.5/5 No Man's Land (2021) Matthew Monagle If Roger Ebert was right and cinema is a machine that generates empathy, then for all its uneven steps, No Man's Land may worm its way into the hearts of Americans who see Mexico as a supporting character (or worse) in our grand narrative. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2021
3.5/5 Identifying Features (2020) Josh Kupecki An unsettling feeling hums through the film, and remains well after. Less of a jolt, then; call it a sustained current. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2021
4/5 Acasa, My Home (2020) Selome Hailu Rică, like Acasă, My Home itself, meditates on how we define a life worth choosing. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2021