The Undefeated

The Undefeated is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Candice Frederick, Soraya Nadia McDonald
Rating Title/Year Author
The High Note (2020) Soraya Nadia McDonald Ross is an actress who consistently punches above the weight class of the material she's given. And yet in the biggest moment of her film career to date, it's obvious that she deserves more, too. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2020
Becoming (2020) Soraya Nadia McDonald Becoming more or less offers Obama fanservice... But it's most interesting in the rare moments when Obama speaks candidly about topics that had been verboten, or at least strongly discouraged. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
The Photograph (2020) Soraya Nadia McDonald A dithering, unshakable ambivalence dooms The Photograph, which might be the most distilled example of the deficiencies in Meghie's work as a writer/director. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2020
Like a Boss (2020) Soraya Nadia McDonald But no amount of concealer can hide the plot holes or general laziness that tanks Like a Boss, and it is exactly those inadequacies that have consigned it to Dump Month. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2020
Uncut Gems (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald The magic trick of the Safdies is that even when they plunge you into the dyspeptic, spleeny, cyclical hell of Howard's own making, they manage to make you root for him anyway. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
Queen & Slim (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald The director's confident patience guides the pacing of Queen & Slim, allowing both the film and the relationship between its titular characters to unfold organically, even as the stakes of the picture are established within its first 15 minutes. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2019
Harriet (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald Harriet is so consumed with reverence for the patron saint of Black History Month that it neglects to make her, or any of the supporting characters around her, a real person. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald What a relief to see something so nakedly committed to entertaining its audience, and which made the case for doing so with such passion. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2019
Sweetness in the Belly (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald Sweetness in the Belly has its moments of grace... But for a complicated story set during even more complicated times, Sweetness in the Belly just feels altogether too simple. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2019
Our Lady of the Nile (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald Director Atiq Rahimi has once again created a beautiful and disturbing work of cinema. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2019
Just Mercy (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's a new twist on the old formula of Yankee lawyers who come to the South and find a wall of community resistance to racial equality and injustice, but it's a powerful one. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2019
Clemency (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald [Clemency] continue the work of highlighting racial inequality in the justice system. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2019
Lucas Brothers: On Drugs (2017) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's sharp, smart, insightful and hilarious. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald [Toni] Morrison remains an inspiration for many reasons, but especially because she believed in her own talents long before the institutional arbiters of such things caught on to them. EDIT
Posted Jul 15, 2019
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald The Last Black Man in San Francisco is an exquisite dirge for the loss of a city, of home, of community. But most of all, it mourns the loss of possibility, and for some that load is just too heavy to bear. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
See You Yesterday (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald No matter the inspired cinematography or considered, authentic performances, these stories carry a weight of inevitability as they suck every particle of hope out of the air. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald Shahidi and Melton are charming and utterly watchable together. They're both absurdly attractive and skilled actors, but whatever magic exists between them is limited by Tracy Oliver's script. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
Fast Color (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Fast Color is an exceptional, poetic ride that cries out for further exploration. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
Native Son (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald Nearly 80 years after Native Son was first published, we're still searching for answers. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Us (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald As social commentary, it's not as razor-sharp as Get Out. But it still feels like an exceptional accomplishment, mainly because Peele created a role that is a worthy showcase of Nyong'o's talent. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald With archival footage from college basketball games in the 1940s and pro ball in the 1950s, Hamilton illustrates how much Sailors seemed like a time traveler from the future. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
High Flying Bird (2019) Soraya Nadia McDonald To avoid spoilers, I'll hold my tongue on the rest of High Flying Bird's deliciously crafty plot. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald In his adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk, Jenkins has fully established himself as one of American cinema's finest architects of intimacy. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald More than anything, the value in Say Her Name lies in its refusal to allow Bland to be silenced, even in death. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2018
Widows (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Widows is filled with wild beauty, heart-thumping grotesquerie and even some good ol' soapy treachery. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
Jinn (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Jinn quivers with joy and uncertainty, confidence and shame, delivering exactly what makes independent cinema exciting: a bright new voice with a bold vision. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
The Hate U Give (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald In dealing with all of it, the book character finds her confidence and her voice. But the movie version of The Hate U Give leaves me unsure that its makers ever found theirs. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
Student Athlete (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald A new documentary about the exploitation of college athletes is right on time. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald The best romantic comedy from a big studio since Bridget Jones's Diary was released in 2001. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2018
Crime + Punishment (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Maing's documentary doesn't offer an answer to whether a system as vast and powerful as the NYPD can be reformed from the inside. But he illustrates just how difficult it is to try and how many disincentives face officers who challenge the status quo. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2018
BlacKkKlansman (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Just as Lee reminds us of his talent and the way it's been overlooked, he also reminds us of what he's been trying to tell us about American racism. Malcolm X was Lee's rainbow sign. BlacKkKlansman is the fire this time. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2018
Blindspotting (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Blindspotting is a film about gentrification that never stops screwing with its audience. EDIT
Posted Jul 20, 2018
Sorry to Bother You (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Riley's film thrums with the energy and unnecessary tics of a filmmaker itching to empty the contents of his imagination into one crazy, not-all-together coherent motion picture. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2018
Whitney (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald There is a steep price to pay for the racial malleability required for a little girl from Newark, New Jersey, whom everyone called Nippy to become Whitney Houston. Kevin Macdonald's documentary shows us how we all stood by and watched her pay it. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2018
Burning Sands (2017) David Dennis Jr. It has an important, if didactic, message that could save black fraternities and sororities. I just wish Gerard McMurray had shown more of the beauty that these organizations represent. EDIT
Posted Jun 27, 2018
Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's a testament to [Michael B.] Jordan's skill as an actor that these scenes are remotely palatable, given the shaky emotional scaffolding on which they are built. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2018
Unsane (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald Add Steven Soderbergh's new film, Unsane, to the ranks of psychological horror-thrillers that double as documentaries. Those of us who've seen Get Out or read too many shiver-inducing tales of #MeToo can never consume horror the same way again. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2018
A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Soraya Nadia McDonald A Wrinkle in Time asks its young audience to "be a warrior" by loving itself. But it doesn't really illustrate how a young person does that. EDIT
Posted Mar 8, 2018
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Soraya Nadia McDonald Suffice it to say, Valkyrie is a certified badass. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2017
Marshall (2017) Soraya Nadia McDonald The shortcomings that separate Marshall from Hidden Figures and Loving are the same ones that give it the feeling of a TV movie. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2017
Weiner (2016) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's a fabulously entertaining view from inside a political campaign, giving us a firsthand experience of all the weird, Good Wife-style maneuvering that takes place. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
T-Rex (2015) Soraya Nadia McDonald It all comes together in a terrific story that makes it impossible not to root for Shields. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Pervert Park (2014) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's a fascinating look at a community of people many would prefer to write off entirely. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Miss Sharon Jones! (2015) Soraya Nadia McDonald An emotional [and] beautifully rendered story. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Maya Angelou and Still I Rise (2016) Soraya Nadia McDonald It's easy to fall into thinking of the late Maya Angelou as something of a national grandmother when she was so much more than that. Thankfully, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, is here to correct that misconception. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Check It (2016) Soraya Nadia McDonald Check It provides a realistic look at the effects of cyclical poverty, prejudice, and homelessness on gay youth. Advocacy groups in the nation's capital are still basking in the victory of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine (2017) Soraya Nadia McDonald In every generation, there's a group of maniacs who insist upon rule-breaking, not in the name of some sort of principled stand for freedom but simply because they're a bunch of roustabout, devil-may-care libertines. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Unacknowledged (2017) Soraya Nadia McDonald [Unacknowledged] will likely leave you feeling uneasy, paranoid and maybe more than a little willing to don a tricornered hat made of Reynolds wrap. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
The Fits (2015) Soraya Nadia McDonald If the fits are lemons, caused by metaphorical lead poisoning, then Toni's amazing closing sequence is lemonade. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Free State of Jones (2016) Soraya Nadia McDonald Because Free State of Jones concentrates so singularly on making [Matthew] McConaughey the hero of the film, it ends up being a series of missed opportunities. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2017