Fresh Fiction

Fresh Fiction is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Courtney Howard, James Clay, Preston Barta
Rating Title/Year Author
The Little Things (2021) Courtney Howard The creepy chill of this engrossing portrait of male obsession, anxiety and regret is enough to make the hairs on the back of one's neck stand at attention. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2021
A Minding the Gap (2018) Preston Barta Filmmaker Bing Liu makes a heartfelt tale about friendship and the peaks and valleys of adolescence. Candid conversations transpire, and captivating reflections of youth and hardships surface in this cinematic rarity. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
5/5 Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019) Preston Barta 'Rolling Thunder Revue' is like being thrown back into the 1970s. Passion can be felt in every frame as the possibilities of music and living an authentic life are shown. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
C+ Honest Thief (2020) James Clay This benign, yet surprisingly watchable movie is lean and plays with the action template enough to be serviceable. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
B Love and Monsters (2020) James Clay LOVE & MONSTERS is rare, and it could signal a return to more original films that aren't ashamed of their familiarity, yet lean into originality. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
B Jungleland (2019) James Clay JUNGLELAND is murky, gross, and heartfelt to the point where you may either roll, or bawl your eyes right out of your head. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
B The Craft: Legacy (2020) James Clay Jones' film gives itself a reason to exist by refining the tone and witchy plotline that's more coherent and gives its coven more of a satisfying dynamic. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
B+ Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Preston Barta A chamber piece with powerhouse performances and layered storytelling. Boseman shines. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2020
A- Another Round (2020) Preston Barta 'Another Round' serves up one of the year's very best and an award worthy Mikkelsen performance. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
4/5 Promising Young Woman (2020) Courtney Howard Emerald Fennell's vision is uncompromising, serving its acidic venom in a fine crystal champagne coupe. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Courtney Howard With its thoroughly enriched themes, layered characterizations and sublimely shot action sequences, it's a spectacularly fun blockbuster with lots to treasure. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
A News of the World (2020) Courtney Howard Paul Greengrass' film contains stirring themes and resonant character dynamics, but it's Tom Hanks' refined performance that delivers new colors to their complex shading. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
2/5 The Midnight Sky (2020) Courtney Howard It's an unwieldy piece, suffering from difficulty connecting two separate narrative tracks into one cohesive picture. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
B+ Black Bear (2020) Preston Barta Levine's darkly exciting and turbulent drama is a film you can't pigeonhole, and that's part of its appeal. Plaza gives one of the most impressive dances of madness that I have ever seen. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
C- Godmothered (2020) Courtney Howard Godmothered is perfectly inoffensive and cute when it's desperately aping the charm and magic of Enchanted. But when it strays, its bubbly buoyancy sinks like a lead weight. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2020
The Prom (2020) Courtney Howard Delivering an unbeatable high, its meaningful sentiments and memorable songs combine to form an extravaganza that sings as it tugs on the heartstrings. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
B+ Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist (2019) Preston Barta The power of documentary compels you. You'll grow to have a greater appreciation of the directors' work (both Friedkin and Philippe) and a desire to seek out and revisit their titles. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2020
2/5 Superintelligence (2020) Courtney Howard It's rare to see a movie that can simultaneously value and completely undervalue its leading lady. But here we are with Superintelligence. EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
A- Uncle Frank (2020) Preston Barta A nuanced drama that's impeccably self-controlled and has a deep emotional well. An Oscar-worthy performance from Peter Macdissi. EDIT
Posted Nov 24, 2020
B+ The Croods: A New Age (2020) Preston Barta A significant improvement upon the 2013 original and a strong contender for the year's funniest movie. It manages to tell a heartwarming family tale about growth while expanding its colorful world and focusing on characters and relationships. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
B Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) James Clay While the two men are best known for subverting the tropes of action pictures, they accomplished something a bit more enticing by casting a wide net and integrating a top tier actor like Shirley MacLaine into their hyper-masculine world. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
A- High Plains Drifter (1973) James Clay HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is perhaps Eastwood's most mean-spirited film that deals with supernatural elements and quite literally burning down every cliche, the Western cliche that had predated "The Man With No Name. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
B- The Eiger Sanction (1975) James Clay It's a wild ride, and for all the flack Eastwood gets for being a bland filmmaker these days, he sure had no problems taking risks earlier in his directing career. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
B+ Play Misty for Me (1971) James Clay PLAY MISTY FOR ME is a cautionary tale for those who casually choose their lovers; it's a screeching shock to the system EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
B Joe Kidd (1972) James Clay Scripted by Elmore Leonard, this breezy open-air Western finds a formidable punch against masculinity by questioning the need for power while being supremely entertaining and never straying from Eastwood's clinched-jaw aesthetic. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
A- The Beguiled (1971) James Clay THE BEGUILED is an excellent film and surprisingly weird in the ways that provoke thought about sexual repression and the mental effects of war on the front lines and those shielded from society. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
Happiest Season (2020) Courtney Howard The poignancy of its sentiments, the welcoming beauty of its Nancy Meyers-esque aesthetic and its essential need in the marketplace stand to make things merry and bright. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
B- The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020) Preston Barta Predictable, but a pleasant-enough follow-up, with a thimbleful of creative ideas at play. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
A- The Nest (2020) Preston Barta 'The Nest' is love's worst nightmare. While the film tackles familiar themes, it's a simple nudge to talk to your family and live outside your head. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
B+ LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) Preston Barta A PG-rated episode of 'ROBOT CHICKEN.' It's got laugh-a-minute gags, a surprising amount of heart, and a charming cast of voices. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2020
A The Climb (2019) Preston Barta An ode to the art of filmmaking. It's exceptionally well-told and acted, and it includes an onslaught of technical achievements that belong in college film discussions. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
B- Freaky (2020) James Clay FREAKY is exactly what you think it's going to be, a little expendable and a tad forgettable, but enjoyable nevertheless. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
4/5 Freaky (2020) Courtney Howard With gleeful gusto and glorious amounts of gumption, this Freaky Friday The 13th mashup slashes straight through to our hearts. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2020
B Jungleland (2019) Preston Barta You may occasionally roll your eyes at a line, but the actors stay committed, and the journey leads to a satisfying conclusion. It'll give you some things to think about with your own families, and for that, it's not merely another boxing film. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2020
C Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Courtney Howard Howard holds back on delivering subtext that would complement this portrait of a man rectifying his past with his present. It's selectively streamlined. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2020
B+ Proxima (2019) Preston Barta This sincere mission will bring you down to Earth and open your heart in profound ways. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
C- Let Him Go (2020) Courtney Howard Bezucha's in a little over his head fashioning anything unique out of the material, which in his hands is tonally unwieldy and unforgiving. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2020
F Friendsgiving (2020) James Clay FRIENDSGIVING is the Boston Market version of holiday cheers. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2020
B Save Yourselves! (2020) James Clay Wilson and Fischer's film is about honesty with your partner and learning how to love yourself in the process. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2020
B The Craft: Legacy (2020) Preston Barta Writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones crafts a continuation that seamlessly mixes nostalgic flavors with new, kinetic entertainment. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
C Holidate (2020) Courtney Howard The narrative's inevitable resolution tends to hinder your complete affection - and ironically, makes it feel like something you're settling for. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
B+ Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) James Clay If Borat is a surrogate for how lost Americans feel in 2020, it seems that change is possible; there's some lost concept called tolerance, which comes in a final call to action to Go Vote! EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
B Rebecca (2020) James Clay Perfect fodder for a late-night stream with a bottle of something bubbly, REBECCA is a massively entertaining swing at bringing out the soapier side of something that could have taken on a more ghostly identity. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) Courtney Howard Zemeckis' most vibrant and best film in years, it stands to remind us that children's bedtime stories can feel somewhat comforting in times of upheaval and stress. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
Jumbo (2020) Courtney Howard The most shocking element about this straight-faced schlock is how conventional and predictable it is in its motions. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2020
Pink Skies Ahead (2020) Courtney Howard Kelly Oxford's comedically-tinged fictionalized drama paints a staggeringly honest, raw and revelatory portrait that makes for an assured debut directorial feature. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2020
A- Shithouse (2020) James Clay Raiff's introspective sensibilities and technical proficiency are impressive while maintaining a goofy spark that's infectious from start to finish. Shithouse is hands down the biggest cinematic surprise this year. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
B- A Rainy Day in New York (2019) Preston Barta It's simply a cozy movie, no more or less. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
I'm Your Woman (2020) Courtney Howard From its Cassavetes-esque heroine to the heart-filled drive deep within its marrow, this 70's style character-driven crime drama is contemporary and distinct in its aim. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
B- Evil Eye (2020) Preston Barta Although predictable and melodramatic, 'Evil Eye' is a solid enough thriller to see these 'Welcome to the Blumhouse' films continue to explore family and pain themes. EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2020