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
Rating Title/Year Author
Shazam! (2019) Courtney Howard Shazam! marks a sea change for the DCEU. Superb, sweet and smart, this is a BIG feel-good superhero movie you'll want to see over and over again. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2019
B () James Clay OLYMPIC DREAMS bridges the gap between athlete and artist; the weighted sensation of self-doubt is inextricably linked between the two professions and the chance of making it may never happen. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
B+ () James Clay VILLAINS is a ton of fun with its genre thrills and the surprisingly potent love affair between Skarsgård and Monroe. This is such a sinister little film that has these couples playing off one another brilliantly. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
Wonder Park (2019) Courtney Howard Though it's not all bad, what's lousy has a stranglehold on what's good. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
A- () James Clay As we go on this journey, it's easy to settle into the dangerous yet relaxing vibes of the deep south. At the end of the tunnel is a romanticism for life, to drink it all in with a smile on your face and to expect the impossible. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
C Gloria Bell (2018) James Clay Gloria Bell lives her life in all caps, and bless her for that. The material put into play needed to have more connective tissue. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
C Little Monsters (2019) James Clay The story is so rich with thematic elements that the zombie element could have been cut out of the film entirely. Then again, the zombies are what will sell the tickets. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
B Triple Frontier (2019) James Clay On a surface level, TRIPLE FRONTIER is an action thriller that provides teeth gritting scenes that cause the palms to get a bit sweaty. To call this film intense is an understatement, but Boal's script just barely scratches the psyche of these guys. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
The Mustang (2019) Courtney Howard This story sheds light on its necessary subjects, drawing delicate, nuanced visual and thematic parallels between human and horse. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
A- The Beach Bum (2019) James Clay THE BEACH BUM would easily make for a good session of sensationalized reality television, but under the umbrella of Korine it becomes a hang session that exists outside beyond construct of time. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019) Courtney Howard It remains true to the character's fearless, vivacious spirit while spinning a solid, engaging mystery with a palpable sense of youthful energy. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
B+ Long Shot (2019) James Clay Like recent socially charged films, LONG SHOT asks its viewers to drop the agenda and celebrate equality and moving forward. This is one of the more refreshing creative collaborations to hit mainstream comedy in a while. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
B+ Us (2019) James Clay Peele's film is destined to be the perfect conversation starter at your next dinner party, trip to the water cooler, cook-out, or wherever as he's a filmmaker plugged into the American consciousness unlike anybody working in Hollywood today. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
Captain Marvel (2019) Courtney Howard Engaging, entertaining and empowering, this new and terrific iteration spotlights a strong, complex, fearless woman finding her voice, power and place in the universe. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2019
C Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) James Clay The glitchy, hyper-sugared brand of animation is stressful, and it appeals a bit too much to child-like sensibilities. However, that's not to say the sequel, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, isn't without its creative triumphs EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
A- Apollo 11 (2019) James Clay For nine days, this team at NASA were perfect, and that perfection is a point of pride not just for Americans, but for the human race. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
B Greta (2018) James Clay It's successful as a B-movie thriller, but there's an emptiness with the conclusion. Even for all its faults, GRETA will have you hooked. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
B- Climax (2018) Courtney Howard Noé's commentary on the human condition is heartbreaking. While he doesn't always state his commentary cogently, the questions he wants us to reflect on are understandable. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
B+ Happy Death Day 2U (2019) James Clay A rare sequel that not only expands the story but outright takes the series in a different direction this is a form of escapism worth repeating. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
Isn't It Romantic (2019) Courtney Howard It upends the table when it comes to tackling romcoms' more negative notions. The poppy picture painted is absurdly hilarious, genuinely effervescent and revolutionary. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
What Men Want (2019) Courtney Howard Whatever empowerment it admirably hopes to inspire is completely buried under a heavy swath of rote qualities. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2019
B Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Courtney Howard It's a wickedly delicious, satirical take-down that's about as deep as a puddle, but a wonderfully wild ride nonetheless. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2019
B+ Lords of Chaos (2018) James Clay Jonas Akerlund's film works as the biopic from hell by depicting the reckless abandon of youth in horrifying and gratifying ways. Part cautionary tale, this acts as a version of A STAR IS BORN for the age of toxic masculinity. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2019
B+ The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Courtney Howard Everything clicks in this well-constructed, snappy sequel. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
B- Serenity (2019) James Clay On an emotional level, SERENITY is a rather elusive film, one that never fully congeals, but morphs into rather weird territories that, by the end, changes the film's perspective altogether. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
C Glass (2019) James Clay GLASS' lackluster vibe hints at a director who has become uninspired. It's shocking, but shouldn't be so surprising that the buildup for GLASS ended up being a shattering disappointment. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2019
D The Upside (2018) James Clay There are ways to forgive frivolous behavior, but not like this. These characters only exist to perpetuate stereotypes that are apparently unbeknownst to the creators. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
B+ Perfectos Desconocidos (2019) Courtney Howard This deliciously wildly provocative chamber piece is not only universal in its audience appeal, it has clever twists that make for thoroughly engaging entertainment. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
B Escape Room (2019) Courtney Howard Its layers of shrewd smarts, pulse-pounding thrills and unrelenting action make for a terrific cult classic. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
Never-ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (2018) Courtney Howard It's fascinating to glean wisdom and insight into the legendary filmmaker's thoughtful, at times torturous, creative process. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
B Ben Is Back (2018) James Clay There are no easy answers when it comes to addiction, but here, there is still room left for love to open the door to recovery. This is the kind of story that shows you some relationships are worth being saved. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
Welcome to Marwen (2018) Courtney Howard Welcome To Marwen turns everything progressive into something problematic, not doing right by any of its heroes, especially its diverse female characters. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2018
B+ Vice (2018) James Clay VICE warns a cautionary tale of power that breaks the fourth wall, throws the rules of cinema out the window to become one of the most creative and entertaining films for adults this year. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2018
B- Once Upon a Deadpool (2018) James Clay This neutered version of DEADPOOL 2 has no reason to exist on its own terms, as literally everything content wise you most likely have at home already, but the charm is still there. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
C+ Roma (2018) James Clay This Netflix original lacks agency within its' character beats that have a frustrating passivity to the narrative. [Alfonso] Cuarón's film comes to the brink of being cruel to its setting and characters. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
B+ Creed II (2018) James Clay CREED II find a legacy through making mistakes. It's messy, and we don't always bring out the best parts of ourselves. The trick is to breathe, listen, open up. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
B King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (2017) James Clay The documentary directed by Steve Mitchell comes from a place of absolute love for this filmmaker who paved the way for many artists who came after and he inspired a generation of filmmakers to produce greatness on the fly. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
C Destroyer (2018) James Clay [Karyn] Kusama's film has an appealing grittiness to its subject matter, yet somehow in execution, this hard-boiled tale become a bit too stale with tropes that have been seen in this genre before. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
B+ Hold the Dark (2018) James Clay It's a shame that the masses won't get to see this on the big screen, but those looking to access a meditative campfire tale will be more than thrilled. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
B Overlord (2018) James Clay Maybe the studio is to blame for wanting to reign in its filmmakers quite a bit. However, there's enough madness to keep any Nazi hater satiated. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
B+ The Perfection (2018) James Clay This film is an absolute blast. It's an empowering message marred in horror, tragedy and overall WTF gasps. It's surely one of the most riveting films of the year and will be burned into your brain long after its ghastly crescendo. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
C+ Kursk (2018) James Clay Moments of suspense are abound here, but not abundant. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2018
C Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018) James Clay [The film] is attempting to accomplish too much human growth at one time, which ends up coming across as meandering, even if there are true nuggets of wisdom buried underneath. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B- The Equalizer 2 (2018) James Clay [Denzel] Washington doesn't bring anything novel to his acting tool belt, yet it has enough focus to become a successful B-movie, even if it is weirdly preachy. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
F Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) James Clay Its laziness is only topped by its sadistic (and terribly problematic) approach to putting its victims in peril for the sake of its viewers. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B Leave No Trace (2018) James Clay Narratively, LEAVE NO TRACE falls flat, yet [Thomasin] McKenzie's performance is unlike anything that's been shown this year. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
C The First Purge (2018) James Clay This is a film that wants to be junk food for the genre crowd while attempting to operate on a not-so-subtle plain offering up political allegories. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B+ Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) James Clay This isn't a cautionary tale; just a story of horrific happenstance, which is all the more chilling given the stark reality of this systemic problem. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
B+ A Beautiful Day (2017) James Clay YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE beautifully blends the visual and aural power that cinema has to offer. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
A Isle of Dogs (2018) James Clay It's an overwhelming experience to see how man and dog have magnetic pulls on one another, but the journey to get to that place of trust isn't as easy as giving a dog a bit of a "Puppy Snap." EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2018