Midwest Film Journal

Midwest Film Journal is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Aly Caviness, Evan Dossey, Nick Rogers
Rating Title/Year Author
Parallel Minds (2020) Evan Dossey Ambitious small-budget science fiction with lots of ideas and some cool creature effects. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2021
3/5 Nothing but Trouble (1991) Nick Rogers A calamity by most objective measures. At best a paltry comedy. And yet ... AND YET ... the relentlessly repugnant energy here ceases to desist while you're watching and continues to persist long after you've stopped. A perversely fascinating bomb. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2021
1.5/5 Cherry (2021) Nick Rogers Caps-lock filmmaking of the most frustrating order. It's like a 2000s music video about substance abuse masquerading as a film of substance, the stage version of "American Idiot" without chemistry, camaraderie or a point beyond "Drugs ... WHOA, bro!" EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2021
3.5/5 Ali (2001) Nick Rogers The director's cut is the best but any version of Michael Mann's film makes it clear: The rope-a-dope was something Ali perfected outside the ring, cobbled together as a combination move inside only after he reconciled himself to his singular status. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2021
Clay's Redemption (2020) Evan Dossey Interesting fantasy-noir debut picture that succeeds at creating an aesthetic mood, even if the plot is too convoluted to follow. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2021
4/5 I Care a Lot (2020) Nick Rogers A black-hearted, scrappy and entertaining thriller with a surplus of surprises and a fierce, feral and fearless turn from Rosamund Pike. You won't care a lot about anyone, but you'll relish its rip-roaring recognition of their roles in the world. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2021
3.5/5 Red Dot (2021) Nick Rogers The idea that things are bad but you could be in these folks' shoes is the basis for all controlled-fear cinema. "Red Dot" contorts that notion in an unsettling and unsparing fashion you won't soon forget, winter, spring, summer or fall. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
3.5/5 Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) Nick Rogers More bong rip than "Bridesmaids," co-writers and co-stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo have delivered a slight delight that's overlong and uneven but still a welcome respite from this supernaturally long winter slog. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
4/5 A Glitch in the Matrix (2020) Nick Rogers As thoughtful as it is playfully constructed, Rodney Ascher's must-see high-concept documentary ultimately looks at how people wrestle with loneliness, isolation and trauma and don't always win those clashes. It's an empathetic, energetic success. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2021
Crossroads of America (2020) Evan Dossey A fully fleshed-out portrait of three women struggling on the margins. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
2/5 Bajocero (2021) Nick Rogers Not a bad cross-up of "Con Air" and "Assault on Precinct 13" on paper and director Lluís Quillez generates decent atmosphere on a limited budget. But there's also paucity in the script, which builds to disappointing revelations and limp subtext. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
1.5/5 The Little Things (2021) Nick Rogers This driftless, feckless tomfoolery is unfit for mention in the same breath as 1995's "Copycat," let alone the other 1995 serial killer movie it's desperately mimicking. But in the spirit of dropping a hint: This is, at best, more like 1.75. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2021
2/5 #LIKE (2019) Nick Rogers An auspicious lead turn by Sarah Rich and a thoughtful first-act exploration of grief and hopelessness among people far too young to experience either emotion veers too hard into vengeance territory that feels more like posturing than provocation. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2021
Tulsa (2020) Evan Dossey A well-meaning faith-based film that is too long and too thin to leave an impression. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2021
Minor Premise (2020) Evan Dossey A taught sci-fi triller that understands the best way to convey its big idea premise. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2021
2/5 Shadow in the Cloud (2020) Nick Rogers The best that can be said is that it's not the most shameful thing a Landis has done with a Twilight Zone idea. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
4/5 Finding Forrester (2000) Nick Rogers Is Gus Van Sant embarrassed by this film? It's been a reasonable question ever since its first frame flickered on the screen, although it would be an unwarranted response for an imperfect but invigorating inversion of the comforting beats you expect. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2020
4/5 Frank (2014) Nick Rogers Not to be outdone by her brother, Maggie Gyllenhaal also has a quirky, tough-to-pin-down film featuring an enigmatic costumed character named Frank. This "Frank" burrows into the artistic conflict between commodifying pain into a persona. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
2/5 News of the World (2020) Nick Rogers To call this a dad movie is to be inappropriate to your dad, who's almost certainly too cool to do anything other than doze off during this dry, dust-choked bit of boredom for all involved. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
Promising Young Woman (2020) Evan Dossey For all its flash, "Promising Young Woman" lacks the courage of its convictions. EDIT
Posted Dec 24, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Aly Caviness Must a movie be good? Can it not rest its success on the luxurious power of Pedro Pascal's hair alone? EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
The Ringmaster (2019) Evan Dossey Tries to balance the story about a humble man behind a famous food and the documentarian's blind interest in crafting a movie around him, but ultimately feels like it withholds too much to be earnest. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
2/5 The Midnight Sky (2020) Nick Rogers Concerns itself more with connection and communication than volume and wonder, which Clooney definitely favors over the usual sci-fi genre trappings. But its half-hearted transmission collapses into static over a squawky, short-circuiting connection. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
3/5 Soul (2020) Nick Rogers Beautifully animated. Some truly galaxy-brain New York jokes. But the ending is thematically troublesome in a way that betrays Pete Docter's usual confidence in his ideas. It's the first time we've seen his concept and execution get a bit crossed up. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
Ice Cream in the Cupboard (2020) Evan Dossey A touching and earnest story about a a difficult subject. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) Evan Dossey Lighthearted and fun stuff for fans of the Sequels. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
The Racer (2020) Evan Dossey And effective, no-nonsense sports drama with strong performances and style. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020) Evan Dossey Hot Garbage. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
Greenland (2020) Evan Dossey Bleak, punishing stuff on a budget. Butler & Waugh are proving themselves to be a formidable creative duo. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
Mank (2020) Aly Caviness David Fincher and Classic Hollywood: two great tastes that do not taste great together. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
2/5 Red Planet (2000) Nick Rogers Establishes an amusingly nasty pecking order once it reaches the surface and even morphs into "Predator" for a hot minute. But it generally bears the anonymous aesthetics of an assembly-line product and is the uglier of 2000's dueling Mars films. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2020
2/5 Mission to Mars (2000) Nick Rogers Swerves into irreversible stupidity down the stretch, generally plays like a half-formed prequel to "Ancient Aliens," and ends like a Disney ride version of "Ad Astra." But Brian De Palma's hand is all over the sustained tension of the second act. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2020
2/5 Superintelligence (2020) Nick Rogers Everything you need to know about "Superintelligence" is in the name of the Mexican restaurant where Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale share a meal. Mas o Menos. "So-so." Nothing more, nothing less. A not entirely unpleasant time-wasting romcom. EDIT
Posted Nov 28, 2020
Blind (2019) Evan Dossey Clashing styles and lack of tension mean Blind doesn't quite hit the mark as a horror/thriller. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2020
Spark: A Burning Man Story (2013) Evan Dossey Strongest when it focuses on the most mundane aspects of the legendary festival. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
Cut and Chop (2020) Evan Dossey Impressive gore and style overcomes an under-written narrative. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
3.5/5 The Informer (2019) Nick Rogers A thriller shipped with familiar parts but also a flair for character work and consequences that come from codes rooted in carnage. It lays its charges well amid a minefield of mistrust, triggering displays of power both vulgar or barely visible. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2020
Ravenous (1999) Evan Dossey An idiosyncratic cannibal masterpiece about the ceaselessness of American violence. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2020
Flytrap (2015) Evan Dossey An engrossing psychological thriller EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2020
3.5/5 The Reflecting Skin (1990) Nick Rogers Seth's descent is one into a very American imagination of violence - defined less by actions he takes than those he allows to happen, cheap thrills that yield disastrous consequences. Sound akin to anything toward which we're teetering these days? EDIT
Posted Oct 29, 2020
4/5 Host (2020) Sam Watermeier Like the best horror films, Host captures contemporary fears, but it's also one hell of a haunted hayride - well, a socially distanced and virtual hayride. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
3.5/5 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Nick Rogers Sacha Baron Cohen isn't so naive to believe cheekiness alone will cut with clarity now. Through Tutar and her pursuit of independence, this sequel reminds us strong women are the future we need - and the one we will get if only we don't mess it up. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
3/5 Sleepwalkers (1992) Nick Rogers A suitably bloody romp about oedipally incestuous werecats who thrive on virginal energy and a smart, sensitive and stealthy satire of groups like the Moral Majority -who were as prolific and profitable in the 1980s as Stephen King himself. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
Rebecca (2020) Aly Caviness "Rebecca" is a perfect adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel until it suddenly isn't. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2020
Baby Frankenstein (2018) Evan Dossey A silly and strange foray into Frankenstein EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2020
Totally Under Control (2020) Evan Dossey A refresher on a year of institutional madness; enough to make you feel unhinged. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
Darkness in Tenement 45 (2020) Evan Dossey Impressive independent horror feature with a smart visual style. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
Belly of the Beast (2020) Evan Dossey A harrowing documentary about the practice of forced sterilization. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
River City Drumbeat (2019) Evan Dossey A thoughtful and encompassing documentary about what it means to make a difference. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
Freeland (2020) Evan Dossey A really empathetic look at a life left behind. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020