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): Evan Dossey, Nick Rogers
Rating Title/Year Author
Crawl (2019) Evan Dossey A perfectly tuned big-monster thrillride. EDIT
Posted Jul 15, 2019
2/5 () Nick Rogers This thriller's prefab premise is easily translated into any language or culture. For American audiences, the filmmakers were content to simply showcase an incongruously bouncy '80s soundtrack and an atypical Cincinnati setting. EDIT
Posted Jul 12, 2019
Wild Rose (2018) Evan Dossey Jessie Buckly's star turn is breathtaking. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
My Days of Mercy (2017) Evan Dossey A kind romance with a stellar turn by Ellen Page EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
3.5/5 Annabelle Comes Home (2019) Sam Watermeier Like the other Conjuring films, this one never loses sight of the human drama amid the supernatural horror. EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2019
3.5/5 Child's Play (2019) Sam Watermeier As Chucky terrorizes the kids through voice and video messages, the film emerges as a sly commentary on how our cloud-connected devices are ultimately controlling us. EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Evan Dossey An unnecessarily busy sequel to "Homecoming" that never gels together. EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2019
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Evan Dossey A fantastic sequel that adds greatly to the franchise. EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2019
Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Evan Dossey Too much CGI, not enough magic. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
2.5/5 Yesterday (2019) Sam Watermeier A clever, charming high-concept comedy that should've just let it be on the lame love story. EDIT
Posted Jun 27, 2019
5/5 All the President's Men (1976) Nick Rogers Removed from its topical urgency, it remains a vigorously entertaining pursuit of accuracy and accountability. Revisited, it's clear how much inspiration David Fincher took for Zodiac to depict investigative reporting and workplace dynamics. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
5/5 The Insider (1999) Nick Rogers Michael Mann's least physically violent film feels no less ferocious -especially given the appetites with which corporations gobble up media today. Holding off barbarians at the gate is only noble until you must sell them the gate to fund the fight. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
4.5/5 The Post (2017) Nick Rogers For a film as far from Steven Spielberg's fantasy lands as possible, it's among his most visually deft-a smorgasbord of spatial and geometric symbolism to separate characters and, at times, minimize or magnify them in meditating on the here and now. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/5 Kill the Messenger (2014) Nick Rogers Evokes the detailed energy and ennui of enterprise journalism, and thanks to Jeremy Renner's best performance outside The Hurt Locker, Webb comes across as a more meaningfully complex character than most comparable crusaders, real or imagined. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
4/5 The Parallax View (1974) Nick Rogers Often eclipsing visible light in vampiric shadow, it feels like a premonitory vision of America at its most dangerously divisive. Unsparingly depicted in an unbroken take, the conditioning video is among Alan Pakula's monuments to masterful tension. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3.5/5 Under Fire (1983) Nick Rogers An incendiary film that transforms the pipe-dream assumption that Americans only intervene to do good into a pipe bomb. The less-interesting love triangle is a delivery system for a blunt, effective observation: War's only objective truth is death. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/4 The Quiet American (2002) Nick Rogers A stylish, gauzy thriller and a character study of zeal and detachment that meet on an inverse scale of idealism. An intriguing, if not entirely harrowing, grapple with the idea that being human does not inherently mean being good. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
4/5 Fletch (1985) Nick Rogers As Chevy Chase's best starring vehicle, it inverts the novels' occasional darkness into a quick-witted quip machine. But that energy feels appropriately extemporaneous here in making defenses fall or hackles rise. Either way, Fletch gets the story. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/4 Top Five (2014) Nick Rogers Big laughs and believable vulnerability. But it also has aged faster than Indiana Jones Nazis unable to spot the cup of a carpenter and relies on truly retrograde eye-rolling plot turns about reporters' motives. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/4 The Pelican Brief (1993) Nick Rogers Not on par with Alan J. Pakula's preeminent paranoid cinema. But depicting a POTUS at odds with his FBI director and creating obstruction of justice concerns aligns it with Pakula's other preternaturally predictive potboilers. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
1.5/5 Eyewitness (1981) Nick Rogers Peter Yates' initially promising thriller becomes a turgid trifle that wastes its '40s-noir-in-'80s-fashion premise. The only thing more anemic than its mystery or social commentary? Hurt and Weaver's sexual chemistry. Film at 11, asleep by 11:30. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
4/5 The Interview (2014) Nick Rogers Headlines strained to politicize the film. But it's merely a crass, caustic comedy whose point of view is to not let cultural coverage brainwash the best out of us - whether it involves human rights or celebrity hairpieces. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
2/5 Street Smart (1987) Nick Rogers Fact checkers will bail on this improbable, boring drama that deigns to make Christopher Reeve's character the hero even after he dangles his girlfriend as pimp bait. So should you, as Morgan Freeman's performance doesn't justify the casual racism. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
1.5/5 Mad City (1997) Nick Rogers A drama too timid to tackle its media machinations or manipulations with thoughtful talk. Dustin Hoffman is fine. John Travolta resembles the SNL version of Wolverine. Ultimately, it's a 2-7 off-suit hand bluffing an ace in the hole. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
2.5/5 True Story (2015) Nick Rogers A meditation on the mindset of fabulists like James Frey or Stephen Glass? A gripping psychological thriller? A takedown of every writer's dream about a memorable memoir? A good movie? On all counts, True Story rings false. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
1/5 Bruce Almighty (2003) Nick Rogers Spiritual enlightenment is served as a side dish to the main course of orgasm and orifice jokes. Steve Carell gets the film's only good scene, easily You-Tubed, with an on-air gibberish seizure. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
1.5/5 Truth (2015) Nick Rogers Even if Truth hadn't opened in the same year as Spotlight, its superficial grandstanding about rigged systems and agendas would feel like a production staffed by understudies. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
2/5 The Mean Season (1985) Nick Rogers Nicely shot but thematically daft schlock about the line past which storytellers become the story. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
2.5/5 Anna (2019) Nick Rogers The twists are less risible than in Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow. But it's what the twists come to stand for that starts to make it feel like Luc Besson is trying to represent himself in court and be his own character witness. EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2019
3.5/5 Toy Story 4 (2019) Nick Rogers Enjoyable and energetic but hardly essential, this is a piece you could pluck from the Toy Story canon and never notice its absence. That's a far cry from the ways in which this franchise has always challenged itself to reach for the sky. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2019
1.5/5 Shaft (2019) Nick Rogers Can ya bigot? EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
4/5 The Dead Don't Die (2019) Sam Watermeier The film has a delightfully dry sense of humor, but it's also a lovingly crafted tribute to the eerie beauty of the zombie genre. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
1.5/5 Murder Mystery (2019) Nick Rogers No comedian stays great forever. But when you see how effective Adam Sandler can be when putting forth even a scintilla of skill, that's why these vending-machine movies - now complete with vending-machine titles - continue to rankle so much. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
Men in Black: International (2019) Evan Dossey Destined to be a throwaway joke in a future reboot. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/5 I Am Mother (2019) Nick Rogers Like Moon or Monsters before it, Grant Sputore's film is small-budget sizzle ahead of studio steak. Whether he can cut around fat better than others remains to be seen. While his debut is unambitious, it's at least artfully watchable. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
Dark Phoenix (2019) Evan Dossey A disappointing end. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
Deadwood: The Movie (2019) Evan Dossey A magnificent conclusion to the show, and a classic Western in its own right. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
Domino (2019) Evan Dossey Behind-the-scenes drama resulted in B-movie schlock with A-list talent. Surprisingly enjoyable. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Evan Dossey A return to form for the Godzilla franchise. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
Aladdin (2019) Evan Dossey Hits all the right beats. Will Smith is particularly good. EDIT
Posted May 26, 2019
Brightburn (2019) Evan Dossey Delivers as advertised: Superboy wrecking stuff and being nasty for 90 gore-drenched minutes. EDIT
Posted May 26, 2019
3/5 The Perfection (2018) Nick Rogers The final act's bid for topicality falls flat, but up to that point, it takes entertaining hard-left hairpins into several lanes of horror. It's an effective, efficient nugget of nastiness. Just X out of Netflix's autoplay trailer as fast as you can. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
4/5 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) Nick Rogers The first half is fulsome in its fury, with Wick at his most improvisational and the series at its most ingenious and invigorating. The rest is ultimately a bit more enervating than you'd hope, but you remain invigorated by where the saga could go. EDIT
Posted May 17, 2019
2.5/5 Wine Country (2019) Nick Rogers A superficial Sideways cut with a better-behaved Bridesmaids is unambitious, but that's tempered by the true-life chemistry these comediennes share. Rachel Dratch and Paula Pell are the respective secret weapons that really make it go. EDIT
Posted May 13, 2019
2.5/5 The Intruder (2019) Nick Rogers It's too long and the ending skunks intriguing ideas on manliness. But if you're watching this at all, you're here to see Dennis Quaid subvert his Stetson-sturdy charms into a sinewy monster who slobbers all over the screen ... and boy do you get it. EDIT
Posted May 13, 2019
2.5/5 Poms (2019) Nick Rogers The jokes mostly bomb. Sadder and wiser beats carry it, along with a lack of disdain for younger characters. "Poms" knows people of any age are capable of petty behavior, but also prompted into better decisions by those who remain patient with them. EDIT
Posted May 13, 2019
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Evan Dossey Hampered by a miscast leading voice and a mystery without much flavor, "Detective Pikachu" feels more like a great tech demo than a satisfying adventure. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
Under the Silver Lake (2018) Evan Dossey An expressive oddity made for a small audience -but if you jive with it, it's extremely rewarding. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
2/5 The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Nick Rogers A sequel that pulls time-and-a-half to carry all the corporate water the first one left at the bottom of a hill. To watch it feels like freebasing fifteen 5-Hour Energy drinks, and its message -play nice with siblings to get more LEGOs - is rancid. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2019
2/5 Movie 43 (2013) Nick Rogers There is even money on a man with a gun just outside the frame at any given moment here ... except in "Happy Birthday," where Gerard Butler looks legitimately elated and excited to portray a pair of foul-mouthed, genital-mutilating leprechauns. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2019