Citizen Dame

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Delightfully, this isn't a film about two sad middle-aged women getting their groove back, but two happy middle-aged women having a good time stretching beyond their comfort zones. EDIT
Posted Apr 18, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Karen M. Peterson There are many wonderful moments contained within this charming gift of cinema, and this is a film that deserves to be celebrated. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2021
The Ringmaster (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks This isn't so much about an unscrupulous filmmaker deliberately manipulating a person for his own gain, but about trying to force a story (and a person) into a shape that just won't fit. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2021
Paracelsus (1943) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Is this a humanist attempt to undercut Nazi ideology? Perhaps. Is it a propaganda piece valorizing Germany and its perceived place in history? Perhaps. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
Effigy: Poison and the City (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The complexity of the psychological history provides Effigy with some of its tensest scenes, especially between Gottfried and Cato, as both women face a male-dominated society requiring them to be either waifs or monsters. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2020
La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Raquel Cepeda helps to guide the narrative from a feminine and ultimately feminist perspective, and provides us insight into a world of women from which a male filmmaker would be forcibly locked out. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
French Exit (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Like Frances, it manages to draw us in and make us care about people that we might otherwise not want to care for. I'm a little upset that I enjoyed French Exit as much as I did, and perhaps that's the point. That's its magic and its fascination. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020
Nomadland (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Nomadland is perhaps one of the deftest works of cinema in recent years, transcendent simply by looking, unflinchingly, into the heart of the American character. It lets the characters, the landscape, and the images take the viewer where they need to go. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
MLK/FBI (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks This is a valuable documentary not least because it does not shy away from the fact of King's humanity, looking at him as a person rather than an idol, and not proposing to be the final answer to how we understand or navigate his legacy. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2020
Tenet (2020) Karen M. Peterson It would be easy to dismiss the plot as confusing, but that would be generous. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2020
Maedchen in Uniform (1931) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The nascent sexuality of the girls in an all-girls school becomes an ideological battleground between authoritarianism and enforced heterosexuality, and freedom and fluid sexuality. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2020
Shirley (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks It's not only a spectacular use of cinema to render the spirit of Jackson's work, it's an angry, elegiac rendering of female psychology. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2020
Olivia (1951) Lauren Humphries-Brooks It's a study in female relationships, their complexity, and the centralizing of female desire, couched in the form of a complex gothic melodrama that prizes women above all else. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2020
The Third Strike (2021) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Jones crafts a stirring narrative of women fighting against an unjust justice system that punishes minorities for relatively minor offenses and creates a cascade of suffering for past and future generations. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2020
Supernatural (1933) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The real attraction here is Lombard, wonderful as she plays basically a dual role. It does make one wish she had done a few more horror films to round out her oeuvre. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2020
The Song of Songs (1933) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The Song of Songs isn't a perfect film by any stretch, and at times its gender relations are extraordinarily problematic, but it does give insight into Dietrich's range, the humor underlying some of her persona, and the nuance underlying her image. EDIT
Posted Mar 25, 2020
The Invisible Man (2020) Karen M. Peterson The Invisible Man works as the retelling of a classic monster, channeling the energy of that bygone age into something relevant to our modern era. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2020
Man in the Shadow (1957) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The starkness of the narrative is part of what makes it so powerful - this is a story of corruption and the way in which the powerful exploit racism and wealth to control the narrative. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2020
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks If you want to understand the essence of women under patriarchy, in its starkest, funniest, and most extreme, see Birds of Prey, and emancipate the Harley within. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
Gretel & Hansel (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Gretel & Hansel comes off as a failed but honest attempt to do something new with a well-worn fairy tale - a gorgeous piece of art coupled with an interesting idea that just doesn't quite work. I EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2020
Color Out of Space (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Color Out of Space is a niche narrative, so fundamentally Lovecraftian that, if you like his work, you'll enjoy this, and if you don't like it...well, you might actually be interested after this one. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2020
High Flying Bird (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The script is fantastic... It plays almost like an Ocean's 11 movie. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2019
The Irishman (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks It is the banality of violence, the sense that Frank, and others like him, are just working men doing a job, that makes The Irishman so haunting, and that plays out the character's ultimate lack of emotional or spiritual redemption. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Charlie's Angels (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks While not a perfect film, even in its feminism, Charlie's Angels is a fantastic example of women retaking the means of production and using iconic images, crafted by men, against patriarchal structures. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2019
Jojo Rabbit (2019) Karen M. Peterson Jojo Rabbit is told in a way that could only be done by Taika Waititi, and has become one of the most misunderstood films of the year. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2019
The Lighthouse (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks How much The Lighthouse works or doesn't depends entirely on your perspective; there's perhaps no film currently in theaters that so catalyzes the subjectivity of art. EDIT
Posted Oct 29, 2019
Isle of the Dead (1945) Lauren Humphries-Brooks There's no clear villain or monster in Isle of the Dead; rather, fear and developing paranoia drive the narrative, transforming the people on the island as they cope with their nearness to death and the causes of it. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Atlantics (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks A magical realist love story (with ghosts), Atlantics folds in a sharp meditation on worker exploitation with a lyrical narrative of love, power, and physical possession. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
Joker (2019) Karen M. Peterson Much like the Joker himself, Joaquin Phoenix is a performance artist who uses audacity and shock as substitutes for depth. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2019
Parasite (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks By turns hilarious, harrowing, and horrifying, Parasite may well be Bong Joon-ho's best film since Memories of Murder. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
Pain and Glory (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Pain and Glory is a great director's rumination on the act of making art in itself - what stops an artist from working, and how to rediscover the glory of filmmaking. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2019
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Writer/director Celine Sciamma has created something truly remarkable, a cinematic masterpiece that needs to be seen multiple times, but that in even a single viewing sounds an emotional vibrato deep within the viewer. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2019
Shame (1949) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Not Wanted effectively exposes women's internalization of shame surrounding sex and motherhood-to Sally, the baby is a proof of her shame, a physical manifestation of her social rejection, and the rejection of a man who did not love her. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
Human Capital (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Human Capital is made by its performances, but its performances expose how banal the structure and plot are at base ... There's something missing to elevate it beyond an entertaining, well-directed film about relatively unpleasant rich people. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2019
Grit (2018) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Above all, Grit reminds us that, in the face of environmental disaster and apparent government indifference, there is a future worth fighting for. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2019
It: Chapter Two (2019) Karen M. Peterson As good a sequel as we ever could have hoped after the heights reached by its predecessor EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2019
Murder! (1930) Lauren Humphries-Brooks It's almost as though Hitchcock is having us all on, deliberately testing his audience's willingness to continue watching filmed play about people who cannot stop acting like their life is a theatrical construction. EDIT
Posted Aug 29, 2019
Ready or Not (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Ready or Not is deeply critical of the class structure not just in terms of the power and privilege of the wealthy, but in how that power and privilege is both imposed on and supported by the lower classes. EDIT
Posted Aug 27, 2019
Blackmail (1929) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Blackmail incorporates some of Hitchcock's most complex, nastiest themes, digging deep into the psychological nature of trauma and drawing justice, personal autonomy, gendered expectations, and misogyny into question. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2019
The Kitchen (2019) Kristen Lopez Andrea Berloff creates a film that's fun, affecting, and intense. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2019
Darlin' (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks There's great satisfaction and hope in Darlin', but it comes in forms you might not expect. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
Love, Antosha (2019) Kristen Lopez Love, Antosha isn't a sad film...but instead is meant to inspire, uplift, and ultimately prove that Yelchin was better than anybody could have dreamed of. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2019
Stare (2020) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Stare has all the makings of an excellent J-horror, even if it does drag in places and reinvents its own rules too many times. It may ultimately only pay off as a minor entry into the genre, but it's an entertaining one all the same. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2019
The Father's Shadow (A Sombra do Pai) (2018) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The Father's Shadow is a meticulously crafted work of magical realism, embedded in its culture and ethos. It's the work of another intelligent, complex female director whose work will be fascinating to watch develop. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2019
Extra Ordinary (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Extra Ordinary is a funny, bizarre Irish Ghostbusters, in the best possible way. It reinvigorates the flagging horror-comedy genre by providing funny and occasionally terrifying twists on common tropes. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2019
Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) Kristen Lopez This near-three-hour opus is a wandering mess of half-though ideas and interests. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2019
The Deeper You Dig (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks This is a small film that deeply deserves an audience, as accomplished and thematically vibrant as any big budget horror you can find today, and far more conversant with the thin divide between spirituality and the supernatural than most. EDIT
Posted Jul 18, 2019
Sadako (2019) Lauren Humphries-Brooks Nakata finds some tension and horror, but this latest film feels too much like a retread of Ringu and even, in places, Dark Water. Dare I say that the poor wraith deserved a little better than this? EDIT
Posted Jul 18, 2019
Midsommar (2019) Kristen Lopez With hype so high the only way is down and Midsommar (that's mid-so-MAR) hits the wall with a fizzle, not a bang. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2019
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) Lauren Humphries-Brooks The Decline of Western Civilization remains an essential documentary and one fantastically weird slice of life. EDIT
Posted Jun 26, 2019