The Victoria Advocate

The Victoria Advocate is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Joe Friar
Rating Title/Year Author
3/4 The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Joe Friar The Mexican folktale comes to the screen in the latest offering from the James Wan universe. First-time director Michael Chaves does a fine job of creating real scares in this better-than-average horror offering. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
3.5/4 Her Smell (2018) Joe Friar Elisabeth Moss is a tour-de-force in Alex Ross Perry's self-destructive ode to 90s female rock bands. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
3.5/4 Wild Nights With Emily (2018) Joe Friar Molly Shannon is terrific as Emily Dickinson in Madeleine Olnek's eye-opening comedy. As it turns out, we really don't know anything about the beloved poet! EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2019
4/4 Mary Magdalene (2018) Joe Friar The film approaches Mary Magdalene with sensitivity at Terrence Malick speed giving the audience plenty of time to absorb Garth Davis' eye-opening film about the often misunderstood disciple of Christ. EDIT
Posted Apr 13, 2019
1/4 Hellboy (2019) Joe Friar Over the top gore, excessive swearing, bland rock music, and an R-rating don't make this reboot edgy, just noisy and dull. Marshall's film lacks passion and without it you're left with a repetitive barrage of what seems like a 12-year old's fantasy film. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
4/4 Ash Is Purest White (2018) Joe Friar Jia Zhang-Ke's mobster love story is one of the best films you'll see this year. Zhao Tao delivers one of her best performances whileEric Gautier's cinematography is absolutely stunning. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2019
3.5/4 The Wind (2018) Joe Friar All the elements are in place for this scary female-driven, western-horror that exists somewhere between "Meek's Cutoff" and "The Evil Dead." Tense! EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2019
2.5/4 Pet Sematary (2019) Joe Friar Creepy visuals but no scares in the latest adaptation of King's novel. What should have been a chilling finale is reduced to an almost comical visual that feels trendy as if the directors are aiming for a new series on AMC. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2019
3/4 The Brink (2019) Joe Friar Love him or loathe him, Steve Bannon exposes himself in Alison Klayman's riveting documentary. Is he a right-wing cyborg from the future or just someone who gives zero f***s? Either way, this is riveting stuff. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
4/4 Isha Ovedet (2018) Joe Friar The tense Israeli psychological thriller covers sexual harassment in a realistic manner. Liron Ben Shlush and Menashe Noy deliver two of the finest performances of the year. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
3/4 Charlotte a du fun (2018) Joe Friar Sophie Lorain's feature delivers a message of female empowerment without taking itself too seriously. Expect more drama than comedy from the refreshing film. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
4/4 The Mustang (2019) Joe Friar Matthias Schoenarts delivers a superb performance in Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre's directorial debut, a beautiful film about redemption and reform. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
3.5/4 Hotel Mumbai (2018) Joe Friar A riveting thriller based on actual events with a stellar cast led by seasoned actors Anupam Kher who is terrific and Jason Isaacs who I would have enjoyed in an expanded role. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
4/4 Gloria Bell (2018) Joe Friar Julianne Moore is marvelous as a free-spirited divorcee looking for companionship underneath the pulsating lights of L.A.'s club scene in Oscar-winning Sebastián Lelio's remake of his 2013 Chilean film. EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2019
3.5/4 Dragged Across Concrete (2018) Joe Friar One of the best films I've seen in 2019. Zahler has a great track record with three solid features in a row. Don't sleep on this film. It's brutal and violent but so worth the ride. EDIT
Posted Mar 25, 2019
3/4 Giant Little Ones (2018) Joe Friar A genuine portrait of self-discovery during those awkward and formative teenage years with first-rate performances. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
3.5/4 Us (2019) Joe Friar A heart-pounding excursion down horror's darkest corridors with the brilliant Lupita Nyong'o as the driving force. The film moves at such ferocity that you won't be able to catch your breath until the credits roll. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
3.5/4 Everybody Knows (2018) Joe Friar Asghar Farhadi once again displays his knack for capturing the human condition. Superb performances especially Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2019
3.5/4 Babylon (1980) Joe Friar An entertaining and culturally significant film that exposes much more than the world of reggae dancehall. It's a fitting companion piece to Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2019
3/4 The Wedding Guest (2018) Joe Friar Despite the film's rom-com sounding title, this is a straightforward thriller that holds the audience in suspense by keeping them in the dark. Patel and Apte are on the same wavelength, acting in harmony. Satisfying but not filling. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
4/4 Boy Erased (2018) Joe Friar Joel Edgerton tackles gay conversion therapy with the powerful film. One of the best movies you'll see this year. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/4 Destroyer (2018) Joe Friar Karyn Kusama's gritty neo-noir crime drama features shades of Kathryn Bigelow and Michael Mann as the City of Angels becomes the backdrop for the riveting crime drama. Nicole Kidman is terrific. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
2.5/4 Donnybrook (2018) Joe Friar The rural and sometimes riveting thriller implodes as predictability takes over. It resembles a film that would have been released by Golan-Globus under Cannon Films in the late 80s/early 90s. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/4 To Dust (2018) Joe Friar Ventures into macabre territory as it boldly crosses that imaginary line in the sand daring it to go one step further, and it does often with uproarious results. Röhrig and Broderick are hilarious. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
4/4 Pájaros de verano (2018) Joe Friar Lightning strikes twice for Embrace of the Serpent filmmakers Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra. Their sophomore epic will leave you breathless. A masterpiece. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
3.5/4 Loving Vincent (2017) Joe Friar The hand-painted tribute to Vincent van Gogh is a stunning achievement! EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
3/4 Tejano (2018) Joe Friar The story of a South Texas ranch hand who gets mixed up with a Mexican cartel moves with pulse-pounding velocity and features top performances from a talented cast of actors with Texas roots. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
3/4 Greta (2018) Joe Friar It's fun watching French actress Isabelle Huppert go off the deep end in Neil Jordan's dark thriller. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
3.5/4 Captain Marvel (2019) Joe Friar Plenty of humor and action make this an immensely entertaining thrill ride. Captain Marvel is a blast. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
3/4 Lords of Chaos (2018) Joe Friar Jonas Åkerlund's unsettling biopic features fine performances by Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen. The depths of humanity are explored as repulsive behavior and brutal violence saturate the rock fable. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2019
3.5/4 Arctic (2018) Joe Friar The spellbound thriller about a downed pilot trying to survive in the frozen tundra keeps the audience captivated the way Tom Hanks did in Cast Away and Robert Redford in All Is Lost. Mads Mikkelsen is first rate. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2019
3/4 The Prodigy (2019) Joe Friar The creepy film isn't the first to put a twist in the possession genre but the performances by Jackson Robert Scott and Taylor Schilling elevate the psychological thriller. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2019
3/4 Cold Pursuit (2019) Joe Friar Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland's remake is a fun ride that blends dark humor with a Tarantino body count. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
2.5/4 Miss Bala (2019) Joe Friar Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's remake is a diluted version of the 2012 Mexican original. Heavy on the eye candy with less substance. Gina Rodriguez goes from Miss Baller to Miss Bala in the implausible thriller. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2019
3/4 Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Joe Friar Dan Gilroy reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal for the horror-comedy that is reminiscent of Rod Serling's late 60s-early 70s horror series "Night Gallery." Satire with plenty of blood and laughs. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
3.5/4 Las herederas (2018) Joe Friar Led by a gorgeous performance from Ana Brun, Marcelo Martinessi's debut is the perfect showcase for female actors with a poignant storyline focused on mature women within the LGBT community. Beautiful and poignant. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
1/4 Serenity (2019) Joe Friar You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish even when Matthew McConaughey is steering the boat in this M. Night Shyamalan wannabe that feels like one of the actor's Lincoln commercials. Ambitious and commendable but poorly executed. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
4/4 Cold War (2018) Joe Friar Pawel Pawlikowski's timeless love story seduces the viewer with the perfect blend of romance, tragedy, and music. Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot are fantastic. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2019
4/4 Ida (2013) Joe Friar Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's film is a beautiful and remarkable piece of cinema which features a superb performance by newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska in the title role. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2019
2.5/4 Glass (2019) Joe Friar I'm glad I had the chance to jump back into the comic-book-fueled world of Mr. Glass and James McAvoy proves to be the film's MVP but Shyamalan takes too long to get to the film's climax that is ultimately a letdown. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2019
3/4 Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Joe Friar Josie Rourke's royal smackdown isn't the first biopic to take liberties with history nor will it be the last. Based on Tudor historian John Guy's 2004 novel, the biopic comes at you from a fresh perspective with solid performances by Ronan and Robbie. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2019
3.5/4 Mid90s (2018) Joe Friar Despite the film's harshness, there are quite a few beautiful moments in Jonah Hill's directorial debut. The coming-of-age drama features spot-on performances by the cast and a storyline that provides the audience with insight to these vivid characters. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2019
3.5/4 On the Basis of Sex (2018) Joe Friar At times, the film feels like a Lifetime movie, but the entertainment factor is high. Felicity Jones is superb as true to life superhero Ruth Bader Ginsburg. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2019
3/4 Komunia (2016) Joe Friar Anna Zamecka's documentary enthralls the viewer primarily because we care about this family. We root for the day that Ola can live a worry-free life and just be a teenager. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2019
4/4 Suspiria (2018) Joe Friar Blood and gore flow freely especially in the finale which will go down as one of the most unforgettable moments of any horror film in a macabre dance of the flesh that resembles a collaboration between Andy Warhol and David Cronenberg. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
4/4 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Joe Friar Barry Jenkins' bittersweet story about young Harlem couple Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) basks in a passionate glow of love accented by Nicholas Britell's evocative score. One of 2018's best films. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2018
3.5/4 Vice (2018) Joe Friar Adam McKay blends farce with facts for the biting comedy that delivers cinema's greatest villain since Darth Vader. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are terrific. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2018
4/4 Manbiki kazoku (2018) Joe Friar Hirokazu Kore-eda's new film is the sleeper hit of 2018. The Japanese filmmaker has become a master of humanity, his films are true reflections of how we as flawed individuals are embraced by those closest to us, family. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2018
4/4 Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Joe Friar Emily Blunt is magical as the umbrella-toting nanny in Rob Marshall's sequel to the 1964 classic. Catchy songs, beautiful 2D animation, and the golden voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda make for great entertainment. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2018
3/4 Bird Box (2018) Joe Friar Sandra Bullock leads a strong cast in the end of the world thriller that remains faithful to Josh Malerman's novel. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018