Splash Report

Splash Report is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): J. Don Birnam
Rating Title/Year Author
D Cats (2019) J. Don Birnam Perhaps I missed what all the purring is about, but the spectacle is more farcical than anything else EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019
B+ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) J. Don Birnam Don't blame the beloved and still entertaining characters for falling further and further into the grip of the Dark Side of Corporate Sith Overlords who insist on sucking the life force out of them. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019
B Frozen II (2019) J. Don Birnam Great new tunes, a hilarious Olaf, and already beloved characters are powerful enough to elevate an otherwise clunky and frankly uninteresting story EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2019
B+ Charlie's Angels (2019) J. Don Birnam In the age of remakes meets #TimesUp, what better than a reloaded Charlie's Angels? Elizabeth Banks and Kristen Stewart bring oodles of talent to otherwise predictable but entertaining new film EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2019
B- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) J. Don Birnam With plenty of throwbacks to the brilliant two originals and an endless cascade of exciting if convoluted action sequences, Terminator: Dark Fate mostly rises above its otherwise clunky and unemotional story EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
B- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) J. Don Birnam Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer shine as they square off as evil queens in a visually effective but messy and convoluted sequel to the revisiting of the classic story EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2019
A The Irishman (2019) J. Don Birnam Scorsese and his lifelong collaborators deliver a clever & interesting return to the mob genre that looks back at American history, reflects on old age, and feels like a tender swan song. Three riveting performances EDIT
Posted Sep 29, 2019
B+ Downton Abbey (2019) J. Don Birnam Good luck trying to resist this impeccably constructed, charming extended TV episode of the different intrigues and goings-on of Edwardian aristocrats and their servants, as contrived as it all may seem EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
C+ Ad Astra (2019) J. Don Birnam A visually stunning film with a great, nuanced performance by Brad Pitt, nevertheless feels distant and cold. If the central character is so keen on being even-keeled that he cannot bring himself to care about anything that happens, why should we? EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2019
B+ Uncut Gems (2019) J. Don Birnam Adam Sandler's stunning performance and an effective finale are enough to forgive the Safdie Bros. for making a movie aimed at purposefully annoying you and making you want to cover your ears EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
A- Harriet (2019) J. Don Birnam Cynthia Erivo's nuanced performance elevates this straightforward but compelling biopic of a great American hero EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
B- Jojo Rabbit (2019) J. Don Birnam While the movie and its cast are undoubtedly funny and this film is entertaining, the story lacks depth beyond a couple of silly skits EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
B+ Joker (2019) J. Don Birnam Joaquin Phoenix's phenomenal performance elevates this creepy, somber, and disturbing origin story that excels when it focuses on its titular character and stumbles when it tries to be a civics lesson EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
A- Knives Out (2019) J. Don Birnam A deliciously wicked murder mystery procedural that uses its superb cast to bring Agatha Christie to 2019 in a fun-filled, intriguing drama EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2019
B+ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) J. Don Birnam Tom Hanks glows as Mr. Rogers, in this fictionalized account of the man's virtues through the eyes of a reporter whose life he touches. The movie sneaks up on you in its effectiveness EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2019
C- The Goldfinch (2019) J. Don Birnam The adaptation commits one critical mistake from which it cannot recover: telling the story non-linearly, robbing the characters and the plot of all emotional motivation and sympathy. A disappointing adaptation to say the least EDIT
Posted Sep 8, 2019
A- Hustlers (2019) J. Don Birnam Move over "Wolf of Wall Street," these girls can be just as bad as the guys, and infinitely more charming, in this film with a knock-out performance by Jennifer Lopez EDIT
Posted Sep 8, 2019
C+ Just Mercy (2019) J. Don Birnam The characters, the story, and the subject matter of the film demand to be discussed and lauded, but the movie itself is not only conventional but openly uninterested in doing much more than getting you to the crying finale, like in a dry legal brief EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2019
B Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2019) J. Don Birnam An interesting, folksy doc about a folksy rock band for the uninitiated, and a political apologia for those familiar with the controversies surrounding Robbie Robertson and "The Band" EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2019
B Radioactive (2020) J. Don Birnam Rosamund Pike is radiant as the important and cinematically forgotten but influential Marie Curie, in an interesting if not always effective biopic EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2019
A- Motherless Brooklyn (2019) J. Don Birnam Film noir will enjoy this unassuming little mystery about New York development corruption, in Ed Norton's adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel, equal parts Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, and Rain Man EDIT
Posted Sep 1, 2019
A Marriage Story (2019) J. Don Birnam Adam Driver is captivating and Laura Dern is hysterical in Noah Baumbach's tragically true to life tale of the brutal consequences of the end of love in this must-see festival favorite EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2019
B+ The Two Popes (2019) J. Don Birnam Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins engage in a theological joust, equal parts levity, humor, and spiritual exploration. There is no resolution of millennia-old debates, just amusing exposition and proselytizing EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2019
B Judy (2019) J. Don Birnam Renee Zellweger's career-best performance as the troubled star helps erase the blemishes of the stage play turned film, to harrowing and at times tragic effect EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2019
B+ Ford v Ferrari (2019) J. Don Birnam Mangold once more takes straightforward studio fare and shifts it into a higher gear via heart-pounding sound effects and music, and drivers' seat tracking shots that will keep you gripping the wheel EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2019
C+ Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) J. Don Birnam Hobbs and Shaw is one hour of fun and exciting action, and another hour of over-the-top sequences that reflect excessive confidence in the film's own humor and talent EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
D+ Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) J. Don Birnam Quentin Tarantino's supposed love story to Hollywood's Golden Age feels more like a tribute to himself, becoming flatly uninteresting despite great performances by a star-studded cast EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2019
B+ Crawl (2019) J. Don Birnam Crawl succeeds as much for what it does not do - which is fall into all the awful, obnoxious animal horror cliches - as much as it does for its taut story, surprising performances, and genuinely terrifying sequences EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
A The Lion King (2019) J. Don Birnam Ask not "Why?" a studio must remake a classic film, but "Why Not?" The Lion King is a great, classic tale, and that can't change based on whether a computer or a hand drew the graphics. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
B- Stuber (2019) J. Don Birnam Stuber is funny enough to overcome some of the bumps on the road and reach its destination safely EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2019
C+ Midsommar (2019) J. Don Birnam Ari Aster's second feature debut is hurt by the inherent lack of originality in the story now that we know his style, obsessions, and interests, despite a strong performance by Florence Pugh and appealing visuals EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2019
B+ Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) J. Don Birnam Tom Holland continues to hit the right note as the teenager turned superhero, the effects are great, and the story just sufficiently interesting (if predictable) to keep you entertained for two hours EDIT
Posted Jun 27, 2019
B- The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) J. Don Birnam That "The Secret Life of Pets 2" is not bad does not mean that it is good either. It is perfectly passable for adults, with a non-working three-story structure, if admittedly very enjoyable for the young audience it is aimed at EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
C Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) J. Don Birnam Despite jaw-dropping and entertaining visuals, the film's script and plot is, by its own admission, drawn from fortune cookie aphorisms. Being crushed by Godzilla is probably less painful. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
C- Ma (2019) J. Don Birnam Octavia Spencer expands her range yet again, but Tate Taylor's suspense/horror pastiche is as messed up as its titular character. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2019
A- Aladdin (2019) J. Don Birnam There is enough new to this world to make it a worthwhile revisiting of what is now a timeless Disney classic. Will Smith is funny as the Genie and the story has a deeper emotional appeal than the original. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
A- Avengers: Endgame (2019) J. Don Birnam The longer run-time and bloated cast are surprising strengths, permitting this grand finale to be more than just a superhero flick. A fitting, over-arching conclusion by a studio that knows how to get this genre spot on. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2019
B+ Missing Link (2019) J. Don Birnam Sophisticated, sarcastic humor and dazzling animation turn a decent plot into visual and comedic merriment EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
B- Little (2019) J. Don Birnam Little gives you big laughs and little plot or believable life lessons. But the starring trio of comediennes is talented and rescue an otherwise questionable project. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
B Pet Sematary (2019) J. Don Birnam There is just enough left of the core Stephen King story, of its disturbing and threatening themes, to justify unearthing this particular cadaver, even if the resurrected creature is a slightly-off version of itself EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
B+ Shazam! (2019) J. Don Birnam Zach Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer steal the show in this superhero film that turns the usual weaknesses of origin stories into a fun time with a good message about family EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2019
A- High Life (2018) J. Don Birnam Robert Pattinson delivers in Claire Denis' stylized, at times prurient, but always imaginative dystopian future film EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
C+ Dumbo (2019) J. Don Birnam Well-intentioned but unsatisfying in that it strips the most interesting and powerful emotional motifs of the original story in favor of lazier modern themes EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2019
B- Us (2019) J. Don Birnam Lupita Nyong'o turns in the best performance in her career and Jordan Peele shows off his technical prowess in an otherwise uneven film with no clear emotional center EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
B Hotel Mumbai (2018) J. Don Birnam At times difficult to watch and dangerously close to exploitative, Hotel Mumbai remains a good movie because of its gripping, intense style, and its important and remarkable human element EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
B Captain Marvel (2019) J. Don Birnam And entertaining and visually dazzling story that is weighed down by being both an origin tale as well as the appetizer to a highly-anticipated film finale EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2019
C+ How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) J. Don Birnam Sporting another marvelous score and exquisitely animated, the film's plot is thin and the stakes non-existent, with a story the stunted shadow of its brilliant predecessors EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2019
B- Alita: Battle Angel (2019) J. Don Birnam Alita Battle Angel has just enough cool special effects and unique world intrigue to overcome its sloppy script and clunky story EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2019
D- Happy Death Day 2U (2019) J. Don Birnam Though it likens itself to Back to the Future II, Happy Death Day 2U is what Back to the Future would have looked had it been made by the Biff from the alternate 1985 - bad. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
B What Men Want (2019) J. Don Birnam A showcase of Taraji P. Henson's vast comedic talent, What Men Want effectively turns the tables on the male-centered "why can't we get along" narrative, into an entertaining and refreshing perspective on the question EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2019