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
B- A Quiet Place Part II (2021) J. Don Birnam Not nearly as tantalizing as the amazing original, the only relevant question for this movie is not whether it is good, but whether it will bring some noise back to movie theaters EDIT
Posted May 27, 2021
C Wrath of Man (2021) J. Don Birnam Ritchie and Statham team up for the fourth time, but perhaps the third was the charm. This revenge fantasy does nothing new or even clever (as Ritchie is well capable of) and even the bloodiest of revenges feels unsatisfying EDIT
Posted May 6, 2021
C- Crisis (2021) J. Don Birnam Tries to be "Traffic" but instead gets trafficked into non-sense plot lines and unbelievable scenarios even for a drug film EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2021
A Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) J. Don Birnam Daniel Kaluuya's riveting performance as a Black Panther leader punctuates this compelling, timely, and ultimately tragic picture by Shaka King EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
B Land (2021) J. Don Birnam This straight-forward but beautifully shot film about a woman finding a will to live is a promising debut by director Robin Wright EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2021
A Mass (2021) J. Don Birnam A disturbing but effective imagining of what survivors of these sort of tragedies must experience, punctuated by powerful acting by all four stars EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2021
A- Passing (2021) J. Don Birnam Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga deliver authoritative and powerful performances in this emotional and timely first feature by Rebecca Hall EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2021
B+ CODA (2021) J. Don Birnam A traditional coming of age story with a twist about overcoming adversity while following a dream, with a touching performance by young Emilia Jones EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2021
B- Malcolm & Marie (2021) J. Don Birnam Zendaya gives an astounding performance as the troubled young muse of a movie director whose ruminations about the cinematic industry nearly ruin the entire picture EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2021
B- Greenland (2020) J. Don Birnam Though there is no chemistry between the two parents struggling to survive the end of the world, the film presents a plausible enough doomsday scenario to transfix you while you see some behave well, some poorly, and everything become terrifying EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
D Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) J. Don Birnam Clever spice-related allegories don't make this messy rom-com any less insipid and even wacky. A cute them song also is not enough to save it from it's own strange script. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
D Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (2020) J. Don Birnam A joyless, senseless film - as clumsy as its protagonists - whose title ("Disaster") says it all EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
A- The Prom (2020) J. Don Birnam With uplifting songs, impressive performances, and just enough wit, THE PROM shows that sometimes breaking out into song and dance - as kitschy as it may seems - is just what the doctor ordered in these bleak times. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
A- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) J. Don Birnam This solid adaptation of the August Wilson play features excellent costumes, score, and makeup, but the show belongs to Chadwick Boseman's heart-breaking performance EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
B+ Ammonite (2020) J. Don Birnam Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan give quiet but passionate life to the two protagonists of this Francis Lee period drama, in the filmmaker's solid sophomore outing EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
A- The Life Ahead (2020) J. Don Birnam Sophia Loren's moving portrayal of an aging, stern woman who nurtures the lost soul of an orphan immigrant boy turns a formulaic story into an emotionally beautiful film EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
B+ Freaky (2020) J. Don Birnam Inventive kills and humorous moments stemming from the film's body swap premise make "Freaky" a standout among its teen slasher companions, with plenty of tributes to classics from "Halloween" to "Scream" thrown in for good measure EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2020
B Hillbilly Elegy (2020) J. Don Birnam The narrative is sloppy but the story has, at its core, invaluable insight (about fealty to family) that makes it more honest and therefore more effective than prior attempts to understand rural America. Close and Adams give stunning performances. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2020
B+ Mank (2020) J. Don Birnam Fincher's flashy look back at Hollywood through the eyes of a boozy writer struggling to find his place is at times mesmerizing in both its technical and acting marvels EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
C Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) J. Don Birnam The "Borat" sequel is audacious and entertaining and satire, but unpersuasive (and, as stereotypical as the stereotypes it derides) as what the film really wants to be -- political commentary EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
B+ French Exit (2020) J. Don Birnam A film about a strange set of self-involved socialites , for whom you'd care little if it weren't for Michelle Pfeiffer's tour-de-force performance and an avalanche of clever turns-of-phrase EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
C- Honest Thief (2020) J. Don Birnam Entertaining if you get past the contrived plot of corrupt FBI officials--until you realize it is all half-baked and inconsistent political dog whistles EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
D The War With Grandpa (2020) J. Don Birnam The worst part about a movie with this questionable a premise - that a young kid is going to terrorize his grandfather to get his room back - is when it is not even funny, and this film will not make you laugh EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2020
B The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) J. Don Birnam The truth of this sad episode in American history is a tad too strange and bloated to lend itself to a compelling theatrical adaptation, but Sorkin and his talented stars do the best they can with the material EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
A- I Carry You With Me (2020) J. Don Birnam A beautifully rendered and heartfelt, true-to-life tale of two young gay Mexican lovers and the emotional and physical toll they pay to achieve their dreams. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
B+ The Glorias (2020) J. Don Birnam A timely, satisfying, well-acted film (with the usual rambles mixed into insightful tidbits that characterize biopics) about the iconic feminist leader Gloria Steinem. Must watch in these urgent times. EDIT
Posted Sep 28, 2020
A- Nomadland (2020) J. Don Birnam An emotive, lyrical picture about a woman who finds stability in impermanence, "Nomadland" cements Chloe Zhao's as one of the defining young voices in modern cinema EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
B+ Mulan (2020) J. Don Birnam Dazzling vistas, costumes, and effect, together with solid performances make up for a mostly straight-forward and not risky story, but one that sends good messages to kids nevertheless EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2020
B+ Fatima (2020) J. Don Birnam An inspirational story about the power of faith and compassion in a seemingly hopeless world. It requires us to suspend our disbelief no more than your typical god-like superhero movie does and in that way is surprisingly conventional EDIT
Posted Aug 27, 2020
B- The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019) J. Don Birnam Stylish and moody, this noir-like film about art, art criticism, and their relationships to reality, is saved by superb performances by the impressive cast and an amusing enough plot, used to overcome the film's central message's shortcomings EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2020
B Summerland (2020) J. Don Birnam Gemma Arterton grabs hold in this at times uneven but satisfying, escapist story about an author living in the British countryside during WWII--really about nostalgia and (importantly) hope for a better time EDIT
Posted Jul 30, 2020
B- My Spy (2020) J. Don Birnam "My Spy" breaks no new ground in the tried and true big spy meets clever kid genre, but amusing gags and cute supporting performances bring out enough laughs to make it worth it EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
C- The Hunt (2020) J. Don Birnam Though a supposed commentary on the sad state of affairs in politics today, this ill-conceived, ultimately uninteresting film is more a reflection on the sad state of cinema, if anything EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2020
D+ The Way Back (2020) J. Don Birnam Ben Affleck does his best not to channel brother Casey in this unsubtle re-thread of Casey's Oscar winning performance, dressed up as a sports comeback movie EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2020
B+ The Invisible Man (2020) J. Don Birnam Elizabeth Moss elevates a simplified version of H.G. Wells' classic tale into a higher level of thrills and scares EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2020
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