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- 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
D- The Prodigy (2019) J. Don Birnam The Prodigy is unremarkable compared to standouts like The Exorcist or even The Omen or Child's Play; its pace, dialogue, and 'twists' are all problematic even standing alone EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2019
B The Mustang (2019) J. Don Birnam The Mustang distinguishes itself just enough from its horse-riding brethren with a sincere emotional sensitivity in its interesting take on toxic male masculinity and violence EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2019
B+ Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) J. Don Birnam Jake Gyllenhaal and Renee Russo are deliciously wicked in this devastating mockery of the high-powered art world meets cheap slasher; it does not always hit the right notes but when it does, it is too amusing to pass up EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
D Miss Bala (2019) J. Don Birnam The emotional oomph of the original is stripped away in this sanitized version of the story of a woman caught in the web of violence of drug cartel. Gina Rodriguez is good, but for naught EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
B+ Arctic (2018) J. Don Birnam A well made, quasi lone survivor tale that will chill your bones with hyper-realistic sequences and at times terrifying dilemmas that cut to the core of the human sole EDIT
Posted Jan 30, 2019
A The Report (2019) J. Don Birnam A thought-provoking, digestible drama about the tension between truth and politics, and between adhering to idealistic virtues and doing what one believes is right. Annette Bening and Adam Driver elevate the film to the next level EDIT
Posted Jan 28, 2019
C+ Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) J. Don Birnam Extremely callous treatment of source material, hopelessly confused between presenting Bundy's or another's perspective, wasting incredible performances by Zac Efron and Lily Collins EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2019
B+ Honey Boy (2019) J. Don Birnam Shia LaBeouf's autobiographical 'Honey Boy,' despite some narrative creases, ends up a memorable if raw confessional about growing up with alcoholism and abuse EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
B I Am Mother (2019) J. Don Birnam 'I Am Mother' is a must-see, thrilling, and even terrifying film for fans of dystopian future sci-fi flicks, even though it trips over itself in expounding its philosophical and ethical conceits EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
A- Late Night (2019) J. Don Birnam In Late Night, Mindy Kaling adds a comedic, timely, and refreshing political touch to the light workplace dramedy of 'The Devil Wears Prada,' which she updates with the help of an excellent Emma Thompson as a fading host EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2019
B+ The Biggest Little Farm (2018) J. Don Birnam The Biggest Little Farm is an inspiring celebration of the complex relationships between organisms and the Earth and of what a strong conviction to tackle a challenging project can net for its adventurers EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
A- Apollo 11 (2019) J. Don Birnam 'Apollo 11' is a stunning documentary composed entirely of remastered original footage from the moon-landing mission, effectively taking you back in time to relive the adventure EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
B The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) J. Don Birnam Though the varied life lessons of the film are repetitive and unpersuasive, there is something infectiously funny and sarcastically endearing about this adolescent re-imagining of the Arthurian legend EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2019
B- A Dog's Way Home (2019) J. Don Birnam Though at times sloppy and a bit corny, A Dog's Way Home is an adorable, heart-warming story for kids and dogs and nature lovers alike, a big, warm, therapy blanket, like a comfort dog itself. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
C+ Glass (2019) J. Don Birnam M. Night Shyamalan gives in to his worst instincts again - to shatter an otherwise promising movie with thousands of jagged pieces made up of overarching theories and obvious plot-twist setups. Great acting and some funny moments can't save it. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2019
C Welcome to Marwen (2018) J. Don Birnam Welcome to Marwen neuters what could have been a profoundly touching story about triumph over adversity. All that is left is a plasticized version of itself. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2018
B Vice (2018) J. Don Birnam Vice is an amusing movie with two brilliant, award-worthy performances, but it bites off more political topics that I can chew in its constant struggle between satire and serious political biopic EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2018
B Bumblebee (2018) J. Don Birnam Bumblebee is a welcome reboot for a troubled franchise. Hailee Steinfeld is charming and the story entertaining enough, even if conventional. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2018
A- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) J. Don Birnam Mary Poppins Returns is like an extended commercial for Disney's own brand, but between a brilliant Emily Blunt and catchy tunes, the spoons are again full of sugar. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2018
B Aquaman (2018) J. Don Birnam Aquaman swims more often than it sinks, buoyed by stunning visuals and an inherently compelling world that should be further developed beyond this origin film. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2018
D Mortal Engines (2018) J. Don Birnam A dystopian film that invites you to ask: "How could humanity screw it all up so badly?," Mortal Engines will leave you wondering only: "How could the filmmakers screw up this amazing world so badly?" EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2018
C+ Vox Lux (2018) J. Don Birnam Though Natalie Portman is captivating, Vox Lux bites off more topics than it can chew in attempting to dissect modern obsession with celebrity -- and violence EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2018
B- Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer (2018) J. Don Birnam Samantha Bee's performance as a hungry goat turned sidekick is enough to make this otherwise uneven story enjoyable to kids and adults alike EDIT
Posted Nov 28, 2018
B+ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) J. Don Birnam Richly textured animation, eye-popping effects, and hilarious slapstick humor courtesy of six new Spider-Men and Women, make what should be a stale story unexpectedly refreshing and interesting. EDIT
Posted Nov 28, 2018
B Outlaw King (2018) J. Don Birnam It is one of those rare gruesome medieval battle movies that does not push your gaze away with excess, but rather captures it with normalcy and determination. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2018
C Creed II (2018) J. Don Birnam Creed II is much like the annoying boxing match announcer that infects most of the movie: trying too hard to sound exciting while not telling you anything new or interesting EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
B+ Mary Queen of Scots (2018) J. Don Birnam In telling the story of Elizabeth's ill-fated cousin, Mary Queen of Scots sheds the bonds of the old costume drama by adding a modernist/feminist twist into the mix. Features outstanding work by Margot Robbie. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
B+ Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) J. Don Birnam A tale as old as time: The House of Mouse does not believe in bad filmmaking and in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel they tap into their own vault of pop culture and produce a mélange of pure, unadulterated fun EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2018
B Green Book (2018) J. Don Birnam Although it traffics in endless and uninspiring racial and class stereotypes, Green Book has two pitch-perfect performances and enough laughs to make you forgive its clichéd transgressions EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2018
B+ Instant Family (2018) J. Don Birnam Provides a stunningly sincere and touchingly funny perspective on the joys, challenges, and pitfalls of foster parenting and adoption. A perfect family film about the power of dedication, mixed in with easy physical humor EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2018
D+ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) J. Don Birnam The new Harry Potter prequel feels more like a history lesson in our favorite magical scoundrels than anything new or entertaining, and still manages to have little plot or even the secretive mysteries that normally characterize these films EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2018
A- On the Basis of Sex (2018) J. Don Birnam Felicity Jones dazzles as the iconic Justice Ginsburg during a compelling and inspirational chapter in the life of an inspiring woman. If prompting us to be better and work harder is cinematic cliche, then, yes, On The Basis of Sex is full of them. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018