PopMatters

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
180 Degree Rule (2020) Paul Risker It's a rare example of storytelling that can compel a feeling of loss and grief, and while we move on, having encountered this family remains a painful memory. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2021
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) John Amen One is left with a vision of suffering personified, how beauty and horror seem inseparable, the one a response to the other, ad infinitum. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2021
Welcome to Chechnya (2020) Rudy Ralph Martinez France's documentary is suffocating, as testimonies are interspersed with confiscated videos of police brutality and mob violence... What makes France's film compelling, however, is its immediacy. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
Television Event (2020) Chris Barsanti The documentary begins superbly with the dramatic behind the scenes maneuvering needed to get ABC to put on a grim four-hour miniseries about a nuclear war... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Finding Yingying (2020) Chris Barsanti This film is evocative of both the sting of cultural dislocation and the eerie ease with which lives can vanish in wide open American spaces. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Hamtramck, USA (2020) Chris Barsanti The film's earnest presentation of pan-ethnic harmony is likely at least somewhat airbrushed, but its subjects earnest determination to harmonize the town's ethnic and religious mix is undeniably stirring. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Influence (2020) Chris Barsanti Cool yet blistering... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Kings of Capitol Hill (2020) Chris Barsanti ...notable for what it does not do... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
The Meaning of Hitler (2020) Chris Barsanti This is an agitated, bemused, and terrified piece of work that gets under the skin of Nazism without adding to its negative glorification. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Totally Under Control (2020) Chris Barsanti [Totally Under Control] is a blistering COVID chronicle... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Crazy, Not Insane (2020) Chris Barsanti Any new Alex Gibney film is generally worth one's time. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
() Chris Barsanti While 9to5 tells a dutiful story about the start of the female office workers' labor movement and its curious popularization...the presentation is far less eye-opening than it could have been. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
American Factory (2019) Chris Barsanti A must-see... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
My Psychedelic Love Story (2020) Chris Barsanti Charmingly off-the-rails... EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Collective (2019) Chris Barsanti It is probably the greatest film about shoe-leather journalism since Tom McCarthy's 2015 film, Spotlight. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
MLK/FBI (2020) Chris Barsanti Pollard delivers dramatic high-wire history without sensationalizing anything. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
76 Days (2020) Chris Barsanti Hao Wu's headline-ripped 76 Days, set in the city of Wuhan during its lockdown earlier this year, already feels like the COVID-era film future historians will study to see what the horrific unknowns of its early days were like. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
7/10 Mank (2020) Chris Barsanti While this roustabout story about Herman Mankiewicz's battle to write the Orson Welles classic is clearly impressed with itself, 'Mank' is easily David Fincher's best work since 'Zodiac'. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
6/10 The Prom (2020) Chris Barsanti Compresses 'Glee' into a single film. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
8/10 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) Chris Barsanti Freely mixes and matches Bushido philosophy, Mafia and samurai flicks, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and lo-fi hip-hop into a sly and dreamy comedy about role-playing. EDIT
Posted Nov 24, 2020
Tesla (2020) Paul Risker Faced with the limitations of historical documentation of inventor Nikolai Tesla, director Michael Almereyda and actor Ethan Hawke choose instead to convey his spirit. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
9/10 The Man Who Laughs (1928) Lee Broughton The Man Who Laughs represents silent filmmaking at its creative best. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
7/10 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Ali Jawetz Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
The Edge of Democracy (2019) Derick Gomez [T]he footage of mass progressive mobilizations serves as a timely reminder that there are countless like-minded people that are outraged and ready to push back to defend the rights they have attained over the decades. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
6/10 Shirley (2020) Paul Risker Shirley is frustrating because it's difficult to dismiss. It's narratively effective and its dreamy and nightmarish sequences are aesthetically pleasing. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
5/10 The Daughter of Dawn (1920) Michael Barrett Not in itself a masterpiece of cinema, it's a creditable, professional effort that's most fascinating for its preservation of artifacts provided by the actors. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2020
The Zombies of Sugar Hill (1974) Michael Barrett The movie's as absurd as it sounds, mostly with blunt and foolish dialogue (and a couple of funny throwaways), but those zombies are damn good. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
7/10 Lost Girls & Love Hotels (2020) Paul Risker It's an act of sharing between Hanrahan, the filmmakers, the cast, and the viewers, and this is what makes it a rewarding experience. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2020
4/10 Notturno (2020) Chris Barsanti ... far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2020
6/10 In Search of Beethoven (2009) J.M. Suarez Where In Search of Beethoven excels is in the details. For all the grandness of Beethoven's music, the documentary makes a real effort to present Beethoven the man as fairly and unsentimentally as possible. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2020
8/10 David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Chris Barsanti Spike Lee's crisp concert film of David Byrne's Broadway show embraces the hopes and anxieties of the present moment. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2020
7/10 All In: The Fight for Democracy (2020) Chris Barsanti Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, 'All In: The Fight for Democracy' shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
6/10 The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) Chris Barsanti Armando Iannucci veers sharply from pitch-black satire to a more upbeat comedy with 'The Personal History of David Copperfield,' starring Dev Patel as a hero who would have been eaten alive in 'Veep'. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2020
9/10 Apocalypse '45 (2020) Chris Barsanti ...gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy". EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2020
You Don't Know Jack (2010) Cynthia Fuchs He's not quite unknown, but he is a puzzle, one the film presents with a mix of fascination, bemusement, and occasional awe, but doesn't pretend to solve. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2020
The Sunset Limited (2011) Ben Travers Jones and Jackson are fantastic, yes, but we already knew that and these characters aren't exactly a stretch for either of them. I'm sure they enjoyed doing it, especially Jones, who gets the juiciest lines. It's just not enough to justify viewing. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2020
8/10 Napoleon (1927) Alex Ramon In its glory and intermittent absurdity, the stunning Napoléon is more than movie enough. EDIT
Posted Aug 5, 2020
4/10 She Dies Tomorrow (2020) Chris Barsanti ...visually dazzling and pulsating with menace -- until the color fades. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Temple Grandin (2010) Daynah Burnett The film simply asks us to reconsider how we view those with autism, and by the end of the film, it's worked. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2020
7/10 The Rental (2020) Chris Barsanti In Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg's hipster horror flick, the looming threat surrounding a vacationing foursome feels less crucial than the lies they tell each other. EDIT
Posted Jul 20, 2020
6/10 The Truth (2019) Chris Barsanti Funny, thoughtful, and occasionally wicked. EDIT
Posted Jul 6, 2020
Broken Heart Land (2014) Cynthia Fuchs The film's interviews with both Williams and Spaulding don't so much explain the abject falsity of this number, but they do suggest their confidence in their beliefs. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2020
Path to War (2002) Lesley M. Smith It captures the enduring inability of U.S. politicians and military leaders to understand that the projection of unassailable power and unmatched technology could not guarantee triumph or even avert defeat. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
6/10 Sophie's Choice (1982) John Oursler Whatever the film's weaknesses are, it is, albeit unsurprisingly, saved by Streep. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2020
The Education of Shelby Knox (2005) Jake Meaney Shelby's education, or, better, her enlightenment, is a beacon of hope in a land of well-entrenched myopic moralism and withering fundamentalism. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2020
Cinema Verite (2011) Pat Kewley As is often the case with docudramas, the real story of the Louds is so much more engrossing and interesting than the smoothed-out and simplified version presented here. EDIT
Posted Jun 3, 2020
Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012) Brice Ezell Despite this narrative unevenness, Stahl and Turner's sharp, literary script -- buoyed by Kidman and Owen's stellar turns -- keeps Hemingway & Gellhorn afloat. EDIT
Posted Jun 3, 2020
7/10 Boy Meets Girl (1984) Jose Solís In Boy Meets Girl, Carax shows audiences a scrapbook of his most beloved cinematic possessions. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2020
7/10 Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008) Terrence Butcher Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom comes off as feel-good, nothing-better-to-do-on-Saturday night light entertainment, and little more. It's easily digestible, but just as easily forgotten. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2020
Be Like Others (2008) Cynthia Fuchs Disturbing and insightful, Be Like Others shows how such social, ethical, political, and legal absurdities shape lives. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2020