PopMatters

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
8/10 Us (2019) Chris Barsanti Jordan Peele's home invasion thriller, in which a family is threatened by their dopplegangers, relies on a clutch of jaw-dropper reveals but also a creeping sense of universal guilt. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
7/10 () Chris Conaton It's an adventure story with an emphasis on exploration and it has a hidden emotional core that makes it resonate strongly. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
7/10 Gloria Bell (2018) Alex Leininger Sebastián Lelio's fascination with womanhood and desire have culminated in Gloria Bell, with actor Julianne Moore tailor-made to its particular kind of searching melancholy. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
8/10 Ash Is Purest White (2018) Chris Barsanti In Jia Zhang-Ke's powerful love story, a woman and her gangster lover enact a dark dance of betrayal while modern China changes around them in explosively strange ways. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Captain Marvel (2019) J.R. Kinnard Ultimately, Captain Marvel is one of Marvel's most baffling missteps. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
6/10 Transit (2018) Chris Barsanti Roughly transposed to today from Anna Seghers' World War II novel about refugees fleeing the Nazis, Christian Petzold's Transit resonates in all the worst ways. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2019
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1931) Michael Barrett What matters here is Oswald's direction, which foregrounds expressive techniques from the opening glorious 360 degree pan around a lightning-flashed mausoleum of a mansion until we arrive at the exquisitely composed duffers seated before the fire. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1914) Michael Barrett The plot has no interest in mystery, for the guilty party is exposed to the viewer almost as soon as the character walks onscreen. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
8/10 The Possessed (1965) Michael Barrett [T]his highly polished mirror of uncertainty and obsession is a lovely discovery under any identity. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2019
6/10 Isn't It Romantic (2019) Alex Leininger Isn't It Romantic is just as silly and cliché as the rom-coms it claims to satirize, and yet in execution it's fully, inoffensively enjoyable. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2019
Pretty Woman (1990) Laura Halferty But in the end, what's most ridiculous about the film isn't the lack of realism. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2019
6/10 Arctic (2018) Alex Leininger Joe Penna's debut, survival film Arctic, is yet another showcase for the formidable Mads Mikkelsen, who continues to carve out a space in modern moviemaking that few other actors could occupy. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2019
Jackie Chan's Police Story 2 (1988) Chris Barsanti ...[shows] writer-director-star Jackie Chan in his finest fighting style -- along with his usual over mugging for the camera. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
Police Story (1985) Chris Barsanti ...[shows] writer-director-star Jackie Chan in his finest fighting style -- along with his usual over mugging for the camera. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
5/10 Glass (2019) Alex Leininger James McAvoy's impressive acting and fleeting moments of powerful imagery dazzle in M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, but that can't make up for the film's shattered second half. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2019
7/10 Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin (2018) Chris Barsanti ...shows how, in Le Guin's writings, fantasy can be viewed as both a different way of seeing and understanding the past, and a new way of seeing the present -- and what the future could be. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2019
8/10 Cold War (2018) Alex Leininger Cold War, like Ida before it, harkens back to midcentury world cinema, resuscitating its distinctly philosophical outlook while remaining current today and likely for decades to come. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2019
7/10 A New Leaf (1971) Michael Barrett Director Elaine May belongs to that list of otherwise male creative geniuses who naturally clash with the commercial system, including Erich Von Stroheim, Orson Welles, and Otto Preminger. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2019
6/10 Destroyer (2018) Alex Leininger The most revolutionary thing Kusama's Destroyer isn't the antiheroism, but its genuine search for the goodness of a woman who's made objectively bad decisions. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2019
8/10 Vice (2018) Chris Barsanti Along with The Big Short, the righteously infuriated and wonderfully gonzo Vice creates part of a roadmap for how we got to where the world is now. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2018
The House That Jack Built (2018) Alex Leininger It's almost a relief when, surrounded by the fiery pits, Jack falls. So too, it seems, has von Trier. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
8/10 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) J.R. Kinnard f Beale Street Could Talk is an unapologetically romantic film, even in the face of impending tragedy. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2018
6/10 Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Chris Barsanti Even with few truly catchy numbers and a cumbersome plot, 'Mary Poppins Returns' has enough bright-eyed optimism to almost escape the shadow of the toe-tapping original. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2018
Roma (2018) Chris Barsanti Alfonso Cuarón's edgily political black-and-white epic of a family in 1970s Mexico City is as masterfully choreographed as Children of Men but more personally intimate. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2018
2/10 Mortal Engines (2018) J.R. Kinnard Mortal Engines is that lump of coal in your holiday movie stocking. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
7/10 Vox Lux (2018) Alex Leininger ox Lux, has a chaotic relationship with celebrity and carries a heavy - some might say overloaded - symbolic heft. How is it that it's still so fun? EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2018
7/10 Happy as Lazzaro (2018) Alex Leininger Happy as Lazzaro is well-attuned to exploitation and misery, but it doesn't beckon audiences to shed tears. The real vision is a more cynical one. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2018
Burning (2018) Alex Leininger Burning is more interested in exploring ennui and desperation in the abstract than offering distinct answers about its characters, and it's all the more riveting because of it. EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2018
6/10 Dark Skies (2013) Marisa LaScala Dark Skies works best when it leans on this nerve. It's tapping into a low-level fear, but one that's extremely relatable, and therefore more able to get under one's skin than a typical boogeyman. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2018
9/10 The Favourite (2018) J.R. Kinnard The Favourite embraces the humor and hubris of royalty behaving badly to deliver one of 2018's best films. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2018
6/10 Berlin, Symphonie d'une Grande Ville (1927) Chadwick Jenkins The magic of Berlin is its ability to provide an insight into the emergent qualities that make a city what it is, beyond being a mere composite of the elements within its geographical boundaries. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2018
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Paul Risker Amidst the order of the stories and their characters complementing one another, what drives the film is an emotional simplicity. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (2018) Alex Leininger [M.I.A's] overarching story of art, politics and disenchantment, so common to the music documentary, is satisfying as an argument against artifice. M.I.A., the artist, activist and person, is everything you've heard and more. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2018
Widows (2018) Alex Leininger McQueen's latest may not be as singular a success as his previous efforts, but what it manages to do with its tremendously ambitious vision is to create a brilliantly imperfect heist drama. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
7/10 Hillbilly (2018) Argun Ulgen Hillbilly provides a cogent analysis of the connection between the United States' cultural supremacy over its own Appalachian region, and the nation's resultant economic and political exploitation of it. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
6/10 Green Book (2018) J.R. Kinnard Its pleas for empathy and elevated social awareness are admirable, even if the jagged edges and racial tensions have been smoothed over. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
9/10 Nashville (1975) John Oursler Politics and art collide in Altman's dense tapestry, showing that part of American's beguiling promise is the inevitability of commodification. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
3/10 Life Itself (2018) Bernard Boo Life itself captures all of this in the worst way possible, offering no respite. It's sad to see a terrific cast so woefully underserved. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
Get Shorty (1995) Chance Solem-Pfeifer Get Shorty belongs to a long line of spoofs that still appeal to Hollywood magic in their very design. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
8/10 The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Colin Fitzgerald For all its flaws, it's the story of America as it is now, because of what it was then. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2018
6/10 The Front Runner (2018) Chris Barsanti Funny and thoughtful but not sharp enough, Jason Reitman's satire about Gary Hart's tabloid downfall aims for controlled chaos but settles for conventional finger-wagging. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2018
6/10 Manila in the Claws of Neon (1975) Chadwick Jenkins A sad but beguiling film, Manila offers many more scenes that might inspire philosophical and political reflection than the few I was able to discuss here. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
5/10 Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018) Daniel Clarkson Fisher As it stands, though, Anthropocene mostly proves the points of Burtynsky's critics. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2018
6/10 Widows (2018) J.R. Kinnard Widows is a shameless crowd pleaser with just enough smarts to elevate it a bit above the ranks of mere guilty pleasure. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
Mishima (1985) Alex Lindstrom A Life in Four Chapters is an example of an artistic expression so compelling that it - perhaps particularly for more distant Western observers - transcends many of the complex, difficult, and politically-charged circumstances which surrounded it. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
8/10 Wildlife (2018) Charlie Riccardelli [Dano] and his co-writer/real-life partner Zoe Kazan have drawn from their rich theatrical trainint to craft an internal drama that resembles classical directors with stage origins. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
4/10 Boy Erased (2018) J.R. Kinnard Though based on an inspirational true story, Edgerton's Boy Erased is too cluttered and unfocused to deliver either new insight or a good cry. EDIT
Posted Nov 9, 2018
5/10 The Swarm (1978) Michael Barrett The script's most potentially inspired element, that survivors may have a sort of psychic link with the bees, remains unfortunately unexploited. EDIT
Posted Nov 9, 2018
10/10 The Devils (1971) Bill Gibron It's an experience which pulsates and perverts, especially in those glorious moments when Russell slaps the sacred directly in its frescoed face... In this brilliant film, nothing is safe: not God, not Satan, not man, not their collective meaning. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
5/10 Boy Erased (2018) Chris Barsanti ... a well-meaning but perfectly conventional message movie. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018