Sacramento Bee

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) Carla Meyer If you have or had a mother, or a daughter, or a father, or a son, you are likely to blubber through Bright Lights ... But don't. You will miss part of the show, and Reynolds would not want that. EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2017
Other People (2016) Carla Meyer Other People [is] a highly affecting Sacramento-set tragi-comedy . EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2017
Amanda Knox (2016) Carla Meyer The powerful new documentary "Amanda Knox" emphasizes the spike in awareness of sexism just since 2007. EDIT
Posted Jun 23, 2017
Moonlight (2016) Carla Meyer The five stories' most striking commonality is placing its characters in conflict with the American ideal of being able to forge one's own destiny. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2017
2.5/4 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) Carla Meyer The retirees' embrace of India, and a resulting lack of transformative experiences, diminish the dramatic possibilities in Second. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
2/4 Unbroken (2014) Carla Meyer Unbroken is a triumph-of-the-spirit film that devotes too much time to attempts at squashing that spirit. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
2.5/4 Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) Carla Meyer It creates a less-believable ancient world and contains fewer compelling action scenes than Scott's previous sun-and-sandals epic Gladiator -- nor conviction. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
4/4 Two Days, One Night (2014) Carla Meyer It is Cotillard's emotional accessibility that turns this drama and character study into a quiet thriller. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
3/4 A Most Violent Year (2014) Carla Meyer J.C. Chandor is becoming American cinema's foremost chronicler of men in crisis. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
3/4 Miles Ahead (2016) Marcus Crowder Cheadle brilliantly inhabits one of the 20th century's outsized geniuses, thoroughly getting under Davis' skin while bringing a mostly heard but little-seen man to the surface. EDIT
Posted Apr 22, 2016
3/4 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Carla Meyer [The Force Awakens] rarely stops moving, yet its action never seems excessive. That's because combatants and targets always remain clear instead of fuzzed up by the hyper-speed visuals hack action directors use. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2015
3/4 All Things Must Pass (2015) Carla Meyer The film never lapses into hagiography, partly because Solomon is too authentic a presence. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2015
4/4 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Carla Meyer Real people and organic settings always capture the eye more fully, and imply higher stakes, than CGI imagery. Miller ups the ante by ensuring all characters and vehicles are visually striking, either in their good looks or their hideousness. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2015
2/4 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Carla Meyer Ultron is too full, of action and CGI, while also being nearly empty of genuine thrills. A talented cast impresses throughout, but the action ultimately overwhelms it. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2015
3/4 While We're Young (2014) Carla Meyer When "Young" is good, it is delicious, playing on 40-somethings' resistance to being considered "middle-aged." EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2015
2.5/4 Furious 7 (2015) Carla Meyer The ramrod-serious Diesel and Statham sell the dialogue, anyway. So do the more lighthearted Johnson and Tyrese Gibson. Johnson and Gibson wring laughs from obvious jokes. The acting champ of 7, though, is Michelle Rodriguez. EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2015
3/4 It Follows (2014) Carla Meyer It succeeds as a thriller, with performances that strike a grave, quiet tone suited to the film's wide shots, long takes and carefully cultivated mood of foreboding. EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2015
1.5/4 Get Hard (2015) Carla Meyer The distasteful, often flat Get Hard succeeds only as a testament to the resilience of talent. EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2015
1.5/4 The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015) Carla Meyer Long and violent but lacking narrative momentum, Insurgent is an inferior sequel to the already mediocre Divergent. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2015
2/4 Cinderella (2015) Carla Meyer Even with Blanchett playing her, the stepmother remains the same uncomplicated villain she was in the 1950 Disney animated film. This is even more disappointing than the Cinderella character lacking gumption, since she's always been bland. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2015
2.5/4 Focus (2015) Carla Meyer Robbie brings such genuine feeling to heavier scenes and such joy to light ones that her acting fools us into thinking Jess is a more developed character than she is. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2015
3/4 McFarland, USA (2015) Carla Meyer The lovely McFarland, USA hits the expected mile markers on the inspirational-sports-movie path while slowing down enough to craft a rich portrait of a place and its inhabitants. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2015
3/4 Still Alice (2014) Carla Meyer Attempting to describe the level of tragedy contained in Moore's performance in the film's third act brings to mind the limits within Alice's chosen field of study. Because no words do it justice. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2015
The Boy Next Door (2015) Carla Meyer Gigli exists. Therefore no other Jennifer Lopez movie can be the worst Jennifer Lopez movie ever made. The silly, clichéd, visually irritating The Boy Next Door gives it the ol' high school try, anyhow. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2015
3.5/4 American Sniper (2014) Carla Meyer Though his past as a punk-challenging, on-screen enforcer suggests a guy who thinks he has the answers, Eastwood the director always asks the big questions. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2015
3/4 Inherent Vice (2014) Carla Meyer Vice will be remembered as minor Anderson. But even greats can use a romp or two in their oeuvres. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2015
3/4 Selma (2014) Carla Meyer DuVernay shows visual assurance and a way with actors and especially words. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2015
3/4 The Imitation Game (2014) Carla Meyer Knightley here gives a mature performance that matches Cumberbatch's in commitment. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2015
2.5/4 Foxcatcher (2014) Carla Meyer Foxcatcher does not invoke ideas beyond the real-life story of du Pont and the Schultzes, thus depressing its audience without offering any compensating lessons. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2014
3.5/4 Wild (2014) Carla Meyer Wild captures the quality of real-life thinking and walking, of the physical rhythm of movement sometimes dislodging random memories. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2014
3/4 Top Five (2014) Carla Meyer Top Five entertains more than any previous film in which Rock was top-billed primarily because its content as well plays like an extension of Rock's stand-up act. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2014
3/4 Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) Carla Meyer Unless some hidden straight-to-video gem exists, Horrible Bosses 2 stands alone as a raunchy-comedy sequel that's superior to its predecessor. EDIT
Posted Nov 24, 2014
3/4 The Theory of Everything (2014) Carla Meyer Highlighted by an extraordinary performance by Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything offers an easy introduction to Stephen Hawking for people curious about the brilliant astrophysicist but intimidated by the whole "astrophysicist" thing. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2014
2/4 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014) Carla Meyer The film ultimately rests on Lawrence, and though she never disappoints, a single actress -- even one as lovely and lovable as she -- cannot save a blockbuster film. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2014
3/4 Big Hero 6 (2014) Carla Meyer Voice actor Potter, still a teenager himself, lends Hiro an authentic youthfulness and likability. But Tadashi and Baymax are the standout characters. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2014
3/4 Interstellar (2014) Carla Meyer You never know what's coming in Interstellar. It stokes and maintains a sense of anticipation often missing in Hollywood blockbusters intent on being formulaic and thus global audience-friendly. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2014
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Carla Meyer Visually urgent, inflected by humor and enriched by savvy performances, the film succeeds on a surface storytelling level and as a deeper exploration of culture -- high, low and whatever sub-floor Twitter fame occupies. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2014
1.5/4 Fury (2014) Carla Meyer Ayer can match Tarantino's brutality but lacks his humor and finesse. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2014
2.5/4 The Judge (2014) Carla Meyer When the judge finally softens up a bit, Duvall generates genuine audience waterworks. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2014
2.5/4 Kill the Messenger (2014) Carla Meyer Though well-acted and at moments thrilling, "Messenger" fails to satisfy as a story of the little guy taking on government corruption -- because the little guy is crushed and there is no bigger narrative payoff. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2014
3.5/4 Gone Girl (2014) Carla Meyer Gone Girl lives up to its promise as the year's "event" movie for fanboys and fangirls who prefer book clubs to comic-book stores. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2014
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013) Carla Meyer It unfolds gradually, and with intimacy and immediacy, as it chronicles the first blush of romance between Eleanor and Conor and their relationship's worst days. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2014
This Is Where I Leave You (2014) Carla Meyer This Is Where I Leave You is a virtually plot-free cliché collection that entertains nevertheless. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2014
1.5/4 When the Game Stands Tall (2014) Carla Meyer Die-hard football fans likely will be the first to notice how bogus it is for the film to try to present this team as underdogs. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2014
Magic in the Moonlight (2014) Carla Meyer The first sign Magic in the Moonlight will be one of those Woody Allen duds - the ones that always seem to follow successes such as last year's Blue Jasmine -- is how often the topic of napping arises. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Carla Meyer The Hundred-Foot Journey is a feel-good movie so intent on making its audience feel good that it ladles its more sentimental aspects when only a pinch would have done. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
3.5/4 Life Itself (2014) Carla Meyer A moving, intimate documentary that follows the great film critic Roger Ebert in his last months and gives context to his life and career. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
4/4 Boyhood (2014) Carla Meyer The film takes the audience on a visceral trip back to childhood partly because it shows a real child mature on screen. What completes the effect, though, is masterful writing and directing, by Linklater, and editing, by Sandra Adair. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
3/4 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Carla Meyer The breezy, character-piloted Guardians of the Galaxy shows a Marvel comics film need not offer big stars (at least visible ones) to entertain. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
3/4 A Most Wanted Man (2014) Carla Meyer The joys of Hoffman's performance are evident on first viewing. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2014