Boston Phoenix

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
The Cable Guy (1996) Mark Bazer This is a darker film for Carrey, but he's still Jim Carrey. His shenanigans keep even the blackest moments goofy. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
Backcountry (2014) Miles Howard No film in recent memory better depicts how adventurous urbanites get into trouble outdoors than Backcountry, a tense Canadian thriller from Andrew MacDonald. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
The Lost Prince (2003) Joyce Millman The Lost Prince is a gorgeously filmed, bittersweet study of family dysfunction and the resiliency of the spirit in the face of loneliness and rejection. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues: A Musical Journey (2002) Ted Drozdowski The best and most complete introduction to recorded blues available. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
() Joyce Millman Crackling good entertainment, terrific acting... richly handsome cinematography, and a piquant script. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts The archival footage alone justifies the entire enterprise. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004) Joyce Millman Wyle's geeky charm and the story's glorification of book learnin' are enough to keep the good vibes aloft. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) Joyce Millman The film makes you care so little for its subject that you might be compelled to turn it off were it not for Rush's valiant mimicry. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Everyday People (2004) Matt Ashare It's Spike Lee with no special effects, Blue in the Face without the celebrity cast... There are no epic disasters here, but there is real tragedy. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Something the Lord Made (2004) Joyce Millman Moving without being maudlin; it doesn't over-inflate the inherent drama of the two men's relationship or the era in which they lived. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance (2000) Marcia B. Siegel Each moment makes its demands and gives way to the next. Everything is worthy of our attention. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2018
Valkoinen peura (1952) Michael Atkinson Quote not available. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2016
2/4 Quantum of Solace (2008) Peter Keough Like nearly every filmmaker these days (one exception: Paul Greengrass last year in The Bourne Ultimatum), Forster confuses meaningless cutting and shaky camera work with excitement. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2015
The Last Emperor (1987) Peg Aloi One of the most provocative and stunningly beautiful films of the past 20 years. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2015
3.5/4 Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) S.I. Rosenbaum The end gets a little silly, but the building tension of the first two acts allows for some deliciously creepy moments and a true feeling of dread: the sense of something very old, and very hungry, shuffling toward you in the Yuletide dark. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
2/4 Coraline (2009) Peter Keough The movie, though, dares not go below the surface. Could the problem be its use of 3-D? Did the filmmakers think that to offset this additional, illusory visual dimension they had to remove all depth from the story itself? EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2014
James and the Giant Peach (1996) Chris Wright This film adaptation of his James and the Giant Peach, though capturing Dahl's comic brilliance, does not shy away from the tale's surreal grimness. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2014
The Wedding Director (2006) Gerald Peary Unfortunately, The Wedding Director itself is a major comedown from Bellocchio's miraculous classic movies (Fist in His Pocket, The Eyes, the Mouth, etc.). EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2014
Brand Upon the Brain (2006) Gerald Peary Pretty darned good. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2014
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Peter Keough Anderson may yet be the heir to the screwball-comedy throne, but his creative blood needs a fresh infusion. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2014
3/4 The Girlfriend Experience (2008) Peter Keough Not that The GirlfriendExperience rises to the level of Godard's Vivre sa vie, but it does provoke a host of issues that, wisely, it makes no attempt to resolve. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2014
Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997) Mark Bazer Mortal Kombat Annihilation features evil ninja monsters popping out of nowhere. If at first these villains appear absolutely unbeatable, just wait a minute and you'll see them cower before our determined, team-oriented good guys. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2014
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996) Peter Keough The film is a vindication of bad taste, and of the principle that mocking well is the best revenge. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2014
Level Five (1997) Peg Aloi This film demands every cell of your cerebellum, but its compelling surreality is hard to shake off. EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2014
4/4 WALL-E (2008) Brett Michel Can Earth be reclaimed? The answer's a hopeful one (more Spielberg, less Kubrick), perfectly in toon (ahem) with the tale of a rickety old PC who wins the heart of a Mac. EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2014
The Iron Giant (1999) Peter Keough A magical evocation of a special time in history and a time in everybody's life when the dream and the nightmare quotients are equally high. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2014
A Smile Like Yours (1997) Chris Wright The adorable Kinnear is not doing himself any favors with overblown sit-coms like this. EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2014
Striptease (1996) Gary Susman Striptease is not a disaster like that other expensive ecdysiast extravaganza, Showgirls, though if it were, it might at least have some redeeming camp awfulness to enliven its otherwise dull mediocrity. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2014
Bottle Rocket (1996) Peter Keough Like the cheap pyrotechnic of the title, Bottle Rocket neither goes very far nor ends with a bang, and that's part of its charm, originality and delight. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2014
3/4 Lore (2012) Peter Keough Rosendahl puts the onslaught of horror and absurdity in poignant perspective with her limpid depiction of her character's growing resourcefulness and awareness. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2014
2/4 Quartet (2012) Gerald Peary Will she, or won't she, join the others on stage in a quartet rendition of Verdi? Not to worry: it all unravels splendidly in this teeth-in-a-glass comedic drama. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2013
Upstream Color (2013) Christopher Gray The miracle of Upstream Color is that a film so carefully and exquisitely composed can yield so many moments of open-ended cinematic rapture. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2013
The Act of Killing (2012) Christopher Gray Oppenheimer demonstrates how easily the passive spectator can become an unlikely abettor, and the great cause of his film is to make his actors and audience recognize their moral culpability. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2013
The Little Mermaid (1989) Jeffrey Gantz The animators deliver where it counts, in the expressions of Ariel and Prince Eric, whose love-at-first-sight is sweet but not saccharine. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2013
3.5 stars Ricky on Leacock (2012) Gerald Peary A hedonist and humanist, admired filmmaker Ricky Leacock was curious about everyone. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2013
3 Post Tenebras Lux (2012) Gerald Peary Even with its head games and confusions, "Post Tenebras Lux" is an imposing spiritual work, EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2013
2 Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (2012) Gerald Peary Does every semi-famous person deserve a full-length documentary about them? EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2013
2 Museum Hours (2012) Gerald Peary Critics have been more than kind to Museum Hours, respectful of its sleepy intellectualism in a 2013 summer of brainless action flicks. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2013
0/4 Disaster Movie (2008) Brett Michel [A] budget-less pastiche of sub-Mad-magazine parodies culled from the trailers of almost every summer movie. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2013
3/4 Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) Gary Susman For all its gorgeous freakishness, the movie is even more about love and friendship than the first one was. EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2013
2.5/4 Sugar (2008) Peter Keough Boden and Fleck are attentive to detail and the nuances of social interaction -- in the cornfields of Middle America as well as in the Dominican Republic. And Sugar is a thorny but endearing hero. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2013
3/4 Ginger & Rosa (2012) Peter Keough Few other films have depicted so acutely the crushing disillusionment and infinite hope of growing up. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2013
3.5/4 Off the Black (2006) Nina MacLaughlin Nolte nails the particular tragedy of the past-his-prime ex-high-school athlete. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2013
1.5/4 Upside Down (2012) Peter Keough Worth a look if only for the Caspar David Friedrich-inspired imagery and shots of Timothy Spall's teeth. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2013
1.5/4 A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2012) Peter Keough When the subtlest part of your film is Charlie Sheen's performance, you've got a problem. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2013
3/4 Like Someone in Love (2012) Gerald Peary A decent little movie, but hardly a major one, from Iran's master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who, self-exiled, here shoots in Tokyo with an all-Japanese cast. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2013
2.5/4 West of Memphis (2012) Jake Mulligan The case is more intriguing than the film about it. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2013
1.5/4 The ABCs of Death (2012) Peter Keough Judging from their contributions, some of the filmmakers behind this 26-part anthology find death less fearsome than the thought of a cute girl farting. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2013
2/4 Emperor (2012) Brett Michel The real criminals are the screenwriters ... EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2013
3/4 Dead Man Down (2013) Jordan Riefe [A] bleak film noir that values character over tension. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2013