Variety

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Shazam! (2019) Owen Gleiberman "Shazam!" suggests that if you're taking a superhero's powers deadly seriously, you may not be totally connecting with the spirit of the comics. The movie says: You've got to giggle at this stuff. That's part of the adventure. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2019
() Jessica Kiang Unlike her protagonist, Ballús doesn't mistake good intentions for an intimate understanding of an experience that is not hers to claim. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2019
The Dirt (2019) Owen Gleiberman It's just a thinly written VH1-style sketchbook of a movie - which is to say, it's a Netflix film, with zero atmosphere, overly blunt lighting, and a threadbare post-psychological telegraphed quality that gives you nothing to read between the lines. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2019
() Dennis Harvey Those who remember the gospel of "slack" will make this diverting-enough documentary an in-demand work at genre festivals, as a streaming item and in other forums. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
Roll Red Roll (2018) Owen Gleiberman "Roll Red Roll" captures, with potent power, how the "If it feels good, wreck it" ethos of the beer-pong drink-till-you-submit forced "hookup" is finding more and more of a home among high schoolers. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
Midnight Traveler (2019) Scott Tobias A documentary that feels like a modern-day message in a bottle, an urgent appeal for help from a family that's still searching for a home. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
() Courtney Howard Despite its flaws and foibles, when this uneven first half comes to its inevitable cliffhanger close, we're still curious to see what creative craziness awaits us in part two. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
() Dennis Harvey This seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment theme. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
() Dennis Harvey There's something endearingly earnest and straightforward, but not simplistic, about Bazan as both personality and musician, lending "Negotiations" dual sources of viewer enjoyment. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
() Joe Leydon Established stars and eager hopefuls sing the praises of an iconic Nashville music venue in a lightly engaging documentary. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2019
The Red Phallus (2018) Richard Kuipers Gyeltshen's noteworthy feature debut is marked by pungent criticism of stifling social norms and psychological violence that's rarely found in cinema from The Happy Kingdom. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
A First Farewell (2018) Richard Kuipers Beautifully photographed and performed by amazingly talented non-professional child actors, Wang's film is an emotionally rewarding glimpse into challenges faced by this Muslim minority. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
() Dennis Harvey A brief, careening survey through the publication's two-decade life and times, filled with colorful personalities and commentary. Vintage rock fans will be in (cough) high heaven. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2019
Penguins (2019) Courtney Howard Instead of bombarding the audience with heavy scientific terminology, it lets a poignant narrative unspool - one with a hugely entertaining underdog hero's journey. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
Pet Sematary (2019) Peter Debruge Plenty efficient for those simply looking to be scared... EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Joe Leydon The predatory bogeywoman of Mexican legend haunts 1970s Los Angeles in Michael Chaves' efficiently formulaic shocker. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
() Dennis Harvey Consistently funny in a pleasingly off-kilter way. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
Tone Deaf (2018) Dennis Harvey Too cartoonishly broad to qualify as black comedy, and with no one to root for, this disappointing latest from Richard Bates Jr. isn't funny, suspenseful or outrageous enough to satisfy genre fans. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
() Owen Gleiberman "Show Me the Picture" rarely takes us inside the thrill (or challenge) of what Marshall experienced as a photographer, or parses his technique, or explores why he was drawn to the rock scene in the first place. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
Superpower Dogs (2019) Courtney Howard Not all heroes wear capes - some of them wear collars. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
() Dennis Harvey Spectrevision's stylishly crafted psychological horror thriller has enough twists and finesse to attract favorable attention beyond genre bounds, signaling upbeat prospects for exposure in various formats. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019) Peter Debruge [Lillis is] the freshest thing to happen to Nancy Drew in decades, making it clear that casting was the solution that has so often eluded this series in its jump from page to screen in the past. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
Captive State (2019) Joe Leydon An audacious and suspenseful thriller about resistance fighters waging an underdog campaign against occupying extraterrestrials. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
() Dennis Harvey Its content grows so tonally awry that by the end, you're not sure to what extent McIntosh is serious or joking - nor is there much indication that she knows, either. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
No Manches Frida 2 (2019) Nick Schager Higareda and Chaparro smile and scowl with relish, but all the wide-eyed mugging in the world can't enliven this hyperactive grab bag of romantic clichés and penis jokes. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Bruce!!! (2017) Nick Schager The protagonist of the emphatically punctuated "Bruce!!!!"... [comes] across as a grating boor who cares only about himself and never manages to say or do anything the least bit funny. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story (2019) Joe Leydon The man behind *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys is revealed as a master fraudster in this absorbing documentary. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Wonder Park (2019) Owen Gleiberman Little kids will like "Wonder Park" just fine. But there's a difference between a great escape and a winsomely crafted pacifier. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Five Feet Apart (2019) Andrew Barker Richardson gives a star turn every bit as charismatic and assured as the film is formulaic and forgettable, bringing soul, style and nuance to a character that could have easily been a condescending caricature. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Stuber (2019) Peter Debruge The deliciously antagonistic chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani - who come across as more likely to murder each other than to die at the hands of heavily armed drug dealers - fuels this breakneck buddy movie. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Girl on the Third Floor (2019) Dennis Harvey If the story isn't ultimately a knockout, the film's atmospherics and sense of humor are winning nonetheless. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
Finding Steve McQueen (2018) Owen Gleiberman However much the movie might have set off to find Steve McQueen, it never gets close to him. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
() Peter Debruge "Red 11" may be rotten (worse even than "Machete Kills" or "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D"), but it's meant to be studied, not watched, and the fact that it cuts together at all shows just how resourceful Rodriguez is. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Yes, God, Yes (2017) Joe Leydon Karen Maine's naughty but nice coming-of-age story showcases an exceptional performance by Natalia Dyer. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
() Dennis Harvey The film percolates along thanks to the comic esprit of the players, snappy visual and editorial presentation, and the screenplay's "Clueless"-like fountain of entertainingly over-the-top youth slang. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
() Joe Leydon Jesse James Miller's biographical documentary is a conventional but fascinating portrait of the self-destructive comic great. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
Aire (2018) Guy Lodge By the 70-minute mark, Lucía seems to have aged an eon an hour; many viewers will be right there with her. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
() Dennis Harvey "Mickey and the Bear" reps an assured feature debut for Annabelle Attanasio, who wrote and directed this straightforward but skillfully nuanced drama about a troubled father-daughter relationship. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
Good Boys (2019) Dennis Harvey "Good Boys" is fast-paced and energetic, but its bad-taste humor seldom rises above the pedestrian. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
Adopt a Highway (2019) Dennis Harvey One of those baffling cases in which a project somehow made it to completion without anyone daring to mention that the script barely qualified as a narrative outline, let alone as camera-ready. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2019
Almost Perfect (2011) Dennis Harvey Just occasionally over-broad, its dramedy is thoughtful in a satisfying, non-edgy way. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
Pahokee (2019) Guy Lodge Uneven as a social study, skipping abruptly past certain key local events, but lively and rousing as a generational snapshot, buoyed by the lovable, resilient kids at its heart. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
Booksmart (2019) Peter Debruge Every generation needs its own rowdy high school comedy, and Millennials deserve one that treats the anxieties teens have been grappling with for millennia with the same urgency that Jerry Bruckheimer would bring to a high-stakes action movie. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Peter Debruge "The Art of Self-Defense" may be presented as an absurdist satire, but like the best American comedies... it doubles as a keen critique of our national character. EDIT
Posted Mar 11, 2019
The Highwaymen (2019) Joe Leydon Commands attention less as historical counterpoint than as a sturdy showcase for the neatly balanced lead performances of Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
Long Shot (2019) Peter Debruge More creepy than romantic, more chauvinist than empowered - and in all fairness, funnier and more entertaining than any comedy in months... EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
() Peter Debruge A feel-good niche indie with its priorities in the right place. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
() Dennis Harvey This black comedy thriller has a good cast to spark a scenario that's intriguing enough to hold attention, if not quite clever enough to be a knockout. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
The Beach Bum (2019) Peter Debruge Such hedonism isn't irredeemable in and of itself, and yet, one wishes Korine were interested in more than just testing boundaries. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
() Dennis Harvey There's an amiability of intent and execution that keeps "Porno" watchable. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019