Charlotte Observer

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Seconds (1966) Dick Banks Seconds is an exceptionally original shocker, nicely balanced between plausibility and cruel fantasy. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2021
House of Usher (1960) Dick Banks Poe might not recognize this as his creation -- but he would get a bang out of the show! EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2021
The Littlest Outlaw (1955) Dick Banks It's a gentle picture, full of the tenderness of children, of the shy courage of horses, and the dignity and the feeling for the fitness of things that goes with old Mexico. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2021
3/5 Stand and Deliver (1988) Lawrence Toppman It is fair to wish this good, thoughtful movie had a stronger flavor of real life. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2021
4/5 La Bamba (1987) JoAnn Rhetts The best part of La Bamba, fittingly, is the music, most of It performed by Los Lobos. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2021
El Norte (1983) JoAnn Rhetts A vibrant moving picture of grim realities. EDIT
Posted Aug 3, 2021
Black Orpheus (1959) Victor K. McElheny Unless you are immune to the fiery pleasures of music and dancing, the movie [Black Orpheus] should grip you firmly. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2021
Rear Window (1954) Wriston Locklair Rear Window produces nail-gnawing, sweaty palms. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2021
Chan Is Missing (1982) JoAnn Rhetts It's a film with personal vision, the sort of idiosyncratic vision usually sacrificed when the production budget becomes major. EDIT
Posted May 19, 2021
Testament (1983) JoAnn Rhetts Living an unspeakable nightmare from which there's no waking, [Alexander] suggests a resilient admirable core of humanity. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2021
The Wizard of Oz (1939) Dick Pitts Hollywood could give us no Dorothy more lovely more charming than Judy Garland. EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2021
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Dick Banks It's a good movie -- a long movie, but not a minute too long. It's one you will enjoy thinking about afterward, and perhaps plan to see again. EDIT
Posted Apr 20, 2021
The French Connection (1971) Dick Banks The French Connection does little credit to the New York City police department -- or even to the human race. It's bloody, replete with vile language, and exciting as all get-out! EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2021
3.5/4 Schindler's List (1993) Lawrence Toppman Few films have ever dealt so chillingly with what philosopher Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil." EDIT
Posted Apr 14, 2021
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Dick Pitts Don't get the impression that this is a "sermon" or a picture with a "great message" (although there is e message there). No -- it's simply a true-to-life drama so expertly presented that its wonderful entertainment. EDIT
Posted Apr 13, 2021
An American in Paris (1951) Gib Furgurson All in all this is light-hearted entertainment, a nice boost in mood, and certainly a pleasant surprise compared to what the public usually gets. And it's got rhythm Who can ask for anything more? EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2021
On the Waterfront (1954) Wriston Locklair On the Waterfront leaves a viewer limp from its relentless impact. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2021
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Charlotte Observer Staff A thoroughly effective cast enacts the events. There are many war scenes in All Quiet and tragedy presented directly and without sentimentality, but there Is levity and romance. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2021
The Godfather, Part II (1974) Dick Banks Flashbacks ate the winning element in The Godfather Part II, which remains enthralling for some three hours of its 200-minute running time. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2021
The Godfather (1972) Dick Banks The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is one of the best films in recent years. It ranks with Patton, for which Coppola wrote the screen play. Each is on the top shelf as a work of art and as a masterpiece of entertainment. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2021
A- Girlfight (2000) Lawrence Toppman Kusama handles the fights especially well: We look out of Diana's eyes, her opponent's, even the ref's. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2021
3.5/4 Daughters of the Dust (1991) Lawrence Toppman Daughters of the Dust has its own indefinable rhythm, an undertow that sucks you in. Dozens of small ideas and emotions ebb and flow around you. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2021
3/4 Clueless (1995) Lawrence Toppman A gently zany comedy that will catch open-minded viewers by surprise. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2021
1/4 Wayne's World (1992) Lawrence Toppman They have not alas learned Rule No 1 For No-brain Humor. It is: Ten minutes long - funny. Ninety minutes long - not funny. Especially when the 90 minutes has virtually no plot. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2021
Citizen Kane (1941) Dick Pitts I saw Citizen Kane months ago and it sticks in my mind almost as vividly as if I had seen it yesterday. And I shall certainly see it again. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2021
Out of Africa (1985) JoAnn Rhetts [An] elegant, sweepingly romantic 214-hour movie starring an incandescent Meryl Streep as Dinesen and an equally golden Robert Redford as Finch Hatton. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2021
The Great Ziegfeld (1936) Dick Pitts The Great Ziegfeld is the most spectacular thing of its type to come out of Hollywood. It a great picture. It leaves one breathless, exhausted. In fact its magnitude is almost too great -- three hours of spectacle with intermittent doldrums. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2021
The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) Dick Banks Sinatra sweats out his craving for a shot -- thirst, hysteria, spasms, cramps, near-madness the will to suicide, unconsciousness, chills, and a hangover craving for sugar. Frankie makes it all look very terrible and very real. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2020
Wattstax (1973) Dick Banks Big moments musically include the smooth sensitivity of the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas in pink tropical shorts and cape leading the coliseum in "The Funky Chicken," and Isaac Hayes with very little voice but great presence singing "God Is On Our Side." EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
The Dirty Dozen (1967) Dick Banks The Dirty Dozen is a powerful motion picture concerned with rugged men bent on a ruthless mission. The climactic sequence is revolting. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
3/4 Hidden Figures (2016) Lawrence Toppman Spencer gets most of the laughs, and Monáe has the showiest speeches, so they've been nominated for most of the awards. But Henson has the hardest role: a prodigy ill-used by a society that barely knows she's alive. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2017
3.5/4 A Monster Calls (2016) Lawrence Toppman Bayona understands the forces that bind families together and the ones that tear individuals apart. His real domain is childhood itself, and few storytellers summon its fears and fury so faithfully. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2017
3.5/4 Fences (2016) Lawrence Toppman The entire cast is worthy of praise and, in Davis' case, beyond it: Her downcast eyes speak volumes. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2016
3/4 Sing (2016) Lawrence Toppman Like many musicals from time immemorial, "Sing" slouches along when characters speak and shoots heavenward when they burst into a tune. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2016
2/4 Passengers (2016) Lawrence Toppman The final failure comes in a climax that defies science, good taste and common sense. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2016
3.5/4 La La Land (2016) Lawrence Toppman Chazelle creates a realm that suspends disbelief, forestalls cynicism and lets us open our hearts to emotion that's as real in this setting as in any naturalistic drama. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2016
3/4 Collateral Beauty (2016) Lawrence Toppman Most movies today remind us dates in high school are hard to come by, superheroes can beat up aliens, or serial killers are scary dudes. A movie that wisely contemplates how to deal with profound sadness deserves our respect for that alone. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2016
1.5/4 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Lawrence Toppman Star Wars movies have been dazzling, infuriating, heartbreaking, silly, witty, convoluted, gripping and overblown. But until Rogue One: A Star Wars story, I don't think "dull" was the most appropriate adjective. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2016
2.5/4 Miss Sloane (2016) Lawrence Toppman The portrait of Elizabeth Sloane grabs your interest, partly due to the presence of Jessica Chastain in the title role. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2016
3/4 The Eagle Huntress (2016) Lawrence Toppman Aisholpan, who has a merry face to go with her sturdy frame, holds the camera without playing to it, and the barrenly beautiful landscape holds your eye. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2016
3.5/4 Moana (2016) Lawrence Toppman Cravalho shows spunk and a generically lovely voice, though she's saddled with assembly-line anthems Disney has done better elsewhere. Johnson has exuberance, deft timing and a passable singing voice. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2016
3/4 The Edge of Seventeen (2016) Lawrence Toppman Like kids being told a new but familiar fairy tale, we can sit back and enjoy the telling. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2016
3/4 A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) Lawrence Toppman Bob gets my vote as the most appealing newcomer of the year. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2016
3.5/4 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) Lawrence Toppman The directing-editing team of David Yates and Mark Day did the last four Potter movies, and they understand how to evoke the atmosphere of that world without replicating it in a different setting. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2016
4/4 Arrival (2016) Lawrence Toppman I have seen no movie to which I felt more deeply connected this year. But I won't tell you exactly why. To discuss most particulars of this movie is to defeat its purpose. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2016
3.5/4 Moonlight (2016) Lawrence Toppman It may cast a spell on anyone who has known loneliness, exclusion, feelings of inferiority or a desire to be encased in a hard shell to protect a soft interior. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2016
3.5/4 Doctor Strange (2016) Lawrence Toppman You know you're in a top-drawer Marvel Comics adaptation when even the Stan Lee cameo is clever. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2016
2.5/4 Certain Women (2016) Lawrence Toppman What "Certain Women" is really about is a filmmaker who had one marvelous story to tell and linked it to 45 minutes of filler to make a feature film. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2016
2/4 Inferno (2016) Lawrence Toppman When do the Dan Brown adaptations stop? EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2016
1.5/4 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) Lawrence Toppman Even the casting consists entirely of clichés: the chief conspirator with the sneeringly smug grin, a belly-thrusting small-town sheriff who smells of corruption, the lean and wolflike gunman known as The Hunter. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2016