Denver Post

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/4 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) John Wenzel It's a refreshing lift for this next phase of Marvel's world domination. You leave genuinely wanting to see more of Shang-Chi, even as we know we'll be meeting him again very soon. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2021
2.5/4 Free Guy (2021) John Wenzel It works well as a breezy fable, and one that's genuinely looking ahead to a brighter future. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2021
3/4 Black Widow (2021) John Wenzel Its bottom-line spectacle seldom strays from the Marvel path, but still manages to explore some invigorating new ground. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2021
3/4 Face (2002) Michael Booth By the end of Face, we've been drawn deep into the battle for both communal support and individual freedom that marks the progress of so many ethnic groups in America. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2021
Flesh and Sand (Carne y Arena) (2017) John Wenzel Carne y Arena often brought me close to tears. Difficult to describe, brilliant in execution, and hyper-relevant to contemporary American life, it's easily one of the most intense artistic experiences I've ever had. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
All the Way (2016) Joanne Ostrow All the Way is a more satisfying movie than it was a play. Intense closeups of the characters, plus news footage from the 1960s civil rights showdown and Barry Goldwater's campaign, make it both more intimate and more epic. EDIT
Posted Oct 7, 2020
The Girl (2012) Joanne Ostrow Sienna Miller is lovely as Hedren, a fresh-faced beauty with a reserve that made her seem sculpted from marble. EDIT
Posted Aug 5, 2020
Temple Grandin (2010) Joanne Ostrow It helps that Danes is phenomenal, going so deep inside the character as to be unrecognizable to fans of her Romeo + Juliet, Me and Orson Welles and My So-Called Life performances. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2020
Recount (2008) Joanne Ostrow Given its timeliness, "Recount" is a painful sort of fun, and likely a great argument starter. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2020
2.5/4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) John Wenzel The Rise of Skywalker earns much of its affection with cameos, callbacks and other candy that will be best savored upon repeat viewings. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019
3.5/4 Knives Out (2019) John Wenzel Knives Out deserves to be explored as a world of it own, as Johnson balances moral conscience and black humor expertly within the constraints of the murder-mystery genre. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2019
3/4 Doctor Sleep (2019) John Wenzel From the opening shots and synth notes to a spectacularly chilling closing scene, Doctor Sleep makes a convincing case for its own greatness. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
2/4 No Safe Spaces (2019) John Wenzel It argues for common sense and values while railing against dogma. But what is one person's dogma except someone else's common sense and values? EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2019
Prayers for Bobby (2009) Joanne Ostrow It doesn't mean to feel maniacally manipulative. It just happened that way... Sigourney Weaver is the film's strength; the neat Lifetime tie-a- ribbon ending is its biggest weakness. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
2.5/4 Joker (2019) John Wenzel Perhaps the bleakest assertion of "Joker" is the one that's hardest to disprove: That the ghastly world Fleck inhabits, and by extension ours, is the one we deserve. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
High School Musical 2 (2007) Joanne Ostrow Like the original, the sequel is about the tricky social order as established in high school, the renewable energy source that is the musical, and the power of a certain American entertainment empire. Not fabulous, but fun. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
2/4 It: Chapter Two (2019) John Wenzel Chapter Two goes deeper than its predecessor, and yet never loses a feeling of shallowness. EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2019
Amy Schumer: Live From the Apollo (2015) Joanne Ostrow By turns coy, insecure, dramatic and challenging, Schumer has the flexibility to make her conversation both intimate and grandstanding. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive (2013) Denver Post Staff It's an entertaining hour and 20 minutes. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2019
2/4 The Lion King (2019) John Wenzel It hangs together better than the horrid, live-action Aladdin remake that came out in May. But that's not saying much. Most viewers will find this Lion King to be either eye-candy or uncanny valley. There's so little in between. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
1/4 Aladdin (2019) John Wenzel It aims low and consistently misses its targets, wasting a breathtaking amount of money, talent and goodwill along the way. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
2/4 Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland (2006) John Wenzel What would we ever do without a touring comedy show from the star of Fred Claus and Swingers? Somehow, I'm sure we would survive. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
3/4 Avengers: Endgame (2019) John Wenzel The MCU sticks this landing, allowing us to let go of years of baggage and get ready for the next flight. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
3/4 Captain Marvel (2019) John Wenzel Larson can turn a moment as slight as walking into frame and blowing a strand of hair out of her face into an uproarious, powerful visual beat. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
The Little Drummer Boy (1968) Michael Booth I thought "Rudolph" was the worst animation I had seen, until seeing Drummer Boy again. Aaron the misanthropic drummer, formerly with Metallica, and his animal friends skitter across the Sinai like cockroaches on Red Bull. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2018
3/4 () Michael Booth By the end of Face, we've been drawn deep into the battle for both communal support and individual freedom that marks the progress of so many ethnic groups in America. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2018
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) Michael Booth By the end, you've taken a fastball in the gut without even knowing how it got there. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2018
2/4 Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) John Wenzel Solo is pretty, but it's a desolate place to be. EDIT
Posted May 15, 2018
3/4 Avengers: Infinity War (2018) John Wenzel "Infinity War" isn't just a proper sequel to that film; it's also the towering peak all these Marvel movies have been building to. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2018
Moonlight (2016) Lisa Kennedy "Moonlight" arrives as a gift, one worth keeping - and regifting. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2018
4/4 Black Panther (2018) John Wenzel It's uniquely satisfying popcorn entertainment, a triumphant trifecta of subject matter, talent and timing. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2018
3.5/4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) John Wenzel When everything pulls in the same direction, as it does consistently in "The Last Jedi," it's like watching a mind-boggling clockwork click into a deft ballet. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2017
3.5/4 Blade Runner 2049 (2017) John Wenzel The script contains enough core truths and grand philosophical concepts that no spoiler could touch them, such as the co-dependence of slavery and freedom, or the paradoxical way the future echoes and restates the past. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2017
3/4 Wind River (2017) John Wenzel Sheridan has professed admiration for Clint Eastwood's towering anti-Western "Unforgiven" and dark-night-of-the-soul dramas from Michael Mann. Both are reference points for his adept mix of masculine posturing and wounded soul-searching. EDIT
Posted Aug 11, 2017
2.5/4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) John Wenzel Here's hoping the inevitable Vol. 3 rebuilds some of the first film's heart, because Vol. 2 feels like hollow spectacle, however gorgeously rendered. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2017
3/4 T2 Trainspotting (2017) John Wenzel Improbably, the film vaults over most pitfalls of long-threatened sequels while evolving the delicately crafted world in the original. It's a more sober, mature film, but no less entertaining or provocative. EDIT
Posted Mar 24, 2017
2.5/4 Dark Night (2017) Lisa Kennedy Dark Night is an atmospheric, anxiety-tweaking outing. But cinematic elegance is not enough when the stakes are so very high. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2017
3/4 The Secrets (2007) Lisa Kennedy The Secrets belongs in a mini-tradition of involving films that limn the border where spiritual and sexual awakenings collide and entwine. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2017
3/4 Patriots Day (2016) John Wenzel It's not exploitative or overtly political, and the violence is both sickening and sad. That's what makes it effective, but also impressive as a still-fresh take on a recent tragedy, messy as it is. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2017
1.5/4 Passengers (2016) John Wenzel At best, Passengers is glib and cutesy in the face of otherwise serious themes. At worst, it's an argument that men can do whatever they want with the knowledge that things will always work out for them. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2016
2/4 The Magnificent Seven (2016) John Wenzel As things build toward the long, bloody and by-the-numbers (if ably staged) showdown, it's hard not to mourn for the film this could have been, considering the assemblage of talent. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2016
3/4 Hell or High Water (2016) John Wenzel This neo-Western works splendidly as a self-contained tale of loyalty, loss and redemption, with polished turns from a smoldering Chris Pine and spunky Ben Foster. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2016
2.5/4 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) John Wenzel Rogue One is better than [the prequels] by a long shot, but after the high bar set by last year's Episode VII - The Force Awakens, simply being better than the prequels isn't good enough anymore. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2016
Confirmation (2016) Joanne Ostrow Confirmation is not nearly as nuanced as the recent O.J. Simpson trial docudrama on FX. It's also much shorter and more reliant on news footage. But it similarly revives memories of a wild media/cultural/political flashpoint. EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2016
Everything Is Copy (2015) Joanne Ostrow A wonderfully insightful chronicle of a woman, her family, the influence of a writer-mother, and her approach to essays, film and life. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2016
Becoming Mike Nichols (2016) Joanne Ostrow It's not meant to be a complete catalog or chronology. It's a beautiful interview piece with archival photographs and clips that will inform any viewer's appreciation of the performing arts. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2016
Rolling Papers (2015) Marty Mapes Rolling Papers doesn't draw too many conclusions, but instead offers insight and experience, without judgment, like a good piece of reporting. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2016
3/4 The Hateful Eight (2015) John Wenzel Like Tarantino's best work, the film forces you to see and feel something on its own terms -- in this case, loyalty and identity unraveling under extremes. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2015
3.5/4 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) John Wenzel From the iconic opening crawl through the wordless last frames of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams steers pop-culture's most beloved sci-fi saga in an exhilarating new direction. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2015
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Rena Andrews The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate in fantasies, a visual wonder and a movie that should be recommended highly if only because it makes you feel good. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2015