Film Freak Central

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
1.5/4 Us (2019) Walter Chaw Honestly, Us is so scattershot and confused, I'm not sure the quote represents anything beyond its chapter/verse doubling. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
2/4 Madonna and the Breakfast Club (2019) Alice Stoehr It's stiff and colourless--at best, an act of devotion. Made with much love and little skill, the film is strongest as a repository for everything about Madonna before Madonna. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
1.5/4 Captain Marvel (2019) Walter Chaw The characters are undeveloped, the outlines of this universe are vague and uninteresting, and the less said about the multiple attempts at humour, the better. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
3.5/4 12 Monkeys (1995) Bryant Frazer A decades-spanning science-fiction tale about time travel, the illusion of free will, and a romance at the end of the world. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
2.5/4 The House With a Clock in Its Walls (2018) Bryant Frazer Nobody's idea of an innovative masterpiece, but at least an unpretentious, lavishly designed, and mischievously executed spookshow. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
4/4 True Stories (1986) Sydney Wegner What makes True Stories so wildly different from the dream-visions of all the quirky and hip directors who followed its example is its vehement refusal to condescend to or mock the people on screen. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
2.5/4 The Amityville Murders (2018) Alice Stoehr [The] last ten minutes satisfy this requisite as Butch ascends the stairs against flashes of lightning from the rainstorm outside. But the slayings and the sober epilogue that follows make for a flat ending to this relatively ambitious horror movie. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
2/4 Cold Pursuit (2019) Walter Chaw When it's Skarsgård, you buy the hangdog. With Neeson, he's always just one affront away from killing everybody. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2019
1/4 Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Walter Chaw I thought for a while that the film is written for twelve-year-olds and then I thought of my son, who is twelve, who would think this was useless garbage and ask for palate-cleansing fifth and sixth screenings of The Good, the Bad, the Weird. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2019
1.5/4 Piercing (2018) Walter Chaw It's a beautiful-looking film, no question, carried off with a high degree of technical skill and care. If only the script were as polished, its actors as committed to making us truly uncomfortable about the sexual politics of movies like this. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2019
3/4 Glass (2019) Walter Chaw Glass is extraordinarily transparent in its politics and, in that, honours comic books most of all. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2019
2/4 Close (2019) Alice Stoehr Forget bodyguards, forget about love: Close is about little more than the crunch of a snapping rib, the glimmer of sunlight on water, and Noomi Rapace smoking a cigarette in another forgettable movie. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2019
4/4 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Walter Chaw The camerawork is liquid, floating in front of centred faces that break the fourth wall with expressions of yearning and regret. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
3.5/4 Aquaman (2018) Walter Chaw Aquaman, it's worth repeating, is gorgeous, the set-pieces across the various kingdoms of the underwater realm examples of artists allowed to not just hew close to the messed-up source but indulge in their own inspirations as well. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
4/4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Walter Chaw Spider-Verse is an instant classic, not for visuals that will, after all, only be singular until the next ground is broken, but for the tremendous care it's taken in finding Miles's heart and then things to fill it, break it, strengthen it. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
4/4 The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Walter Chaw The Ballad of Buster Scruggs features six narratively-unrelated Old West challenges to genre mythology that are so practically effortless, so technically perfect, that the typical Coen payload of misanthropy and...nihilism lands as particularly caustic. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
2.5/4 Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) Bryant Frazer These flourishes keep Ant-Man and the Wasp light on its feet...and it doubles down on the first film's fathers-and-daughters themes to moderately heart-warming effect. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
3.5/4 Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Walter Chaw Can You Ever Forgive Me? is about how gifts are never just gifts. It's about mental illness and loneliness. It's about artists and the Buddha's two deadly sins: the need for praise and the fear of criticism. It's really good. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
2/4 The New Romantic (2018) Alice Stoehr Carly Stone, a first-time writer-director, introduces a startling degree of pain yet lacks the willingness to fully reckon with it. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2018
4/4 Burning (2018) Walter Chaw Burning is a masterpiece because it's about Kierkegaardian fear and trembling and it comes to the same conclusions. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2018
2.5/4 Stigmata (1999) Walter Chaw Stigmata is a beautiful disaster: deeply felt and faux-profound at once and, like all great Theater of the Absurd, able to highlight the extra-textual consequence of that tension. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2018
1/4 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Walter Chaw Bohemian Rhapsody is polite to the point of quailing, a deeply inoffensive and bland film about the life of one of the most wilfully offensive and interesting figures in the rock pantheon. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2018
2.5/4 The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) Bryant Frazer The idea of a female-fronted, R-rated spy movie isn't especially novel... but there is something delicious about the notion of a couple of completely ordinary millennials boasting and bluffing their way through a multinational conspiracy plot. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
3.5/4 Halloween (2018) Walter Chaw A beautifully-mounted thing, Halloween has the emotional benefit of really loving its source material. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
1.5/4 The ToyBox (2018) Walter Chaw I say this but it's sort of funny when something is this not-funny. Also funny is the way The Toybox shoehorns in a few dad-in-a-chimney Gremlins monologues for bizarrely-pitched pathos. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
1/4 Big Kill (2018) Walter Chaw Played for cool and, when that fails, played for laughs, Big Kill is desperate to find a reason to exist beyond playing expensive dress-up and make-believe. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3.5/4 Knife + Heart (2018) Walter Chaw Knife + Heart is about honouring a voice, torpedoes be damned. It's great. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
2/4 Twilight (2008) Bryant Frazer Twilight is an earnest fantasy set on the cusp of adulthood, just as the way the light falls on everything in your life is changing. I don't blame anyone who wants to linger there for a moment. Even with sparkle vampires. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/4 Suspiria (2018) Walter Chaw Befitting a Jungian text, Suspiria's subtext is teeming with archetype, obsessed with the violent power of female relationships and rituals. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/4 Mandy (2018) Walter Chaw All the elements will be represented here as metaphor for the completeness of their bond. It's not subtle. Now's not the time for subtlety. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/4 Luciferina (2018) Walter Chaw Luciferina is a slow burn with a couple of lovely horror moments that only really stutters when it offers up unnecessary jump scares and an extraneous villain in a movie that's already about Satan. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2018
3.5/4 Aterrados (2017) Walter Chaw Clearly a student and fan of horror, Rugna's images are primal. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2018
2/4 He's Out There (2018) Walter Chaw If at the end it's just another one of those movies, at least for a few moments He's Out There is something new and exciting. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2018
3/4 Square Dance (1987) Walter Chaw The kills, when they come, are inventive and disgusting, but the afterimage is the movie's absolute empathy with its women protagonists. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2018
3/4 Pimped (2018) Walter Chaw Pimped is alive and dangerous, itself a beautiful confection on its surface that has just beneath claws and razor edges. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2018
4/4 Hold the Dark (2018) Walter Chaw 'Holding the dark' is the perfect analogy for defining what's essentially indefinable. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2018
2/4 Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years (2018) Walter Chaw Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years is a nice piece as far as it goes, though as it's about curiosities that only the most die-hard fans will have seen, it feels like it should be a special feature on a comprehensive DVD box set rather than a standalone. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
A Star Is Born (1976) Sydney Wegner I swear, I meant to roll my eyes; yet as the stage lights faded and swelled, I found myself starting to cry instead. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
1/4 Seeds (2018) Walter Chaw Give it this: the cinematography of Rhode Island looks great, and if you're going to fail, do it spectacularly. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2018
1.5/4 Ravers (2018) Walter Chaw Ravers outsmarts itself. I wish it hadn't. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2018
1.5/4 Summer '03 (2018) Alice Stoehr Is this a black comedy à la Todd Solondz? Or a quirky teen drama with a dash of girl power? All in all, it's too glib, too zany, too half-hearted to be a solid example of either. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2018
3.5/4 Frankenstein's Creature (2018) Walter Chaw Swanton presents a sensitive, fractured intelligence discovering rain for the first time, rivers, the beauty of a nature to which he is an abomination, and loving relationships from which he will eternally be rejected. He's like a murderous Oscar Wilde. EDIT
Posted Sep 28, 2018
4/4 Aniara (2018) Bill Chambers Aniara is astonishingly ambitious, an unlikely emotional rollercoaster anchored by a beautifully-realized protagonist who manages to maintain hope and optimism without being a Pollyanna. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2018
3.5/5 High Life (2018) Angelo Muredda It's powerful stuff, no less indelible for being vaguely familiar. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2018
2/4 Teen Spirit (2018) Bill Chambers Pity about Teen Spirit, since it opens so well. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2018
3.5/4 Widows (2018) Bill Chambers Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya is terrifying as Manning's brother and enforcer, Rodriguez is revealed to have unexplored dimensions. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2018
2.5/4 Climax (2018) Angelo Muredda As usual, and despite the film's relative success as a pure genre exercise, Noé's edginess isn't the special sauce he intends so much as more poison for the sangria. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2018
2.5/4 The Predator (2018) Walter Chaw That's the glory and the difficulty of The Predator. It's a perfect distillation of our moment--and it's an unfortunately perfect distillation of our moment... It's a sh---y Predator movie is what I'm trying to say; but it's a great film about predators. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2018
1.5/4 Boy Erased (2018) Bill Chambers Boy Erased has perhaps squandered a plum opportunity to inspire real change... by treating the destructive impact of young innocents forcibly repressing their true sexual orientation or gender identification too intellectually, too goddamn politely. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2018
2/4 The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018) Angelo Muredda Even at their most tonally awkward and clumsily soundtracked, Dolan's films can't help but be watchable, the phoniness of the hopped-up style melting away in the face of his performers' commitment to going all the way. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2018