Film Freak Central

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Detour (1945) Bryant Frazer Detour is about as threadbare as they come: a small film, shot on a shoestring over a handful of days at a Poverty Row film studio. And yet, the finished product is uniquely compelling. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2019
.5/4 The Dead Don't Die (2019) Walter Chaw A single joke stretched to feature-length, The Dead Don't Die asks a few of the most interesting actors on the planet to perform in the middle-school ecology pageant. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2019
.5/4 Men in Black: International (2019) Walter Chaw MiB4 makes no good decisions. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2019
3/4 Toy Story 4 (2019) Walter Chaw Toy Story 4 is a work of genuine humanism not all that dissimilar from Milton's Paradise Lost. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2019
3.5/4 Dark Phoenix (2019) Walter Chaw Dark Phoenix is entirely of this moment and entirely its own thing: child of trauma, song of defiance. They lost, but they went out full of rage and purpose. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
1/4 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Walter Chaw The worse it gets out here, the more desperate it gets in there. Godzilla: King of the Monsters suggests it's hell out here. It's not wrong. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2019
2.5/4 Starfish (2016) Alice Stoehr The first act of Starfish, with its oblique dialogue and shallow focus, is so lovely that it scarcely requires the pleasant if shallow film beyond it. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2019
3/4 Domino (2019) Alice Stoehr It's tawdry material, nesting two revenge narratives and plenty of terrorist intrigue inside a film that's under 90 minutes long. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2019
1/4 Aladdin (2019) Walter Chaw Aladdin oscillates madly between lock-step recitation of the animated film without the cartoon's vivacity and a tone-deaf cabal of social issues presented with a disturbingly straight face. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
3/4 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) Walter Chaw Three movies in, they remain the best argument that Americans still have a voice in the action game. They still feel fresh, but for how much longer it's hard to say. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
3.5/4 () Bill Chambers Campo doesn't exactly taper to a point. But its inscrutability isn't vexing, and only once, when the veterinary help leaves a dead sheep and her stillborn lamb to rot in the dirt, does the picture's existentialism strike one as cynical, contrived. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2019
1.5/4 Long Shot (2019) Walter Chaw Long Shot is the thing that thinks it's helping but isn't helping at all. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2019
3.5/4 For Sama (2019) Angelo Muredda Al-Kateab's footage of the attacks has a phenomenological specificity and texture that makes the film an essential counterpoint to abstract summaries of the conflict that cannot imagine the human faces of its victims. EDIT
Posted May 6, 2019
3/4 () Angelo Muredda This is funny stuff, Veninger's camera rarely failing to marvel at the visual novelty of a pair of sensitive men with equally limber frames, identical daily outfits, and matching chrome-domes. EDIT
Posted May 6, 2019
2.5/4 () Bill Chambers Maxima might be said to not so much elevate [Maxima Acuña] to a martyr as reduce her to one. Wanting for its subject's passion, it's filmmaking as dry as those desiccated mines. EDIT
Posted May 2, 2019
2.5/4 () Angelo Muredda Yet in juggling so many competing rhetorical purposes and styles, Lyn sometimes loses sight of his subject, producing something as safe as Dugas was unexpected. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/4 () Bill Chambers On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship is more entertaining than I assumed it would be, it's not for any glibness in approach, but because it's such a dynamic storyteller. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
2.5/4 Avengers: Endgame (2019) Walter Chaw In other words, without a diversity of voices, what are doubtless good intentions feel like paternalistic tokenism. It wouldn't be as frustrating if the solution weren't obvious. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
4/4 Her Smell (2018) Walter Chaw Her Smell is a horror movie about trust and love that shows how people who are drowning can find some debris to float on for a while, maybe longer. It's amazing. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
2/4 The Public (2018) Alice Stoehr Though actor, writer, and director Emilio Estevez might again be "on the wrong side of the law for all the right reasons," right reasons alone don't make for good art. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
1.5/4 Pet Sematary (2019) Walter Chaw The picture's not a total failure (partly thanks to Seimetz), but it's hollowed-out and insubstantial. The cat's good, though. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
3/4 Shazam! (2019) Walter Chaw Shazam! is not a perfect film--there's something moribund about its early going, and while the gags are reliably fun, they're seldom all that original. What works is the picture's lightness. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
2.5/4 Depraved (2019) Walter Chaw It's workmanlike where it would have benefited from being roughshod; careful where it should be lawless; and reasonable when berserker rage seems more appropriate. The picture finally lacks confidence. EDIT
Posted Mar 25, 2019
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