Sacramento News & Review

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019) Bob Grimm The interviews flesh out the "story" in what amounts to another triumph for Scorsese, who has given himself a nice side gig doing rock documentaries. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2019
() Christopher Allan Smith The best documentary series this country has produced. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
1/5 Holmes & Watson (2018) Jim Lane The smell of flop-sweat permeates the movie like real sweat in a locker room. It's too bad to be offensive, too inert to be annoying. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
3/5 Second Act (2018) Jim Lane The cast is good enough -- if not to pull it off, at least to make it go down painlessly. Charlyne Yi supplies fun as half-phobic, half-kinky office drone. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
3/5 Bumblebee (2018) Daniel Barnes To the surprise of no one, the removal of Michael Bay from the creative driver's seat of the franchise results in a sharp rise in visual coherence and a sharp dip in toxic masculinity. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
2/5 On the Basis of Sex (2018) Daniel Barnes The flavorless, barely tolerable non-drama of On the Basis of Sex was probably intended as good-for-you movie medicine, but if this is the cure, I'll take my chances with the disease. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
1/5 A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Daniel Barnes A garish and empty non-spectacle. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
1/5 Green Book (2018) Daniel Barnes Mahershala Ali survives with a shred of dignity intact, but Viggo Mortensen may never recover. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
4/5 A Beautiful Day (2017) Daniel Barnes Lynne Ramsay's scarred and fractured story of a violent, demon-plagued veteran who rescues stolen girls. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
4.5/5 Mandy (2018) Daniel Barnes The prog-metal outrageousness of Mandy is established when King Crimson's "Starless" both plays over and gets listed in the opening credits, while Nicolas Cage offers his once-a-decade reminder of why we ever cared. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
3/5 Aquaman (2018) Jim Lane It's campy and miles over the top, but fun in its loopy wouldn't-it-be-cool-to-breathe-under-water way. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
4/5 The Death of Stalin (2017) Daniel Barnes Already the premier political satirist of his era, Armando Iannucci pulls off his most impressive feat yet, turning the corpse-strewn power struggle that followed Joseph Stalin's sudden death into a lacerating and disturbingly relevant farce. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
3/5 Welcome to Marwen (2018) Jim Lane It's technically brilliant and very well-acted -- especially by Leslie Mann as Hogancamp's new neighbor and latest crush -- but it never quite attains the emotional punch it's aiming for. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
4/5 Cold War (2018) Daniel Barnes Much like the folk songs heard throughout the film, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's romantic tragedy takes a story of heartbreak and horror and transforms it into something beautiful and timeless. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Jim Lane Sure to charm all but the most churlish cynic, it is, like Mary Poppins herself, practically perfect in every way. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
3/5 The Mule (2018) Jim Lane As we might expect from an 88-year-old superstar filmmaker with nothing left to prove, the movie has an elegiac, farewell quality to it, and Eastwood moves gingerly through it with an air of leathery frailty. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
2/5 Vice (2018) Daniel Barnes McKay wants to demonize and humanize Cheney at the same time, and the effect is like simultaneously watching ten different Dick Cheney biopics, all of them tedious. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
3/5 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Daniel Barnes At its best, If Beale Street Could Talk is lovely cinematic poetry, but the film is rarely at its best. EDIT
Posted Dec 27, 2018
2.5/5 Vox Lux (2018) Daniel Barnes Vox Lux does not lack for lofty aspirations, but the human drama is muddled and the observations on contemporary culture are obvious and exploitative. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
3.5/5 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Daniel Barnes It sucks that almost every movie is a self-aware pastiche and brand nostalgia compilation, but if the only stories that Hollywood can weave anymore are Easter egg baskets, it would be nice if more of them had this film's energy, artistry, heart and humor. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
3.5/5 Roma (2018) Daniel Barnes It offers an increasingly rare combination of ambition, imagination, compassion, emotion and execution. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
4/5 Green Book (2018) Jim Lane Take a true story, add a super-smart script, brilliant turns by the two stars, and matching support from Linda Cardellini as Mortensen's wife, and you get a bullseye crowd-pleaser. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
4/5 The Favourite (2018) Daniel Barnes Lanthimos takes a lean and witty script about conniving women and weak men and imbues it with his own peculiar and pitiless absurdism. The result feels like an outrageously opulent cross between Dangerous Liaisons and All About Eve. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
2.5/5 Boy Erased (2018) Daniel Barnes Only another impressive turn from Lucas Hedges elevates this earnest but slipshod drama above the level of an after-school special. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2018
2.5/5 At Eternity's Gate (2018) Daniel Barnes Schnabel tries to give new life to familiar material through a self-conscious naturalism full of hand-held camera shots, long takes and lens flares. Unfortunately, this breath of fresh air eventually turns stale. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2018
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Jim Lane It's all too clever by half -- or rather, by about 20 minutes; its feathery charms are hard put to support nearly two hours' running time. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
4/5 Widows (2018) Jim Lane Davis' powerhouse presence is complemented by Rodriguez and Debicki (in a starmaking turn), plus an equally powerhouse supporting cast. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
1/5 Robin Hood (2018) Jim Lane "Forget history," says the narration, "Forget what you think you know." Better advice would be to forget this godawful movie. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
2/5 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Jim Lane [Rowling's] script here is the worst thing she's ever written -- incomprehensible if you haven't seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, saddling the actors with endless pages of indigestible exposition, an inert, lifeless set-up for the next movie. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
2/5 Creed II (2018) Daniel Barnes Whatever you think about Rocky IV, it is inarguably a mid-1980s time capsule. Creed II isn't a time capsule, but it should get buried. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
1.5/5 The Front Runner (2018) Daniel Barnes The Front Runner is unbelievably naive in its cynicism about the tabloidization of the political process, ultimately (and possibly by accident because of ineptitude) making an anti-transparency argument that would appease the "fake news" dingbats. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/5 Maria by Callas: In Her Own Words (2017) Daniel Barnes The life of world-famous 20th-century opera singer Maria Callas gets the Amy treatment in this serviceable documentary. EDIT
Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/5 The Happy Prince (2018) Jim Lane Everett the writer sometimes overplays things, while Everett the director lurches from one martyrdom to the next in a sort of pity-party promenade. But Everett the actor, in a role he was born to play, never makes a false move. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
2/5 Instant Family (2018) Jim Lane The movie has amusing moments, but they feel prepackaged with everything but a sitcom laugh track. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) Jim Lane Alvarez doesn't let us linger to make sense of it all; he keeps the action set-pieces coming, and if we're never fully engaged, at least we're never bored. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (2018) Jim Lane The smoothly animated result isn't as dreadful as the Jim Carrey live-action version, but it's almost as wrong-headed. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
2.5/5 Overlord (2018) Daniel Barnes Julius Avery directs this high-energy, low-imagination genre mashup, a combination of Inglourious Basterds and Planet Terror that is not nearly as fun as that description might imply. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
2/5 Nobody's Fool (2018) Jim Lane Writer-director Tyler Perry throws all kinds of ideas at us, but he never manages to get over the basic problem at the center of his script: Sumpter's character is shallow and unlikeable, while Haddish's... wears out her welcome in record time. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Jim Lane Either desperate rewrites by Tom McCarthy and reshoots with director Joe Johnston taking over from Lasse Hallström didn't help -- or the movie must have been really awful before. Now it's a grab bag of remnants from far better books and movies, EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/5 Prospect (2018) Daniel Barnes A high-concept film that doesn't explain itself to death is refreshing, but the margins of Prospect are far more interesting than the central story and characters. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
2.5/5 Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Daniel Barnes The film twists itself in knots to make Israel seem like the victim of her own crimes, but this mainly amounts to McCarthy moping around in a Kathy Geiss haircut. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/5 Beautiful Boy (2018) Jim Lane Dramatically flat and frankly monotonous. On the plus side, Carell and Chalamet give fearless performances. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
3/5 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jim Lane A standard musical biopic with all the conventions in place... Still, the music is electrifying, and Malek is a stellar presence, as is Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
3/5 Hunter Killer (2018) Jim Lane Muscular direction by Donovan Marsh keeps the action tense and clipping along, compensating somewhat for a tendency of minor characters to blur together. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
4/5 Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) Jim Lane I said that such James Bond spoofs were an exhausted genre and had worn out their welcome. Now I have to take it back; here's an inspired bullseye. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
2/5 Suspiria (2018) Daniel Barnes Guadagnino's flavorless film is less a straight remake than a dreaded "homage," with subtext becoming text, the unspoken getting spoken and tantalizing assumptions transforming into leaden story points. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
2/5 Viper Club (2018) Daniel Barnes Incredibly unfocused and strangely impersonal, relying almost entirely on hackneyed visions, dreams and flashbacks to forge any kind of emotional connection with the audience. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
2/5 Mid90s (2018) Daniel Barnes Mid90s is one of the slightest major releases in recent memory, and although a handful of nice moments point to Hill's potential, none of the characters are developed beyond a one-sentence outline. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2018
1/5 Van Helsing (2004) Jim Lane By the final scene, all we care about is when Sommers will wrap up his magic act and let us all go home. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2018
1/5 Halloween (2018) Jim Lane It was sadistic schlock in 1978 and it's more sadistic and schlockier than ever now. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2018