Philadelphia City Paper

Philadelphia City Paper is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Cynthia Fuchs, Sam Adams, Sameer Rao, Sean Burns
Rating Title/Year Author
Irma La Douce (1963) Sam Adams Though Irma's 143-minute length is more than a little too much of a very good thing, it's hard to dislike a movie that keeps giving you more good stuff. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
Triumph of the Will (1935) Sam Adams Leni Riefenstahl's infamous masterwork sits with The Birth of a Nation in the pantheon's "outcast unclean" section. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2016
X2 (2003) Sam Adams X2 still feels like a prologue. No matter how much goes on, you feel like nothing has happened. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2015
Gigli (2003) Sam Adams Gigli won't be the worst movie to come out of Hollywood all year, but it's sure to be one of the most forgettable. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2015
Bettie Page Reveals All (2011) Sean Burns A shoddily made, amateur-hour barrage of chintzy music, stock footage and flashy video effects that were presumably state of the art during the Reagan administration. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
The Great Beauty (2013) Sean Burns A richly symbolic meditation on aging, mortality and precious time wasted. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Sean Burns What a difference a director makes. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Sean Burns It follows the template of every Bill Murray slobs-vs.-snobs comedy from the '80s, except this time people are dying. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) Sean Burns Exarchopoulos' performance is a miracle, with every raw emotion rippling across her yearning, endlessly expressive face. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
Last Vegas (2013) Sean Burns It's a cast of relaxed old pros with easy chemistry, all of whom seem to be having a great deal of fun. The feeling is almost mutual. EDIT
Posted May 12, 2015
Chicago (2002) Sam Adams Chicago may not rank with the classics, but it's the best traditional movie musical in many a moon. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2015
B Obvious Child (2014) Sam Adams Slate, who had a brief and unremarkable tenure on Saturday Night Live, proves a winning companion; it's a hang-out movie, and she's fun to hang out with. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2015
A- Citizenfour (2014) Sam Adams The scariest thing you'll see this Halloween is Edward Snowden swearing in disbelief at the end of Laura Poitras' gripping, disturbing documentary. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2015
B- The Guest (2014) Sam Adams Shot in lurid colors and drizzled with a squelchy synthesizer score, Adam Wingard's bloody thriller is so enamored of John Carpenter it might as well be passing him mash notes in social studies. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2015
Bad Santa (2003) Sam Adams If Bad Santa does well at the box office, Zwigoff will get credit for being a savvy player. That Bad Santa is as vile and stupid as Ghost World was insightful and touching is something Hollywood has no interest in measuring. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
Howl's Moving Castle (2004) Sam Adams Miyazaki isn't interested in the jolts of surrealism so much as imbuing his audience with the idea that reality can change at any moment, and change back just as quickly. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
Spirited Away (2001) Sam Adams Chihiro's escapades don't always proceed one from the other, but let yourself go and you'll be swept away as well. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2014
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Sam Adams Columbus' pacing is still murderously slow, his ideas as pedestrian as the worst TV. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2014
The Joy of Life (2005) Sam Adams The Joy of Life combines intriguing but incompatible parts. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2014
B+ Land Ho! (2014) Sam Adams It's a warm soak rather than a squirt in the eye. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
The Ring (2002) Sam Adams The Ring is easily the most terrifying movie to come out of Hollywood in years. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
A- A Most Wanted Man (2014) Sam Adams Had Hoffman never played a role other than Günther Bachmann, he would still have been one of his generation's greatest actors. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2014
B+ Life Itself (2014) Sam Adams James' film is less like a eulogy than a wake, a commemoration of his living spirit rather than a meditation on his loss. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2014
B Museum Hours (2012) Sam Adams It's lovely but lulling, and for a movie in which little happens, oddly predictable. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2013
B+ World War Z (2013) Sam Adams The movie fares best in its quiet moments, between Pitt and wife Mirelle Enos, or in a climax set in the antiseptic maze of a Cardiff science lab. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2013
A- Upstream Color (2013) Sam Adams It's no surprise that Upstream Color is a head-scratcher, but its untrammeled emotionalism comes as a shock to the senses. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2013
At Any Price (2012) Sam Adams Bahrani shares his characters' ambitions, and also their lack of perspective. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2013
A- Something in the Air (2012) Sam Adams Works with a light touch, but leaves a surprisingly lasting mark. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2013
D The Hangover Part III (2013) Sam Adams Dumps the fill-in-the-blanks structure for straightforward comic action. Unfortunately, the impetus has less to do with a push for novelty than simple franchise fatigue. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2013
B+ Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012) Sam Adams Ricky Jay is the master of a discipline he created: trickster, archivist, showman and raconteur rolled into one. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2013
B+ The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) Sam Adams It's easy to roll your eyes at the film's overreach, but every movie should be so flawed EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2013
C+ Trance (2013) Sam Adams A cracking thriller built around art auctioneer James McAvoy' convenient amnesia, Danny Boyle's Trance jumps the rails in the closing stretch. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2013
B+ To the Wonder (2012) Sam Adams Malick doesn't reach for the sublime so much as lunge, arms outstretched, face turned to the sky. He stumbles, but still, it's a beautiful fall. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2013
A- Beyond the Hills (2012) Sam Adams Mungiu works in long takes and at a measured pace, burying the story's true-crime origins for half the film's two-and-a-half-hour length. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2013
B+ Ginger & Rosa (2012) Sam Adams Potter's take on the '60s occasionally slides into Big Chill cliché, but with her actors, she's on virgin ground. EDIT
Posted Mar 30, 2013
B+ Stoker (2013) Sam Adams Works mostly as a mood piece, but what a mood it is. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2013
A- No (2012) Sam Adams A canny comedy and cutting critique, Pablo Larraín's No looks back at the 1980 vote to extend or end Chilean autocrat Augusto Pinochet's rule through an adman's eyes. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2013
A- Barbara (2012) Sam Adams Petzold handles personal, formal and political concerns in such harmony that it's difficult, and not especially desirable, to separate one from the next. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2013
D+ On the Road (2012) Sam Adams Clutching Jack Kerouac's peripatetic roman à clef like a besotted sophomore, Walter Salles trails Kerouac and Neal Cassady's novelistic doppelgängers like an eager puppy. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2013
B- Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) Sam Adams Unmistakably part of the director's canon, and just as unmistakably a minor addition to it. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2013
A- 56 Up (2012) Sam Adams In 49 Up, many of the series' subjects seemed to be just settling into their bliss; now they're committed to it, and the foreclosed possibilities that come alongside. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2013
b Starlet (2012) Fresh, though, is Baker's nonjudgmental approach. Much like its characters, Starlet simply drifts around the Valley, dividing itself from morality and watching guarded souls interact. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2012
A- Outback (1971) Sam Adams Many reissues claim the mantle of lost masterpiece, but Wake in Fright is the genuine article. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2012
B+ Lincoln (2012) Sam Adams The most eloquent episode of Schoolhouse Rock ever made. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2012
B Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Sam Adams Rings a few welcome changes on the Disney-princess mythos, but it still feels like a game you've played before. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2012
C+ Flight (2012) Sam Adams Zemeckis focuses on surfaces but never discovers what lies beneath them. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2012
B+ Cloud Atlas (2012) Sam Adams A movie of big ideas, and only some of them are terrible. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2012
B+ Argo (2012) Sam Adams Divorce it from awards-season hype, and Argo holds up fine: There's no need to pretend it's something it's not, when what it is works just fine. EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2012
B The Oranges (2011) Sam Adams Follows through on its yuckster premise with uncommon insight and dedication, without a shirk or a smirk. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2012
C- Chicken With Plums (2011) Sam Adams A crushing disappointment by almost any standard, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud's followup to the delightful Persepolis is a bad idea poorly realized. EDIT
Posted Sep 28, 2012