News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/4 L.A. Confidential (1997) Bill Morrison Director Curtis Hanson, who adapted the novel with Brian Helgeland, has created a film that delivers in every way. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2021
2.5/4 El Mariachi (1992) Robbie Roberts El Mariachi is a filmmaking primer. The building blocks of moviemaking are on display from the outset... Watching is a technical reward and a promise of good things to come. EDIT
Posted Sep 8, 2021
2.5/4 Go Fish (1994) Bill Morrison Go Fish was made with hardly more than petty cash and the devotion of a mostly female cast and crew who gave their weekends for a year to this labor of love. Despite the film's problems, it's the devotion and love you'll remember. EDIT
Posted Aug 25, 2021
3.5/4 Stand and Deliver (1988) Scott Ross Mark Van Doren once noted that "the art of teaching is the art of assisting self-discovery." So, too, filmmaking. Stand and Deliver does. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2021
3.5/4 La Bamba (1987) Scott Ross More than a week after seeing the film, I cannot shake La Bamba's people, its vitality, the freshness of its vision, and the profoundly honest way it views the milieu of its characters and the larger American canvas surrounding them. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2021
3/4 El Norte (1983) James Calloway El Norte is rife with good intentions and on some levels the film can be moving and witty. EDIT
Posted Aug 3, 2021
3/4 Chan Is Missing (1982) James Calloway Moy portrays Jo with disarming delicacy. EDIT
Posted May 19, 2021
3/4 Testament (1983) Bill Morrison What makes Testament so affecting is the struggle of a California family to continue on as though nothing had happened. The life force still beats within the heart of the schoolteacher-mother, played exquisitely by Jane Alexander. EDIT
Posted May 10, 2021
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Nell Battle Lewis This picture is thoughtful, timely, and very well acted. EDIT
Posted Apr 13, 2021
The Godfather, Part II (1974) Bill Morrison To predict the future of this young film-maker would be ridiculous. Already it's evident that he's the capo di tutti capi, the boss of all bosses of our new American cinema. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2021
2.5/4 Daughters of the Dust (1991) Bill DuPre Dash says she wanted the film to "challenge the conventional formats of representing black women." Challenging it indeed is. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2021
3.5/4 Bhaji on the Beach (1993) Robbie Roberts Director Gurinder Chadha writer Meera Syal and a heavenly ensemble prove how rewarding character-based, low-budget filmmaking remains in this day of computer-generated special effects blood baths and conflagrations. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2021
1.5/4 The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) Bill DuPre This is a life of intrigue even exhilaration But The Ballad of Little Jo is nearly immobilized under a slathering of righteous indignation. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2021
Citizen Kane (1941) Nell Battle Lewis If you missed Citizen Kane you really missed something which is apt to prove an important step in the development of the cinema as an art. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2020
Andre the Giant (2018) Josh Shaffer The documentary, directed by Jason Hehir, makes a tear-jerking case for Andre the Giant struggling with alienation in the world's spotlight. EDIT
Posted Apr 13, 2018
Tower (2016) Brooke Cain The story of the sniper attack, which left 16 dead and three dozen wounded, is told in an extremely compelling style that combines interviews, actual film footage and animated recreations. I highly recommend this one. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2017
The Witness (2015) Brooke Cain "The Witness" is fascinating enough for its careful reporting of the circumstances surrounding the infamous murder, but equally as a study of the impact of crimes on those left behind. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2017
O.J.: Made in America (2016) Brooke Cain Edelman allows us to truly understand O.J. Simpson, maybe for the first time; how he was built, what he is made of. It also tells us a great deal about ourselves. EDIT
Posted Jun 10, 2016
Becoming Mike Nichols (2016) Brooke Cain There's always something a bit haunting in seeing a person so funny and smart and vibrant on film, knowing they would soon be gone. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2016
Quantum of Solace (2008) Craig D. Lindsey Quantum of Solace reminds us that James Bond may be one cold cat, but he had to sacrifice a lot to get that cold. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2015
The Darjeeling Limited (2007) Craig D. Lindsey The Darjeeling Limited isn't Wes Anderson's best, but it shows he is trying his best. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2015
Best of Enemies (2015) Eric Frederick Best of Enemies is a spellbinding story, a poignant tale of foibles among greatness, and a vivid portrait of events that were like the year they occurred -- a stark line between what was, and what thereafter would be. EDIT
Posted Aug 27, 2015
Listen Up Philip (2014) Lewis Beale If the point of Listen Up Philip is that talented people can also be colossal jerks - well, that's about as eye-opening as saying that pizza is a hugely popular menu item. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2015
Horns (2013) Lewis Beale At nearly two hours, "Horns" is about 30 minutes longer than it needs to be. But it's doubtful even a shorter version would cure what ails this film. Maybe you have to be tripped out on LSD to appreciate it. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2015
The Trip to Italy (2014) Lewis Beale You wish they'd challenged themselves a bit more with this film, and not gone the "if it worked once, let's do it again" route. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2015
A- Red Army (2014) Lewis Beale All this is told with a brilliant mix of archival footage and interviews, with Fetisov, now back in Russia and minister of sport, providing much of the commentary. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2015
Iron Man (2008) Craig D. Lindsey While Iron Man seems to be an OK comic-book flick, I wish it could've been just as sparkling as Downey's performance. But hey, it could've been worse. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2015
B The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013) Lewis Beale It's not that The 100-Year-Old Man doesn't have its pluses. The cast is totally game for this nonsense, and some of the comic riffs are truly inspired... But in the end, Herngren's film is simply too much of a good thing. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2015
B- Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) Lewis Beale While [Far From the Madding Crowd is] beautiful to look at, [it] suffers from inconsistent direction and the miscasting of the lead female role. EDIT
Posted May 21, 2015
B Tomorrowland (2015) Lewis Beale It's kind of an unholy mess, but never less than interesting and engaging. EDIT
Posted May 21, 2015
B+ Merchants of Doubt (2014) Lewis Beale A chilling documentary showing how the cigarette, asbestos, fossil fuel and other industries manipulate scientific evidence. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2015
Wendy and Lucy (2008) Craig D. Lindsey Stark, heartbreaking and blunt in its notion that, even in these troubled times, sometimes the love of a four-legged best friend just isn't enough, Wendy and Lucy is a dog movie for grown-ups. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2015
D+ Serena (2014) Lewis Beale Serena is soon to wind up on someone's list of "worst book-to-movie adaptations." Count on it. EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2015
A+ Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014) Lewis Beale An overwhelmingly intense film about an Orthodox Jewish Israeli woman trying to get a religious divorce. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2015
B Maps to the Stars (2014) Lewis Beale David Cronenberg has fashioned a distinguished career making films about death, disease, sexual perversity and violence. But it's doubtful he's ever directed anything as scabrous and self-loathing as Maps to the Stars. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2015
B+ The Hurt Locker (2008) Craig D. Lindsey Locker is merciless in its wretched view of life during wartime. IEDs, suicide bombers, even old-school sniper fire -- all these things are around to remind soldiers that death is imminent at any waking minute. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2015
B The King's Speech (2010) Craig D. Lindsey This year's likable Brit period piece that will most likely win over both awards voters and older audiences looking for something to see that's not in 3-D. EDIT
Posted Feb 20, 2015
B+ McFarland, USA (2015) Lewis Beale Uplift doesn't come much better than this. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2015
B Still Alice (2014) Lewis Beale Still Alice benefits from solid acting down the line -- Kristen Stewart is especially fine as Moore's struggling actress daughter -- but it exists in a rarefied world of privilege unknown to most Alzheimer's patients. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2015
B- Cake (2014) Lewis Beale In Cake, Aniston shows that she's got the goods, the ability to delve into a complex, not particularly likable, character and make her thoroughly believable. If only the film were as good as its star. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2015
B+ Blackhat (2015) Lewis Beale Mann may not be at the top of his form here, but Blackhat is still proof that even in a flawed work, he is a master filmmaker. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2015
B+ Selma (2014) Lewis Beale Selma is about America at its worst -- and very best. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2015
B Wild (2014) Lewis Beale [Witherspoon's performance is] a compelling, and fully lived-in, piece of work. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2015
B+ Top Five (2014) Lewis Beale Top Five is filled with the kind of smart, lewd dialogue that has made Rock a standup god. And for the first time in his career, Rock has the authority, charisma and screen presence of a real movie star. EDIT
Posted Dec 12, 2014
B Tangled (2010) Craig D. Lindsey It wove itself around me, getting a tight grip on my senses, and trapped me in a web of loveliness that I was quite comfortable with. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
B The Theory of Everything (2014) Lewis Beale Enhanced by a brilliantly transformative performance from Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, director James Marsh's film is professional in every respect. But it takes itself way too seriously. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2014
B+ Whiplash (2014) Lewis Beale A love poem to big band jazz and the dubious pleasures of sadistic mentoring, Whiplash is a movie version of a steel cage death match. EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2014
A- Pride (2014) Lewis Beale Directed with economy and beautifully acted by all concerned (Staunton, in female battle-ax mode, is particularly great), Pride ends on a note that is guaranteed not to leave a dry eye in the theater. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2014
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) Lewis Beale Although attitude is more important than plot in spoofs like this, Tucker & Dale's storyline does have the right sort of momentum. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2014
A- Short Term 12 (2013) Lewis Beale Raw, intense, human and absorbing. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2014