The Pitch

The Pitch is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Dan Lybarger, Eric Melin, Jon Niccum
Rating Title/Year Author
2/4 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) Eric Melin A total contradiction. It sets a new bar for action in the moment, but suffers cumulatively for it. As its universe grows larger, it gets less compelling, and the screenplay creates all kinds of problems for Wick that it can't satisfactorily resolve. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
3/4 Her Smell (2018) Eric Melin One strength, besides nailing the vibe of the '90s alternative rock boom, is that it doesn't try to replicate the rock biopic formula. Rather, it presents five defining scenes in Becky's life, played out in virtual real-time. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
2.5/4 Stockholm (2018) Eric Melin Few actors do quiet desperation quite as effectively as Hawke, and his performance anchors the movie in that feeling, making it an entertaining flick that works on a couple different levels, even if there's not a big, overarching theme. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
3.5/4 High Life (2018) Eric Melin Denis is a confident, assured storyteller who specializes in provocative cinema. It asks its audience for a constant renegotiation with adult-themed material, and it rewards with near-constant engagement with its themes. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
1/4 The Dirt (2019) Eric Melin The authentic, rule-breaking storytelling strategy would have been to portray Mötley Crüe as the children they were, instead of some teenage wish-fulfillment fantasy that retro-cons their history and sugarcoats their bad deeds. EDIT
Posted Mar 25, 2019
4/5 Us (2019) Eric Melin As you might expect with a horror film about dopplegangers: the terror lies within, we are our own worst enemies, etc. But Peele's allegory goes beyond that into a fable about crippling self-doubt and class struggles. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
4/5 Capernaum (2018) Eric Melin Capernaum illustrates not just an indifferent world, but a hypocritical one as well. And it answers over and over again the question of why forgotten people are so rarely able to play by society's rules. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2019
3/5 Donnybrook (2018) Eric Melin The best movies walk the line between having something compelling to say and just being exploitative. It swerves maniacally between those lines like a tweaker on a three-day bender, convinced that its characters have no other choice. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2019
3/4 22 July (2018) Eric Melin Anchored by powerful, honest performances by Danielsen and Gravli, who play two people at opposite ends of a rifle, 22 July is a powerful reminder that democracies are fragile and must be protected with scrutiny and resolve, not bullets. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
4/5 Private Life (2018) Eric Melin It understands that the struggle for fertility can make monsters of anyone, and it doesn't judge its characters. It doesn't let them off the hook either, and it avoids offering easy outs. In other words, it feels about as real as movies get. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
3.5/5 Suspiria (2018) Eric Melin However lopsided Suspiria is, it builds to a satisfyingly nutso conclusion with lots of righteous fury. And it sticks with you, demanding you reckon with its themes at least one more time. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
1/4 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Eric Melin ...a surface-level extended music video that has zero interest in honestly examining its characters' inner lives, distorts timelines for cheap dramatic shortcuts, and exists to prop up a new soundtrack featuring unearthed live material. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/4 Widows (2018) Eric Melin Because it spends more time with husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons - families who deal with injustice as a calibrated normal - it rings truer than its contemporaries. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
4/5 Mandy (2018) Eric Melin Mandy shouldn't be written off as just another gory horror flick. It's a truly singular experience: a stylized-to-the-hilt journey into the circles of hell. It's impossible to shake. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2018
2/4 The Little Stranger (2018) Eric Melin The Little Stranger's 111 minutes are dreary and repetitive, as if the declining years of Downton Abbey were re-cut as a suspense movie trailer by some enterprising YouTuber. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2018
3/4 Skate Kitchen (2018) Eric Melin The real girls of Skate Kitchen make it work beautifully as a coming-of-age fictional film. The group's friendship and camaraderie translates naturally to the screen. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2018
3.5/4 BlacKkKlansman (2018) Eric Melin Even as he is careening from one extreme to the next, Lee is able to ratchet up the tension and release it in hilariously satisfying ways, never quite letting anyone off the hook. Nobody in the film achieves anything that looks like a real victory. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2018
3/4 Deadpool 2 (2018) Eric Melin You can only be first once and Reynolds' solution is more of everything. Deadpool 2 is everything you'd expect from a sequel. It's longer, has a bigger budget, bigger action scenes, more violence, more rudeness, more cameos - and dare I say - more heart. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2018
2.5/4 American Animals (2018) Eric Melin American Animals doesn't need an "easy out" to explain its characters' poor decisions. The propulsive energy of the movie, once it starts to take shape, mirrors the inevitability of them seeing their bad idea all the way through. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2018
3.5/4 Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Eric Melin Neville weaves the narrative around some of Rogers' favored concepts and core beliefs rather than providing a full birth-to-death biography of the man's private life. It's a wise choice because Rogers' words and ideas are stirringly relevant today. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2018
2.5/4 Westfront 1918 (1930) Eric Melin Rather than force common war story beats onto the characters, Pabst employs a more observational tone. His camera was free to move along the surface of the trenches, giving the full wide expanse of what the soldiers were experiencing. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2018
3/4 Tully (2018) Eric Melin Tully has enough lived-in performances and sure-footed observational truths to withstand the plot mechanics. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2018
4/5 A Beautiful Day (2017) Eric Melin Its strength lies in its ability to surprise, which comes directly from experiencing a cruel, cruel world the way a severely traumatized man sees it. It's how Joe makes sense of his reality that says the most about human fragility. EDIT
Posted May 11, 2018
2.5/4 Ready Player One (2018) Eric Melin Approximately 15 parts fun escapism and one part reflection. In a culture that's obsessed with unearthing obscure references, it will be interesting to see how the movie's fans-and I think there will be many-process the conflicting messages, if at all. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2018
1.5/4 Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) Eric Melin Everyone is equally blunted by blandness. All the kids who undergo military training are constantly reminded they need to act like a family, but the script never affords them the opportunity. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2018
3.5/4 Phantom Thread (2017) Eric Melin At first, it looks like just another safe, crowd-pleasing period drama aimed at the NPR crowd. Rather, it's a fascinating slow-burn character study that's not afraid to embrace a little darkness, with a wry sense of humor. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2018
3.5/4 Call Me by Your Name (2017) Eric Melin Anyone who has experienced the flush of first love will relate, but the fact that the film is specific and detailed both emotionally and physically in its portrayal of a gay relationship makes it a standout. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2018
3/4 I, Tonya (2017) Eric Melin ... asks a lot of tough questions about class in America, even as it takes the same mocking tone that it accuses the media of taking as the scandal unfolded. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2018
4/5 Black Panther (2018) Eric Melin ... there's so much more to Black Panther than a shrewd movie studio finally recognizing the value of an untapped market. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2018
3.5/4 Baby Driver (2017) Eric Melin It sounds like every noir-tinged crime movie since the 40s, but its a canny reconfiguration of boilerplate elements, made special by the way it taps into our music-saturated culture, using iPods and earbuds to fashion a seductive fantasy world. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2017
3.5/5 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Eric Melin This is the first mega-budget Marvel picture to put its heroes on spaceships and hurl them into a wormhole called the Devil's Anus. Clearance, Clarence. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2017
4/4 Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Eric Melin In whatever category you file it, 2049 is some kind of miracle: Its submersion in Blade Runner's themes and ambiguities, in its essential mystery, feels both familiar and new. And then it somehow goes even deeper. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2017
4/5 mother! (2017) Eric Melin Aronofsky has made something brutal and funny, a maddening prank on those who take their stories too literally. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2017
4/5 Good Time (2017) Eric Melin Good Time is thrillingly alive, both hard to look at but impossible to turn away from. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2017
4.5/5 Dunkirk (2017) Eric Melin Nolan's array of unique POV shots and his peerless command of scale relay the terrifying subjective experiences of Dunkirk's characters in a hauntingly visceral way. EDIT
Posted Jul 21, 2017
3/4 It Comes at Night (2017) Eric Melin More than a big-picture, end-of-the-world drama, it succeeds as a grave - and highly confined - journey through desperate emotional states. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2017
1.5/4 Alien: Covenant (2017) Eric Melin It's not a complete failure, but there's something sadly inevitable about Alien: Covenant. It feels more like an exercise than it does a movie. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2017
3/4 The Fate of the Furious (2017) Eric Melin The Fate of the Furious tops its predecessors not in its action scenes, but by applying that familiar, reality-confounding aesthetic to its characters. The result tests the patience like nothing short of a Diesel crying scene. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2017
2/4 Ghost in the Shell (2017) Eric Melin It reduces the philosophical quest for understanding of what it means to be human to a very familiar trope: the search for a former identity. Essentially, the Major is now Jason Bourne - or, more precisely, Robocop, by way of Frankenstein's monster. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2017
1.5/4 Kong: Skull Island (2017) Eric Melin It embodies that American Barnum impulse the original satirized, hoping that a heavy dose of violence and a familiar entity in the title will be enough to pack 'em in. Behold the sad, cynical Kong: First Blood Part II. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2017
4/5 Logan (2017) Eric Melin Through one simple, emotionally satisfying revelation late in the movie, Logan argues that stories like this - like the Westerns before them - can be culturally crucial because they give us hope when we need it the most. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2017
4.5/5 Toni Erdmann (2016) Eric Melin A tragi-comedy, yes. It's also beautiful and unique - art of a high order. In its portrayal of stark philosophical differences, the movie speaks to how people across generations see, and find meaning in, modern life. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2017
4/5 John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Eric Melin One-ups the original in almost every way while retaining the original's scrappy spirit & surprising wit - a rare sequel that expands its universe while keeping its new thrills and twists in step with the themes that allowed so much fun the first time. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2017
1/4 Live by Night (2016) Eric Melin A handsome production shot in gorgeous fashion. But like Affleck's Joe Coughlin - the empty center of this soulless film - it never commits to its most promising elements, never stays in one place, never develops a rhythm. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2017
4/4 Manchester by the Sea (2016) Eric Melin The most textured, emotionally complex screenplay of the year, by some distance. Lonergan's filmmaking redefines epic. He has found something big and universal in the small, specific characters he shows us at hauntingly close proximity. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2016
3/5 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Eric Melin For this lived-in universe, Rogue One features some distinctly CGI distractions: revisiting classic characters and resuscitating them 2016-style. It's crude and unnecessary in a film that's otherwise fairly sturdy, if unremarkable. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2016
4/5 Nocturnal Animals (2016) Eric Melin A jarring, uneasy social experiment that dares you to keep watching and subverts traditional 'hero's journey' storytelling modes thoroughly, if very obviously. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2016
1/4 Allied (2016) Eric Melin There are many unintentionally funny moments in a movie that wants to be taken seriously but is derailed by listless direction, tired acting, and a corny script. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2016
4/5 Doctor Strange (2016) Eric Melin ...a surplus of thrilling escapism inside a movie that clocks in at just less than two hours. You wonder why it took the Harry Potter films eight films to get where they were going. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2016
3.5/4 American Honey (2016) Eric Melin Their freedom on the open road is a ramble, and so American Honey rambles, too. As it should. The movie's cumulative effect is what makes it such a stunning piece of work. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2016