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Rating Title/Year Author
MLK/FBI (2020) Brian Lowry MLK/FBI not only offers a compelling portrait of what was, but beyond just looking back, sets up a debate about what will be. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
American Skin (2019) Brian Lowry American Skin is worth seeing, for the issues Parker seeks to address, even if it only partially works in leaving a mark. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
Outside the Wire (2021) Brian Lowry Outside the Wire can charitably be compared to the kind of "B" movies that studios used to churn out, and is best consumed by tempering expectations accordingly. Because unlike its futuristic hero, there's nothing special about it. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
Locked Down (2021) Brian Lowry Like most shot-under-quarantine productions, it's intriguing for about 30 minutes or so, thanks in part to the charismatic leads. For the next half-hour, most viewers -- like their predicament -- will probably have seen enough and just want to get out. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
One Night in Miami (2020) Brian Lowry It's a small but riveting movie, anchored by a quartet of knockout performances. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2021
Pieces of a Woman (2020) Brian Lowry It's provocative stuff, sure to elicit strong reactions and even conversations that go well beyond the film itself. Yet the latter half feels strained in ways that do as much to undermine the movie as enhance it. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Brian Lowry The stakes wind up being high enough, but the antagonists represent a huge comedown from the God of War and the German army, and despite the efforts of Gadot and Pine, the film can't overcome those hurdles. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Soul (2020) Brian Lowry Soul is highly recommended -- especially to adults who might not be otherwise inclined -- and a return to form for Pixar after the less-satisfying Onward. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
Promising Young Woman (2020) Brian Lowry A darkly comic #MeToo revenge tale, the film is elevated by Carey Mulligan's mesmerizing performance, but winds up feeling undercooked in developing the narrative surrounding what's basically a feminist vigilante. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
The Midnight Sky (2020) Brian Lowry A beyond-bleak post-apocalyptic thriller, the sci-fi film reaches a reasonably satisfying finish, but follows an uneven orbit in getting there. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
News of the World (2020) Brian Lowry News of the World is a solid if unspectacular film, presenting a familiar story against an interesting historical backdrop. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
We Can Be Heroes (2020) Brian Lowry This was clearly made for kids, not critics, and the design and action are vibrant enough to divert them. Rodriguez is well-versed in superhero tropes for parents who can appreciate comic-book satire. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
The Last Blockbuster (2020) Brian Lowry The film proves timely in its warning about how a brave new digital world can claim casualties in terms of existing businesses and social interaction. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
The Stand In (2020) Brian Lowry As movies go, The Stand In certainly isn't a headliner. Yet like its title character, the movie and its star get about as much mileage as they can out of this opportunity. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) Brian Lowry The ebullient, at-times joyous nature of the music is offset by the melancholy tone of the film, which makes a pretty convincing case that the Bee Gees were underappreciated and, in some quarters, disproportionately vilified. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Safety (2020) Brian Lowry This fact-based Disney+ movie presents a story that's stirring enough to predictably eke across the goal line as an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser, even if it's playing on a venue without crowds. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Let Them All Talk (2020) Brian Lowry Aided by a jaunty Thomas Newman score, Let Them All Talk manages to be both fairly disposable and thoroughly entertaining. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
The Prom (2020) Brian Lowry A valentine to theater coupled with an overt message about LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion. All of that comes wrapped in a big neon bow, a joyous holiday gift for fans of musical theater, made by people who love the medium every bit as much as they do. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical! (2020) Brian Lowry The show felt bloated and flat, with scant sense of the magic in all the fluff employed to flesh out the Grinch's journey from Christmas-stealing curmudgeon to his the spirit-of-the-holiday epiphany. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (1990) Brian Lowry Ultimately, the changes to this Godfather don't feel significant enough to wholly justify the exercise, but it's still interesting revisiting a movie that -- unlike its predecessors -- isn't repeated constantly on AMC. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
Black Beauty (2020) Brian Lowry It's ultimately too inert, even with the changes, to make this familiar story leap off the page. Black Beauty isn't bad, exactly, but rather the kind of flavorless fare that underscores how hard really good family viewing is to corral. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2020
Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Brian Lowry These would theoretically be juicy roles for Adams and Close, but even with those stars letting loose, the conversations about broader cultural and economic challenges that the book triggered get obscured by what feels more like a Lifetime movie. EDIT
Posted Nov 24, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Brian Lowry Ma Rainey -- like any savvy performer -- doesn't overstay its welcome, or risk stretching the premise beyond its weight. Thanks to its leads, rather, it belts out a few showstopping moments, before taking that last, well-deserved curtain call. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
Belushi (2020) Brian Lowry The tears of a clown remains one of comedy's most familiar and enduring cliches, but "Belushi" still captures the truth of it through this window in time. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
Between the World and Me (2020) Brian Lowry Despite the limitations of shooting under Covid conditions, Forbes has brilliantly deployed the talent, sometimes simply showing their melancholy expressions while the voices of others play. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
Crazy, Not Insane (2020) Brian Lowry While the documentary might not convince those who prefer a black-and-white picture of crime and justice, for anybody with an open mind, it'll definitely make you think. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
Soros (2019) Brian Lowry If nothing else, Soros helps demystify the man and what motivates him, separating the myth from reality. In an age where money talks louder than ever in politics, it's worth clearly understanding what Soros has tried to say with his. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) Brian Lowry The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special -- with that title alone -- knows precisely what it's doing. The resulting animated hour delivers a clever romp through Star Wars history, smartly snapped together and wrapped in a bright, colorful bow. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2020
The Life Ahead (2020) Brian Lowry The Life Ahead has the warm feel of a family affair, and a celebration of not just Loren's contribution in this particular film, but the life, and career, behind her. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
Mank (2020) Brian Lowry Granted, it's difficult for any trip back through the bad old days of the studio system not to feel a trifle cliched, but Mank effortlessly conveys all that showbiz history in a breezily entertaining package. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
Ammonite (2020) Brian Lowry It's frankly hard to describe Ammonite without making the movie sound as derivative as it is. The performances, however, elevate the material, as Winslet and Ronan each convey grappling with different kinds of trauma without speaking about what ails them. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
I Am Greta (2020) Brian Lowry In the broadest strokes, the film succeeds in its primary objective, which is to draw attention to Thunberg's cause. It's in the execution where I Am Greta sometimes can't get out of its own way. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2020
Let Him Go (2020) Brian Lowry Ultimately, the real firepower resides in the performances, from the palpable sense of menace Manville projects to the simple devotion and tenderness that Lane and Costner exhibit toward the boy and each other. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine (2020) Brian Lowry At its best, Everything's Fine is a reminder that everything is most certainly not fine, conjuring laughter by capturing the sheer absurdity of it all, much like Cooper's Trump-channeling videos. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2020
Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You (2020) Brian Lowry The documentary buttresses the point that when it comes to passion to communicate through music, after all these years, Bruce Springsteen and his mates are still on fire. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
Over the Moon (2020) Brian Lowry Although the movie is visually impressive, the Chinese-American co-production suffers from a too-thin story, built upon a heavy-handed message soaked in that oldest of Disney tropes: a dead mom. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) Brian Lowry A concoction seemingly plucked from the lower rungs of Tim Burton's filmography, with eccentricity as the main attraction. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Brian Lowry Sacha Baron Cohen hasn't lost the power to deliver audacious surprises, with enough explosive, not-suitable-for-anywhere laughs to power through the flatter patches this sort of exercise inevitably yields. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
Rebecca (2020) Brian Lowry This faithful, pretty-but-uninspired adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's novel doesn't breathe fresh life into the classic, much less eclipse the 1940 Laurence Olivier-Joan Fontaine version that garnered Alfred Hitchcock's lone best-picture Oscar. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
What the Constitution Means to Me (2020) Brian Lowry An audacious idea, one that starts slowly -- at least in this format -- before sinking in its hooks about halfway through. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Brian Lowry American Utopia doesn't set the screen ablaze, but Byrne and his collaborators certainly know how to put on a show, even when it feels like they're going nowhere. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
537 Votes (2020) Brian Lowry While some of the details might have faded with memory, 537 Votes nicely encapsulates the descent of politics into a blood sport where rivals are viewed as enemies, not opponents. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
This Is Paris (2020) Lisa Respers France I have to admit that it was both refreshing and odd to see this side of the socialite. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (2020) Brian Lowry For an hour or so, The West Wing special manages to bring the show, and its central ideals, back to life. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
Honest Thief (2020) Brian Lowry By the standards of Liam Neeson thrillers, Honest Thief is pretty weak tea, a passable, low-octane action movie that doesn't do much more than steal one's time. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Brian Lowry To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times are indeed a-changin', but Sorkin's brand of sharp writing about politics, media, and culture hasn't gone out of style. EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2020
BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky (2020) Brian Lowry The challenge is to make it more than just an infomercial. Seen that way, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky manages to offer a welcome reminder that even for K-pop's reigning queens, all that glitters isn't always gold. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2020
Totally Under Control (2020) Brian Lowry All told, there's not a whole lot new here. Still... Gibney and company have delivered what is clearly intended to be a powerful closing argument, pulling the case together. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
Driving While Black (2020) Brian Lowry An extremely rich and detailed PBS documentary, exploring the long history of restrictions on Black movement, from slavery through the present. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020
Batman: Death in the Family (2020) Brian Lowry A more natural fit than most recent forays into interactivity. That's not to say Batman: Death in the Family isn't a gimmick too, but at least it's a fun, inventive one -- and a pretty clever way to kill time on a long, dark night. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2020