National Review

National Review is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Armond White, Kyle Smith, Megan Basham
Rating Title/Year Author
Sound of Metal (2019) Armond White Sound of Metal shows the millennium's avoidance of soulful self-examination. Merely a showy cinematic tattoo, a narcissistic desecration of the body, Sound of Metal is a work of spiritual vacancy. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
Promising Young Woman (2020) Armond White Dark comic nihilism like this has appealed to hipsters ever since Gus Van Sant's To Die For, but now it resembles regime change -- confirming a major fault of the indie film movement that traded populist sentiment for elitist cynicism. EDIT
Posted Jan 20, 2021
Martin Eden (2019) Kyle Smith Martin Eden isn't, however, much of a movie, and doesn't even do a particularly good job of defining its rhetorical parameters; to the extent it makes an argument, it does so poorly. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2021
Nomadland (2020) Armond White Nomadland looks both sociological and touristy; it's a visual lecture teaching America to pity itself. EDIT
Posted Jan 15, 2021
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Armond White Instead of the fraternal interplay that [Robert] Altman and [Darnell] Martin were so good at, Wolfe and Washington aim for predictable tragedy. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
Time (2020) Armond White The film is predicated on deliberate, phony artiness... Nothing like liberal condescension to turn what might have been a sincere vow into 100 percent pure cliché. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
Promising Young Woman (2020) Kyle Smith A grueling experience, but not for the reason intended. EDIT
Posted Dec 29, 2020
Tenet (2020) Armond White Fact is, Tenet should not be taken more seriously than a James Bond movie. As an action film, it isn't nearly as skillful as a Tom Cruise Mission Impossible commodity. EDIT
Posted Dec 29, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Armond White The tone of Wonder Woman 1984 wobbles from half-serious political satire to silly comedy. Jenkins parodies Back to the Future to depict Eighties kitsch, but her film ends up just being tacky like Richard Donner's 1978 Superman. EDIT
Posted Dec 29, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Kyle Smith WW84... relies so heavily on cornball gimmicks and dumb coincidences that it might as well have been written in 1984 - the year of Supergirl. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
True History of the Kelly Gang (2019) Armond White This pop-art method suggests Alex Cox crossed with Pier Paolo Pasolini. Kurzel has made a post-punk, post-hip-hop, post-neo-realist post-Western. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
With Drawn Arms (2020) Armond White Its arrangement of stock civil-rights clips leads to unoriginal conclusions, in fact twisting facts to fit an obvious agenda. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) Kyle Smith It avoids dwelling on awkward topics such as divorce, alcoholism, and drug abuse, which plagued the Bee Gees and their little brother. The film's strength is its rich technical detail about the Bee Gees songs, such as "Jive Talkin.'" EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Kyle Smith Wilson has a furious argument to make, but he makes it exactingly and with remarkable concentration and control. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2020
Mank (2020) Armond White Mank is so bogus, and so lacks dramatic credibility, I'll skip the shoddy narrative to note the immediate offense of this folly. Fincher has chosen to honor Mankiewicz over director, co-writer, and lead actor Orson Welles as a celebrity-cult aberration. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
The Plot Against the President (2020) Armond White The Plot Against the President doesn't end with triumph and victory like Costa-Gavras's rousing Z. Neither does it end with vengeance like Red Dawn. Fact is, Milius has made a cliffhanger -- but with an informative explanation. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan (2020) Kyle Smith Temple... has little photographic documentation from MacGowan's early years to work with, so he conceives the film as a scrapbook of crazy illustrations using campy stock footage, dramatic recreations, and animation. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
Mank (2020) Kyle Smith Mankiewicz's zingers may have been stellar, and Oldman delivers them brilliantly, but Mank is a hollow character study. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (1990) Armond White The rich complexity of Coppola's vision was never fully appreciated -- not even by Coppola himself, who has altered it to fit contemporary negativity. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
Collective (2019) Kyle Smith My only takeaway from Collective is: Don't get sick in Romania. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2020
Up Close & Personal (1996) Armond White Up Close and Personal isn't even a particularly good movie, but it's more revealing than most other films about the degradation of what used to be called "the press." EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
Another Round (2020) Kyle Smith I've just discovered a film that has changed my life. Give it a chance, and it'll change yours, too. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
The Way I See It (2020) Armond White In his work and in this film, Souza conflates idolatry with history. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2020
Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Kyle Smith If Vance's book was a page-turner with a message, Howard's film is just one damn thing after another: fights, screaming matches, drug sprees, shoplifting episodes, police interactions. It gets to be unintentionally comic at times. EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
Joan of Arc (2019) Armond White For Dumont, revisionist history -- and revisionist filmmaking -- is not a matter of do-over. It's about starting over and for reasons that we must heed. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Armond White The film shows shallow -- fake -- empathy with the Appalachian background that begins Vance's humble brag about leaving backwoods hollers and winding up at Yale University. EDIT
Posted Nov 18, 2020
Ammonite (2020) Armond White Ammonite's refinement merely lifts up the skirts of what is essentially romance-novel passion. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
Let Him Go (2020) Armond White Costner wears his familiar Western heartache, which was never any more fake. Bezucha's narrative comes down to this: superior but dissatisfied Americans vs. Hillary's "Deplorables" and Biden's "Chumps." EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
Native Son (1951) Armond White Every close-up, even when scaling the top of a water tower to evoke James Cagney at the end of White Heat, conveys the no-hope fatality of the novel's tragedy. It's not so much poetic or expressive as banal. EDIT
Posted Nov 4, 2020
On the Rocks (2020) Kyle Smith On the Rocks is Murray straight-up and 140 proof. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
On the Rocks (2020) Armond White Bill Murray makes it work... Murray walks around carrying his own bon vivant spotlight. He's the life of the party, but with actorly gravitas. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Kyle Smith Comedy make fun usually mean "punching up" but punching down more fun when you're Borat-ing. Make ordinary people make foolish by being nice! EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020
David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Kyle Smith The effect is unconstrained friskiness, like a wading pool full of puppies. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2020
Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You (2020) Kyle Smith In Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You, an affecting new documentary on Apple TV+... Even a rock god must bow to mortality. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Kyle Smith "Good" and "Evil" get stamped on every character's forehead, and cuteness reigns, even though being cute and being indignant are two impulses that tend to cancel each other out... In Sorkin's hands, history becomes sitcom. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
What Killed Michael Brown? (2020) Armond White What Killed Michael Brown? is a rare doc that opposes the media's current trend of fabricating race and "justice." EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
Martin Eden (2019) Armond White This film's many literary and cinematic echoes may please the cognoscenti, but Jack London's heroic neophyte subject needs a more self-critical update. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Armond White American Utopia fails as entertainment because it comes across as a political lecture about national consciousness. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2020
Antebellum (2020) Armond White Antebellum is as risible as it is obvious exploitation. Its back-and-forth narrative is a Critical Race Theory bonanza, blending contemporary race-and-gender-awareness with disdain for American history. EDIT
Posted Oct 7, 2020
The Boys in the Band (2020) Armond White The Boys in the Band now exhibits the typical Millennial segregation of race, sex, and class experience. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2020
The Salt of Tears (2020) Kyle Smith Restrained and low-key as it is, The Salt of Tears gradually opens up to become a powerful moral tale on a par with the great films of Eric Rohmer, with a hint of François Truffaut. EDIT
Posted Sep 29, 2020
Nomadland (2020) Kyle Smith The film is a successor to John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath for the age of singletons, and like Ford's masterpiece, it sprinkles sentimentalization into grit so deftly that it's a marvel. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
Kajillionaire (2020) Armond White It's a peculiarly class-based, bohemian ideology that Kajillionaire expresses with a perfectly oddball plot - the dreaded heist movie taken to philosophical extremes. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
The human voice (2020) Armond White The way Almodóvar's formal delight replaces Cocteau's probe of his protagonist's psyche makes The Human Voice minor rather than emotionally powerful. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
MLK/FBI (2020) Kyle Smith For those new to the subject, it's a useful overview of the FBI's revolting surveillance policies and their purpose to discredit a great American under the decreasingly tenable suspicion that he was a Communist. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2020
Robin's Wish (2020) Kyle Smith As a film, Robin's Wish is marred by a weepy musical score, by inept visual choices, and by cheesy reenactments. But for fans, this short movie provides a bit of closure. EDIT
Posted Sep 17, 2020
I Am Woman (2019) Armond White Rebooted for Millennial consumption, I Am Woman remains a damnably catchy novelty tune, but this movie raises the cultural problem: Do we learn from the past or reinterpret it to suit the moment? EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2020
Mulan (2020) Armond White By now we've seen too many authentic, dynamic Chinese action movies, especially Zhang Yimou's recent Shadow and The Great Wall, to accept this dross. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2020
Guest of Honour (2019) Armond White Egoyan offers a clumsy intellectual exercise. These characters stand out like metaphors in New Yorker magazine short-story fiction. Each one is a stick figure in a narrative maze. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2020
Tenet (2020) Kyle Smith Nolan's latest gargantuan effort to blow your mind may duly blow your mind, or it may simply bruise it, but at least it's a whole lot of movie, and to that I say bravo. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2020