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Rating History

Sing
Sing (2016)
1 day ago via Flixster
½

Sing is a hugely enjoyable experience and surely there's no harm in losing yourself for a time in all the music and glittering lights. Although it's like being assaulted by a jumping jukebox for two hours, Garth Jennings' first animated movie has enough bounce and brio to carry the day. Immensely likeable. The animation itself might not be the most inventive out there (this isn't Pixar), but where Sing soars is in its one-by-one attention to its ensemble of beasts and its obvious passion for music: It's nearly impossible to watch this film and not be humming the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" for days afterward. Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted -- albeit familiar -- storyline that lives up to its title.

Nocturnal Animals
2 days ago via Flixster
½

Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill. Confidently dovetailing three strands that depict present and past reality, as well as a dark fictional detour that functions as a blunt real-life rebuke, the film once again demonstrates that Ford is both an intoxicating sensualist and an accomplished storyteller, with as fine an eye for character detail as he has for color and composition. With everything going on, Nocturnal Animals is the sort of narrative and tonal minefield that a lesser director could easily have gotten lost in. Ford allows us to consider and cherish each unique thread and wonder just how it could all possibly come together. Nocturnal Animals is an impressively ambitious effort, one part mean Texas thriller, one part middle-age melodrama, and makes for a meta-textual riddle that is almost as pleasurable to reflect on as it to actually watch. Nocturnal Animals employs one of the most inventive uses of neo noir tropes and techniques I have seen in recent years. Intense, insightful, and strangely powerful, Tom Ford's adaptation of Austin Wright's novel, Tony and Susan, assumes an intelligent audience. Nocturnal Animals confirms Tom Ford as an essential director, as he gives us two dazzling stories that combine for one powerful movie experience.

VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)

John Wick
John Wick (2014)
2 days ago via Flixster

Stylish, thrilling, and giddily kinetic, John Wick serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves -- and what looks like it could be the first of a franchise. Stahelski and Leitch, both former stunt men, unsurprisingly tackle action sequences with glee... but the quieter scenes are more sophisticated, incorporating a sense of fantasy and visual splendor that almost makes the wafer-thin plot feel fresh. John Wick is a slick gangster flick simmering in a suppurating green light, featuring Reeves as a kung-fu assassin pursuing... well, the plot's not really important. What is important is the fact that Reeves is still doing this at 50. Harboring few ambitions beyond knock-your-socks-off action sequences, this crafty revenge thriller delivers with so much style - and even some wit - that the lack of substance takes longer than it should to become problematic. Funky-elegant, weirdly funny, visually intoxicating. I love this movie so much for how it's different about being more of the same old stuff we always love. John Wick, is not only a return to badass form for the actor, it's also one of the most excitingly visceral action flicks I've seen in ages. John Wick won't redefine action movies, but it perfectly exemplifies what I want from an action film when I go. Have fun with the world, shoot the action well, motivate it in a way that doesn't feel cheap.

VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
2 days ago via Flixster
½

This was one of the most boring horror movies I have ever watched! I spent the whole movie waiting for something, anything to happen, and nothing ever did. A boring and pretentious movie - something that when you do it well helps you to go further, but when you fail it makes everything negative stand out even more. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is a slow-burn with a wonky structure, working backwards in a way that unfortunately mars any possible tension. Ruth Wilson delivers a hardworking performance that nonetheless can't render a familiar character type fascinating enough in a vacuum, with so little support in the writing. All Perkins asks of Wilson is that she move very slowly and deliberately in every scene. I needed a little more than that. The story has atmosphere and for awhile you'll watch this movie simply out of pure curiosity. Unfortunately the pacing is so slow, it quickly becomes tedious watching this movie. The setting is well done and takes you back to the 1960s. The house is appropriately creepy as well. But these minor pluses can not distract from the film's glaring missteps. This entire movie played like a college film project, rather than a serious attempt at making well thought out, thought provoking, or engaging horror movie of any sort. I won't expect much from future Oz Perkins films, if I even bother watching another one.

VERDICT: "Not So Hot" - [Negative Reaction] These films are truly terrible films. They are not the worst things ever made, but they are definitely awful and should not be seen by anyone. (Films that are rated 1.5 or 2 stars)

The Spectacular Now
11 days ago via Flixster
½

The Spectacular Now is an adroit, sensitive film that avoids typical coming-of-age story trappings. There are scenes, moments, and dialogue in this film that ring so true that it all comes rushing back, a flood of memories and emotions and a little bit of pain. An unusually evasive piece of filmmaking - hard to pin down, but all the more worthwhile for its craftiness. The focus in James Ponsoldt's affecting, intelligent drama is a pair of teenagers, and in them is so much complexity and heart that this casually paced gem feels rich in scope. They're two of the most carefully created figures on screen, and yet their normalness takes us by surprise.Every time the film teeters on the precipice of a generic plot point it satisfyingly withdraws into more subtle and nuanced territory that ultimately coalesces in a final act that is sentimental without being sugary. This low-budget production is all about the performances, with Kyle Chandler turning up late in the piece as Sutter's father, Smashed's Mary Elizabeth Winstead as his slightly snobby sister and a cool supporting cast of appealing young 'uns. What you thought would be a generic high-school romance turns into an edgy character drama with dark, uncompromising undertones. James Ponsoldt's film, and its stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, continually take us in unexpected directions, giving the film an unexpected depth. It feels real, its emotions earned.

VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)