Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
B- 40% The Upside (2019) The Upside somehow overrides its own flaws because of the two lead performances.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
C+ 71% Destroyer (2018) This is one of those radical change-your-image performances that tries too hard to defy our expectations. Kidman has indeed proved in the past to be quite versatile, but this muddled, scabrous, neo-noir procedural does her no great favors. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
76% Bad Lieutenant (1992) [Keitel] keeps us watching his descent without wanting to look away. Only an actor with tremendous reserves of power could accomplish that.‐ Los Angeles Times
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
C+ 71% On the Basis of Sex (2019) We are invited by the filmmakers to regard Ginsburg as a saint in the making who also happens to be a real person. It's the kind of "tribute" that is actually a disservice because it flattens out a complex human being.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
C+ 64% Vice (2018) In theory, there's no reason why this approach shouldn't work -- if the jokes were better and the black comedy was blacker. But McKay isn't really interested in Cheney as anything but a target. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
10% Clifford (1994) Clifford, starring Martin Short as a precociously nasty 10-year-old, is not a good movie. It's not even good/bad. But Short has a few of those laugh-out-loud moments.‐ Los Angeles Times
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
B 78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) It's well crafted, well acted, and features some terrific live-action/animation combos. But it never quite achieves liftoff, which is a big problem for a musical -- especially this musical... Still, I suppose momentary joy is better than no joy at all.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
B 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) [Barry Jenkins] wants to move us on an intuitive level that reaches beyond conventional storytelling. It's an admirable ambition, but what he offers in its place is often so lush and sentimentalized that it wafts off the screen. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
B- 79% Ben is Back (2018) A compelling and intelligent study of how drug addiction affects a family... The film falls apart in the end, alas, as the story spins into druggie melodramatics. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
B+ 82% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) [Director Nadine] Labaki is not without her glosses and her storytelling can be clunky, but the film is graced with many seemingly peripheral moments that nevertheless hit home.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
C+ 62% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Despite a sharp cast and lots of stentorian speechifying, Mary Queen of Scots joins the ranks of the dull.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
B+ 100% Shirkers (2018) It's a charming, wistful movie, and I trust Tan will not have to wait another 20 years to direct her next film. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
54% Mars Attacks! (1996) It's a destructo orgy without any phony-baloney sanctimony about the fellowship of man -- or spaceman.‐ New Times
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
43% Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) The best way to enjoy Men in Tights... is to blank out the dull knockabout passages and sit tight for the kind of loopy squiggles that only Brooks can come up with.‐ Los Angeles Times
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
12% Renaissance Man (1994) There's a fine line between delighting an audience and pandering to it. "Renaissance Man" leapfrogs across the line.‐ Los Angeles Times
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
C+ 93% The Favourite (2018) It's nasty and knowing but way too self-satisfyingly smart-alecky for its own good.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
B+ 99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) In a great film, Kore-eda's thesis would be the starting point, not its culmination... But in the end, Kore-eda, for all the cooked-up moments in Shoplifters, knows where the heart of his story is. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
4.5/5 96% Roma (2018) The focus is almost always on Cleo... At its best, this film makes you feel as if you could watch her go about her life forever and never tire of its simple, sorrowful dignity. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2018
B+ 82% Green Book (2018) This film cuts right through your defenses. That's because the performances by the two actors, especially Mortensen, are so hugely entertaining. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
A- 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) "I am my paintings," says Vincent van Gogh, played by Willem Dafoe in a career-best performance, in Julian Schnabel's At Eternity's Gate... Watching this explosively lyrical film, you can believe it.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
B+ 92% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Strikes me as mid-to-upper range Coen fare... [Includes] their extraordinary jeweler's-eye attention to detail, their gift for concocting dialogue in plummy 19th-century vernacular, their lyrical embrace of wide-open landscapes, and their woeful nihilism.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
C+ 59% The Front Runner (2018) Jackman, sporting a distracting, Hart-like brown hairpiece, seems miscast. He doesn't convincingly convey this politician's swagger and slickness, and Reitman's attempts to mimic a loose-limbed political movie... are rather leaden.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
69% Don Juan DeMarco (1994) For the film to work, we'd have to be in denial... and it's just not magical enough for that.‐ Los Angeles Times
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
A- 92% They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018) [Not] just a companion piece to The Other Side of the Wind. As it turns out, bearing Welles's words in mind, it becomes almost a meta version of Welles's movie. I would like to think that the great magician himself would have approved. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
B+ 82% The Other Side of the Wind (2018) Having seen it, my overwhelming feeling is not exaltation but sadness. I look at this maddening pastiche and think of all the great movies he might have made.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2018
A- 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) I have to admit the subtlety and fullness of her performance in this film did hit me as a shock to the system.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2018
B+ 95% Burning (Beoning) (2018) A discursive, unsettling movie that is all the more so for being essentially undefinable.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2018
B- 88% The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) Unsatisfying. And yet I believe it's worth seeing for Gyllenhaal's performance. She is one of the rare actresses who can project real intelligence in all its maddening moods. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
A- 99% The Guilty (Den skyldige) (2018) Piecing together what is really going on is almost as satisfying as figuring out the clues of a first-rate detective story. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
C+ 68% Beautiful Boy (2018) Chalamet is occasionally scary-touching as someone whose addictions have become the core of his being. But the film is overlong and repetitive and riddled with unneeded flashbacks.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
B- 88% First Man (2018) As long as First Man is airborne, it's a marvel. I can't recall another movie that conveyed with such punch the perils and exhilarations of spaceflight. It's when the film is earthbound that it falls down. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
B+ 90% A Star Is Born (2018) There's real vitality in Cooper's direction in the early passages, and, in the performances of the costars, an understanding of the ravages of romance that justifies putting ourselves through the paces of this sad story yet again. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
C+ 92% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) I think the film disserves what Redford, at his best, can be as an actor in favor of a fraudulent, senior citizen variation on glossy movie-star iconography.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2018
B- 85% The Sisters Brothers (2018) The tonal shifts in The Sisters Brothers seem more like the result of indecision than design... The cast is strong, though, and demonstrates yet again how good acting can carry audiences through movies that otherwise would not be worth the trip.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2018
B 99% Selma (2015) It's extremely difficult to portray a legendary historical figure in a way that does justice to both that figure's momentousness and his humanity, but Oyelowo has found a way to do it.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2018
B+ 98% Science Fair (2018) It's impossible not to be charmed by these students, by their aspirations and idealism, not to mention the fact that one of them, or someone like them, may well end up winning a Nobel Prize. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2018
B- 100% Pick of the Litter (2018) I've always wondered how guide dogs are trained and, now that I've seen the documentary Pick of the Litter, I'm still not quite sure. As deficient as it is in specifics, it's fairly enjoyable anyway.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
B+ 70% The Apparition (L'apparition) (2018) There are ideas knocking around in this movie that, despite its overlong 144 minutes, are worth the time.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
B+ 54% The Bookshop (2018) For a movie that is about a collection of oddballs, it can sometimes feel rather generic. But at its core, the film is not a comedy at all. The eccentricities issue from real adversity.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2018
C 91% We the Animals (2018) The movie is all nuance and it continually wafts away into artiness.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
B+ 83% Juliet, Naked (2018) Unusual for a rom-com these days, it actually manages to be both romantic and comedic.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
A- 78% What Will People Say? (Hva vil folk si) (2018) A real-life terror trip but with human ghouls and goblins.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2018
B- 95% BlacKkKlansman (2018) Lee's overarching point... is that we have not come very far at all from the early 1970s. His aesthetic in BlacKkKlansman is that, in making of movies that matter, we have moved beyond the niceties of normal dramatic strategies. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2018
B+ 89% Far From the Tree (2018) The documentary is an attempt, in the words of those behind the film, to "investigate the very nature of family itself." That this attempt is overreaching and diffuse does not detract from the film's sporadic power. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
B 72% Christopher Robin (2018) It takes awhile to get going but, still, it's rather sweet.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
B 97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) As summer franchise movies go, Mission: Impossible - Fallout is near the top of the heap... If the film has one overriding flaw, it's that it's about 20 minutes too long.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
B+ 95% Dark Money (2018) The undue influence of money on elections is not exactly news, but the ways in which that influence can now be secured, given the current state of the law, certainly is. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
B+ 99% Eighth Grade (2018) It's rare to see a movie about middle school years that looks and sounds as right as Eighth Grade, a modest charmer... Burnham avoids most of the Mean Girls-style tropes in favor of a more gently humorous and nuanced approach.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
B+ 94% Custody (Jusqu'à la garde) (2018) As in all good movies of this kind, the ordeal of the children is not skimped. They bear the brunt, and the legacy, of the anguish.‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
C- 80% Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Comes across as an all-too-strenuous cash grab for the earlier film's mega-success. ‐ Christian Science Monitor
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018