CJ Johnson

CJ Johnson
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
CJ has been a Tomatometer-approved critic since November 2019. He is the resident film and television critic for ABC Radio (Australia?s) flagship national night-time radio show The Nightlife. His website Film Mafia has been one of Australia?s most popular film review sites since launching in 2008.
Official Websites: abc.net.au/nightlife/reviews/

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 80% Judy & Punch (2019) A film whose great artfulness is only outdone by its sheer, breath-taking originality ... Foulkes' script is a work of deep and intellectually rigorous imagination, and her direction meets it for thrilling theatricality and innovation. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3.5/5 76% Doctor Sleep (2019) Staggeringly respectful, both of Kubrick's film and Stephen King's 2013 novel, and, for the Shining fan, great fun ... all credit to Flanagan and all involved, it's highly entertaining, which certainly makes it one of the strange surprises of 2019. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
4/5 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Murphy roars back into the cultural conversation and my heart with his flamboyant, exuberant and spectacularly entertaining performance ... I could easily take a Netflix series with an episode spent on the production of every one [of Moore's films]. - Film Mafia EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2019
4/5 86% Pavarotti (2019) Howard's been a highly skilled storyteller for a long time now, and he knows how to flesh out a theme. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
3/5 88% Ready or Not (2019) A goof and a hoot, a retro, completely silly, quite violent but never nasty romp that doesn't tax the cerebral cortex but isn't without style ... Weaving is supremely watchable, a superb physical comedienne with a unique presence. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2019
2/5 69% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Harrelson and Eisenberg do their best to energise the dialogue, but it's all too self-conscious, and self-satisfied, to be playable ... without Deutch's idiot schtick, there'd be nothing to laugh at at all. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
3.5/5 88% Hustlers (2019) Despite being astonishingly derivative on a directorial level, has some fresh vibes in the excellent chemistry between Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 69% Joker (2019) Cinematography, art direction and Phoenix's performance are the draws here; the story is so derivative, drawn out, empty and vapid that the film's biggest fault is that it drags. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
3/5 83% Judy (2019) Subtle it is not. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
3.5/5 97% Working Woman (2019) This is a forensic examination of just how workplace sexual harassment can not only play out but ensnare its victims in deeply complicated, confusing, dehumanising emotional and psychological webs. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
3/5 65% Ride Like a Girl (2019) Far be it for me to churlishly point out too many deficiencies - some slack editing, some iffy dialogue and some far too glorious (CGI-infected) sunsets; this is a rousing crowd-pleaser that earns its box office success. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
2.5/5 79% Good Boys (2019) The kids' charm, the script's inherent nostalgic value and a hefty dose of good will provide the film's value, rather than any particularly brilliant gags. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
3/5 56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) Held together almost entirely by the warm interplay between Bill Murray and Adam Driver as a couple of small-town cops dealing with the undead rising. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
3.5/5 96% Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) (2019) This unique film will be easily appreciated not only by the Scarface completist, but the cultural tourist and art-house anthropologist as well. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
3.5/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) Combines the calm, grand spectacle of 2001, the essential plot structure of Apocalypse Now, and, possibly, the best bits of James Gray's therapy sessions to create a slow-burn sci-fi thriller that is by turns captivating, mesmerizing and infuriating. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2019
2.5/5 88% Freaks (2019) Not afraid to hit a few hard beats, this little DIY effort shows a lot of guts. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2019
3/5 86% Animals (2019) Significantly hipper, more thoughtful and more nuanced than your typical RomCom, while being significantly tamer, more formulaic and more commercially-minded than Hyde's previous film 52 Tuesdays. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
4/5 100% Bait (2019) The most visually memorable film so far this year ... The aesthetics of the film inevitably consign it to the arthouse, but for the right viewer, this film will be fresh, vibrant, exciting and extremely memorable. It certainly was for me. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
4/5 90% The Souvenir (2019) Certainly Hoggian, but it demonstrates a compassion and depth of feeling unseen in her first three films. Wonderful and totally engaging, with superb central performances. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
3/5 86% The Nightingale (2019) Brutal and relatively compelling. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
3.5/5 75% Dragged Across Concrete (2019) Massively ambitious crime drama is a supremely well crafted piece of genre auteurism. It's thoroughly solid in the delivery of its very specific intentions; whether you want such a product is up to you. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
4/5 83% Midsommar (2019) One of those films that makes the whole world outside the cinema seem creepy and weird when you emerge. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
4.5/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) A superb time at the movies, a languid, fun, exquisitely crafted "movie movie" that is best appreciated in the context of QT's whole career ... if this is your first Tarantino, you'll have a great time, but it needs to be your ninth for you to "get it." - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
3.5/5 92% Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese (2019) Dylan's tour was a jape, and so is this relentlessly entertaining film. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
4/5 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Extremely well crafted and scripted ... Fun, propulsive, ingenious and quite loveable. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
3.5/5 93% Wild Rose (2019) Combines social-realism gritty urban British council-housing single-mum drama (Fish Tank, Dirty God) with inspirational aspirational goose-bump feel-good dramedy (The Full Monty, Brassed Off), skirting up to clichés only to make surprising left turns. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
3.5 / 5 68% Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion (Astérix - Le secret de la potion magique) (2018) Honours the spirit of the books with grace and integrity. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
2.5/5 41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) It must have been tough, saying lines that make no sense in a story that is incomprehensible; I imagine them all - Dance, Hawkins, Watanabe - at the bar each night, trading bonkers lines of dialogue they'd had to say that day, as a kind of drinking game. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
4/5 97% The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) A tremendously rewarding experience ... has the heft and moral complexity of a smart novel ... Highly recommended. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
3.5/5 91% The Candidate (The Realm) (El reino) (2018) The film's final act is superb: very tense, very cynical and very very angry ... It's satisfying stuff, and truly on the dirty money for these deeply corrupt times. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
2/5 81% Long Shot (2019) After a promising opening ten minutes featuring gags that, if not truly edgy, at least carry a little bite, the superficially progressive RomCom Long Shot proceeds inexorably towards complete mainstream commercial formulaic filmmaking. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
3.5/5 91% Acute Misfortune (2019) Rich, strange, smart and darkly off-centre ... [director] Thomas M. Wright produces a portrait that is somewhat oblique and extremely evocative. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2019
3.5/5 97% Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) (2019) [Protagonist] Halla rides the edge of strident activism and dangerous extremism, and our support of her choices is never taken for granted, let alone assured. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
4/5 95% Burning (Beoning) (2018) Mesmerising, threatening and beautiful ... You'll feel a strong sense of neo-noir at work, tugging against, or alongside, a neorealist examination of class divide. There's a lot going on, and the film takes its time, but it's exceptionally satisfying. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
2/5 57% Pet Sematary (2019) Whereas Lambert's film felt dirty (and arty), this one feels polished and clean: a commercial product, which it is, and an unnecessary one. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
4/5 94% Transit (2019) The reverberations with today - particularly with Trump's America and his "border emergency" - are powerful but never emphatic; the greater effect is of a continuum, and that is where the film really is ecstatically original. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
4/5 97% Free Solo (2018) Like Alex Honnold himself, Free Solo is straightforward, honest, humble and confident, with a grip of steel. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
3.5/5 93% Us (2019) Where the film packs its punches are in its truly fascinating third act and in your brain afterwards (or in spirited discussion with others). It is, perhaps, more enjoyable to think about than watch. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
4/5 74% Destroyer (2018) It's all very stylish, very deliberate, very purposeful, and very enjoyable, if you like this kind of thing. I do and I did. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
3/5 89% Sometimes Always Never (Triple Word Score) (2020) The result is extremely stylized, melancholy and rippled with extremely dry humour (don't believe the quote on the poster proclaiming it "Hilarious!"); play "WHIMSICAL" for twenty points. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
3/5 92% The Price of Everything (2018) Like its subject matter, bright, bold, loud and attractive. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
4.5/5 100% Minding the Gap (2018) It's a work of some genius. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
4/5 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Everything is surprising in a Farhadi film, and this one twists and turns like a frightened snake; there are secrets, lies, revelations and reveals ... performed, by brilliant actors, with total integrity. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
4 / 5 98% The Guilty (Den skyldige) (2018) A must-see: an hour and twenty-five minutes of lean gripping cinematic heaven ... razor-tight, superbly plotted, intricate and surprising. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
3.5 / 5 34% King of Thieves (2019) Come for the cast and you won't be disappointed. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
3/5 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) Coogan as Laurel, Reilly as Hardy, and Henderson and Arianda as their wives ... [are] all splendid ... Shame about the musical score, which is overbearing and makes the otherwise tastefully wrought and lovingly crafted Stan and Ollie seem schmaltzy. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
4.5/5 61% Vox Lux (2018) Quite brilliant and unbelievably entertaining, while being thoroughly uncompromising ... It all pays off, riotously, wonderfully, exuberantly, brilliantly, with integrity, grace and skill ... This is the first great film of 2019. Exceptional. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
4/5 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) This is a deeply felt, lovingly made movie that will stand the test of time. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2019
4/5 99% Eighth Grade (2018) There's no schmaltz, no faux tragedy, no bullshit in Burnham's movie. It's got integrity, compassion and respect for its subjects and audience. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
4/5 66% Vice (2018) Vice suffers in comparison to The Big Short - such is the problem when one follows a masterwork - but it is still vital and urgent and demands to be seen. - ABC Radio (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018