Dan Lybarger

Dan Lybarger
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Dan Lybarger has contributed film articles to the Kansas City Star, Nitrate Online, The Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, and PitchWeekly. He has an M.A. in Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a B.A. in English from Ottawa University.
Favorites:
My favorite filmmakers are: Billy Wilder, Akira Kurosawa, Agnieszka Holland, Buster Keaton (I attend a Keaton Festival every year in Iola, KS. This festival takes place seven miles from Keaton's birthplace in Picquay), Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Peter Weir, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Woody Allen, David Lean, Charlie Chaplin. Favorite Movies: The Apartment, Europa Europa, Life Lessons.
Location: Kansas City
Official Websites: efilmcritic.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
85/100 68% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Much of what's fun about Kasdan's video-game-set updates to Jumanji is that he relies as much on his performers as he does on the special effects. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
80/100 82% Queen & Slim (2019) [Lena] Waithe and [Melina] Matsoukas would like to "print the legend" as John Ford put it in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In this case, the legend seems underdeveloped, and the real world reminds us this wouldn't happen off-screen. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
84/100 77% Frozen II (2019) Frozen II has several delightful moments, but it seems unlikely that it will stay put in viewers' minds quite like the first installment did. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
73/100 43% Midway (2019) While the actors earnestly try to look horrified or determined by the potential doom coming their way, the Nintendo Wii-level images ruin the illusion. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
81/100 47% Last Christmas (2019) Perhaps if [Emma] Thompson, [Paul] Feig and company had given Last Christmas more of a winter chill or biting wit, it might have had a more welcome place under the Christmas tree. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
86/100 62% Motherless Brooklyn (2019) For a movie about a seemingly dry topic like urban development, it's a fascinating look at how the social sausage of government is made. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 73% Harriet (2019) Despite being anchored by a terrific performance from Cynthia Erivo, Harriet lacks the focus and the narrative drive to do her story justice. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
80/100 60% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) As it stands, The Current War ably captures how a 19th-century dispute led to how we use electricity today. The story of the people who made that possible has yet to be told properly onscreen. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
73/100 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) There's nothing magical about substandard writing. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
82/100 83% Judy (2019) Renée Zellweger has Judy Garland down; effortlessly imitating the Wizard of Oz star's delivery and mannerisms. But had the film consisted simply of Zellweger bellowing show tunes, it might have been more substantial. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
86/100 81% Abominable (2019) If [Jill] Culton's plotline is routine, her handling is sincere and occasionally charming. The protagonists are consistently endearing, and Culton does create some delightful eye candy built around Chinese landmarks. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
70/100 22% Running with the Devil (2019) Despite featuring gunplay, nudity, illicit drugs and a setting that crosses two continents, Running With the Devil feels more like a leisurely, chemically enhanced stroll. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
87/100 84% Ad Astra (2019) If the emotions or ideas in Ad Astra aren't comfortable, they are thankfully not dull. [James] Gray creates a consistent sense of danger and makes the tormented Roy just sympathetic enough to get an audience worked up about his fate. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
5/5 96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché lays out the facts of Guy-Blaché's life and provides enough samples from her 22-year career to demonstrate that she was an essential film pioneer. - eFilmCritic.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
82/100 88% Ready or Not (2019) [Samara] Weaving projects just enough steely resolve to make viewers believe she could survive an armed standoff with no weapons of her own. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) finds plenty of current resonances in Manzoor's depiction of Margaret Thatcher's England and in Springsteen's odes from the Garden State. - eFilmCritic.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2019
86/100 80% Good Boys (2019) Credit The Office writing alumni Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky with pulling off an astonishing balancing act. Without careful calibration, Good Boys would be more stomach-churning than amusing. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
72/100 44% The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) In more subtle hands, the story could have been a winner. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
86/100 84% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Thankfully, I can report that the new live-action, big-screen adaptation of the long-running animated series, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, is unexpectedly delightful. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
85/100 93% Wild Rose (2019) Like a good country or blues song, Wild Rose sounds familiar and heartfelt. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
83% Midsommar (2019) Aster paces Midsommar languidly, but he doesn't waste the film's long running time. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Curiously, the movie is at its most enjoyable when it forgets that it's about a superhero. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
82/100 63% Yesterday (2019) [Richard] Curtis never resolves how Jack deals with calling the Beatles' songs his own, and the film drags as Yesterday struggles to make Jack's guilt more entertaining. Thankfully, Patel can sing the Beatles' songs with conviction. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
81/100 32% Shaft (2019) [Tim] Story clearly isn't aiming for posterity with this one, but simply telling a dirty joke successfully seems like a lost art. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
78/100 23% Men in Black International (2019) [Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth] read off each other like books in Thor: Ragnarok, but Matt Holloway and Art Macum's script concentrates more on recycling effects from the first movie instead of finding ways to maximize the duo's formidable chemistry. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
77/100 59% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) It's like watching a cat tear into a rolling ball of yarn but not nearly as entertaining. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
78/100 57% Aladdin (2019) Because the new film's magic carpet is following in the flight plan of its animated ancestor, it can't reach new heights on its own. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
76/100 50% A Dog's Journey (2019) A Dog's Journey takes a little time to explore ways that dogs can help people in ways we are only now beginning to understand. Learning how they can literally sniff out tumors is frankly more interesting than a plot recycled from a soap opera. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
72/100 51% The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) It's almost as if Russo-Young and editor Joe Landauer sat in the cutting room with a stopwatch making sure each smooch or long walk lasted long enough to ensure a 100-minute running time. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
74/100 51% Tolkien (2019) The production is handsome, and the cast seem committed, but their characters don't change enough to make the story move. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
81/100 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) While the efforts to bring Pokemon to life are successful, the human thespians sometimes struggle to keep up with their furry, feathered and scaly co-stars. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
89/100 83% High Life (2019) In her own way, [Claire] Denis is reaching for the stars by making a film that lives outside the theater. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
82/100 81% Long Shot (2019) What starts off as biting and clever gradually loses its bite as it slowly reaches its drawn-out conclusion. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
87/100 92% Disneynature: Penguins (2019) Because [David] Fowler treats Steve as an "everypenguin," there is more entertainment value with this film than with its acclaimed predecessor. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
88/100 89% Missing Link (2019) Laika Entertainment understands the northwest mythology and has come up with enough delightfully goofy content of its own to make us wonder if there really are furry humanoids trampling through the woods. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
87/100 94% The Mustang (2019) Basing her story on a real-life program that takes place in Nevada and other states, freshman feature director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and a horde of co-screenwriters craft a story about bonding with horses that's uplifting and refreshingly candid. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
88/100 90% Shazam! (2019) While screenwriter Henry Gayden may be adapting a character from Fawcett Comics, through much of the movie, he's cleverly updating Penny Marshall's Big. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
80/100 47% Dumbo (2019) [Tim] Burton's human cast is loaded with terrific performers, but he and Kruger still have trouble coming up with people as endearing as Timothy the Mouse or Dumbo's mom. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
4/5 98% Rodents of Unusual Size (2018) Most of the people in Rodents of Unusual Size have had to learn how to deal with deal with the animals, and their creativity is astonishing. - eFilmCritic.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2019
83/100 70% Climax (2019) Sometimes, you have to wonder if these folks are capable of enjoying a good buzz once in awhile. It certainly beats brooding. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
88/100 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Because the rural Spanish setting and the characters who inhabit it are so vividly realized, it's a little jolting to discover that Everybody Knows is written and directed by two-time Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
86/100 78% Captain Marvel (2019) Co-writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck manage to set up an engaging enough story to involve both die-hard Marvel Cinematic Universe fans as well as those who might have skipped an installment of The Avengers. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
87/100 90% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) While The Hidden World is the third entry in the series of Cressida Cowell's books, [Dean] DeBlois still manages to figure out charming ways for Vikings and reptiles to interact. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
72/100 70% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) In some other dimension, Christopher Landon's Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U might offer something more than a tired setup and diminishing jolts and giggles. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
84/100 70% Isn't It Romantic (2019) [Todd] Strauss-Schulson creates an amusing, candy-colored hell, but his pacing seems a little off. Thankfully, [Rebel] Wilson proves that she has more to offer than ribald wisecracks. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
83/100 61% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) While at two hours flat, Alita is far shorter than a fraction of [James] Cameron's Titanic or Avatar, it takes awhile to get involved with a heroine who has a mechanical head, a human heart and a face from the uncanny valley. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
82/100 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) While Lord and Miller come up with a seemingly endless supply of clever asides, their main storyline feels flat and unformed. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
86/100 89% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Fans of Arthurian legends will enjoy nods to more obscure portions of the myths, and their offspring will enjoy that rare film that takes a sort of courtly respect to their intelligence. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
80/100 60% A Dog's Way Home (2019) While Howard nails the right tone, there are times when Smith's camera and Shelby's face already tell us what's happening. The text that drove the book occasionally seems redundant. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
75/100 54% Once Upon a Deadpool (2018) Now I know what it's like to drink a keg of O'Doul's laced with de-caffeinated sugar-free iced tea in one sitting. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018