Dan Webster

Dan Webster
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Frilm critic, books editor, features writer for The Spokesman-Review since 1984.
Favorites:
Citizen Kane (no kidding), Lone Star, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Seven Beauties, Wings of Desire, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Raising Arizona, Yojimbo, Shane, Apocalypse Now Redux.
Location: Spokane, Wash.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
87% Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) As Dolly Parton tells the filmmakers, "Linda could literally sing anything." - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
92% Tel Aviv on Fire (2019) If only peace in the Middle East were as easy to achieve as the laughs in Zorabi's satire. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
90% The Souvenir (2019) Hogg's whole movie is based on a weak premise. And instead of giving us any reason to accept that premise... she merely indulges in a kind of artistic fancy that might make even Jackson Pollock smirk. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
99% The Farewell (2019) Wang is able to make her own personal culture clash, complex as it is, relatable to American moviegoers - especially to those who still believe in the notion of America being a multicultural melting pot. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
93% Sword of Trust (2019) Maron, in particular, is so natural as Mel that it's hard to believe he's acting. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
3.5/4 88% To Die For (1995) To Die For is a slickly savage look at contemporary life and the power of the media manipulators all around us. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
55% Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) As efficient a filmmaker as Berlinger is, his coup was in casting the former teen heartthrob Efron. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
90% Always Be My Maybe (2019) It's enough to say that [director Nahnatchka Khan]... manages to weave everything into an enjoyable example of the neo-rom-com - even if her roots in television production occasionally show through (where is that laugh-track, anyway?). - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
80% Late Night (2019) Pleasant and timely summer comedy. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
90% Wild Nights with Emily (2019) While that tone certainly doesn't fit a traditional view of Dickinson, it just might be closer to reality than we've always been led to believe. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
96% Hail Satan? (2019) Depending on your attitude toward religion, then, you may find much of "Hail Satan?" funny, despite the uncompromising intentions of its protagonists. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
94% Burning (Beoning) (2018) It's not hard to see the disaffection of Lee's characters, caught up in a culture - not to mention a country - that is divided both in geography and in its societal soul. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019
93% Diane (2019) Jones is less interested in narrative than he is in mood and tone. Many of the scenes in "Diane" are set-pieces, all featuring Diane doing her daily rounds... And in all this, actress Place is perfect. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
1/4 11% Street Fighter (1994) It's too bad that the late Raul Julia had to finish his career with this dreck. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
74% Destroyer (2018) Yet Kusama does film a couple of stirring bank robberies, and she gets solid performances from a cast that includes Sebastian Stan, Tatania Maslany and Bradley Whitford - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
99% Ash Is Purest White (2019) In the end, Qiao may not experience either purity or happiness. But she proves better equipped than Bin to bridge old-world codes with those that are new. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
77% The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) What lingers most, though, are the closeups of Holmes herself, her unblinking gaze staring back at us, as if even now, and despite all the evidence, she still can't tell the difference between a bona-fide dream and the peril of self-delusion. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
71% Climax (2019) At the 50-minute mark, though, Noé heads into an aesthetic netherworld, the point of which only he is capable of seeing. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
91% Gloria Bell (2019) Throughout all this, Moore is perfectly believable as Gloria. Turturro, not a natural choice for Arnold, proves to be her match as a needy man who can't find the strength needed to break with his past. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
4/4 94% Ulee's Gold (1997) Writer/director Nunez holds the threat of danger over all that happens, but the film is less a study of violence than it is a look at how one makes hard decisions in the face of harsh circumstances. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
2.5/4 42% I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) Scream and the even better Scream 2 have intelligence, humor and an undercurrent of self-knowing satire that shows I Know What You Did... to be a passe bit of Hollywood formula. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
79% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Even the way the movie is filmed, with its editing providing the narrative a freer flow, is different - though this may be merely a sign of Farhadi's new-found artistic freedom. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
97% Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) Ross' film is merely an artistic glimpse of a life, and a community, that most of us will never see firsthand, but a life put in a perspective that we can all understand: sometimes joyous, sometimes mundane and sometimes utterly, utterly sad. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
92% High Flying Bird (2019) Given everything else, Soderbergh's use of an iPhone may be the least surprising aspect of his whole movie. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) Pawlikowski renders all this in the same kind of gorgeous black and white that he used in his 2013 film "Ida." - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
31% Io (2019) Even if the manner in which it unfolds is, in the end, fairly pedestrian, the message it strives to make definitely is not. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) That the compassion comes from characters who exist on the fringes of accepted society only emphasizes the heartbreaking irony of Koreeda's message. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) Throughout all this strife, though, the main feeling that Jenkins conveys is one of hope. Not the sappy kind of hope that tells us love will conquer all, but a more realistic one about a love that, despite everything, endures. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
100% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) The result is powerful, almost as if we are looking directly into the past, making it feel vibrant and real instead of merely a dated vision of the distant past. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Rourke takes a fascinating, if familiar story, and makes a movie that leeches away most everything that is interesting and replaces it with brooding imagery involving characters almost impossible to like. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2019
80% 22 July (2018) Greengrass focuses on hope, on the message that a united front against hate is, in the end, the best way to fight back. And that's a message that needs to be stated clearly - now more than ever. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
71% The Happy Prince (2018) Everett captures much of this, if necessarily in cinematic shorthand... Yet it's exactly Wilde's penchant for self-destruction that Everett doesn't pursue enough. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) The blame rests with Lagercrantz and with the producers who clearly thought that we wouldn't notice that a script boasting cheap thrills can't help but result in an even cheaper-feeling film. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
78% Green Book (2018) Regardless, the actors... make them feel true. Which is precisely what a film needs to elevate it from mere melodrama to something closer to actual art. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Well-acted, sumptuously produced yet always challenging - especially to viewers sensitive to overt images of violence - "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" is classic Coen, if not classic Western. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
93% The Favourite (2018) Weisz is splendidly imperious and Stone more than holds her own among the British cast, though the lesser-known Colman is what truly binds "The Favourite" to history. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
67% Vice (2018) All this amounts to McKay's version of truth. And as busy and overstuffed as that truth may be, it's certainly plausible. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
2/4 49% The First Wives Club (1996) And as just this, a simple vehicle for feminist rage, "The First Wives Club" is effective. The trouble is that the opportunity was here to say so much more. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
2.5/4 53% Mars Attacks! (1996) [Mars Attacks!] works well enough, though never well enough to make up for the fact that Burton ultimately settles for less. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
91% Widows (2018) When the obligatory twists begin to unfold, not to mention an ending that feels like a cross between wish-fulfillment and something a bit too cleverly elliptical. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
87% The Sisters Brothers (2018) "The Sisters Brothers" feels like a movie in search of a point. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
87% First Man (2018) "First Man" works splendidly, giving a sense of authenticity, not to mention uncertainty and excitement, to a story that feels as old as the moon itself. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
46% Kids (1995) In the end, Kids is bound to enrage some viewers, enthrall others and confound most (even among those very teens who aren't allowed in because of the film's non-rated release to avoid the dreaded NC-17). - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
95% Blaze (2018) Ethan Hawke seems to be obsessed with such lost souls. But truth be told, in our own dark emotional corners, aren't we all? - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
83% Juliet, Naked (2018) The main strength of Juliet, Naked is its cast. All three principal actors are perfect, with O'Dowd adding his particular comic touch. More important, each character is equally likeable despite flaws that seem as inherent as they feel natural. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
85% The Wife (2018) It is Close, though, on whom Runge's camera focuses. Quiet and reserved, yet forceful and ultimately determined, Close's Joan reflects a sense of real power behind her all-knowing yet cryptic smile. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
90% A Star Is Born (2018) Not everything works in Cooper's version of "A Star Is Born" But enough does to ensure that this film is, indeed, one of the best releases of 2018. Maybe, even, of this decade. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
83% Puzzle (2018) Which is the strength of "Puzzle," the fact that it refuses to portray both these characters and the situations they find themselves in as mere clichés. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
89% Whitney (2018) Fame may not have killed Whitney Houston, but it didn't save her either. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2018
100% Leave No Trace (2018) Like "Winter's Bone," "Leave No Trace" doesn't unfold with a typical Hollywood-type narrative. Instead of the dramatic highs and lows, it proceeds in a stately, evenly paced manner that smacks of authentic life. - Spokesman-Review (Washington) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2018