Douglas Davidson

Douglas Davidson
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
It?s of little surprise that Douglas found himself drawn to studying film in undergrad and graduate school after growing up in a household that loved watching movies. Though his professional vocations took him in a myriad of directions, including even all the way to Johns Hopkins University to earn an M.A. in Communications, he?s always found a way to work his love of cinema into his life. Douglas eventually created Elements of Madness (EoM) as a means of keeping busy, but it now serves as a vessel to pour every ounce of geekdom into through reviews of upcoming releases and a monthly Coming Soon series. In addition to running EoM, he?s co-host of The Cine-Men podcast on the Poprika Podcast Network, a Senior Contributor Film Critic for Charlotte-based arts and culture blog CLTure, a freelance critic for the Mountain Xpress, a contributing Film Critic for entertainment website Pretty Vacant One, and a contributing Film Review Member for online film community FilmFed.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4.5/5 93% 1917 (2019) It's both stylish and gimmicky, while also emotionally tense and incredibly clever, resulting in a unique cinematic experience that's frequently harrowing, propulsive, and often emotional excruciating. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
4.5/5 83% Queen & Slim (2019) However you read [Queen & Slim], there is no other way than to think of it as a time bomb, one which you are never prepared for when it goes off. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2019
4.5/5 97% Knives Out (2019) Johnson flays layer after layer of socio-political intrigue as he twists the knife ... via an old school Jessica Fletcher-esque whodunit. Frankly, Knives Out is quite possibly the most fun you'll have at the theater this holiday season. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
4/5 78% Frozen II (2019) What they bring to the table this time opens up the world only hinted at in 2013 and, in the process, offer answers to questions audiences may never have considered. By doing this, Frozen II becomes something braver, bolder, and, yes, more frozen. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
3.5/5 89% Blinded by the Light (2019) [Director Gurinder] Chadha's Blinded by the Light is an uplifting tale of personal strength, the enduring sense of youthful revolt, and that no matter the time or place, our private pains are universal. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
4/5 71% White Snake (2019) ... White Snake is both a fantastic entry point for those who are less familiar with the original folktale, as well as a lovely reinterpretation for those completely intimate. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
4/5 88% Aquarela (2019) Drawing from the translation of its name, "watercolor," Aquarela features no real narrative as it moves languidly from beginning to end. In this way, Aquarela is an absolutely mesmerizing piece of cinema. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet Love Is Blind (2019) Love Is Blind is indeed the quirky romantic drama that the advertising suggests. ... In execution, however, it just doesn't fall into place in a manner befitting a clear and cohesive narrative. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
4/5 47% Last Christmas (2019) While Last Christmas hits all the marks of a feel-good holiday flick, it also incorporates several challenging notions which celebrants of the holiday tend to forget amid the parties and gift-giving. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
4/5 80% Cold Brook (2019) ... Cold Brook succeeds in part by its fantastic cast, but mostly by its focus on simplicity. There're no grand fights or superfluous moments, just a tale of love that transcends time and mortal existence. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2019
2/5 61% Motherless Brooklyn (2019) With so much that works as pieces, it's perplexing that the whole of Motherless Brooklyn ends up feeling lifeless, rather than as a living, breathing film. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/5 53% The Lion King (2019) The best news for any Lion King fan is that even if this version isn't to your liking, you only need to remember two words to make it all ok: hakuna matata. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2019
4/5 62% Paradise Hills (2019) For a feature film directorial debut, Alice Waddington (Disco Inferno) comes out swinging, demolishing the chains of patriarchy along the way. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
4/5 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Having only recently watched [Toy Story] 3, the closure in [Toy Story] 4 is more concrete and serves as a fitting conclusion for a series that's been about duty, friendship, and caring for others. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2019
4.5/5 90% The Elephant Queen (2019) The Elephant Queen is an absolute marvel, a beautiful technical achievement which also wonderfully captures nature's inhabitants of Kenya. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
4.5/5 67% Miss Virginia (2019) What makes Miss Virginia so heart-warming isn't the inevitable triumph we know is coming, but in watching how the people of the community come together as one. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2019
4.5/5 79% Cyrano, My Love (Edmond) (2019) ... Michalik's Cyrano, My Love is full of rapid-fire dialogue, engaging performances, and sublime direction, all of which capture the energy of a play on celluloid. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
3.5/5 71% The Bestowal (2019) ... the crux of de Burgh's story is how significant every life lived can be when given the chance. It's a valuable message for those patient enough to receive it. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
3.5 64% Annabelle Comes Home (2019) It's a razor sharp, tension-filled psychological thriller whose best weapon is the way it teases its audience with scares and violence, even if any rarely comes. ... That's what makes it fun. That's what makes audiences want to come back for more. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
3/5 69% Joker (2019) Despite finding Joker to be an incredibly unique cinematic experience, the result of craftspeople at the top of their game, the manner in which they successfully capture the nature of the Joker instills far more trepidation than awe. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
4/5 80% Abominable (2019) ... Abominable is a lovely reminder that it doesn't matter where you go, but with whom you travel. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2019
4/5 100% Chained for Life (2019) One thing for certain is that [director Aaron] Schimberg's approach to filmmaking is a breath of fresh air, opting to make bold statements via biting satire carefully constructed in a manner to never make the subject matter the butt of the joke. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
4.5/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) Director James Gray and co-writer Ethan Gross draw from this to create a space odyssey which is futuristic, expansive, and largesse in style, while also being psychological, minimal, and extraordinarily personal in scope. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
4.5/5 96% Promare (2019) Though it takes some getting used to as the animation is visually overwhelming at first, once the viewer is acclimated, Promare is a roller coaster ride of action, excitement, intentional hilarity, and moving storytelling. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
3.5/5 82% Neither Wolf Nor Dog (2019) In many ways, the hubris and folly of the [Founding] Fathers are placed under high scrutiny in writer/director Steven Lewis Simpson's (A Thunder-Being Nation) Neither Wolf Nor Dog, an adaptation of the novel by Kent Nerburn. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
4/5 85% Empathy, Inc. (2019) What makes Empathy, Inc. extraordinary is the lengths it's willing to go to push its audience to the brink of reason in search of the answer. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
4/5 88% Freaks (2019) ... Freaks is a film which trades in paranoia, the kind where audience presumption gets them into trouble as they try to stay ahead of the story instead of giving themselves over to the journey. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
3.5/5 62% It Chapter Two (2019) When all is said and done, Chapter Two offers a satisfying ending that feels absolutely earned. Growing up isn't about happy endings, but is about the acceptance of who we are, a realization which inspires strength in the face of absolute terror. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
3.5/5 No Score Yet Luke & Jo (2018) Luke & Jo beautifully conveys the heartbreaking nature of our own crippling insecurities as the desire within us all to do better, to be better. If not for others, than for ourselves. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
4.5/5 90% Luce (2019) In a tight 109-minutes, [director Julius] Onah puts into motion a film which examines ideas of racial coding, classism, parenting, academic excellence, nature vs. nurture, and more, all without losing an ounce of power or sincerity. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
4/5 61% Satanic Panic (2019) Utilizing imaginative special effects and a killer twist on a familiar concept, Satanic Panic is a midnight movie built for a mainstream audience. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2019
4/5 78% Descendants 3 (2019) ... the Descendants series closes out in joyous celebration of the realization that we all deserve second chances and our parents choices don't define who we are as people. ... that's a particularly poignant message in our conflict-filled times... - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
3.5/5 No Score Yet 3 Lives (2019) ... 3 Lives is confrontational, forward-thinking, and not without a few surprises. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/5 58% Burn (2019) In his first feature film, Burn, [writer/director Mike] Gan pushes the audience further than they may be comfortable as perception and expectation collide in surprising and disturbing ways. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
3.5/5 37% Tone-Deaf (2019) One things for certain, while Tone-Deaf isn't the phantasmagorical head trip the marketing suggests, it definitely bends the rules of reality just enough to feel like you've gone on a journey. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
4/5 89% Ready or Not (2019) ... Ready Or Not centers in on what makes any family event uncomfortable and amps it to 11 in a film that eviscerates the affluent and challenges the very notion of tradition, all while featuring a kick-ass protagonist. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
3.5/5 51% The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) The Sun Is Also a Star is undeniably saccharine and yet is not without its charms. It tries to explore aspects of modern racial conflict and cultural assimilation, but by keeping its focus on the romance, Star loses most of the power it possesses. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
4.5/5 93% Kingdom (2019) ... given the chance, [audiences will] discover that Kingdom is an exciting action/drama filled with intrigue, treachery, daring fight sequences, and incredible heart. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 19, 2019
4/5 61% Driven (2019) Driven is a fun, charmingly sweet, slightly unbelievable, and heartbreaking adventure of broken friendships and shattered dreams powered by the strong performances of a top-notch cast. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
4/5 100% Alternate Endings: Six New Ways To Die In America (2019) ... co-directors and co-producers Perri Pelta and Matthew O'Neill (a member of HBO's Axios) opted to focus on six other ways in which Americans are choosing to celebrate life as they greet the end. Grab your tissues. You're going to need them. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2019
4/5 22% The Kitchen (2019) ... The Kitchen is a strong feature directorial-debut from Andrea Berloff with a cast capable of delivering the goods: drama, suspense, action, and killer '70s soundtrack. Sometimes, that's really all we need. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
4.5/5 95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) ... The Peanut Butter Falcon, a film which wears its heart on its sleeve without an ounce of sarcasm or cynicism. In many ways, The Peanut Butter Falcon is too pure, making it the perfect salve for the rancor permeating our lives today. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
4/5 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) [T]he Rob Letterman-directed (Monsters vs. Aliens) film is a slow neo-noir that is more interested in telling a straight mystery that just so happens to feature mythical creatures than in being an action epic. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2019
2.5/5 No Score Yet 8 Remains (2018) Despite solid direction and a grounding performance from the lead, 8 Remains possesses too many ideas and relies too heavily on metaphor to create the powerful story of self-agency and rebirth it clearly wants to be. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
4/5 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Cinematic powerhouses Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham return as Lucas Hobbs & Deckard Shaw, two characters whose depth of disgust for each other belies a strange respect, and the fate of the world has never been so certain, so bombast, or so ridiculous. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/5 33% Leo Da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa (2019) No world-ending threats, no beings of superhuman power, no violent exploits, no real danger of any kind. Just some wholesome fun. When you're looking for family entertainment, what more do you real need? - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2019
4/5 80% Scary Stories (2019) Fans of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series will delight in Cody Meirick's documentary ... because of how it takes the time to create context for the stories themselves. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
3.5/5 59% Astronaut (2019) Even if the journey to get there in Astronaut runs on a foreseeable track, the message is timeless and universal. Perhaps it'll inspire new conversations among its audience and, in doing so, stir a new generation of astronomers. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2019
4/5 64% The Mountain (2019) The Mountain is a feast of a film. ... Alverson, Defa, and O'Leary constructed a tale which confronts several items at once, some more successfully than others, creating a lingering sense of doubt and despair. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2019
3.5/5 41% Point Blank (2019) While the film doesn't reach the fantastical heights of Okja or the emotional lows of Kodachrome, [Netflix's] Point Blank offers an entertaining experience which works due to the chemistry of the cast. - Elements of Madness EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019