J. R. Jones

J. R. Jones
J. R. Jones's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Chicago Reader
Publications: Chicago Reader

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
100% The Blot (1921) Widely regarded as Lois Weber's masterpiece, The Blot brings into perfect harmony the social commentary of her Universal work and the domestic intrigue of her later projects. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2019
93% Night and Day (Bam gua nat) (2009) Hong works in long, improvised scenes that seem to go nowhere, but they're so rife with sexual subtext that, even at 144 minutes, the movie never feels long. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
100% Dragon Inn (Long men ke zhen) (1966) Director King Hu makes kinetic use of the widescreen frame: the action is dominated by gonzo knife throwing, and arrow fire has seldom felt so lethal. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2019
38% American Dreamz (2006) The director of American Pie has set out to make a merciless satire of American media culture along the lines of Network, but his ideas are so commonplace that nothing registers except the bile. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
41% Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) This is a real odd duck -- inspired by Brigadoon, of all things, with a score that alternates between cheesy midnight-movie organ and high-spirited bluegrass -- but its bloodthirsty hicks have become a genre standard. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
No Score Yet Shoes (1916) Weber-who, like Griffith, knew how to pull viewers deep inside a character's emotional vortex-reveals how the chronic envy of these young shopworkers, selling merchandise they can't afford themselves, sucks them into a rapacious economy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
71% In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter (2013) Leiter describes himself as "a minor figure"... One suspects that Leiter, who died in November 2013, considered himself a major figure indeed, but we'll have to settle for the cuddly curmudgeon played here. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019
55% Dracula's Daughter (1936) This 1936 release suffers from the absence of Bela Lugosi and the graceless hand of silent-western director Lambert Hillyer. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) Ironically, the most entertaining element of all may be the star's advancing age; Cruise, well into his 50s, scores numerous laughs as the increasingly confused CIA agent, leaping into one spectacular stunt after another and then wishing he hadn't. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
4/4 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Sorry to Bother You ponders the danger of trying to assimilate into the white world, but at heart it's a multiracial, proletarian call to arms. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
4/4 94% Blindspotting (2018) Movies about race in America are seldom in short supply, but rarely do they venture past the realm of personal prejudice into the more complicated terrain of economic racism. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
4/5 100% Leave No Trace (2018) Leave No Trace might be described in social terms as a film about homelessness, but it never loses sight of the fact that what makes a home is the privacy people need to connect with each other. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2018
4/4 96% Three Identical Strangers (2018) Three Identical Strangers strikes at the heart of Jewish identity. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
No Score Yet The Good Soldier Svejk (Dobrý voják Svejk) (1955) This may lack the exotic visuals of Trnka's earlier efforts, but the characters are more supple than ever, with busy fingers that add to the movie's droll comedy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
56% Tag (2018) Director Jeff Tomsic takes a broadly comic approach to the material that doesn't always serve it well, but the real-life story is captivating. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
2/4 49% Superfly (2018) The new Superfly seems...like an embarrassing throwback. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
89% American Animals (2018) [The kids'] meticulous preparations begin with typing "how to plan a heist" into Google and continue with watching every heist film ever made, though they manage to overlook the primary lesson of all such films-that something always goes wrong. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
55% Mrs. Hyde (Madame Hyde) (2018) The credits for this French horror comedy cite Robert Louis Stevenson as inspiration, but the more direct antecedent is Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
91% Hearts Beat Loud (2018) Writer-director Brett Haley...coaxes a few weak laughs from the daddy-daughter role reversal, and stale, mushy drama from the cycling death of the girl's mother more than a decade earlier. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
83% On Approval (1945) The Wildean witticisms come fast and furious in this effervescent screen adaptation of a British play by Frederick Lonsdale. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
3/4 93% First Reformed (2018) First Reformed begins to get really interesting when Schrader turns the tables on his hero-and us, and possibly himself. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2018
2/4 84% Deadpool 2 (2018) Unfortunately the new sequel... doesn't have enough of too much; less charitable viewers might even argue that it has too much of not enough. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2018
3/4 No Score Yet Mod Fuck Explosion (1994) Despite all these retro trimmings, Mod was ahead of the curve in smashing through decades of Asian stereotypes. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2018
3/4 96% The Green Fog (2018) This collective tantrum is another reminder of why people go to the movies: to see others moved. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2018
83% Beirut (2018) Gilroy paints a nuanced picture of the civil conflict in Lebanon, noting the U.S. and Israeli agendas at work and the inner tensions of the PLO, yet this information serves to clarify and accelerate the action. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2018
2/4 81% Chappaquiddick (2018) In the end Chappaquiddick will have to pass the same test as Kennedy's original version of the story-whether or not anyone will buy it. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2018
4/4 91% Lean on Pete (2018) Lean on Pete becomes a sort of American odyssey. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2018
97% 1945 (2017) This film adds to a growing list of Holocaust dramas and documentaries that move past the guilt of Nazi Germany to ponder the complicity of smaller communities in eastern Europe. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2018
1/4 72% Ready Player One (2018) Amid this special-effects maelstrom, Wade Watts never emerges as a character, and the taciturn Sheridan is in constant danger of being out-acted by his own avatar. Who can connect with a hero when he's just watching the story? - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
95% RBG (2018) A chronology of Ginsberg's subsequent victories shows how patiently and shrewdly she worked to establish the existence and pernicious effects of sex discrimination - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
90% The Other Side of Everything (Druga strana svega) (2017) This milestone turns out to be mainly a framing device, but inside that frame lies a family portrait rich in political history. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
77% The King (2018) Like the director's other projects, this is intelligent and ambitious, but the cultural insights are too familiar to merit yet another trek through Presley's troubled life. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
100% Devil's Freedom (La Libertad del Diablo) (2017) This one dares viewers to recognize the sad humanity of those who commit atrocities and the furious humanity of loved ones who thirst for revenge. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
3/4 100% Victim (1961) Victim may seem archaic. But even its compromises teach us something about the era that produced it. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
4/4 96% The Death of Stalin (2018) Iannucci may have turned Nury's somber novel into something of a goof, but he also takes a more complex view of Beria...Death of Stalin is a priceless political satir but what's really impressive is how hard it tries to fit Beria's story into the puzzle. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2018
100% It's Such a Beautiful Day (2012) Hertzfeldt's work is sometimes elusive in its simplicity, but it can be profound as well; with his humor, darkness, philosophical yearning, and insistence on drawing every line himself, he may be the only legitimate successor to Charles M. Schulz. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
100% The Hitch-hiker (1953) This hell-for-leather 1953 noir demonstrates Ida Lupino's facility with actors and flawless pacing. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2018
2/4 94% Loveless (Nelyubov) (2018) These images are more powerful than any of the characterizations, which are less complex than one usually finds in the director's work...The director may be a master at setting a mood, but his insights here don't cut especially deep. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
3/4 88% Annihilation (2018) Garland's version is a worthy mutation. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
90% Werewolf (2018) Her characters are a little too blank to sustain interest through an entire film, but this modest indie generates a haunting mood of 21st-century despair. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
3/4 81% The Party (2018) [Patricia Clarkson] has seldom been in a vehicle so witty and cerebral as Sally Potter's drawing-room comedy. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2018
97% Black Panther (2018) The identity politics provide a fresh spin to the genre's increasingly tedious narrative formula. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
2/4 77% Have a Nice Day (Hao Ji Le) (2018) Liu Jian plays all this out against a detailed physical, social, and economic landscape; in Have a Nice Day money has the power to create illusions and just as easily destroy them. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
3/4 97% Tehran Taboo (2018) Like no Iranian movie I've seen, Tehran Taboo reveals the routine hypocrisy of people who observe and even enforce a strict religious code but secretly indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
2/4 12% Fifty Shades Freed (2018) What a sorry state of affairs for moviegoers: all we want is a little coitus, but all we get is interruptus. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2018
2/4 86% The Insult (L'insulte) (2018) We may not be able to export democracy to the Middle East, but exporting Law & Order has been a piece of cake. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2018
3/4 77% In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) (2017) Kruger's performance is grueling, heart-rending. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2018
3/4 98% Jane (2017) Like so many women in pursuit of their studies, Goodall had to tolerate being studied herself. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2018
94% Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Psiconautas, los niños olvidados) (2017) The drawing style bears no resemblance to Japanese anime, yet the narrative tone is remarkably similar, with cute and sinister elements held in suspension by a deadpan cool. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2018
48% Downsizing (2017) As the movie grinds on, Payne tries to steer it into a parable about climate change and the refugee crisis, issues that sit heavily on its flimsy, jokey premise. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017