John Beifuss

John Beifuss
Tomatometer-approved critic
Favorites:
The Bride of Frankenstein Citizen Kane Dead Man Safe It's a Gift to name just a few
Location: Memphis, TN

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 No Score Yet Wild Guitar (1961) In the annals of American reinvention, perhaps no pseudonym is as starkly brazen or absurdly hopeful as Cash Flagg, the name fledgling auteur Ray Dennis Steckler chose for his acting credit in the movie that marked his directorial debut, 'Wild Guitar.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
3.5/4 87% Upgrade (2018) It may be ersatz Verhoeven and Cronenberg lite, but so what? I was smitten by its unpretentious old-school economy and its unexpected visual panache: the digital effects and 'camera' moves are ingenious, simple and fun. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 88% Annihilation (2018) Portman's trek might as well be across the landscape of genre history: It begins with a pulp-magazine-worthy attack by a monster alligator and ends with a trippy '2001'-like alien encounter. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 100% Mr. SOUL! (2018) Like the more celebrated 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?,' this is a documentary about a public television programs that offered a utopian vision of a community built on love, creativity and respect. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 98% Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) A celebration of kindness and acceptance that offers an antidote to the hostility endorsed by much of the current social and political culture. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 100% Minding the Gap (2018) May be a form of therapeutic exorcism for the filmmaker but it's a portrait of all-American despair (economic and otherwise) for us, complete with racial discomfort, cycles of domestic abuse, skateboard acrobatics and Fourth of July fireworks. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 86% Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur) (2018) Demonstrates that realistic behavior -- self-defeating whims, conversations that go nowhere, distracted small talk, a visit with a psychic that is more banal than dramatic -- is so alien to the moviegoing experience that most viewers cannot recognize it. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 90% Isle of Dogs (2018) A delight, thanks to an impressive voice cast, the Japanese-inspired design (a source of some controversy, these appropriations motivate further flattening of Anderson's Cornell-box-like compositions) and the uncanny charm of the stop-motion process. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) A swoon in motion-picture form: Its lush score, expressive decor and color-coded photography give the Harlem streets and the characters who inhabit them a glamour that historically has been denied to cinematic representations of the black experience. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 93% The Favourite (2018) Working for the first time from someone else's script, Lanthimos trades his signature sadism for cutting wit; meanwhile, his jaundiced eye remains evident in the fish-eye lenses that distort the compositions. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) The movie's seemingly credible re-creation of 1990s New York as a place of dark, inviting bars and even darker and more inviting used bookstores represents at least one idea of paradise. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 97% Black Panther (2018) An international box-office blockbuster that ignited like a blast of cultural vibranium in the ugly face of resurgent global racism... At this point, 'Wakanda forever!' feels like not just a boast but a prophecy. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 97% I Am Not a Witch (2018) This story of an 8-year-old 'witch' literally tethered into servitude is both political exposé and political satire; the sense of sorrow and anger is enhanced by director Rungano Nyoni's artist's appreciation of the absurdity at the root of tragedy. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 91% Mandy (2018) A slow-motion descent into a sludge-rock hell as Nicolas Cage tracks a killer hippie cult across a landscape that seems printed on discarded Mountain and Uriah Heep album covers and painted with tar. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 89% You Were Never Really Here (2018) A film of uncompromised, painstaking and delirious style. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 93% First Reformed (2018) The movie is filled with conversations that provide something of the satisfaction of sinking into a smart, provocative essay. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) The film's most powerful passages are lengthy digressions that abandon the plot to mourn the role of Lee's beloved chosen art form, cinema, in the stoking of racism; and to condemn the public political encouragement of racial violence. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Like Sergio Aragones scrawling cartoons in the margins of Mad magazine, Riley fills the frame with more jokes and ideas than can be apprehended in one viewing; the result is a film that teems with and celebrates life, even in the context of a dystopia. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3.5/4 89% Hereditary (2018) This is the rare horror movie with an earned shock so unexpected and horrific that it left this veteran fan -- whose eyeballs have ingested literally thousands of screen dismemberments, decapitations and mutilations -- aghast. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 99% Faces Places (Visages, villages) (2017) Entirely fresh, as the hip JR creates monumental photo portraits of some of the hardworking citizens the collaborators meet while the elfin Varda (now 90) reconciles the memories of her vibrant past with the realities of failing eyesight and curling feet. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 91% Phantom Thread (2018) As meticulously crafted as a Reynolds evening gown... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 100% Leave No Trace (2018) As the father's doomed ideal collapses, the movie's conflict resolves into two competing universal impulses: the desire to be noticed and the desire to disappear. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
4/4 91% Support the Girls (2018) The year's most generous film, it ends with a series of screams that express both frustration and determination -- an ideal cri de guerre for a new resistance. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
3/4 98% Rodents of Unusual Size (2018) ... a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
4/4 91% Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) A red throne room evokes the Technicolor fantasies of Michael Powell and Vincente Minnelli, while the scratchy surfaces of a sand planet trace the arc of each combatant's footwork like a choreographer's notation, transforming a duel into a dance. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 98% My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) (2017) Never panders or becomes cloying on its way to a well-earned 'we are family' conclusion. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 69% mother! (2017) If it's silly as biblical allegory it's potent as a comedic parable about the selfishness and egoism of the process of (male) artistic creation... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 80% Colossal (2017) Entirely original, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo's movie scores points about the catastrophes unwitting Americans enable overseas (through their voting choices, among other things), and also says something about sexual harassment and male privilege... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 86% It (2017) Unpretentious and scary, with a crack ensemble of kids led by future Amy Adams, Sophia Lillis. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 88% Lady Macbeth (2017) Owing more to Brontë and Highsmith than to Shakespeare, this grim moor noir presents its catalog of parricide, mariticide and equine-cide as the consequences of a class and caste system that dehumanizes even those who materially benefit from its design. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 92% The Shape of Water (2017) The most elaborate explication to date of del Toro's belief that monsters, like traditional religious martyrs, are 'innocents' whose torments testify to their 'state of grace.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 93% Dunkirk (2017) A tribute to wartime resolve and directorial hubris; it's awe-inspiring in its logistics, scale and achievement. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
4/4 91% A Ghost Story (2017) Employs a symbol so simple a child recognizes it to probe issues of life, death, time and rebirth. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 93% Baby Driver (2017) Edgar Wright's pedal-to-the-metal plus needle-to-the-vinyl action movie is a love letter to the never obsolete wonders of fast cars, pop music and crafty commercial/personal filmmaking. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
4/4 99% Lady Bird (2017) 'I guess I pay attention,' says Lady Bird, explaining the loving detail found in one of her essays; from the evidence here, Gerwig does, too. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
4/4 96% The Florida Project (2017) Heir to the traditions of Huck Finn, the 'Our Gang' shorts and other tales of feral children, Sean Baker's 'Tangerine' followup transforms the strip malls and short-term motels of Disneyfied Orlando into a magical playground of discovery and peril. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2018
3.5/4 93% Wonder Woman (2017) When Trevor insists on traveling to England to consult with 'the men' he says are in the best position to end the war, Diana's response obliterates the gender gap: 'I am the man who can.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2017
1.5/4 30% Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) An exhausting walk down a very long and garish plank. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2017
3/4 84% Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) The film needs more id and less Ego: Nothing that appears shocking, reckless or impulsive is allowed to disrupt the strategic, storyboarded faux chaos of the project's blockbuster imperative and 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' orthodoxy. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2017
2.5/4 67% Life (2017) Handsome and efficient but uninspired, even with its grabby Cthuloid space orchid. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2017
3/4 66% Alien: Covenant (2017) The splattery violence, which reduces humanity to meat and reproduction to a survival instinct, enacts a blunt rebuttal to the idea that science and art -- 'Ozymandias' and even John Denver are referenced -- offer humankind an opportunity for immorality. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2017
4/4 92% A Quiet Passion (2017) The film employs technology undreamed of in Dickinson's time to evoke a poetic, transcendent sensation: 'The Carriage held but just Ourselves -- And Immortality.' - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2017
1.5/4 46% The Dinner (2017) In this joyless context the professionalism feels like slow suffocation. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2017
2/4 67% The Fate of the Furious (2017) The steroidal bonhomie is less anabolic than exhausted and even the signature reckless-driving lunacy seems more labored than inspired. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2017
2.5/4 44% Ghost in the Shell (2017) The movie directly tackles the 'whitewashing' controversy that accompanied the casting of Johansson; the science-fiction rationalization of the ethnic rewrite has logic, but also an unsettling clinical ruthlessness. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2017
2.5/4 71% Beauty and the Beast (2017) The effect is sometimes that of a live-action karaoke of its cartoon source... - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2017
3/4 81% Personal Shopper (2017) A modern-dress ghost story that somehow lacks the mystery and sense of the uncanny that made the ostensibly less supernatural previous Assayas/Stewart collaboration, 'The Clouds of Sils Maria,' an instant classic. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2017
2.5/4 91% Frantz (2017) More expressive than the impeccable production and costume design are Niney's sharp Daumieresque features, which seem sculpted to cut through tides of warmongering nationalistic cant like a shark's fin through the surf. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2017
2.5/4 86% The Lost City of Z (2017) It has definite integrity, a painterly beauty and a cumulative emotional power, but it misses the madness of Herzog, the poetry of Malick and the muscle of Coppola, to cite filmmakers who each emerged from the wilds with true treasure: a masterpiece. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2017
3/4 52% The Belko Experiment (2017) The bloodbath of corporate downsizing within a cutthroat capitalist marketplace is imagined as a literal massacre in the latest thriller from reliable horror shingle Blumhouse Productions. - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2017