John Semley

John Semley
John Semley's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Maclean's Magazine Salon.com Globe and Mail Slant Magazine AV Club NOW Toronto

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Despite its setting in Nazi Germany, Taika Waititi's movie never risks actually disturbing its audience. - The New Republic EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
2.5/4 83% Midsommar (2019) Midsommar musters no such productive uncertainty of feeling, nothing in the way of genuine horror. There is only cruelty and coldness, draped in billowy peasant gowns and wreathed in radiant garlands. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
1.5/4 32% Shaft (2019) In its neediness to be liked, the new Shaft - the third of five films in the series to be titled, simply, Shaft - says everything and nothing. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
3.5/4 56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The Dead Don't Die says blissfully little about the state of the world today. For its slightness and silliness, its concerns are grander. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
1/4 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) Their performances are so cornball and their line-readings so hacky that one might be forgiven for confusing Dark Phoenix with some low-rent porno parody of itself. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
3/4 96% Hail Satan? (2019) In keeping with the Temple's highly endearing sense of humour, Lane's doc approaches their activities with an irreverence that never feels mocking. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
1.5/4 61% Breakthrough (2019) That, perhaps, is the role movies like Breakthrough serve. They are simple sermons dressed up in seductive trappings of Hollywood cinema. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
1.5/4 90% Shazam! (2019) So beyond working as an advertisement for D.C.'s other movies, Shazam! also offers a stiflingly claustrophobic cinematic landscape, which has no point of reference outside of D.C.'s own intellectual properties. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
2/4 47% Dumbo (2019) Abysmally scripted and hammily acted - and not, for the most part, in an interesting or ironic way - Dumbo recasts Disney's animated classic in the trappings and suits of Burton's pinstripe-and-pinwheel upholstery. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
2.5/4 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) [T]aken on its own terms, the commingling of writer-producer James Cameron's monster-budget technowizardry and director Robert Rodriguez's B-movie sensibilities doesn't amount to a heck of a lot. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2019
100% Stalker (1979) It's a film that challenges us to be bored, while refusing to be boring. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
3.5/4 95% What Is Democracy? (2019) The film indexes the manner in which democracy has become abstracted and polluted, especially by governmental capitulation to the meddling interests of free-market capitalism. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
3/4 66% Aquaman (2018) In making the first DC superhero film in a long time to aspire to anything like levity, Wan finds a way to catalyze what might have been yet another dust-dry origin story. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
3/4 37% Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) Strings together gag after gag after gag at such a relentless clip that it's hard to do anything but double over laughing. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
1.5/4 75% Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) An eager entertainment absent anything genuinely entertaining. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
No Score Yet Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day (2008) As a fan of the series it pains me to say so but after seven seasons and two films the Trailer Park Boys have worn out their welcome. - Exclaim! EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
3.5/4 93% First Reformed (2018) Ultimately its sheer archness reveals Paul Schrader as a gifted and deeply persuasive evangelist of the transcendental style - if not quite a canon saint. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2018
2.5/4 82% Pope Francis - A Man of His Word (2018) His sincerity offers an alluring catharsis, a hope-by-proxy. We don't have to believe, just as long as we can believe that he believes. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
1.5/4 85% Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Even by Marvel's own standards of serviceable mediocrity, Infinity War fails. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2018
83% Utøya: July 22 (Utøya 22. Juli) (2018) "U - July 22" cuts through so much of the contemporary cant around gun violence, around white nationalism, around xenophobia, around the politicization of historical tragedy. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2018
4/4 23% The 15:17 to Paris (2018) A consummate work in Eastwood's filmography. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2018
2/4 75% Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey (2017) Midnight Return rambles and meanders, losing the plot along the way. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
3/4 87% The Road Movie (2018) Here is a film of considerable action and excitement that is undoubtedly real. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2018
0/4 56% The Greatest Showman (2017) The closest it gets to a hummable toe-tapper is Come Alive, which, at the risk of damning with faint praise, sounds like a Miami Sound Machine D-side. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2017
4/4 91% The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen) (2017) The guiding ethic of The Other Side of Hope is as much topical as it universal: that altruism is not especially brave or courageous, but just the basic principle governing relations between human beings. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2017
1.5/4 67% Another WolfCop (2017) It may well be brain dead, dumb and intermittently a bit fun. But sometimes we need a bit more. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2017
3/4 30% Leatherface (2017) Like the film's punishingly gory set pieces, the storytelling itself is meaty. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2017
3/4 85% Loving Vincent (2017) Loving Vincent is gorgeous. It's a film of immersive beauty. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2017
2.5/4 75% Don't Talk to Irene (2018) Watching Mills' film, one wishes it were as weird and wonderful as Irene herself. It's almost as if the writer/director doesn't realize how rare his own creation is. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2017
3.5/4 91% Rat Film (2017) Anthony's film complicates the cultural position of the pest instead of merely exploiting it to bait the squeamish and easily grossed-out. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
1.5/4 84% Detroit (2017) Somewhere between a Straw Dogs-style "survive the night" home invasion narrative, Milgram experiment moral problem play and racial torture porn. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2017
1.5/4 No Score Yet The Recall (2017) The Recall is the sort of movie you find wedged into an old VHS player purchased at a yard sale in the Kawarthas or sifted to the bottom of a mesh-wire DVD bin in a gas station somewhere on Highway 6. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2017
3.5/4 81% Risk (2017) There's no doubt that the world needs more iconoclasts, whistle-blowers and anti-authoritarian rabble-rousers. But it deserves better than Julian Assange. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2017
4/4 43% Song to Song (2017) The haughtily unenlightened can joke and snipe and snore all the want. As evinced by Song to Song, Malick is operating in top form. If only we'd be bothered to do the work of making sense of it. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2017
3/4 52% The Boss Baby (2017) It's the rare cartoon that actually feels like a cartoon, propelled by its goofiness and sheer energy and rarely bogged down by boring, polemical lesson-learning. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2017
0.5/4 18% CHIPS (2017) It's not uniquely bad, nor so bad it's good. It's factually, quantifiably bad. Overcooked, underdressed, sloppy, indigestible: just your classic crap hamburger of a movie. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2017
1.5/4 21% The Shack (2017) Based on the sleeper bestseller by Canadian author William P. Young, The Shack offers an enlightening - if dispiriting - vantage on contemporary, non-denominational Christianity. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2017
1/4 79% Eva Hesse (2016) Overstuffed with biographical details and taking-head interviews with friends and hangers-on, it's over-didactic and dull. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2017
2.5/4 63% Paula (2016) Paula offers a fine, feminist portrait of a young woman making her way in the world ... but fails to fully put across the range and uniqueness of its subject's gifts. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2017
2.5/4 89% My Scientology Movie (2017) What the film lacks in the way of harrowing, jaw-dropping revelations, it makes up for with Theroux's charm and breezy charisma. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2017
1.5/4 8% Rings (2017) Pretty much everything about Rings is incoherent. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2017
3/4 85% Afterimage (Powidoki) (2017) As glum as it may seem - to the point of playing, in places, like a parody of a despondent Eastern European art-house drama - Afterimage succeeds in knowingly succumbing to the tragedy of Strzemiński's story. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2017
3/4 32% Monster Trucks (2017) A film that makes good on its laughable, low-concept premise, one that relies on an out-of-fashion moral clarity that may actually benefit its presumed child viewer. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2017
4/4 99% Cameraperson (2016) Cameraperson is not merely a grab bag of images. It pulls double duty as a theoretical essay on the cinematic apparatus itself. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2016
3/4 100% Tampopo (1985) It unfolds as a series of madcap, effortlessly charming comic vignettes, centred around food and food culture in mid-'80s Japan. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2016
1/4 40% Office Christmas Party (2016) A joyless, laughless - that's right, not even one laugh - affair that proves how indulgent and (worse) boring ensemble comedies such as this become when the ensemble has next to no natural chemistry and even less of a script to riff off of. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2016
3/4 22% Bad Santa 2 (2016) Willie may not have a heart of gold. But he's got a heart of bloody, barely thumping meat, same as the rest of us. And in this bitter season of unceasing, frostbitten darkness, it's heart enough. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2016
1/4 54% Michael Moore In TrumpLand (2016) Ultimately, Moore's an insincere ideologue, no different from Donald Trump or the barking mad Fox News types with which he takes such cartoonish, unfunny umbrage. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2016
98% Moonlight (2016) Moonlight provides a candid, achingly melancholic portrait of marginalization in America. - Maclean's Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2016
1.5/4 75% Kevin Hart: What Now? (2016) There's a comfort to be found in Hart's skyrocketing mobility that makes America clap and cheer and howl along. It hardly matters that his jokes aren't that funny, or that he runs hack-y catchphrases into the ground for cheap laughs. - Globe and Mail EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2016