Jonathan Rosenbaum

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet Nina Simone: Love Sorceress (1998) Letzgus's 1998 French documentary of a 1976 concert by the late singer is hampered by a few distractions, but the event being documented is so riveting and so eccentric in its own right that it hardly matters. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
86% Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen) (2005) It adds up to more than the sum of its parts, but you may not realize it for a day or so. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
93% Monster in a Box (2003) ...his powers as a writer and performer certainly hold one's attention. Incidentally, more than five dozen names appear in the credits of this one-man show. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
73% I Live in Fear (Ikimono no kiroku) (1955) I persist in finding it among the most memorable: eerie, troubling, and haunting. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
45% The Way of the Gun (2000) A lot of uninteresting and unpleasant people torture, abuse, and fire guns at a lot of other uninteresting and unpleasant people, in a repulsive, interminable would-be crime thriller by writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
32% Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) The filmmakers stick like glue to the formula of the original: a little boy from a well-to-do family left on his own is threatened by low-life working-class crooks whom he repeatedly foils and tortures, and upscale property values prevail. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2019
67% Together Alone (1993) The frank conversation moves from AIDS to sexual etiquette to homosexuality versus bisexuality to lengthy accounts of former relationships, and the writer-director and actors generally do a fine job of keeping us interested (1990). - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
37% Poetic Justice (1993) After a deceptively funny and offbeat beginning, the movie keeps restarting; each new start shows some promise, and Singleton's talent never really deserts him-but the parts don't come together to create a unified story. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
100% A Bread Factory, Part One: For the Sake of Gold (2018) Existing below the radar is largely what A Bread Factory is about, so it's unsurprising that Wang often chooses to focus on characters who are very old or very young. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
86% To Live (Huo zhe) (1994) His film grows progressively in meaning and resonance as it develops. Highly recommended. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
33% In the Cut (2003) I still consider this the best (which also means the sexiest) Campion feature since The Piano, featuring Meg Ryan's finest performance to date and an impressive one by Mark Ruffalo. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
45% The Cell (2000) If you thought virtual-reality thrillers and spin-offs of The Silence of the Lambs had run their course, guess again. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
28% See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) This tasteless, formulaic, mainly unfunny, but otherwise harmless romp was scripted by five people and is served up like meat and potatoes by hack director Arthur Hiller. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
48% Zardoz (1974) Probably John Boorman's most underrated film-an impossibly ambitious and pretentious but also highly inventive, provocative, and visually striking SF adventure. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
21% Harlem Nights (1989) The plot exposition gets laborious in spots, the period flavor is only occasional and approximate, and the direction tends to be clunky, yet the strong secondary cast helps to take up some of the slack. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
No Score Yet One Way Boogie Woogie/27 Years Later (2005) Though it's not on the same level, it's a poignant and fascinating companion piece. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
38% Ishtar (1987) This Elaine May comedy was the most underappreciated commercial movie of 1987. It isn't quite as good as May's previous features, but it's still a very funny work by one of this country's greatest comic talents. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019
2/4 26% Hook (1991) Spielberg's Neverland carries undeniable charm and depth. The problems start when we're asked to accept its two-dimensional residents as anything other than tourists on a forced march through its various nooks and crannies. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
42% Vanilla Sky (2001) I now find Cruise tolerable only when he's in a movie that undercuts or ridicules his narcissism--as Eyes Wide Shut did and as this movie does even more noticeably. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
87% The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) It's as if Greenaway had all this artistry, including his own, at his disposal and created nothing but a dead piece of meat, for no reason in particular--unless it's to express his contempt for his audience. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
100% Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) It makes for a good old-fashioned inspirational story, absorbing and pointed. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
50% Fast Food Nation (2006) [An] angry and persuasive piece of agitprop... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2019
52% Death Becomes Her (1992) If there were something resembling genuine satire of human behavior beyond the simple pretexts for fancy special effects and relentless sadism, I might have found some of this funny. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
0/4 87% Mississippi Burning (1988) Unfortunately, the central narrative premise of Mississippi Burning sets up the FBI as the sole heroic defender of the victims of southern racism in 1964, which is more than a little disgusting. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
54% The Object of My Affection (1998) The mixture of sincerity and sitcom phoniness is bewildering at times, but on some level, I guess, the film works. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
56% I, Robot (2004) It's much more of an action flick than either Metropolis or Blade Runner, but there's a provocative and visionary side to this free adaptation of Isaac Asimov's SF classic that puts it in the same thoughtful canon. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
27% Event Horizon (1997) The pits. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
19% Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994) Gus Van Sant adapts Tom Robbins's comic, countercultural novel of the 70s... and while the results are both cheerful and occasionally inventive, they can't hold a candle to his previous features. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2018
40% Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) Predictably slapdash but indefatigably good-natured and sometimes funny to boot. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
89% Overlord (1975) An interesting failure, this rarely seen 1975 English feature about World War II combines documentary and fictional elements, though they tend to undermine each other. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
43% Species (1995) In spite of all its unexplained and semiridiculous plot premises it works surprisingly well as a genre exercise, perhaps because, like Alien, it knows how to exploit misogynist biological and sexual anxieties for all they're worth. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2018
80% Dominick and Eugene (1988) The film's shameless efforts to reach for the jugular mainly land in bathos. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
No Score Yet Bluebeard's Castle (Herzog Blaubarts Burg) (1964) A particular standout, especially for its vivid colors and semiabstract, neoprimitive decor. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
95% The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) Not everything works equally well in this road movie, but writer-director Stephan Elliott keeps things watchable. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2018
No Score Yet Mix-up (1986) The intermingling of fiction and non-fiction produces many daring mixes and clashes. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2018
69% The Leading Man (1998) Maybe I'm just a sucker for backstage stories about theater people as well as for Thandie Newton, but this English picture kept me absorbed, happy, and occasionally amused despite its dubious details. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2018
79% Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta degli Spiriti) (1965) The results are unwieldy, uneven, and overlong to say the least. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
50% Le Casanova de Fellini (1976) As one of the late flowerings of the director's claustrophobic studio style at its most deliberately artificial, this is a memorable work, helped along by Nino Rota's music and Danilo Donati's Oscar-winning costumes. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2017
No Score Yet Inside/Out (1997) Art conceived as both adventure and confrontation, Inside/Out requires a certain amount of creative energy from the audience but grandly repays the effort. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2017
77% The Hunter (2012) What persists in both parts of the film is a snapshot of contemporary Iran with some of the precision, poetry, and despair that Ebrahim Golestan brought to Brick and Mirror in 1965, including the same horror of absurdist bureaucracy. - Cinema Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2017
78% Last Flag Flying (2017) This has its moments, but it ends, like its characters, in sentimental confusion. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
99% Faces Places (Visages, villages) (2017) This delightful, digressive, breezy collaboration, staged to look more spontaneous than it possibly could be, celebrates and enhances both artists, repeatedly finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
43% Golden Years (Nos années folles) (2017) [Golden Years] is an exquisitely upholstered and mysteriously provocative period drama. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
100% Talking to Strangers (1988) The result of these procedures isn't a puzzle, but it does engage the spectator in a kind of game. The overall project of Talking to Strangers is existential. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2017
90% A Short Film About Killing (1988) Probably the most powerful movie about the death penalty ever made. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2017
100% Lola (1961) Jacques Demy's first and in some ways best feature, shot in exquisite black-and-white 'Scope by Raoul Coutard, is among the most neglected major works of the French New Wave. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2017
93% Once Were Warriors (1994) A gritty, powerful first feature by Lee Tamahori. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2017
95% Cold Fever (1996) Strange, often funny, and occasionally beautiful. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2017
27% Full Moon in Blue Water (1988) Funny and appealing, this is the kind of quiet and assured Hollywood movie that used to be more common in the 50s; the local flavor is caught perfectly, and every member of the cast shines. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2016
75% Empire of the Sun (1987) The pseudomystical vagueness that seems to be Spielberg's stock-in-trade stifles most of the particularity of the source. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2016