Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2/4 61% Bombshell (2019) Doubles down on many of the issues that plagued Trumbo, in many cases substituting "Saturday Night Live" style caricatures for real people in such a way that distances the audience from the human elements of the story. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
3.5/4 93% Uncut Gems (2019) The Safdies have designed Uncut Gems with knife's edge precision to tear audiences' nerves to shreds, and the results are as gripping as they are exhausting. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
3.5/4 96% An Elephant Sitting Still (Da xiang xi di er zuo) (2019) It's as if the film was conjured from thin air, gorgeous, elemental, and tortured; Hu's consciousness made manifest and brought into being by sheer force of will. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3/4 77% Richard Jewell (2019) Paul Walter Hauser is a revelation, turning in a truly extraordinary performance that lifts him up into a new realm. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
3.5/4 96% Marriage Story (2019) A remarkable feat of raw-nerve acting, intuitive writing, sharp direction, and a deeply empathetic sense of humanity. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2019
3.5/4 82% Queen & Slim (2019) Channel(s) hundreds of years of systemic oppression into a blinding and beautiful work of art that feels like throwing a firecracker into a crowd. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
2/4 79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) The film certainly has good intentions, but it gets woefully lost somewhere on the road to hell. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2019
4/4 96% The Irishman (2019) In Scorsese's masterful hands it becomes an American tragedy writ-large, a sweeping portrait of great potential cut down by greed and corruption, and a road to hell paved by the best of intentions. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
3/4 92% Klaus (2019) This unique take on the origins of Santa Claus examines the jolly old elf not as a literal person with magical powers, but as an idea of the spirit of giving, a fact that will likely go over many young heads but will hit adults square in the heart. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2019
2.5/4 65% The Good Liar (2019) Despite the film's somewhat cumbersome plotting, Mirren and McKellan are a constant pleasure to watch, and Carter Burwell's lilting score adds a sense of depth to the mystery. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
3.5/4 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) This movie goes to some dark places, but it emerges hopeful. No other film this year has felt quite so cathartic, as if Mr. Rogers is somehow exorcising our accumulated pain from beyond the grave. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
3/4 77% Frozen II (2019) Tackles real world issues in a way that's both entertaining to children and palatable to adults. In short, Frozen II is Disney's best film of 2019. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
65% Lady and the Tramp (2019) Isn't attempting to retool its concept for an older audience that grew up with the original, resulting in a film less reliant on nostalgia. - In Review Online EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2019
1.5/4 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Bloated, over-long, and celebrates the achievements of men only as they live to serve the capitalist machine, leaving anything resembling actual human drama in the dust. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
3.5/4 100% The Docks of New York (1928) An eerie, wistful hymn to the forgotten men and women of the working class looking for their own slice of happiness in grungy places. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
3.5/4 100% The Last Command (1928) Jannings' performance is filled with both fire and humanity - he's a tyrant brought low, paying penance for a life of abusing those under him, and yet somehow we feel sorry for this man. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
4/4 87% Underworld (1927) Its luridly evocative look at honor among the gangsters and thieves who populate the Dreamland Cafe of Chicago is the stuff that old Hollywood dreams are made of. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
1.5/4 No Score Yet Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962) A rather bland film (especially considering it was basically supposed to be porn), and there's nothing you wouldn't see in a fairly tame R-rated film today. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3/4 100% Gebo and The Shadow (Gebo et l'ombre) (2014) De Oliveira concocts striking images in very confined spaces, leaving us with a film that should feel cramped and claustrophobic but instead feels consistently vibrant and alive. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
4/4 100% Bless Their Little Hearts (2008) Woodberry is an unheralded virtuoso, and Bless Their Little Hearts is a revelation that can at long last be given its due. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
3.5/4 94% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) A nervy, jittery, restless work from a filmmaker determined to never stop probing, reflecting, and seeking answers. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
3/4 73% Harriet (2019) There's something undeniably rousing about the way Lemmons directs this, as if she's directing a superhero film with Tubman as the hero. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2019
3.5/4 97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) Almost feels like an exorcism, an autumnal reverie filled with pain and regret, of mistakes made and loves lost. And yet there's a glimmer of hope as Almodóvar wrestles with his demons through the medium he loves. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
80% Mark of the Vampire (1935) In its truncated state it feels more like the scraps of a much better film, a victim of the Production Code whose true form may never see the light of day. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2019
3/4 57% Hercules in the Haunted World (1961) An eerie, surreal vision of the afterlife as only Bava could have envisioned it. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
1.5/4 59% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) The Secret Life of Pets skated by on an amusing premise that its sequel all but abandons in favor of a frenetically edited, scattershot story that's more likely to leave audiences with whiplash than in stitches. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2019
3/4 83% Judy (2019) The way it acknowledges Garland's status as the original gay icon then pays it off in the final moments is a thing of beauty, a move that lifts Judy up from the doldrums of the typical biopic and elevates it to something altogether sublime. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2019
2.5/4 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) You have to give them credit for taking on relevant themes...but in the context of a bright and sunny family-friendly Disney film, it never really has the chance to dig down as deep as its ideas require. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2019
77% Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) While it may often feel like a barely structured shrug of a movie, it does at least manage to do its job and mine some genuine laughs out of its admittedly thin material. - In Review Online EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
3.5/4 96% The Circus (1928) A sad clown masterwork that masks its tears with a smile. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
2/4 26% Gemini Man (2019) There are parts of Gemini Man that look so tangible and real that it's as if we could reach out and touch Will Smith - but this fidelity to absolute realism seems to erase the cinematic artistry. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
3.5/4 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Bong masterfully blends these divergent genre elements into one wildly original whole, crafting an incisive indictment of income inequality and the wide gulf between the classes that is as bitterly funny as it is achingly sad. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
3.5/4 86% The Bigamist (1953) While viewers' reactions will likely vary greatly, Lupino refuses to take sides, and the result is a film that exists in a surprising moral gray area rarely seen in 1953. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/4 No Score Yet Never Fear (The Young Lovers) (1949) An often tough-minded film that has the gloss of a "human resilience" drama, but in Lupino's steady hands it reaches much deeper. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3.5/4 80% Not Wanted (1949) Yet unlike many similar films of the late 40s and 50s, which took a "there but for the grace of god go I" point of view toward societal issues, Lupino's films replaced pity with empathy, and she treated her characters with compassion rather than judgment. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2.5/4 69% Joker (2019) As a gritty comic book villain origin story Joker mostly works on its own merits, but when it tries to match Scorsese's righteous fury, it feels like little more than a pale imitation. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 6, 2019
3.5/4 96% Our Hospitality (1923) With Keaton's unique charm and a beautifully rendered sense of time and place, it becomes a showcase for one of cinema's great comic filmmakers. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2019
3.5/4 80% Under the Olive Trees (Zire darakhatan zeyton) (Through the Olive Trees) (1994) Warm, humane, and wryly funny, a bemused reverie on love and romance in an ever-evolving Iran. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2019
3.5/4 100% And Life Goes On (Zendegi va digar hich) (Life, and Nothing More) (1996) There's a kind of playfulness here that belies the seriousness of the task at hand, and yet under Kiarostami's masterful eye the film becomes a sort of wry celebration of the Iranian people's determination to keep going. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2019
4/4 100% Khane-ye doust kodjast? (Where is the Friend's Home?) (1987) Its final image is one of such profound beauty that it rivals the iconic freeze-frame ending of Truffaut's The 400 Blows, perfectly capturing the sublime, gossamer belief in basic human kindness inherent in childhood. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2019
99% Varda by Agnès (2019) A sublimely autumnal reflection of a legendary career, but it never feels mournful or melancholy - instead, it is a celebration of the "dreams and reveries" of a life well-lived. - In Review Online EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
2.5/4 27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) It's a loud, tasteless, and bloody good time that never feels like it's as good as it could be, but somehow manages to be just as fun as it should be. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
2/4 84% Downton Abbey (2019) Downton no longer feels like a window into a bygone world from which we've progressed, but a regressive longing for a simpler time when people knew their place and never asked for more. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
3.5/4 95% Aladdin (1992) Williams' never-ending stream of impersonations and wacky characters are so consistently hilarious that the audience barely has time to breathe between belly laughs. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
3.5/4 84% Ad Astra (2019) Whether it's over the rainbow or beyond the reaches of Neptune, Gray can't help but remind us that nothing is so grand and mysterious and worth our time as love. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2019
1.5/4 24% The Goldfinch (2019) A remarkably shallow film, one that never has the courage to address the issues of childhood trauma it raises, instead reaching for surface level platitudes centered around a poorly conceived macguffin. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2019
3.5/4 88% Hustlers (2019) As damning a critique of American capitalism as anything mainstream cinema has given us this decade. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
3.5/4 100% Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) As scathing a critique of the British upper classes as the cinema has ever given us, disguised as a light comedy with a charming exterior. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
2/4 63% It Chapter Two (2019) Goes off the rails in the second half, featuring a loud, garish extended climax that's so bathed in CGI effects that it becomes numbing, an unpleasant visual assault rather than than a creepy funhouse. - The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
3.5/4 94% Last Year at Marienbad (L'année dernière à Marienbad) (1961) A treatise on memory and longing, of ideas lost to the fog of time, shards of dreams scattered across a marble floor. - From the Front Row EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019