Melanie McFarland

Melanie McFarland
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
85% Downton Abbey (2019) Downton Abbey is basically designed to take the edge off of 2019 life, the visual equivalent of half a Valium chased by a flute's worth of champagne. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
100% The Color of Friendship (2000) Cutesy interludes don't diminish the movie's impact. "The Color of Friendship" is certainly one of the better films you'll see on the channel, and certainly worth setting aside family tube time. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
35% Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (2019) Sticks & Stones exists as a defiant design to intentionally offend large swaths of the audience Chappelle deems too thin-skinned and easily outraged.. while serving up simple, low-bar yucks to anyone yearning for validation of their anti-P.C. stance. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
84% Untouchable (2019) A clarifying documentary like Untouchable is in order, because the cascade of allegations and headlines that have spilled forth since late 2017 has resulted in a mass forgetting of how this all started. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
97% Deadwood: The Movie (2019) "Deadwood: The Movie" does precisely what everyone who has waited all these long years for it hopes it would do, capturing nearly all of its magnificence by way of a grand send-off. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
98% Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019) To African Americans it's a love letter to black culture and history, a celebration infused with intentional symbolism and artistry presented to the wider world with no apology. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
77% The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) Gibney urges us to look Holmes in the eyes for two hours. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019
No Score Yet The State Within (2006) The State Within is what we'd get if the producers of 24 wanted to make us think instead of accept ever-widening leaps of logic. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
No Score Yet Helen of Troy (2003) The whole thing makes you feel, oh I don't know, a little dirty. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
No Score Yet Ice Bound: A Woman's Survival at the South Pole (2003) If you want to be moved by a powerful story this weekend as opposed to gratuitously tickled, [Dr. Jerri] Nielsen is the heroine most deserving of your attentions. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
97% Free Solo (2018) The visuals are stunning, offering head-spinning views with the comfort of total safety. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
60% The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004) Set the bar very low and you may appreciate its stupidity. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
69% The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) The film is awash with psychedelic visuals, '60s cinematography and a dizzying mishmash of devices reminiscent of iconic films like Dr. Strangelove and The Pink Panther. However, like [Peter] Sellers himself, Life and Death lacks genuine personality. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
No Score Yet Mitch Albom's 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' (2004) Five People [You Meet in Heaven] is your basic Hallmark Entertainment fuzz, yet many scenes defy the brand's typical saccharine, tempering the light with a welcome grit. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
No Score Yet Michael Jackson: The Man in the Mirror (2004) Surely nausea was not what Moyle was shooting for. But I guess that's what happens when you try to make uplifting TV "biopoetry," and nobody has the decency to slam you before it's too late. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
No Score Yet Battlestar Galactica: Razor (2007) [Battlestar Galactica] Razor's best service, beyond reminding us why Galactica is one of the best television shows on the air, is in filling in the story's historical gaps. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
No Score Yet Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004) [Category 6: Day of Destruction], a miniseries one step beyond devastatingly awful. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
0/4 35% Gummo (1997) Instead, [Gummo is] a gaudy, reckless collage of perverse images that lack any value. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
63% Bird Box (2018) Is it good? Not really, but it doesn't need to be. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
92% Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable (2018) It also makes her more real to everyone - to her fans and anyone else who has an immutable notion of who she is without taking into account the expectation of who we expect her to be. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
68% The Christmas Chronicles (2018) The film's no great shakes, but Russell's star power in "The Christmas Chronicles" is a gift anyone should be happy to claim. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
95% Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) In some sense one might think of it as the mother recipe of the American Christmas special. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
99% Aliens (1986) Beyond dispute, however, is the film's timeless worth as a cathartic work, especially in terms of its accidentally commentary on the sexism of the corporate structure. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
95% RBG (2018) At the same time, although West and Cohen get around to the version of Ginsburg that has become a meme for Millennials and a symbol of resistance, the greater part of the film celebrates her tireless determination. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2018
No Score Yet August 28th: A Day in the Life of a People (2018) A shining miracle. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2018
93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) It should throw the viewer for a loop, because it's a reflection of the insane times we live in. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
100% Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018) What Gadsby does in this unassuming sneak attack is disassembly of the artistry and trick of comedy itself. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
3.5/4 79% Sadie (2018) You live among these characters, aching for them. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2018
32% Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Where it truly falls short is in capturing the ways that literature helps us define our humanity and our individuality and life's meaning. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2018
89% Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries (2003) And what is "Galactica," old or new? A high-flying trifle. Choice, cheesy adventure. Sci Fi pulp. So stop squeezing your thermoses, turn off your brain, and enjoy. - Seattle Post-Intelligencer EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2018
100% Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (2018) Jesus Christ Superstar Live! diverges from television's holiday tradition of genuflecting before Hollywood history and its long-accepted and outdated vision of what religious figures look like. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2018
No Score Yet Mister Rogers: It's You I Like (2018) By leading with the warmth of shared memory and endearment, producers JoAnn Young and John Paulson mold It's You I Like into experiential viewing that emphasizes intimacy. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2018
100% Baltimore Rising (2017) There are many such moments of human frailty and humor in Baltimore Rising, and Sohn presents all of it without specific judgment or an agenda beyond capturing as many voices as possible and corralling them as efficiently as possible. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2017
89% The Problem with Apu (2017) The Problem with Apu ... welcomes viewers into the conversation by gently weaving the narrative between Springfield and the real world. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2017
No Score Yet Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968) It is no small boast to make on behalf of the 1968 film to call it a work richer and more resonant than what I have no problem saying is James' best ghost story. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2017
92% Spielberg (2017) Lacy consistently seduces us through its two and a half hour running time without ever slackening the energy or glossing over his shortcomings. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2017
30% Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017) Nothing about Sharknado 5 is worth recommending even if you consider it to be an American summertime tradition, as so many people do. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2017
71% To the Bone (2017) An admirable and empathetic work that does not romanticize anorexia or the young woman being ground into nothingness by the disease, as some have feared. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
74% The Wizard of Lies (2017) What Wizard of Lies lacks in terms of a broader historical span is compensated for by telling Madoff's tale as a classical tragedy about hubris and human cost - only in this case we watch as the villain's wife and children take the brunt of the toll. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2017
3.5/4 93% The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) (2017) In its artfully drawn frames, a simple and universal story unfolds. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2017
99% Tower (2016) A gripping examination of human bravery and frailty in the face of barbarity. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2017
100% Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2017) Bright Lights plucks [Fisher's] star and that of her mother down from distant heights and lets us gently hold them for a time, reassuring us that their brilliance and humanity was real, their mutual endearment unbreakable. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2017
80% Barry (2016) Gandhi's direction brings out superior performances in the film's cast, particularly in Terrell, whose imitation of Obama's singular ways of speaking and mannerisms is nearly flawless. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2016
No Score Yet Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise (2016) The pop culture portions of the miniseries may be the most enticing element of Black America Since MLK because these contain the African-American faces with which mainstream America is most familiar. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2016
100% Hamilton's America (2016) Hamilton's America... smoothly marries the very personal nature of the musical's story with Hamilton's impact on the nation and the world, adopting Miranda's iconoclastic flavor in the process. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2016
63% Killing Reagan (2016) Someday there will be an engrossing cinematic portrait of Reagan that explores the man's faults and merits with equal measure. Killing Reagan is not that film. - Salon.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2016
1/4 2% Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) The video game is much more fun, of course. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2014
1.5/4 10% Woo (1998) Woo disappoints on so many levels, lacking in wit and intelligence, characters with any sense of dimension and a coherent story line. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2014
1/4 40% Can't Hardly Wait (1998) The majority of the film is mired in magazine cliches and tired gags. Oh, look, the foreign exchange student only knows how to say he's a sex machine, haw! And the nerd's getting drunk! Hoo! - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2014
4/4 93% Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (1999) Beautifully constructed and painstakingly written, this is about as close to a perfect animated epic as you're likely to get. - Seattle Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2013