Melissa Anderson

Melissa Anderson
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
74% Downtown 81 (2001) Viewers of 'Downtown 81' become de facto archaeologists. We peer into long-since-shuttered clubs, and gaze at rubble-filled lower Manhattan blocks where a Whole Foods or Capital One bank may now stand. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
100% Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) Flickering on a screen a century-plus later, the actors are, at the very least, no longer confined to an even greater ignominy: being forgotten. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
96% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) The profound melancholy that suffuses the film results from two artists contending with their senescence, with their prolific careers and their attendant triumphs and misfires. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
84% Ad Astra (2019) The film's Latin title means "to the stars." But the satisfactions of James Gray's project lie in a special branch of astronomy-not the study of planets, but of the supernova at the center of "Ad Astra": Brad Pitt. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
95% The Queen (2019) [A] riveting chronicle of a 1967 drag competition. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
87% Diamantino (2019) The sports-celebrity-industrial complex is merely one target of this robust, rollicking satire. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
97% Booksmart (2019) Booksmart too often seems dutiful and assiduous, as if its makers had simply followed a manual listing the proper, righteous bromides for the characters to speak. In this time-condensed rumspringa, nothing offensive, troubling, or surprising happens. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
75% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) The pleasures of Asako I & II lie in witnessing the keen understanding evinced by Hamaguchi and his cast of how genuine emotions in romantic dyads are expressed or, just as often, concealed. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
83% Her Smell (2019) Movies about self-destructing rock stars, whether based on real idols or centering on wholly invented characters, are often hackneyed. But Perry's pulsating, quicksilver film, boosted by Moss's jagged magnetism, vivifies the genre. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
83% High Life (2019) Sometimes absurd but always absorbing, Claire Denis's sci-fi adventure begins with a bit of baby talk. "Da-da," cosmonaut Monte coos to his infant daughter during their celestial voyage. It's an apt prelude for a film that drifts off into Dadaism. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
93% Us (2019) Peele seems to lay bare the tremendous anxiety among the members of this family to maintain "respectability," that odious burden so essential to racism's armature. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
31% Mapplethorpe (2019) Ultimately the movie, with its gimcrack period pageantry, cannot escape its essential conundrum: that it is subordinate, inferior to the still images that festoon it. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
81% Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite) (2019) Sorry Angel concerns several dynamic topics, namely intergenerational romance and love among men during the height of the AIDS pandemic. Yet it rarely plays like a film about churning, ungovernable life. It is instead a precious, inert gloss on lifestyle. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
81% Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (The Flight of the Red Balloon) (2007) Each character an outsider in some way-Simon owing to his age, Song to her nationality-the child and his minder form a tender dyad, one marked by reciprocated respect and curiosity. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
74% Destroyer (2018) Everywhere strain is evident. Kidman and the filmmakers are unremitting in their determination to show us the effort required to portray such a dejected, dehydrated antiheroine, a role atypical of the A-lister. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
99% Amazing Grace (2019) Although the voice of Aretha Franklin, however incomparable, may be familiar to us, it's rare to witness the sheer physical and mental exertion required to create that glorious sound. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
90% The Wild Boys (Les garçons sauvages) (2018) Deliberately, alluringly unstable and destabilizing, 'The Wild Boys' is made even more turbulent by its superabundance of references and inspirations. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
65% Suspiria (2018) Dull-witted ostentation abounds in Guadagnino's Suspiria... Suspiria 2018 assaults the eye, distresses the ear, and maligns the mind. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) An echt New York eccentric, Lee Israel onscreen has been remolded into a generically grumpy outcast, one whose miseries seem to stem from that catch-all etiology, "trust issues." - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
90% A Star Is Born (2018) Little jabs of pleasure give way to something less tingly, safer: nods of admiration. Torquing Susan Sontag's definition of camp as "seriousness that fails," I think of Cooper's movie as seriousness that succeeds, but perhaps too well or too cleanly. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
69% Ocean's 8 (2018) Throughout this desultory, dreary movie, odd lines of dialogue pop up that seem to perversely comment on the sheer superfluity of Ocean's 8. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2018
97% Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) Ross remains ever attuned to the casual grace of quotidian human actions, and the subdued splendor of nature at its plainest. Hale County is documentation as a kind of auscultation; the camera functions as a stethoscope, capturing heartbeat and breath. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
82% Women in Love (1969) Yet it is to the film's great credit that, in depicting that "puritanical insistence," heterosexuality is revealed to be the most unnatural form of coupling. - Artforum EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2018
72% The Misandrists (2018) An invigorating alternative not just to the unending cascade of banal queer-themed fare--if nothing else, LaBruce's outlandish scenarios activate thought experiments for those pondering a corrective to our present gynophobic kakistocracy. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2018
86% Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur) (2018) "Let the Sunshine In" is Denis's most voluble movie and, despite the emotional turmoil its heroine endures, among her gentlest. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2018
96% Zama (2018) Martel's films can seem disjointed, yet there is always the palpable, inexorable feeling of malaise, of psychic and moral rot under exacting investigation. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2018
67% The Girlfriend Experience (2009) Documenting the way we speak now, however, doesn't compensate for the film's own hollow rhetoric; TGE's tricked-out, fractured narrative merely distracts from its dead-end cynicism. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2018
71% The Killing of Sister George (1968) Aldrich's film endures not because it's an example of bad, pre-Stonewall homo images but because of its sly way of celebrating. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2018
45% Red Sparrow (2018) Red Sparrow, a joyless genre exercise, inadvertently advances the premise that most, maybe all male-female mating could be thought of as a ruse, the basest kind of transaction, the bleakest form of pleasure. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
93% A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) "A Fantastic Woman" can at times seem too invested in defining Marina not by what she does but by what is done to her. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2018
91% Phantom Thread (2018) Moody and mesmerizing, Paul Thomas Anderson's 1950s-set Phantom Thread may be the first of a genre: the haute-couture gothic. It thrills as an invigorating tale of moribundity. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2017
89% I, Tonya (2018) An intended black seriocomedy curdles into garish burlesque. The biopic becomes the biohazard. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2017
95% Call Me by Your Name (2018) Languor, lust; yearning, yielding: Call Me by Your Name-a sexy, melancholy summer idyll directed by the supreme cine-sybarite Luca Guadagnino-lushly shows how desire is deftly articulated, even when not explicitly labeled or spoken. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2017
87% Blade Runner 2049 (2017) In the end, for all its pleasures, it's difficult to view Blade Runner 2049 as anything but an elaborate echo of the original, neither true sequel nor reboot, unclear of its own identity. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2017
99% Lady Bird (2017) [Lady Bird] is a shrewd, warm, witty coming-of-age movie. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2017
98% BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute) (2017) However specific its time frame and focus, BPM is not a narrow nostalgia piece, nor will it ever be as long as people are still dying, still being vilified. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2017
85% Battle of the Sexes (2017) The story of a remarkable woman and her remarkable accomplishments suffers, as too many LGBTQ-themed twenty-first-century docudramas do, from an accretion of it-gets-better telegraphing. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2017
71% The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) (2017) As we watch Haenel ... stride through these overdetermined scenes, clutching a medical bag to her side, we are reminded that even the most timeworn of conventions can be made electric and alive. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
89% Taxi zum Klo (Taxi to the Toilet) (1981) Taxi zum Klo treats sex seriously without sacralizing it; throughout the film, Ripploh reveals a wry intelligence about the eternal dilemma of monogamy versus promiscuity. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
94% Prick Up Your Ears (1987) As a portrait of a relationship and a creative partnership, Prick is ever alert to the shifts in power, to the narcissistic wounds that can never be salved when a teacher is surpassed by his pupil. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2017
83% Patti Cake$ (2017) As predictable as the ticking of an egg timer, as generic and tinny as the pulses of a drum machine. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2017
83% Nocturama (2017) The film mesmerizes and alienates equally. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2017
90% 4 Days in France (Jours de France) (2017) A pleasingly discursive road movie for our geosocial age, writer-director Jérôme Reybaud's debut narrative feature navigates la France profonde with the help of Grindr. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2017
No Score Yet Le Gai Savoir (Joy of Learning) (Joyful Wisdom) (1969) Profuse and dizzying with discourse, abstruse analysis, and word association, Le Gai Savoir posits that all communication is suspect, that the spoken word is "the enemy." - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2017
78% Atomic Blonde (2017) Simultaneously byzantine and dumb ... - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2017
91% Girls Trip (2017) Pops with next-level ribaldry and smack talk, especially in its first half. But in the remaining hour, the laughs arrive less often as the gender politics grow weirder. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2017
88% That Most Important Thing: Love (L'important c'est d'aimer) (1975) At once electrifying and eviscerating. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2017
35% False Confessions (Les fausses confidences) (2017) Despite the diurnal setting, several scenes are distractingly overlit, the actors enhaloed by a honey glaze. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2017
91% A Ghost Story (2017) I found it difficult to continue suspending my disbelief. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2017
79% The Beguiled (2017) The Beguiled '71 gluts; Coppola's film tamps down and reduces. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2017