Peter Canavese

Peter Canavese
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Since 1987, Peter "Groucho" Canavese has been writing film reviews and articles in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Peter authors and maintains an exhaustive website called <i>GrouchoReviews</i> and is the chief film critic for monthly <i>ON Magazine</i> (since 1995), and <i>Celluloid Dreams</i>, a weekly radio show devoted to film (<i>Celluloid Dreams</i> runs on KSJS?90.5 FM?every Monday at 5pm). Since 2009, he has regularly contributed film reviews to <I>Palo Alto Weekly</I>. His reviews have also appeared in <i>the San Jose Mercury News</i> (1991-1994), in Bay Area weekly <I>Alternate101</I> (2007-2008), and on Portland's 1190 KEX drive-time show <I>Mark & Dave</I> (2008).
Favorites:
Citizen Kane, Brazil, Duck Soup, Ikiru, North by Northwest, 8 1/2
Location: San Jose, CA
Official Websites: grouchoreviews.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2.5/4 64% The Good Liar (2019) 'Be careful. It's deeper than it looks.' The line is meant as a commentary on character but also a literary self-congratulation. And that would be all well and good if the film had a well-crafted plot with fascinating characters and surprising twists. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
3.5/4 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Wild-ride entertainment that's by turns funny, squirmy, horrifying, and poignant, all in service of a zeitgeist-y story of working-class frustration...boiling over in ways the blithely wealthy can no longer ignore. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/4 77% Doctor Sleep (2019) In some ways, Doctor Sleep has to feel like a pop cultural footnote, but that's not fair to what's a ripping yarn in its own right. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
1.5/4 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Audiences can't be blamed for turning off their brains and focusing on the aesthetic trappings...in this film featuring a flying protagonist, nothing really lands. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
3.5/4 97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) The filmmaker contemplating his own creation as a man and an artist...plays as a poetic remembrance of things past, a reconciliation of self, powerfully capturing the emotional essence of keenly formative experiences and deep loves. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
2.5/4 69% Joker (2019) Joker isn't the film to seriously tackle the issue[s]--it's more concerned with flair than genuine inquiry--but Phoenix's pained, raw-nerve performance is one for the ages. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
3/4 94% Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019) A primer...proves most valuable by gathering a number of Miles' friends, lovers, musical collaborators, admirers, and musicologists...to share their recollections and perspectives on Davis, his musicality, and his personality. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2019
2.5/4 82% Official Secrets (2019) It's a story worth shining a light on, Gun a hero deserving of a movie-star moment. And yet this docudrama struggles to give feature-length narrative shape to the story in a way that brings it to vibrant dramatic life. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
3.5/4 88% Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) A deeply moving story of a remarkable woman, its only real fault an arguable virtue: adhering to the old showbiz adage of leaving the audience wanting more. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/4 84% Downton Abbey (2019) Forgive me for suggesting that Conservative peer Fellowes--or, as he's sometimes known, Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL--might consider Downton the cake he's letting us eat. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/4 88% Ready or Not (2019) Thin characters...thinner satire...maybe best to think of Ready or Not not as trolling us but as gifting us a mosh pit for primal-scream therapy. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
2.5/4 48% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) The film's darkest-before-the-dawn middle passage honors the complexity of mental-health struggles for the sufferer and those who, unsure at every step, try to steer their troubled loved one down a path to healing. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
3.5/4 91% Luce (2019) Primarily concerns itself with African-American identity, plagued by withering lowdown stereotypes and polar-opposite pressures...In some ways, the film's subtle political satire proves even more distressing. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
2.5/4 22% The Kitchen (2019) Because of its hurried pacing, the film doesn't quite make us feel the potentially Shakespearean sweep of this arc, and the leading performances feel similarly hemmed in by the script's limitations. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
3.5/4 99% The Farewell (2019) The setup makes for genuinely amusing light farce, but in their patient observation, Wang and cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano conjure a heartfelt intimacy with the family...[and] the actors always offer up finely etched emotional truths... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3.5/4 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Content finally joined by the movie gods to form--for at last, the moving-picture magpie has lighted on Hollywood as his setting and, in no small part, his subject. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
1/4 42% Stuber (2019) Unexciting action and unfunny comedy...Bautista and Nanjiani have star power, and could've made a buddy comedy work, but not with this script and this little help behind the camera. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
3/4 98% Maiden (2019) This Maiden voyage's degrees of heroism and ugly behavior, of victory and defeat, illuminate a gripping and inspiring story that demands to be remembered. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2019
3/4 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Marvel deserves credit for the ways it has so far managed to freshen up formula, harness genres to its purposes, and hold a mirror up to contemporary society. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2019
2/4 63% Yesterday (2019) Make the mistake of considering this feature-length stunt's many logical fumbles and obvious but ignored questions, and you're likely to get angry... All you need is love...and a better script. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
3.5/4 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) At a moment when studios and pundits have begun again to question the efficacy of sequels, Pixar's graceful follow-up justifies the practice, when executed with smarts and heart. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
2/4 23% Men in Black International (2019) Outside of the win for representation represented by the likeable Tessa Thompson's leading role, there's no creatively compelling reason to tell this story, which--not for nothing--drags on seventeen minutes longer than the 1997 original. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/4 No Score Yet Crystal City (2019) Potent... Crawford's empathy and care for his subjects shine through, inevitably taking the audience on an emotional journey. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2019
2.5/4 41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) The CGI creatures impress--a star is reborn in Mothra...It's just unfortunate that the picture as a whole lumbers a lot like its forty-story star. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2019
3/4 88% Non-Fiction (Doubles vies) (2019) Slyly addresses...how we think and how we consume media, how we tell stories to each other and ourselves, and what we need out of our personal connections. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
2/4 57% Aladdin (2019) The results aren't exactly magical...Heck, I'd even take a low-rent theme-park version if it spared me this film's descent into the uncanny valley. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
3/4 71% All Is True (2019) An elegiac valediction for Shakespeare's genius...a celebration of the centuries of scholarship that got us here...[and] an ode to parental love, complicated as it is by ego. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
2/4 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) With Reynolds cracking wise and a number of frantic action sequences, this looks like an effective enough franchise launcher. But...it all feels a little too much like work. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
2.5/4 81% Long Shot (2019) Diverting enough for date night...good enough for government work. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
3.5/4 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Marvel tourists may surprise themselves how much they care...while fanatics will have a geekgasm of heretofore undiscovered proportions at what amounts to the biggest series finale ever. To put it more politely, they'll love it "times 3000." - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
2.5/4 72% Teen Spirit (2019) Serves mostly as a vehicle for star Elle Fanning, who provides her own vocals in the film's multiple vocal-performance sequences and, more importantly, provides the film its soul of quietly defiant determination. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
3.5/4 66% Peterloo (2019) [Leigh] bustles his audience into a time machine and transplants them to a time and place--1819 England--for full immersion into the physical and social landscape where a politically charged tragedy played out. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
3/4 90% Shazam! (2019) DC's answer to Marvel's Ant-Man: a family-friendly, comical comic-book adventure that never crosses the line into camp. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
2.5/4 47% Dumbo (2019) Dumbo has morphed into an fable of modernized entertainment business models and the handling and packaging of IP...strange thematic material for a PG Disney movie aimed at families...and it gets stranger. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
3.5/4 93% Us (2019) Peele's messy stew of allusive ingredients and jokey allusions...can taste overwhelming, but it gives us a helluva lot more to chew on than a Halloween reboot. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
1.5/4 43% The Wedding Guest (2019) I'll be damned if I can detect a pulse...Proves deliberately withholding, as if to punish us, along with its unlikeable characters, for expecting too much. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
3/4 78% Captain Marvel (2019) To watch another obscure hero beget a franchise-building smash-hit movie means marveling at Marvel once again. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
3/4 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The little franchise that could is all grown up and ready to leave the nest, so wipe that tear away, and say your goodbyes, kids...For now... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Silly, but..big dumb fun. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019
2.5/4 89% Arctic (2019) While Penna shoots and edits the material well enough, its familiar paces probably wouldn't be tolerable were it not for Mikkelsen, whose grim visage crucially gives the film a racing mind and a beating heart. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
3/4 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) While adults will probably find somewhat diminishing returns in The Second Part, its cheeky variations on all the constructions that worked so well the first time also work pretty darn well, and to a good end. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
3/4 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) Labors a bit to create drama from what's essentially a gentle, wistful story of two artists together eking out a last hurrah, but there's a refreshing warmth to a family-friendly show business tale, one not about backbiting but about love... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3.5/4 92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) A sweet romance this isn't, but Pawlikowski (Ida) balances the flatfooted realities of maddeningly thwarted love with swoony moments: smoky jazz clubs and songbird reveries. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
4/4 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Memorable moments come from its series of penetrating philosophical conversations... Dafoe expertly plays the keenness of Van Gogh's intellect and creativity against his searing drive, his raw emotions, and the haunting that was his depression. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
4/4 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) In Jenkins' sure hands, Baldwin's novel becomes an exquisite, impeccable, indelible piece of cinema of the ages. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3.5/4 66% Vice (2018) As strikingly original in form as Oliver Stone's JFK...infotaining Hollywood history that's equal parts funny and horrifying in its high-stakes political gamesmanship... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
2.5/4 82% Ben is Back (2018) Roberts' role as an intense mama bear cleverly corrupts her famous smile to an "everything's okay" mask. Ultimately, Ben is Back is about the lies addicts tell their loved ones, and those their loved ones tell themselves. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
2.5/4 78% Green Book (2018) Though breezily entertaining, this cinematic vehicle also lurches into and out of the usual racial potholes, making its song of the South--and North--catch in the throat. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
3.5/4 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) McCarthy clearly feels a connection to Israel's outsider artistry, her utter commitment to become someone else for a few stolen moments, and her pride in a job well done... - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
3/4 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Productively acknowledge real-life dangers, with stellar animation and designs shoring up the storytelling of Johnston and Pamela Ribon's witty script...a useful all-ages fable for our time. - Groucho Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018