Philip Martin

Philip Martin
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Author, newspaper columnist, former shortstop, songwriter and rhythm guitarist strangepup.blogspot.com
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Official Websites: blooddirtandangels.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
87/100 87% Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) [Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice] does take us on a rich, nostalgic journey that will be received as a bittersweet valentine by old fans and might introduce newbies to a remarkable artist who refused to stay in her lane. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
86/100 83% Official Secrets (2019) It should be said that all the actors do well here. And the screenplay is responsible and economical in boiling down the complex issues the movie tackles. It's a fair, understated film about things we ought to care about. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
85/100 88% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) It's pretty much what you might expect it to be based on the poster and trailer, a mildly edgy vehicle that positions [Jillian] Bell as an unconventional, sometimes unlikable but generally accessible vessel for the audience's empathy. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
88/100 92% David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) What David Crosby: Remember My Name feels like is an elegy. Crosby understands the end is near and that he is bound to leave behind unrepaired relationships and financial messiness. He's trying to fix it, but there's just not enough time. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
83/100 44% After the Wedding (2019) Basically it's a soap opera performed by over-qualified actors. If you have a weakness for gasp-inducing melodrama, you'll like it. Otherwise you might appreciate the work of the performers. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
87/100 95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Corniness aside, The Peanut Butter Falcon is good-looking with a solid ensemble cast and a legitimately inspiring message. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
88/100 86% The Nightingale (2019) While on one level I think it's clearly a first-rate work of art, it's the very definition of a hard watch. It demands your attention even as it repels you; watching it feels like trying to push the like poles of magnets together. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
88/100 98% Maiden (2019) Maiden transcends the rousing underdog sports story genre and offers an intriguing look at a stubbornly persistent sporting culture; one characterized by mindsets as outdated as its technology. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
87/100 99% The Farewell (2019) With a sparkling ensemble cast, The Farewell explores questions of individual identity and cultural divides and arrives at the conclusion that we mightn't be so different after all. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2019
88/100 88% Non-Fiction (Doubles vies) (2019) Sparkly and sad, Non-Fiction is a witty movie about the existential crisis facing readers and writers with some casual French adultery mixed in. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
82/100 30% Red Joan (2019) Unfortunately there's nothing about Red Joan that feels believable, other than [Judi] Dench's rather complicated portrayal of a woman who might only be discovering her own motives. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
90/100 99% Amazing Grace (2019) What the film provides is proof of how thrilling she was in the moment, and her gobsmacking effect on the witnesses who, time and time again, the camera catches in unabashed awe. She's shockingly good. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
87/100 96% Hail Satan? (2019) You don't have to embrace the Satanic Temple to understand that it ought to have a place at the American table and that it serves as a corrective to certain tribalistic assumptions. Its members have a role to play as devil's advocates. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
86/100 73% Teen Spirit (2019) Teen Spirit is by no means a great film, but [Elle] Fanning's performance is affecting and [Zlatko] Buric makes an adorably gruff fairy godfather. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
82/100 40% Unplanned (2019) Unplanned is a competently made film that has some moments of genuine grace and a winning lead performance by Ashley Bratcher. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
83/100 75% Hotel Mumbai (2019) Most movies are ultimately, like the people who watch them, prisoners of their times, and seeing Hotel Mumbai in the present moment was, for me, a genuinely depressing experience. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
89/100 91% Gloria Bell (2019) Gloria Bell is an understated, beautifully observed portrait of a woman on the verge of a well-earned takedown. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
78/100 38% Donnybrook (2019) If we're to judge a movie by how well a director succeeds at accomplishing what he set out to accomplish, then Donnybrook is at best a demonstration of [Tim] Sutton's technical abilities. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
83/100 No Score Yet The Least of the These: The Graham Staines Story (2019) While there's a certain obviousness to the plotting, and a necessary streamlining of knotty issues into easily digested factoids, for the most part The Least of These does a good job of communicating the selflessness of people like [Graham] Staines. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019
87/100 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) While there are some remarkable moments in the film, Stan & Ollie is a modest-feeling film that modulates within a fairly narrow band of warmth and generosity. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
83/100 82% Ben is Back (2018) Ben Is Back is watchable enough, thanks mostly to the performances of Roberts and Hedges, but it feels like a missed opportunity to explore a real and terrible zombie apocalypse, one that most Americans might recognize as a plausible horror. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
75/100 74% On the Basis of Sex (2019) Just because a movie pleasantly depicts a genuinely interesting and admirable figure in a positive light does not make it good, and we ought to be suspect of any history we think we glean from shallow soft-focus projects like this. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2019
88/100 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) This is a film that does not stoop or pander; it holds itself apart, magnificent and above the shabbiness of some of the characters. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
89/100 66% Vice (2018) Whatever your view of Cheney, Christian Bale's impersonation of him in Vice is almost certain to supplant it. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
87/100 61% Vox Lux (2018) Portman's performance is brave and hard to watch. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
90/100 94% Wildlife (2018) Dano and Kazan have deftly adapted a bittersweet, haunting work into a movie that retains the tone while bending the argument toward pragmatic feminism. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
87/100 60% The Front Runner (2018) What Jason Reitman's The Front Runner -- a quick, colorful sketch of the Hart affair that stars a well-cast Hugh Jackman as the candidate -- does very well is convey the confusion and pettiness that always surrounds national political campaigns. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
90/100 80% Boy Erased (2018) I can't think of a better ensemble in a recent film than the impeccable Kidman, Crowe, Hedges and Edgerton; the movie is extraordinarily well-cast, down to musician Flea's menacing sketch of an old convict-come-to-Jesus. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
89/100 99% The Tale (2018) While The Tale is a fictionalized version of Fox's story, it's not hard to believe a lot of conversations are recounted verbatim. Some things are unforgettable. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
87/100 87% Colette (2018) Colette was, as they say, a pistol. Westmoreland and company do fine by her, as far as they go. It's not a knock to say this Colette feels like a prequel. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
91/100 95% Blaze (2018) While it's easy to be cynical about things like this, Blaze seems to genuinely come from a place of love. It doesn't presume to know the answer to its central question: Do you have to blow off everything to not be a hack? - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2018
89/100 85% The Wife (2018) While the whole production is intelligent and sparkly, the plot creaks a bit beneath the weight of its hardly original conceit. But guessing it doesn't spoil the fun. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
83/100 60% Operation Finale (2018) Operation Finale hits all the usual beats, and will therefore reassure a lot of moviegoers, but it avoids every opportunity to delve beneath the surface. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2018
87/100 76% Never Goin' Back (2018) You don't often see these characters on screen -- young, financially embarrassed but unashamed women determined to seek their hedonistic bliss while taking neither guff nor notes from the menfolk. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
85/100 83% Puzzle (2018) There is sadness in it, but not tragedy, and uplift, but not exactly triumph. Some people will find it underwhelming. But it is tender and humane and offers a couple of fine, quiet performances. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
86/100 91% Eating Animals (2018) Anyone who has ever had a relationship with an animal will be given pause by the film, and it might lead more of us to consider the moral cost of our supper. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
67/100 No Score Yet Death of a Nation (2018) There's a shamelessness at work here that's frightening, and one can't help but wonder if D'Souza believes some of the nonsense he's retailing or if he's just discovered a lucrative revenue stream. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
90/100 100% Leave No Trace (2018) Granik is generous but unsentimental; allowing every character, no matter how minor or briefly glimpsed, a measure of dignity. No one -- not even a leotarded Christian dance troupe called For Your Glory -- is made to seem ridiculous. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2018
87/100 89% American Animals (2018) It doesn't quite work all the time, but give Layton credit for understanding the essential selfishness of his characters' actions and for crediting the real terror and damage they dealt out. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
87/100 67% The Seagull (2018) This Seagull might be best enjoyed by audiences blissfully ignorant of the play, its freighted history and undeniable significance. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2018
87/100 No Score Yet The Organizer (2017) If the documentary occasionally veers close to hagiography, even staunch opponents of Rathke's politics are likely to concede his authentic concern for the poor. It's an impressive testament to an impressive figure. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2018
88/100 95% RBG (2018) Even if you disagree with Ginsburg's politics, the film suggests, you're likely to find her gracious, intelligent and difficult to dislike. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2018
88/100 82% Pope Francis - A Man of His Word (2018) Wenders is obviously deeply impressed with Francis' integrity and warmth of spirit. It's difficult to see how anyone who watches this film won't be too. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2018
89/100 82% Beirut (2018) This is a smart and substantive film, well worth the attention of fans of John le Carre and Graham Greene. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2018
79/100 37% The Leisure Seeker (2018) The Leisure Seeker is not particular satisfying or entertaining. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2018
89/100 96% The Death of Stalin (2018) [Steve] Buscemi is just brilliant as pragmatic Khrushchev. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2018
83/100 80% Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) [Paul] McGuigan allows his characters their dignity, and his actors the opportunity to suggest rich inner lives for their creations. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2018
85/100 71% Hostiles (2018) Sure, it's a bit ponderous and obvious. It curiously avoids giving Yellow Hawk and his people human traits. But I'm not sure it doesn't give audiences hungry for a Western exactly what they think they want. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2018
89/100 89% I, Tonya (2018) A surreal and sympathetic portrait of the Olympian skater. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2018
89/100 95% Call Me by Your Name (2018) Anyone who has had -- or has imagined -- a doomed youthful fling might be susceptible to this charming, bittersweet film. - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2018