Richard von Busack

Richard von Busack
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Born in Los Angeles, von Busack attended school at UC Santa Cruz and went on to be the lead film critic at Metro Newspapers, the Silicon Valley-based chain of weeklies.
Favorites:
This year it was: Late Marriage, Spider-Man, World Traveller, Y Tu Mama Tambien...
Location: East of the San Francisco Bay

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
97% Marriage Story (2019) Baumbach finds new depths in his performers, in the wounded, frightened side in Driver, and the macho side in Johansson; she's quite small, but formidable in a boy's haircut and trousers. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
97% Knives Out (2019) Knives Out is Thanksgiving entertainment for those seething at their relatives over the turkey carcass. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) Pain and Glory is like getting a letter from Almodovar, but what's here is not all in words. He may not quite be the last filmmaker left who understands the power of color, but his eye has little equal; he notices the harmony of colors. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
97% The Irishman (2019) This movie about the ashes of crime is Scorsese at his sharpest and most feeling. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
66% The Good Liar (2019) Happily, Bill Condon's The Good Liar rejoices in old age's boundless capacity for treachery -- a senior citizen's dirty avidity for just one more piece of pie. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
77% Doctor Sleep (2019) Flanagan hardly needed to revisit this familiar house of horrors when the story he's telling was already a highly satisfactory horror movie: a bonbon for those of us who haunt theaters and suck up other people's suffering. - Pacific Sun (San Rafael, CA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
86% Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019) Prosecutorial as it is, Matt Tyrnauer shows us the weirdly whimsical side of the man... I guess even river scum must have professional courtesy. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) [An] elegantly turned if sometimes episodic comedy. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Dolemite is My Name is great fun, despite the way it disgruntles the serious Rudy Ray Moore fan. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Nihilism and the movie's referential mania wear you out. There wasn't enough energy in the first Zombieland to channel into a sequel, and there was little left undone. - Good Times Santa Cruz EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
91% El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) This is tense and authentically tough, but not on its own wavelength, like David Lynch's brilliant sidebar to Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me. El Camino doesn't stand alone. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
69% Joker (2019) Phoenix's maniac is never boring, always finding new layers of anguish; it's even remarkable what he does with the cigarettes he chain smokes. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
100% Chulas Fronteras (1976) Despite the exuberance of the beat, Chulas Fronteras doesn't neglect the political side of life. Key to this film is the problem of crossing a line that, as Octavio Paz wrote, is not a border, but a scar. - North Bay Bohemian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
64% The Sound of Silence (2019) The Sound of Silence is a thoughtful film, though; Sarsgaard is convincingly enigmatic, and observe how good Jones is in this mode, in which her mirth is restrained to a bare minimum. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
83% Judy (2019) There's a word for a lot of Judy, and that word is schmaltz; I preferred the previous arrangement where she'd sing "Over the Rainbow" and we'd cry, rather than the role reversal here. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
84% Ad Astra (2019) The lost-father drama can be tedious in the deftest hands. But this time, the celestial backdrop adds some allegorical freshness to the subject. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2019
24% The Goldfinch (2019) Mostly the film copies Dickens' approach to mysterious bequests, lifelong guilt and sudden reversals of fortune, in a sprawling tale that [director] John Crowley keeps engrossing, but never completely convincing. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
62% It Chapter Two (2019) What should feel like a slowly gathering evil that one cannot forestall arrives with the inevitability of a mandatory sequel. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
43% After the Wedding (2019) After the Wedding defeats Moore, yet she gives this stodgy adoption-melodrama a good fight, with sudden surprising moves and pivots. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
99% Honeyland (2019) Hatidze trusted the filmmakers. Perhaps she was unclear on the concept of what movies are, living as she does in a stone-floored house without electricity or plumbing. And Kotevska and Stefanov honored Hatidze. - North Bay Bohemian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
86% The Nightingale (2019) The problem with so many of these films is their insistence on graphic depictions of sexual violence -- as if viewers couldn't possibly imagine being overpowered and taken by force. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) It is a bit gooshy, with a baptism by a profane junkyard reverend and a magical realist moment of triumph. Still, the Outer Banks waterscapes make The Peanut Butter Falcon funky and appealingly summery. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
79% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) The cast are far more than the usual cyphers fed to the meat grinder, and there is a sense of loss in almost every supernatural attack. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
99% The Farewell (2019) Shao is a heartening grandma with a lot of salt to her... She's a figure anyone would love and grieve for, but it's Awkwafina as a young woman feeling like a stranger in both the East and the West, who keeps this story tantalizingly tense - Pacific Sun (San Rafael, CA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
87% The Great Hack (2019) I urge all to watch The Great Hack, and beware. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
87% The Great Hack (2019) I urge all to watch The Great Hack, and beware. - East Bay Express EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
No Score Yet Dave Attell: Captain Miserable (2007) Attell, a balding pudge with skeevy beard and friendly dark eyes, combines deeply pervy and palsy-walsy qualities in a way not seen since Telly Savalas went to that big casino in the sky. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) One feels less like reviewing Once Upon A Time in... Hollywood, and more like writing Quentin Tarantino a letter that begins, "Thank you for retrieving my lost city." - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
93% Sword of Trust (2019) A harmonious blend of mumblecore and screwball, Lynn Shelton's Sword of Trust touches both poles: nowheresville cinema-of-disappointment meets millionaire ex machina. Despite the ambling pace, here is the self-deception of frantic 1940s comedy. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
98% Maiden (2019) Stirring as Maiden is, it lacks all the Melvilleian tidbits that make for a detailed picture of a sea voyage. - Pacific Sun (San Rafael, CA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
91% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) Chester's film induces a rare tranquility with its rapturous images of wild creatures... The search for balance gives this film tension, and it's gratifying to see the old ways working. - North Bay Bohemian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) Digging in the style of an investigative reporter, Green creates a portrait of this pioneer in both her highly-paid success and later unhappiness... Happily, Green's intrepid research restores Guy-Blache to her rightful place in cinema history. - Pacific Sun (San Rafael, CA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) A beautifully made study of disillusionment and urban dispossession. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
60% Ophelia (2019) Without the dialogue, Hamlet is melodrama. You sort of ache to hear the actual lines instead of these Shakespeare for Dummies summaries. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
63% Child's Play (2019) The ghastliness isn't even vivid enough to be worrisome. We viewers are not impressionable blank slates like poor Chucky. Besides, current events tend to put one in the mood for a violent puppet show. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Toy Story 4 has the wings and claws of a great melodrama. Nobody today can drill into childhood trauma like Pixar. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The tone is like a New Yorker cartoon mocking a particularly bloody Goya painting; it's too cozy to be grisly. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
32% Shaft (2019) This catastrophic reboot insists that we won't know NYC detective John Shaft is a bad M.F. unless he talks about his magnum every six seconds. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
42% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) The actual battles are highly satisfactory, even if no one gets to shout, "Destroy all monsters!" - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
71% All Is True (2019) It's uneven but worthy work, with Branagh believable and vinegary as a man making amends. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
89% Rocketman (2019) Director Dexter Fletcher... bills this as a "true fantasy." The fiction may be upfront -- composite characters cannot sue -- but it's awfully familiar. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
60% Charlie Says (2019) Harron's film gets the milieu, the angle and the details right. To properly tell the story of the Manson gang, one needs a certain fellow feeling for the hippies. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
30% Red Joan (2019) It's too easy to say Dench is this film's only redeeming value, yet it's too difficult to try to find other good points about this stodgy romance. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Endgame didn't seem a moment too long, and there wasn't an awkward performance among its cast. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
83% High Life (2019) High Life has poetry, but it's awkward. After a long and distinguished career, this is Denis' first movie in English. Is there any reason, beyond increased ticket sales, that a director would cut off her tongue at age 70? - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
66% Peterloo (2019) The epic is kept at a distance throughout, from the continual stand-and-deliver speechifying to the oddly unfeeling way the reporter confers over the shambles... Peterloo addresses us as if we were a public meeting. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
90% Shazam! (2019) Mostly satisfying, often juvenile, Shazam! is a Christmas-in-Easter superhero origin story.... Ultimately, one wishes there had been more bounce and less grit. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
45% Mary Magdalene (2019) Phoenix's sensitivity overwhelms the callouses one has against the Greatest Story Ever etc... Against this mysterious poignancy, Mara seems a bit lost and underpowered. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
57% The Hummingbird Project (2019) We can count on an audience that likes to watch people work, an audience that will admire fast-talking hustlers, no matter what their grift. But eventually Nguyen plays softball with the conniving characters. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
47% Dumbo (2019) This film isn't Burton's worst, but it plays more like Spielberg doing kid-fodder with the help of Burton as production designer. The movie is a white elephant. - MetroActive EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019