Wall Street Journal

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
An American Pickle (2020) John Anderson It has some savvy things to say about social media, assimilation and a specifically American condition: the peculiar mix of embarrassment and pride (and guilt) one can harbor about one's ethnic origins. EDIT
Posted Aug 5, 2020
The Girl (2012) Nancy DeWolf Smith That director Julian Jarrold (with screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes) has filmed an original masterpiece that pays tribute to Hitchcock's talent and vision is a miracle worth celebrating. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2020
Black Is King (2020) Mark Richardson The settings and costumes are gorgeous, the dancing is virtuosic, and the music is good to great, so it's easy to get lost in "Black Is King." EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2020
Summerland (2020) Joe Morgenstern Ms. Arterton gets to play a few scenes worthy of her art before the film turns into a milking machine designed to wring feelings from a link between past and present that, once again, amounts to a construct. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Rebuilding Paradise (2020) Joe Morgenstern Mr. Howard wants us to know that greater challenges lie ahead... Yet his documentary also dramatizes the resilience and resourcefulness we can bring to bear in meeting them. Calamity, the film says, isn't destiny. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
The Weight of Gold (2020) John Anderson A story that needed to be told, about a subject that the athletes seem not just happy but relieved to be able to share. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2020
Temple Grandin (2010) Dorothy Rabinowitz So completely does [Claire Danes] capture her subject's hard-learned speech, the genderless stride, the flashes of terror and brilliance and, occasionally, radiant joy, that it's impossible to find a trace of the actor beneath EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2020
Radioactive (2019) Joe Morgenstern No one can say Radioactive takes a narrow, or sanitized, view of its subject, but the fallout from this expansiveness is incoherence. EDIT
Posted Jul 23, 2020
Father Soldier Son (2020) Joe Morgenstern It's research of a profoundly affecting kind -- a study of love and devotion, and the toll taken by machine-gun bullets on a body, a gallant spirit and a family. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2020
The Painted Bird (2019) Joe Morgenstern I must admit that staying with the film required steady purpose, but the experience, far from being numbing, was spellbinding. By the end there was no distance between me and the boy. I could see him thinking. EDIT
Posted Jul 17, 2020
Relic (2020) Joe Morgenstern First-time filmmaker or no, Ms. James directs actors expertly, and has a fine cast to work with. What's more -- and it's a lot more -- she and her writing partner, Mr. White, have a gift for resonant ambiguity. EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2020
Greyhound (2020) Joe Morgenstern Repetitive though still absorbing dramatically... Parts of the drama play out on its star's face, and they're the best parts, because there's no one better at portraying a good man's self-doubts and a frightened man's courage. EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2020
Palm Springs (2020) John Anderson Worry not. Sarah and Nyles are stuck in time, but screenwriter Andy Siara does inventive things with their cosmic staycation. EDIT
Posted Jul 9, 2020
The Old Guard (2020) Joe Morgenstern Through it all Ms. Theron makes the fragrant nonsense believable; more than that, she makes it affecting-the physical combat as well as the drama. EDIT
Posted Jul 3, 2020
Hamilton (2020) John Anderson How does it play? With the same verbal and musical fireworks as the stage version, and with the same emotional kick, which is rooted in the casting. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2020
The Audition (2020) Joe Morgenstern A treat that becomes a chilling enthrallment, one of those closely observed dramas you love -- for its intimacy, calm authority and mystery -- even before you begin to get what it's really about. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2020
Irresistible (2020) Joe Morgenstern Mr. Stewart is nobody's bumpkin when it comes to dumb stereotypes. Still, the scheme of his script requires them, and they aren't all that amusing, even in retrospect. EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2020
Sometimes Always Never (2018) Joe Morgenstern What the film does sustain, and quite remarkably, considering its serious theme, is a delicately comic tone. That's due in large measure to the screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2020
Babyteeth (2019) Joe Morgenstern Moments come along, not just a few but many, that stop your heart, leave you grinning with delight or watching breathlessly. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2020
() John Anderson The playing is generally astounding, and that alone makes for an enriching hour of public television. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2020
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (2019) Sophie Gilbert If the movie tends to dart around Cohn as a subject rather than fully expose him, it captures in emotional detail the enduring chaos and grief he inflicted on others. EDIT
Posted Jun 18, 2020
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (2019) John Anderson Anyone expecting some kind of righteously indignant, stentorian rant from Ms. Meeropol will be disappointed. In fact, she does something far more surgical: She makes Cohn ridiculous. She makes him close to an object of pity. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2020
The King of Staten Island (2020) Joe Morgenstern The content can be raw, sometimes startling, but before and after everything else the film is hilarious, and constitutes a cockeyed pantheon of comic performances. On top of that it is beautiful. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2020
Da 5 Bloods (2020) Joe Morgenstern Never has a movie matched its moment more remarkably than Da 5 Bloods, an explosive, eloquent cry of black anguish and anger for this seismic season. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2020
Be Water (2020) John Anderson For the most part, it's a very entertaining documentary, but one with curious holes in its history. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2020
Judy & Punch (2019) Joe Morgenstern Sometimes a movie is so blithely misconceived that all you can do is smile, then wonder how it got made. And be pleased it got made. Where's the harm? Talented people put it together and it looks like they had fun in the process. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2020
Shirley (2020) Joe Morgenstern Earns an A for ambition but a grade average lowered by prolixity, pomposity, murky complexity and an excess of perversity. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2020
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (2020) John Anderson Does the viewer care about the evolution, mechanics and process of free-style rapping? Perhaps not, but it's hard not to be impressed, if not awed, by the spontaneous invention exhibited. EDIT
Posted Jun 4, 2020
Cinema Verite (2011) Dorothy Rabinowitz A film that ends up packing an emotional punch that's as surprising as it is eloquent. EDIT
Posted Jun 3, 2020
Spelling the Dream (2020) John Anderson Some of the analysis seems dead on... Spelling the Dream is not all about camera-wary kids not looking into the lens, though there's a fair amount of that EDIT
Posted Jun 3, 2020
Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012) Dorothy Rabinowitz That this rich, impressively ambitious film says far more about Martha Gellhorn than about Ernest Hemingway was inevitable. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2020
Viral: Anti-Semitism in Four Mutations (2020) Dorothy Rabinowitz A riveting study, if one notably unbalanced with regard to one country. EDIT
Posted May 28, 2020
Tell Me Who I Am (2019) Joe Morgenstern An intriguing documentary about twin brothers, amnesia and a filmmaker functioning as a therapist of last resort. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2020
() John Anderson In this cutting-edge example of Lifetime holiday programming, the former Ms. Bobbitt (now Lorena Gallo) appears on screen not so much narrating as annotating the story playing out, which is always dire and often harrowing. EDIT
Posted May 21, 2020
The Trip to Greece (2020) Joe Morgenstern The joy for me, or the steady-state enjoyment that occasionally rises to joy, is the far-ranging, free-associating quality of Rob's and Steve's riffs, and, most deliciously, their wizardly impressions. EDIT
Posted May 21, 2020
The Painter and the Thief (2020) Joe Morgenstern The beauty of the film lies in the bond she forges with one of the thieves... The relationship between Barbora and Bertil, as she calls him, grows on camera from improbable friendship to spiritual love. EDIT
Posted May 21, 2020
Capone (2020) Joe Morgenstern Mr. Hardy does have a few sensationally lurid moments, but the stuff of high drama isn't there... What a waste, and what a downer for Mr. Trank. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2020
Saint Frances (2019) Joe Morgenstern The feminism comes with wry twists in a film that's alive at every moment to the meaning of family in all its configurations, and to the self-doubts, uncertainties, and joys of growing up female. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
War, Inc. (2008) Joe Morgenstern Surrounded by sententiousness and self-preening, Marisa Tomei manages to play a skeptical journalist with easy charm, but her efforts are doomed by the movie's ceaseless barrage of dumb bombs. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
Rewind (2019) Joe Morgenstern Rewind is the adult Sasha's film, a harrowing but enthralling documentary feature that explores his family archive in order to understand the recurring sexual abuse that blighted his childhood. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
The Infiltrators (2019) Joe Morgenstern The film advances no policies of its own. What it does best is connect human faces to dehumanized places we'd rather not think about. EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2020
Deerskin (2019) Joe Morgenstern Quentin Dupieux's glum absurdist fable gives absurdism a bad name. It's a facile notion inflated to feature proportions. EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2020
The Rat Pack (1998) Barbara D. Phillips Kario Salem's screenplay and Rob Cohen's direction seem aimed at the so-called Martini Nation, twentysomethings whose grasp of cool style and slick surface is a lot stronger than that of history. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Bad Education (2019) John Anderson It's a delicate and memorable performance by Mr. Jackman. Ms. Janney does the whole Long Island thing as well as anyone ever has. The most resonant character, though, might be Rachel, whom Ms. Viswanathan imbues with the indignation of youth. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2020
() Joe Morgenstern People can indeed live at war with themselves and not know it. Here's a case of great things happening once peace is declared. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2020
To the Stars (2019) Joe Morgenstern The filmmakers' purpose is clear -- to portray the implacable prejudice of the time. But the tenderness and humor of the two girls' friendship, and the poetry of Maggie's pretensions, can't compete with the grotesque grimness of later developments. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2020
The Story of Plastic (2019) John Anderson The message one takes away here, strangely perhaps, is that a giant problem really will be resolved through the smallest gestures. EDIT
Posted Apr 22, 2020
Sergio (2020) Joe Morgenstern Sergio, a Netflix docudrama directed by Greg Barker from a banal screenplay by Craig Borten, catches flashes of his brilliance from time to time but scatters and dims them through a mosaic structure that's ultimately no structure at all. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2020
Selah and the Spades (2019) Joe Morgenstern The film is funny and astute on the boundless self-seriousness of adolescence, and a formidable start for Ms. Poe's career. Here's looking to her for the next one. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2020
Abe (2019) Joe Morgenstern Abe is one of those movies that come on unheralded and leave you in a state of pleasant surprise. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2020