For 49 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

John Semley's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Song to Song
Lowest review score: 0 The Greatest Showman
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 49
  2. Negative: 19 out of 49
49 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 John Semley
    Aster’s considerable discipline in matters of plot, acting, and exactingly manicured mise-en-scène resulted in a film that, for all its shocks and bravura performances, felt a little too controlled, as if its borderline braggadocious style was compensating for a lack of genuine terror.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    In its neediness to be liked, the new Shaft – the third of five films in the series to be titled, simply, Shaft – says everything and nothing.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 John Semley
    For its slightness and silliness, its concerns are grander. Here, the undead ghouls represent nothing but the cold prospect of death itself. “This isn’t gonna end well,” Driver’s omniscient copper keeps intoning. And it never does.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 25 John Semley
    A film so dull, flat, and totally joyless that, in the absence of anything compelling unfolding on screen, one’s mind may be forgiven for turning to the corporate machinations grinding behind it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    If there’s a glaring oversight in Hail Satan?, it’s in the film’s singular devotion to the Temple of Satan. There’s little-to-no mention of other Satanic cults.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    For the already faithful, believing in John’s miraculous recovery demands not a leap of faith, but a small hop. The film tells them absolutely nothing that they don’t already presume themselves to know. So what, then, is its point?
    • 71 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    That’s what Shazam!, and all these endless superhero action epics, amount to: hollow toys smashing against other hollow toys.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 John Semley
    All of which is to say that Dumbo feels totally consistent with Burton’s late-period slump. Abysmally scripted and hammily acted – and not, for the most part, in an interesting or ironic way – Dumbo recasts Disney’s animated classic in the trappings and suits of Burton’s pinstripe-and-pinwheel upholstery.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    Us
    Us is the work of a gifted director who seems to be compensating for having less to say by overstating how he says it.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 63 John Semley
    Viewed in the despairing environment of the big-budget sci-fi blockbuster, Alita is likely to find a cult of core fans drawn in by the persuasive digital animation, and pick-and-choose, smorgasbord world-building. In the longview, though, it’s likely to enjoy much the same fate as 2000s cine-technological milestone Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. And that, perhaps, is the ultimate case of damning with faint, highly relative praise.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 John Semley
    It’s a thoughtful, brainy, deeply considered and artful film that arouses the intellect and the passions and grapples with the problems of democracy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    In making the first DC superhero film in a long time to aspire to anything like levity, Wan finds a way to catalyze what might have been yet another dust-dry origin story. The secret? Just add water.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    Most refreshingly, Johnny English Strikes Again is the rare secret-agent film that feels wholly unself-conscious.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    The direction is similarly yearning; practically begging for admiration. A sequence in which Hemsworth swishes toward the camera, piece of pie in hand, grooving to the strains of Deep Purple’s Hush, is so desperate in its attempt to appear iconic that it becomes difficult to watch head-on.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 John Semley
    First Reformed may well be the ultimate auteur object for Schrader apostles. But ultimately its sheer archness reveals Paul Schrader as a gifted and deeply persuasive evangelist of the transcendental style – if not quite a canon saint.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 John Semley
    So where the hypocrisy, didacticism and inaction of previous popes righteously roused our anger and indignation, Francis stands as a palliative cure-all for anti-papal sentiment. Likewise, Wenders’s documentary seems to yearn to excite the viewer’s passion, to ignite a desire to take meaningful action against the very real social problems the Pope so clearly diagnoses.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    Even by Marvel’s own standards of serviceable mediocrity, Infinity War fails.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 John Semley
    Don't Talk to Irene feels rote and re-hashed, despite the strength of its central character and the ungainly charm of McLeod's performance. Watching Mills' film, one wishes it were as weird and wonderful as Irene herself. It's almost as if the writer/director doesn't realize how rare his own creation is.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 100 John Semley
    The 15:17 To Paris, like "Sully," "American Sniper" and (to a lesser extent) "Gran Torino" before it, combines such conceptions of late style: both harmonious and intransigent, resolute and difficult, defined by lively contradiction.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    The effect of watching these viral videos as a "movie" feels genuinely singular – suspending the viewer somewhere between reality and documentary, between the dash-mounted long takes of Abbas Kiarostami's "10" and the combustible vehicular carnage of Michael Bay's "The Island," between cinema and something else.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 0 John Semley
    It's an empty, moronic, pandering and utterly forgettable, low-rent "Moulin Rouge" that pays curious tribute to Barnum by similarly hailing its audience as slack-jawed rubes, slobbering for whatever passes as entertainment. It's godawful.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 John Semley
    It's a rare feat for a director whose films, from their muted humour and dated-seeming mise-en-scène, to their use of flat, unexpressive, Bressonian close-ups of characters, have always seemed weirdly outside of time.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    Like the film's punishingly gory set pieces, the storytelling itself is meaty.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    Loving Vincent is gorgeous. It's a film of immersive beauty.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 John Semley
    Rat Film is most compelling when it moves out of the history of Baltimore's civic-planning and pest-control schemes and settles on its denizens, both human and rodent.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    And that’s how Detroit unfolds: like a horror film. The film flattens its historical personages and its particularities of time-and-place into excruciating exploitation – somewhere between a Straw Dogs-style “survive the night” home invasion narrative, Milgram experiment moral problem play and racial torture porn.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 38 John Semley
    Nevertheless, as the sort of rote horror movie that’s fun to laugh at, The Recall has its moments.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 John Semley
    For a filmmaker who was frequently drawn back to the subject of suffering, and especially the anguish of the individual cast against the collective will of cruel, foolish authority, it’s a perfectly fitting farewell.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 John Semley
    There’s no doubt that the world needs more iconoclasts, whistle-blowers and anti-authoritarian rabble-rousers. But it deserves better than Julian Assange.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 100 John Semley
    Where Song to Song most distinguishes itself among Malick’s uniquely rich filmography is its abiding despair. It is his most pessimistic film since "Badlands."

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