Original-Cin's Scores

  • Movies
For 359 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 70% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 28% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 72
Highest review score: 100 Marriage Story
Lowest review score: 25 Little Italy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 359
359 movie reviews
  1. To put Uncorked in wine terms, it’s not complex, but only a philistine would dismiss what’s easy and pleasing as flawed.
  2. While I already miss the experience of seeing these films in a theatre, Vivarium does evoke TV precedents, most notably Twilight Zone in the cleanness of its premise and the parsing out of dark details on a need-to-know basis.
  3. It's always presumptuous to refer to a slice of history as "little known" simply because you didn't know about it, but it's probably safe to say that Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution — a rousing look at disability rights — will tell a new story to a lot of people.
  4. The lack of clear identification of interview subjects and amorphous shape of the film can be frustrating. A segment on the history of book-burning, for example, feels gratuitous but, for the record, everyone in the film is against it.
  5. While you can admire the “House of Mirrors” structure of The Whistlers and its ironic mix of glum and glamorous, there is little emotional purchase here. This is a flatter, more arch experience than Porumboiu’s devastatingly absurd earlier films, and the entire exercise feels more about ingenuity than art.
  6. Some movies deal with the settling of the American West as mythic. And then there are films like writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, which strips it down to its basics for a more human scale and poetic vision of the Western era.
  7. Self-assured kid actor Coleman and the always-funny Schaal give My Spy some personality, but can we please retire this worn-out idea?
  8. Within the frame of an old-fashioned stab-and-splatter exploitation flick, The Hunt is consistently smartish.
  9. The inexorable pace of this marital disintegration is masterfully dictated by its leads, Nighy (whose granite expression remains fairly unchanged whether unhappy with Grace or newly-alive with his new love) and Bening (without whose energy there would be no movie).
  10. It would be swell if there was a way of describing Bloodshot that unscrambled its plot while making it sound staggeringly cool but… well, we can’t all be superheroes. Neat effects though, which maybe are the most important thing in a sci-fi actioner?
  11. The mostly non-professional cast do a credible job of depicting a family growing progressively more anxious under increasing pressure.
  12. It means well, but Greed fails to locate the heart of the fast-fashion calamity, instead spotlighting the grotesqueness of the one percent at the expense of everyone else.
  13. Let it be known that The Way Back – in which Ben Affleck plays a drunk who once walked away from basketball glory and is offered a chance at redemption when his old coach has a heart attack – is possibly the most melancholy sports movie ever made.
  14. I’m not sure why director Ricky Tollman would take a real story that practically writes itself and write something else. It’s hard to follow what he’s trying to say with Run This Town, but it’s said awkwardly, without much regard to reality. The cast are all engaging and terrifically talented. But the story they’re given is a narrative straitjacket that even the best actors couldn’t save.
  15. Despite evoking a lot of previous pop-cultural touchstones (including Harry Potter, Shrek and even Weekend at Bernie’s), the nerd-minded, fast-moving Onward has wit, eye-catching anachronisms and imaginative actio
  16. It’s not so much whether The Jesus Rolls fails. It does, but how much it fails depends on how amped up your expectations are going into the movie.
  17. As much a showcase for Kristen Stewart and the fabulous frocks of the 1960s as a glimpse at a very low moment in U.S. governmental history, Seberg is an entertaining if simplistic drama that would have benefited from more grit and less gloss.
  18. Beanpole makes you feel its two-hour-plus running time, with drawn-out scenes full of off-centre framing and claustrophobic close-ups, but there’s an exhilaration in the audacity of the filmmaking, as the boldness of its portrayal of the survival drive.
  19. It’s a rare thing to see a movie about failure that a) is plays like a gentle rom com, and b) is not about utter neurosis. But Standing Up, Falling Down is a small sweet, slightly flawed movie that is both of those things.
  20. There’s enough of Austen’s generous social vision and her character-revealing dialogue to make this watchable but Emma. takes a long time to connect emotionally.
  21. Middleton plays Abby with a pleasing note of vulnerability that is often supplanted by a nagging anticipation she’ll tip off the edge. She and Gross have smooth chemistry as estranged sisters.
  22. The Call of the Wild is aiming to be an old-fashioned adventure movie for family viewing, and it delivers the requisite big warm cinematic hug. And more than being the story of a dog finding his inner wolf and fulfilling his destiny, it’s also an homage to the natural world. And that, wrapped in the adventures of a dog, is a pretty wonderful thing.
  23. Suffice to say, this is all getting explained when scary things could actually be happening. My “FUN-tasy” throughout was that the credits would roll.
  24. This isn’t a film that suddenly bursts out at you. Sciamma, like her characters, works by restraining everything. She doesn’t rush the story or focus on a building sense of hunger or passion. The title notwithstanding, the movie is a slow burn, not a fire.
  25. Rabid is a suitable entry into the science-fiction/horror genre that occasionally slants towards the promise of offering something more. And while the film’s science-fiction/horror elements don’t disappoint, the promise of something more doesn’t quite pull through.
  26. A compact drama with outsize emotional heft, The Assistant is propelled as much by what it doesn’t show as what it does.
  27. A solid, if not revelatory portrait of contemporary Russia through the story of exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
  28. The Traitor is a pleasure to watch. Working with cinematographer Vladan Radovic, Bellocchio blends sweeping camera work and flurries of action with painterly lighting and often ironic musical cues. The story itself is somewhat over-stuffed — the time-jumping narrative (Bellochio and three other writers are credited) and an onscreen counter of murder victims — but this is still a welcome chance to see a great old school European auteur at work.
  29. This is not art, it’s not brooding, it doesn’t offer any relevant commentary, it’s not even a refreshingly feminist take on an overtly masculine saturated movie-industry. It’s a loud, sometimes disjointed, mildly convoluted, ultra-violent comic-book adventure that moves at a break-neck speed. And, if you stick with it, it’s loads of fun.
  30. What starts out as a promising comic thriller deflates quickly as it becomes clear we’re just here for the gore.
  31. At an hour and a half, Gretel and Hansel shouldn’t be a slog. But at a certain point in the last act, it definitely labours for its chills - and all that feasting eventually leaves the audience more hungry than scared.
  32. We’re gripped by the tension of Greene’s tautly calibrated performance, as a mother performing a daily high-wire act, trying to keep her family together and her children from harm.
  33. The Rhythm Section is especially disappointing given its strong cast in front of and behind the scenes and its obvious ambition to rise above a paint-by-numbers action film with a somewhat relatable protagonist.
  34. The movie looks pretty good, given that it’s small budget effort, and it achieves a sense of tension. But beyond that, the result is frustrating.
  35. The Last Full Measure stands as a fascinating document of how truly messed up every aspect of the Vietnam War was. It’s also a touching if occasionally syrupy rumination on the nature and provenance of valor.
  36. The film improves in the dramatic final reel, as Quezon struggles to complete his task while facing the heartbreaking task of cutting the refugee list after pushback on visas, refugee quota increases and exit permits.
  37. The subject alone should ensure that it gets lots of attention from film reviewers and despite a jumpy, hodge-podge style, should be generally enjoyable to anyone interested in the seductive, contentious cultural phenomenon of The New Yorker’s famous critic.
  38. Les Miserables is an intense ride, a gripping action-filled police procedural that leaves you with grappling with social issues and youth when the movie ends.
  39. Reservations aside, Clemency has moments of shivering gravity. Almost all of them involve complex emotions registered in Woodard’s extraordinary face, her dignified resistance to a turmoil of emotions within her, and her agonized need for forgiveness.
  40. Ritchie is looking back to the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and RocknRolla roots as if nothing has changed since. The Gentlemen is simply those movies with extra everything except inspiration. And sometimes more is less.
  41. There are scenes of explosions, gangland killings, car chases, and more explosions. Still, the film strives to be more than just a mesh of Bay-inspired blow-ups and easy to reach jokes.
  42. A family movie with lots of CGI-talking animals and star Robert Downey Jr. hiding his charisma, Dolittle is a tiresomely chaotic concoction.
  43. The film is kinetic and elliptical, with clips from different eras juxtaposed in panels, moving back to a single frame of dancers’ feet, or artfully posed in instants of euphoria. This is a film that makes you want to absorb the language of dance or, at least, immerse yourself in more Merce, which makes this an exemplary introduction to a major twentieth century artist.
  44. Apart from the overall endorsement of women’s friendships — and the credible warmth between the two likeable stars — the script’s feminist message is hopelessly muddled.
  45. A dull piece of off-season horror flotsam, Underwater suffers from two kinds of genetic drift. It is the umpteenth movie about messing with the ocean bottom (DeepStar Six, Leviathan, The Meg, etc.), where, apparently, there be dragons rather than blind albino shrimp...It is also the latest, and most blatant, of God-knows-how-many Alien rip-offs that have taken up space in the multiplex in one critic’s lifetime.
  46. The project is a unique social experiment which we can all participate in, in a way, dipping back in time to connect with old acquaintances and, inevitably, measuring our own ups and downs in the interval.
  47. Bombshell is recommended; it’s a fun watch, often surprisingly funny, and snappily directed by Jay Roach (Trumbo, Dinner for Schmucks). Plus, it’s always entertaining to see actors summon well-known real people in a persuasive way. But given what it is and the climate it’s arriving into, it could have been so much more.
  48. Terrence Malick’s latest, A Hidden Life, is one of the year’s most ambitious films and an arguable masterpiece, though, admittedly, your receptivity to it depends on your capacity to experience three solemn hours of waving fields of wheat, theology and Nazi cruelty. c
  49. Sadly, despite the film’s gallant efforts, I am forced to join the ranks of the naysayers. In the end, I did find that the CGI effects were as creepy as they are impressive, and there were more failed numbers than there were successful ones.
  50. A stylish melodrama and feminist lament.
  51. The pieces are there for a profound piece of work, and The Song of Names’ high points are worth the occasional narrative slog.
  52. It’s impossible to overstate the immersive feel and psychological sway of 1917; Mendes inhabits those god-forsaken trenches in ways that are palpable, bringing the stink, filth, claustrophobia, and gallows humour to bear with stunning resonance.
  53. Uncut Gems is a heart-pounding sprint of a movie, a two-hour anxiety attack, anchored by a tour de force performance by Adam Sandler.
  54. It’s enough to know that Gerwig directs romance in a similar way that Tarantino directs violence. The romance—like Tarantino’s violence—comes in large sweeping gestures turning in on itself before pulling out again. It’s all so authentically cinematic that some of it seem surreal.
  55. To quote Bill Murray’s song again, “Star Wars/ those near and far wars” checks the boxes of a lot of the audience’s base, while seeming unburdened by real gravity.
  56. As stark a manifesto against rush-to-judgment as his story is, one can’t help but think how much worse Richard Jewell’s ordeal would have been in a social media-driven world.
  57. Overblown, outrageous, exceedingly (at times giddily) violent and visually exhausting — does any of this sounds familiar? — the film is, to borrow a hackneyed phrase which somehow seems appropriate in this context, all sizzle and no steak.
  58. Jumanji: The Next Level is a diverting disappointment that does something I don’t think I’ve seen a film do before: It’s an unnecessary two-hour film that struggles for the first 90 minutes, only to find itself in the last 30. But I suppose that’s what we should expect from a film where unexpected inversion is its strongest ploy.
  59. While Dark Waters is something of a let-down for a Haynes film, it’s otherwise sturdy enough. One can admire the commitment of Ruffalo, who plays the role of the modest, decent, semi-accidental hero without vanity or trite psychology.
  60. Charm, humanity and a passel of filmmaking insights are all here, rewarding both the dedicated fans and newcomers to Varda, who achieved a new level of public profile in her last decade.
  61. The horror in the film can be as equally as subtle as the humour—it is easy to miss both.
  62. Despite its virtues and intriguingly complicated morality, Queen & Slim never rises above its initial premise which is so not credible that it hoovers all ensuing tension from the rest of the film. Ridiculous can’t sustain a two hour–plus running time, and the stronger the filmmakers stick with their fire-breathing idea, the more frustrating Queen & Slim becomes, stomping out any connection to a reality most of us would recognize.
  63. The very opposite of kinetic, director Fernando Meirelles’ (City of God) The Two Popes is a slow-moving, ruminative, dialog-driven think piece set to film which might enjoy a successful second life as a stage production, and might actually be better served by that forum.
  64. Knives Out is a charming and wonderfully crafted whodunnit that, despite the inevitable presence of a dead body, plays like a warm and cozy antidote to the winter chills.
  65. Banks is good at handling the action sequences; they are genuinely fun and well-executed, and Stewart gives the movie one of its better performances as Sabina, the unfiltered, bad-ass Angel. Sadly, Scotts’ turn as Elena, the adorable, somewhat blundering Angel is less affective, edging close to annoying.
  66. A magic realist fantasy, a ghost story, a love story and political allegory, Atlantics packs a deceptive amount of complexity in a gauzy, slender film.
  67. This is the sort of film that will divide audiences between those who will have their hearts torn out… and those who will want to tear out their hair.
  68. What makes Marriage Story so profound and affecting is its tenderness. Although there are points where one character’s choices puts the other into serious difficulty, Baumbach doesn’t demonize Charlie or Nicole, and never ever asks us to judge either of them.
  69. There are some very funny lines in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, much of it predicated on the outwardly ludicrous meeting of profound cynicism and hope. Lloyd’s character arc is well handled by Rhys (The Americans), and the denouement is one only a Scrooge could call humbug.
  70. There’s a lot of dubious explaining in the last act, a sure sign that a movie hasn’t done a very good job explaining itself.
  71. The film is gentle, subtle, patient and wholly authentic. What makes it essential is not only in its ability to create a drama that’s real, harrowing, haunting, and hopeful but in its ability to keep playing in our heart long after it’s over.
  72. A preposterous mess of romance-with-secrets, generations-old closet skeletons and revenge, The Good Liar is the kind of fragrant dramatic cheese that Sidney Sheldon would have squeezed an ‘80s network mini-series out of. But the never-before-paired screen couple of Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren consume this cheese like so much scenery. There’s nothing like actors with gravitas slumming, all bemused smiles and droll delivery, even as the material descends clunkily into unintentional comedy.
  73. It’s on the track where it finds traction. The events of the various races, reflected on the faces of characters whose lives revolve around the outcome, tell a story all by themselves.
  74. The Cave may be the saddest, most infuriating chronicle of the ghastly ravages of war on a country’s most vulnerable citizens —children — ever made.
  75. Synonyms free-wheeling episodic structure can grow a tad wearying, but Mercier’s aggressively kinetic performance and Lapid’s take-no-prisoners dismantling of the Israeli macho mystique — or French hypocritical superiority — are, in the best way, outrageous.
  76. On the sliding scale of war movies, Emmerich’s Midway is obviously no prestige film like The Hurt Locker or Saving Private Ryan. It belongs more to the school of the original Midway, with Tora! Tora! Tora! as its exemplar. Tell the story of a battle, offer up some sketched-out characters, played with aplomb, add a dash of soap opera and fire when ready. On that scale, for what it’s worth, Midway is a much more solid piece of entertainment than the Pearl Harbor directed by Emmerich’s fellow master-of-disaster Michael Bay.
  77. The result is a work stiff with pointed talk and chance encounters, little of which feels original. The acting, while variable, often has a stilted, recitative quality, as if the characters, rather than family members, recently met at a script readings.
  78. This is some of De Niro’s most moving work in years. His performance full of anxious misfit energy, where his often-parodied grimaces, tics and haunted gaze feel entirely correct.
  79. In some reality where it came without baggage – and where it didn’t have to be a bloated two-and-a-half hours to accommodate its relationship to a classic – Doctor Sleep could stand on its own as a decently stylish popcorn thriller.
  80. At times, it feels more like an elevated made-for-television movie. In spite of this, the film is affecting and moving. The formidable British actress Cynthia Erivo does great work here. The script doesn’t give her much range, but Erivo gives us a woman whose determination and humanity shines, presenting a hero for her age… and ours.
  81. A decent, fast-moving nod to the spirit that originally made the Terminator movies a permanent part of pop culture.
  82. In evocative and understatedly emotional scenes, carried out with a mature grace by Banderas, we come to a connection of how we get where we are, and what holds us back from what we dream of becoming.
  83. A work of sublime sweetness and beauty.
  84. It’s bonkers and a hell of a film. And even better, with The Lighthouse, Eggers establishes that he’s more than a one trick pony. He’s a true original, auteur and clever filmmaker who isn’t interested in pandering.
  85. A good script can sometimes be held hostage by the performances. Harpoon relies heavily on the strength of its three leads to carry not only the film's suspense but also the characters’ internal hypocrisy. The leads here do not let the script down.
  86. As entertained as the audience is throughout, you don’t leave the theatre undisturbed.
  87. What redeems The King, beyond the excellent performances, is the way the film gets around to asking questions about making war. Why go to war and who benefits is part of the story here, which leaves it in an interesting place.
  88. Norwegian director Joachim Rønning (who co-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) offers nothing unexpected here, in what amounts to a complicated exercise in paint-by-numbers movie-making.
  89. Ozon’s film evolves less as a procedural story than a character study.
  90. There isn’t a moment in Zombieland: Double Tap that takes itself the least bit seriously. The gags often seem made up as it goes along, but they have a high “hit” ratio and the looseness of the whole affair means there’s no pressure to impress.
  91. A conceptual mess if a somewhat engaging one.
  92. As the movie flips through familiar Bourne/Bond tropes, the dialogue by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke, feels clichéd to the point of parody, with lines like “It’s like The Hindenburg crashed into The Titanic!” Or, “I think I know why he’s as good as you. He is you!” Only, let’s be honest, not as good.
  93. This is one of those animated features that veers way towards adult references for the parents in the room, while creating occasional mayhem in the pursuit of short-attention-span theatre. The latter fails.
  94. For the fans, Us + Them offers a meticulously constructed concert experience for a fraction of the price of a live ticket and a chance to join a chorus in yelling back at the TV. For the casually curious, be forewarned: While Waters still burns with righteous zeal, at an often repetitious 135 minutes, the film will leave your backside feeling uncomfortably numb.
  95. Tyrnauer’s film doesn’t seem to trust its material enough to allow the power of the stories to unfold without a constant hammering of a B-level-journalism music soundtrack — the kind best-suited for tabloid news programs. And the film’s unwavering criticism of Cohn (however warranted it might be) reduces an otherwise gripping biographical story into a sensationalized television-ready expose.
  96. Sometimes, the script is very funny; always, it tries too hard to please; and it never lets you forget that it has been calculated down to a smirk and a teardrop.
  97. The Laundromat consistently feels as if it’s intended to be funnier or more poignant than it actually is.
  98. Joker has what may be the best lead performance of the year, but it is not for the faint of heart. Director Todd Phillips digs deep into the shadow side of society for one of the darkest movies in recent memory.
  99. Typical of a certain kind of Sundance feelie comedy, Before You Know It is both promising and exasperating enough you’ll probably leave the cinema thinking of ways it could be improved.
  100. For all its hallowed movie references, and despite the pride Zeroville takes in its weirdness, it just might be a movie too strange for its good.

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