Oct. 7, 2015

A Coming-of-Age Story for the Dustbin of History

'Ten Thousands Saints' is terrible

Barf The story, despite being convoluted, is entirely predictable. The characters are paper-thin, and everyone is an asshole.

Aug. 26, 2015 by David Riedel

Yawning for Fire

Yep, 'Digging for Fire' is standard white malaise fare

Barf I’m all for movies that mirror real life (or attempt to mirror real life), but Digging for Fire is so vapid I can only feel pity for the people who find it interesting.

Aug. 26, 2015 by David Riedel

Made for TV?

'A Murder in the Park' has a big-screen story but small-screen treatment

Barf This documentary has a can’t-miss story, but the filmmakers have hacked this film together as if it’s a true-crime doc on cable.

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel


It’s all glowers and dropped plot threads in 'Strangerland'

Barf This is a movie where people look sternly at each other for long periods of time and then shout, and then look sternly at each other again.

July 08, 2015 by David Riedel

People Suck, and So Does This Movie

Take heart; the Italians are as bad as the Americans if 'Human Capital' is proof

Barf If Human Capital is the kind of thing that’s supposed to pass for great foreign cinema these days, we’re all assuredly fucked.

Feb. 18, 2015 by David Riedel

Gobbledygook and Silliness

'Jupiter Ascending' is so, so bad

Barf Is it too early to declare the Jupiter Ascending the worst movie of 2015? Probably, but there's going to have to be some serious shit out there to compete with it.

Feb. 04, 2015 by David Riedel

Oh, Enough

Let’s hope 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' sits on its own sword

Barf The Battle of the 144 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back became the epitome of everything shitty about the 2014 movie year.

Dec. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

Eternal Vanity

'The Immortalists' could be fascinating, but its subjects aren’t

Barf The Immortalists takes an intriguing premise and squanders it with one of the least likable documentary subjects to ever grace the screen.

Dec. 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Piece. Of. Shit.

'Horrible Bosses 2' is so bad it defies comprehension

Barf There are four laughs in Horrible Bosses 2, but at 108 minutes, you deserve more than a laugh every 27 minutes.

Nov. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s 'Twister' Part 2!

'Into the Storm' is worse than bad; it’s boring

Barf Into the Storm is so similar to Jan de Bont’s mid-1990s unintentional larf-fest that one wonders how Warner Bros. isn’t suing itself.

Aug. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Not Enough Romance, Comedy, or Drama

Sleeping with Other People is a chore to get through

Meh What makes Sleeping with Other People rank above a “barf” rating is its willingness to explore the seamier sides of human interaction.

Sept. 30, 2015 by David Riedel

Better Deported than Red

'Jimmy’s Hall' has fine performances but a limp narrative

Meh Not that it matters, but Jimmy’s Hall is based on a true story, a 10-year chunk of real-life Irish Commie Jimmy Gralton’s existence; he’s infamous for being the only Irishman ever deported from Ireland.

Sept. 09, 2015 by David Riedel

Cold Inside

There are no big surprises in 'Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine'

Meh Alex Gibney spends two hours going through every rotten thing Steve Jobs did in his life, and that would be a revelation if all this information hadn’t been available when Jobs was alive.

Sept. 02, 2015 by David Riedel

Nouns Should Be More Interesting

'People Places Things' is flat

Meh People Places Things barely registers. It’s all so twee you’ll swear it’s a low-rent version of a Wes Anderson film.

Aug. 19, 2015 by David Riedel

This. Goddamn. Film Series.

It’s become Mission: Impossible to see an end to this nonsense

Meh Considering how little Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation cares about a coherent story, exciting action set pieces or jokes that aren’t eye-rollers, it’s worth noting that this film is the fifth in a series that has an uncharismatic lead and absolutely jack shit to contribute to the spy genre.

July 31, 2015 by David Riedel

How Pruned Was My Garden

In 'A Little Chaos', Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet turn French history into a British period piece

Meh Alan Rickman has only directed two films now. His lack of practice is a hindrance, but not a deal-breaker on A Little Chaos.

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Can You Tell Me How to Get to the Story?

'I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story' is featherweight

Meh When I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is over, you'll have no better idea of what makes Spinney tick.

May 13, 2015 by David Riedel

Why Can’t You Just Play Ball, Dude?

'5 to 7' is great until it isn’t (and then it really isn’t)

Meh 5 to 7 starts so wonderfully that its left turn into bologna is all the more disheartening.

April 22, 2015 by David Riedel

Be Brave, Bold Robot

Alex Garland’s 'Ex Machina' has human limitations

Meh There are many things to admire in Alex Garland’s directorial debut, but there’s an underlying ickiness to the entire film.

April 22, 2015 by David Riedel

All Hail the Underdog(s)

'White God' is hard to watch

Meh For those who feel pained whenever animals suffer, on the screen or in real life, White God will be tough going.

April 15, 2015 by David Riedel

Nativize Me

Sandler gaffe proves old habits are hard to shake off in Hollywood

Movie Reviews Last week, news broke that some Native American actors working on a new Adam Sandler movie in the area walked off the set over what they say are disrespectful jokes in the script, historically inaccurate costumes, characters who speak in halting English and generally shitty attitudes (my take) from producers.

April 27, 2015 by David Riedel

Good Riddance, 2014

It was a bad year for good movies and a good year for bad movies

Movie Reviews So 2014 is finally over, and I think I speak for everyone who loves movies when I say: Good goddamn riddance, 2014. You sucked. Like, REALLY SUCKED.

Dec. 30, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s a Wrap!

2013 was a year filled with glory, slurps and triple barfs

Movie Reviews So this year was a pretty good one for movies. It’s just that movies that were bad were so bad. Just inexcusable. Sweet Jesus. But we’ll get to those after my five favorite movies of 2013.

Dec. 31, 2013 by David Riedel

Fall Flicks

It’s the attack of the award-worthy films!

Movie Reviews Welcome to autumn. As we all know—and if you don’t, WHAT THE FUCK, ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?—it’s the time of year when the studios, big and small, start pushing their awards fodder picture

Oct. 25, 2013 by David Riedel

Blood and guts… gotta problem with that?

'Machete Kills' is long, dumb, and a lot of fun

Movie Reviews The early reviews for Machete Kills have largely been unkind. The big gripe appears to be that Machete Kills is too long, too repetitive and too superviolent. How many of these critics have seen a Robert Rodriguez movie before?

Oct. 11, 2013 by David Riedel

Tom Hanks… and pirates

'Captain Phillips' has its moments

Movie Reviews Sometimes when watching a movie that’s particularly emotionally distressing, one has to ask, “Just how much harrowing adversity can we watch these characters go through? What’s the endgame here?

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

Nothing to see here

'Love, Marilyn' is truly lame

Movie Reviews Hey, here's something to savor. A bunch of actors reading—on camera no less!—words by lots and lots of people who have written things about Marilyn Monroe. And words by Monroe herself.

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

I Seem to Be Floating, And Downward

It’s ‘Gravity’!

Movie Reviews Calling a movie Newton’s Laws of Motion would probably have the potential audience running for the hills.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Not Enough

‘Enough Said’ is delightful

Movie Reviews It’s a shame there aren’t more movies like Enough Said. It’s a touching (and truly hilarious) comedy with moments of drama about people who are actual adults—people with children and responsibilities and jobs—and not just assholes who work in graphic design.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Come for the Crashes, Stay for the Story

Rush is better than it should be

Movie Reviews It’s that time of year between the end of summer and the beginning of the Oscar races when, traditionally, the genuine crap starts hitting the multiplexes. (You’ll also find crap from January to March, and, depending on your point of view, all year.)

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Out on the Tiles, Permanently

'Time Out of Mind' is an OK movie but a better Steely Dan song

Ok Time Out of Mind is sometimes compelling, sometimes exasperating, and often hugely frustrating.

Oct. 07, 2015 by David Riedel

Power to the People

'Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution' tells a one-sided but fascinating story

Ok We’ve all be told so many things about the Black Panthers over the course of our lives, why not get something resembling a singular vision down on film?

Sept. 16, 2015 by David Riedel

With Friends Like These…

'We Come as Friends' offers a stark look at Sudan and South Sudan

Ok We Come as Friends provides little context for its story; if you aren’t familiar with Sudan and South Sudan, you’ll probably be playing catch up.

Sept. 09, 2015 by David Riedel

Political Theatre

'Best of Enemies' is entertaining but skin-deep

Ok Best of Enemies is strongest when it lets its two lead characters have at it.

Aug. 12, 2015 by David Riedel

Behind the Voice

A filmmaker looks for answers in 'Do I Sound Gay?'

Ok Do I Sound Gay? doesn’t get very deep, but it does highlight a lesser-known struggle inside the gay community.

Aug. 05, 2015 by David Riedel

Death Came with Compassion

'The Farewell Party' takes a light-ish look at a serious subject

Ok How does one die with dignity when suffering from a progressive, painful, fatal illness?

July 29, 2015 by David Riedel


'Cartel Land' shines a light on the cyclical nature of the war on drugs

Ok Cartel Land is a heartbreaking piece of cinema, it looks great and it exposes the drug war for it is.

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

Insects Are Heroes, Too!

Nowhere does the phrase “size doesn’t matter” appear in this 'Ant-Man' review; congratulate me on my restraint

Ok Marvel has gotten so good at making Marvel movies, it doesn’t seem to matter that it doesn’t matter that a Marvel movie isn’t firing on all thrusters.

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

In Defense of Shutting In

'The Wolfpack' is a documentary about kids growing up in a locked house

Ok The Wolfpack becomes a loose laboratory study of the nature of escapism, raising such context-dependent questions as whether an obsession with Reservoir Dogs is healthy for kids.

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

The Man Makes the Clothes

Design not quite within reach in 'Saint Laurent'

Ok Bertrand Bonello’s film comes on like a narcotic and presents the life of late designer Yves Saint Laurent in a series of oblique narrative vignettes.

June 10, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

What Did You Do in the War on Terrorism, Daddy?

The Interview debacle isn’t over, and it’s pretty bizarre

See By the time you read this piece, it will be a week since Sony canceled the release of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview. And then news broke Tuesday that the The Interview will screen on Christmas after all, just in limited release.

Dec. 23, 2014 by David Riedel

Killing Hollywood-Style for Real

‘The Act of Killing’ is a bizarre must-see

See The Act of Killing is such a surreal movie it’s almost hard to believe that all the killings in it took place. 

Feb. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

'Peace Officer' takes a hard look at police violence

Yay Anyone with a penchant for mistrusting police will find plenty to like in Scott Christopherson & Brad Barber’s Peace Officer.

Oct. 07, 2015 by David Riedel

A Good Leg to Stand On

Finders Keepers tells a bizarre story in a simple, straightforward manner

Yay Finders Keepers tells a story so outrageous that it would be impossible to make up.

Sept. 30, 2015 by David Riedel


A beautiful performance makes up for an also-ran story in The Second Mother

Yay The Second Mother’s upstairs-downstairs tale won’t win points for originality.

Sept. 23, 2015 by David Riedel

Looking for the Light

In 'Blind', a woman copes with losing her sight and a skewed perception of herself

Yay Blind isn’t without its problems, but it’s a compelling, unique view of a singular experience and the pain that comes along with it.

Sept. 23, 2015 by David Riedel

This Grandma Isn't Going to Bake Cookies for You

Lily Tomlin is great in 'Grandma'

Yay Grandma jumps along to become one of the surprises of the year.

Sept. 16, 2015 by David Riedel

One Hit-and-Run, a Bunch of Dirty Cops and a Funeral

'A Hard Day' has a fresh take on some cinematic tropes

Yay A Hard Day delivers the shocks and thrills, with a couple moments that are so jarring you may actually jump out of your seat.

Sept. 02, 2015 by David Riedel


That’s the best one-word description of 'The Tribe'

Yay The Tribe is well crafted and smartly filmed and has heavy doses of nihilism and fatalism, all things that are right up this critic’s alley.

Aug. 19, 2015 by David Riedel

From the Ashes a Betrayal

Director Christian Petzold shows his influences but makes 'Phoenix' his own

Yay Phoenix is beautifully acted, and asks that the audience think for itself instead of leading it around.

Aug. 12, 2015 by David Riedel

Baa Baa Smart Sheep!

'Shaun the Sheep' is delightful

Yay If only every children's movie were Shaun the Sheep. Expect it on lots of “Best of” lists this year.

Aug. 05, 2015 by David Riedel

Manically Depressed

'Infinitely Polar Bear' understands mental illness and, better yet, isn’t afraid of it

Yay Maya Forbes, who wrote and directed Infinitely Polar Bear, made a great film rooted in her personal experiences.

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel

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