Desson Thomson

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For 1,694 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Desson Thomson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Nobody's Fool
Lowest review score: 0 The Devil's Own
Score distribution:
1694 movie reviews
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    For horror fans who appreciate a bit of craft with their second-rate experiences -- Paul Haslinger's fear-mongering score is terrific for what it's worth -- this might merit a future late-night rental.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Kettle of Fish, starring Matthew Modine as a commitment-skittish saxophone player, is a warm-spirited romantic comedy, but it tends to have a squawky pitch.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The writer in Soderbergh proves the ultimate weak link. In sex, lies' last third, he seems seized with a compulsion to make sense of it all, bring everything to bear, give everyone their moral comeuppance, their screenplay payoff.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    A well-mounted, macabre seriocomedy with passing punchlines. And for about half the movie, it's compelling stuff.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    The story, such as it is, follows Renton's inconsistent attempts to kick his habit.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    For all the When Irish Eyes Are Smiling's and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing's filling the soundtrack, Voices never engages more than your eyes and ears. It leaves you out in the cold and vaguely wondering, Is the entire British nation depressed?
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Mulholland Drive is an extended mood opera, if you want to put an arty label on incoherence.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Intriguing, oddly banal and ultimately deflating.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    For all its visual delights, however, Coraline remains more an engaging spectacle than a connective drama. That is chiefly because of the writing. Director-writer Henry Selick doesn't reach for the kind of universality that would enrich the movie.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    There is no evidence of life outside the immediate world of the movie.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Speaking of jail, "Shawshank"-the-movie seems to last about half a life sentence. The story, chiefly about the 20-year friendship between Freeman and Robbins, becomes incarcerated in its own labyrinthine sentimentality.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    It yields surprisingly unspectacular results.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The movie is visually stirring. And the locations, in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, imbue the story with eerie authenticity.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    The plot becomes so overextended, as Reeves and Hopper wage their endless public transportation battle, even the hardest Die-Harders will consider leaping off way before the final stop.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    The wacky incongruity works when debuting director Mamet has tongue in cheek. But all too often he's rechewing film noir, Hitchcock twists and MacGuffins, as well as the Freudian mumbo-jumbo already masticated tasteless by so many cine-kids.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    You're left, as with certain vivid dreams, filled with memorable images but not completely able to account for what you just experienced.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    The best thing about The Island is this: Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, buffed and dressed in sparkling white, wondering how and when to kiss each other.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    We may enjoy watching the spectacles, but we don't much care for, or even have a feeling for, the guy in the cockpit.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    I sat through "Courage" with interest, but I wasn't particularly moved or riveted with suspense.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Sunrise feels more like an absorbing experiment than a supple success.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Nothing more than an over-designed lobster pot. After following the beckoning twists and turns, you're left trapped and more than a little disappointed for getting in so deep.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    The movie’s disappointingly straightforward, with no discernible flair.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Engagement simply disappears inside its own enormous, intricate and ambitious design.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Has its moments of fun, many of them having to do with Reilly's deadpan comic style. But the movie lacks the original edge of its better predecessors.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Sweet Land is as empty and beautiful as the picturesque Minnesota terrain it's so clearly taken with.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Feels so slight and pointless.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    A Prairie Home Companion tries to embrace the spirit of that longtime radio series but suffocates the very qualities that make the original show so special in the first place.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Guerrilla' is an engaging film, but it's a documentary and nothing more.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    This movie should have blown us out of the water. Instead we catch ourselves occasionally thinking the unpardonable thought: "OK, sink already."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    There's nothing "wrong" with this movie but it feels like warmed-over business as usual.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The movie attempts to paint too large a canvas.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Creepy and truly suspenseful in some places, unintentionally comic or plain awful in others.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    It's a grab bag of small delights -- and that includes a workmanlike performance by Toni Collette -- but it never quite amounts to a full load.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    A blithely unfunny, low-budget comedy from director Barry Levinson.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    How great can an epic be, when it takes 30 years, including a whole sequence devoted to World War I, for Jean to realize he could be a little nicer to his wife? This is for diehard Francophiles and literate-movie fans only.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a tad too precious. One of those movies that wants to address life's quaint wackinesses, it's full of characters who are quirky, lonely, bizarre or retarded. There's something intensely earnest about the project. But there's something equally manufactured, starting with the casting of Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    A subplot involving Griffith and first boyfriend Alec Baldwin becomes the-subplot-that-wouldn't-go-bust, and comic scenes sometimes go bankrupt because they just hold their stock too long. Light entertainment like this should zip along like those financial quote boards.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    At first, the picture is moving. . And suddenly charm turns to quasi-commie didacticism.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Makes for interesting, rather than emotionally compelling viewing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Glover (who shone as Michael J. Fox's father in Back to the Future) is riveting as Layne -- a speed-popping wacko more wired than AT&T And Joshua Miller, who plays Tim, the most malevolent child this side of the Styx, is alarmingly evil as the kid who wants to be part of the older gang, even if it means killing his own brother. But River stabs all-too-wildly in the dark.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Its hackneyed themes prevent the sci-fi flick from feeling like anything more than well-directed mediocrity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    It's doubtful that Depp's off-kilter interpretation will have any discernible effect on the movie's success. But it remains the movie's most disappointing aspect.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Moore provides a rather rambling discourse of causality, which includes racism, white flight and Africanized bees.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    With its zany daily episodes, "Groundhog" gets stuck in a non-progressive repetition.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    There are many periods when the two men are traveling and you feel the need to fast-forward the movie to another scene. This is not a great comedy but it's a string of funny highlights.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Instead of an originally conceived movie that reflects Nash's troubled but brilliant mind, we have one of those formulaically rendered Important Subject movies -- the kind that seem exclusively designed for Best Picture nominations.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    This movie has all the same elements as other Grisham fare: raw young lawyer trying to make it in the South; helpless client treated badly; sleazy, star-chamber villains. Wake me up when the last-minute surprise witness comes out of her hidey hole to turn the case around.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Energetic and slickly done, but also somewhat soulless.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    As a satire on Tobacco Inc.'s outrageous ability to market carbon monoxide as the elixir of life, this movie should be packing more nicotine.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Making a film about mob violence while showing restraint and humanism is a difficult procedure. Singleton and screenwriter Poirier search for some gradations within the white ranks, but for the most part, every cracker's a psycho with a short, smoking fuse.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Watchable, certainly. It should have been so much more.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Wuornos was unambiguous about one thing: She wanted to die. In the end, that's the only assurance the movie provides. It's an odd kind of closure for her and for us.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    In Things Change, the gangsters and bodyguards, the lounges and limos don't got, whaddya call, da same allure. You watch the whole thing with a detached amusement, like a goon cooling his heels in the lobby, just waiting for things to change.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The movie, which is based on the Lowell Cunningham comic book series, throws out some wonderful implications, but they’re frustratingly few and far between.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    It's just a simple, actorly drama about big, gaping emotional needs and the consequences a woman can face -- particularly during the 1960s -- for simply owning up to them.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    The movie gradually peters out.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    A darkly interesting distraction but not much more.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Won't go down as Robert Altman's most memorable movie. But it's a pleasant affair, whose greatest assets are its unhurried, benevolent atmosphere and the quiet, gem-like moments that occur among its characters.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    For all his legitimate laments and pithy documentary moments, Moore gloats too much over his treasure. Where Moore makes his mark is basically where he shuts up and, like a good documentarian ought to, lets the subjects do the talking.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Despite a glut of luridness, the story line feels essentially flat, as Keitel stumbles through New York in an immoral, unchanging haze. It is only the strength of Keitel's performance that gives his personality human dimension.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Burton has evoked the surface of Ed Wood's life, but in a story about a man who loves angora and frilly panties, he has barely unbuttoned Wood's uniform.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Noyce's direction moves impressively from sensual tenderness (between husband and wife) to edge-of-the-seat horror. he finds lurking dangers in quiet, peaceful waters and goes down with the good ship Dead Calm, his head held high. If you don't mind 11th-hour disappointments (including a laughable, Hollywood-kicker ending), you'll enjoy going down with it too.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Even though we're caught up in his derring-do as he beguiles entire meeting rooms of jaded publishers and editors, we're kept at a dissatisfying distance from Irving and the movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    As Benny (short for Bernadette), a big-boned, headstrong lass who strains winningly against the restrictions of family, religion and just plain growing up, [Driver's] a comedic breath of fresh air, easily the best thing about the movie.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Some of it is funny in a Zucker brothers slapstick way. And as the Man's geeky lieutenant, Chris Kattan has some amusingly kooky business. But there's not enough to sustain the comedy. Ultimately, the movie's short running time becomes its finest quality.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Had The Cooler stuck to its dark guns and not turned into a treacly, love-conquers-all fairy tale, this movie might have gone somewhere. In the end, you're only watching this with a sort of mercenary interest in the actors.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Like the mysterious, bound package Goodman gives Turturro (the contents are never revealed), the Coens isolate a small area of interest, bind it with psycho-atmospheric finesse, then wait for something significant to emerge. Even after a second viewing of this movie, it doesn't.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Sad, sobering film.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Refreshingly free of the hyperbole of special effects...Ong-Bak will win no scriptwriting awards, but Jaa is definitely the real deal.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    The scenes of destruction-apart from being great to watch-provide much-needed relief from these people's unidimensional banalities.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    A little too shopworn and pokey to be more than a respectable European diversion.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Afterglow may not bestow Julie Christie with the hip imprimatur of a Travolta-style comeback. But the British actress coyly and elegantly updates the siren-ish presence she exuded in "Darling," "Far From the Madding Crowd," "Petulia," "The Go-Between" and even "Shampoo." [16Jan1998 Pg N.32]
    • Washington Post
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Even in his poorest work (i.e., this movie), director Jarmusch retains an appealing sense of experimentation. He fills his movies with those clumsy, unhurried moments between people. But in Night on Earth, with five vignettes to get through, he's forced to create faster, more sketchlike pieces. He's just not up to the task. Nor do performers Winona Ryder, Isaach De Bankole, Roberto Benigni and others pick up the improvisational ball.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Revenge was supposed to be the one that really socked it to us, about Anakin's almost biblical fall from grace. But the movie never rises to its powerful occasion.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The first 60 minutes of this black comedy are brilliantly sustained, but then director and co-writer de la Iglesia loses his way.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    But for most audiences, this bittersweet family saga is going to feel like an ordeal.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    In the end, what started off as playful becomes tedious.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The suspense and technical wizardry are the only reason to watch Jurassic Park. In a summer movie, that's more than enough, of course. But screenwriter Michael Crichton, adapting his popular novel with David Koepp, slashes almost everything that made the book an entertaining read.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Like President Kennedy, director Donaldson (who made "No Way Out," another pretty good Washington-seat-of-power thriller) has found a perfect balance of often-opposing forces: between recorded history and the demands of plain old entertainment.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    Bridges can't be a whole movie. But he's the main reason to watch.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    If there's any moral to this sorry story, perhaps Lee's stealth-message is it: Even when it's not about race, it is.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    It's the usual undisciplined, overextended Spike symphony: more fun than it is any good.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    This movie is a mixed repast: good food and wine laced with enough misanthropic poison to turn any stomach.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    Ultimately, Brothers is a flashy, stylistic show of emptiness, intended to protest emptiness. But that's clear almost from the outset.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    There's a problem: This romance isn't developed enough to be truly satisfying -- it's fat-free SnackWell's when you want Godiva. It's not the original story we signed up for -- or thought we did.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Gets bogged down in sentimentality, while its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    It telegraphs its emotions loud and clear, but somehow they don't reach us.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    The story moves episodically, almost painstakingly.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Taxes the threshold of acceptable cuteness.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    The acting is occasionally creakily theatrical; as is the script. But some important things come through.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Desson Thomson
    How can you celebrate a movie in which Zellweger doesn't soar but simply avoids disaster?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Shelton's movie never quite transcends its cheap, baseball-card poignancy. You never get the feeling these pulp-fiction archetypes -- the young hack-writer and the aging bull -- are real people. [06 Jan 1995, p.N37]
    • Washington Post
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Even by the art film standards it apes, Solaris lacks conviction. And although it's meant to be restrained and free of emotional hysteria, the result is a movie that pretty much lies dead on the screen for an hour and a half.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Hoffman blows costar Cruise right off the screen...Instead of playing off or with Hoffman (a greenhorn's smartest strategy), Cruise tends to play at him, flailing and swearing like a spoiled, grounded pilot in "Top Gun II."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Sometimes, the sincerest form of tribute is inferiority. Watching the Australian film Jindabyne, one soon embraces the conclusion: Robert Altman did this work better. And with fewer brush strokes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Intriguing, inspired, flawed, misbegotten and fascinating -- all of these qualities apply to the movie, at one point or another.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    If Amazing Grace serves its most superficial purpose -- to educate the viewer -- it's hardly compelling viewing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Fails to capture the spiritual hallelujah of the novel.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Desson Thomson
    Unfortunately, the idea for Dirty Dancing exceeds the execution...and the story resolves itself all too conveniently in that final scene.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Desson Thomson
    At first blush, there's something vicariously liberating about Brosnan strutting through a lobby dressed only in Speedos and cowboy boots. But it also feels false. The actor seems to be theatrically slumming before his return to suave form.

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