Ian Buckwalter
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NPR
For 117 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ian Buckwalter's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 95 Tabu
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 117
  2. Negative: 13 out of 117
117 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    Director Guillermo del Toro knows that the charm in the clash of scale - or armor-plated titans isn't necessarily tied to the low budgets and laughable production design of those guilty-pleasure TV shows. And with Pacific Rim, he cracks the code.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    A film in which everyone is lusting after the wrong person, and consummating those desires tends to lead to awkward - but not funny, unlike Dunham's usual projects - disasters of various scales.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    There's no denying its status as a rousing and thoroughly enjoyable Old Hollywood-style adventure.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    Unmade in China is nominally about filmmaking, but what Kofman and Barklow do well is to use their unusual position within the Chinese state machine to make a thinly veiled movie about politics.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    For those with any interest in cult cinema or just the bizarre behind-the-scenes stories of any film production, Jodorowsky's Dune is a fascinating document of one of the most legendary films ever not made.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 74 Ian Buckwalter
    The narrative trots all over the globe, including stops for labor exploitation in the Marianas Islands, dealings with Russian mobsters, ripping off Indian tribes in the desert southwest, and jetting to Scotland for rounds of golf with impressionable politicians.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 72 Ian Buckwalter
    Machete works because at no time does it ever ask the audience to take any of this too seriously, yet the nudges and winks are never so forceful that it feels like it's begging for your laughter.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    He's hardly a cuddly figure, but neither does he come across as an intimidating presence. After all, it's hard to think of anyone in cantankerous terms after they've just lovingly described the history of the beloved old hand-knitted stuffed animal that is their oldest possession.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    Lemmy gives the filmmakers enough time and candid access to create a profile of the man that goes deeper than just the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - even though in Lemmy's case, there's enough of a surplus of all three to power multiple documentaries.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    The lack of chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman, plain enough in the first Thor movie, is still a problem here, but at least they've largely ditched the starry-eyed schoolgirl routine.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    Leigh, a novelist making her cinematic debut here, directs with a cold and distancing eye. Sleeping Beauty has the deliberate grace of Kubrick, and while comparisons to the sex parties of "Eyes Wide Shut" are inevitable, Leigh's approach is even more sexless and sterile than the master's.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    It's also a testament to the strength of Claude-Michel Schonberg's music that everything after the show-stopping lament of Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't come across as so much padding.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    Effective scares, respectful nods to its inspiration and a few new twists make the question of whether this new Evil Dead succeeds in matching its inspiration superfluous. This is one remake that succeeds on its own blood-soaked terms.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    There's an undeniable sweetness here, evident in the vulnerability that peeks through Alma's disaffected facade, and in the unconventional grand romantic gesture that turns the film's climax into a playfully dirty spin on "Say Anything's" boombox scene.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    Just as Ulysses illustrates the reflective nature of his journey by constantly turning back the hands of the house's clocks, each film of Maddin's is a reset button for the past. The director operates like a ghost himself, going back over his personal history and the history of cinema in an endless loop until he gets them right.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    It's impossible for all of them to work, but the sheer volume of material, delivered by a cast dedicated to the absolute absurdity of the setups — Fantana's new career as a kitten photographer, Kind's side business running a fast-food chain with a specialty in fried bat, Burgundy nursing and training a live shark while blind and living in a lighthouse — is a kind of comedy carpet-bombing. All it takes is a certain percentage of hits for things to detonate.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    Grohl's jovial presence is the hook; playing interviewer and emcee as well as director, he's the catchy bit you welcome every time it returns. The star-studded interview list provides much of the personality and attitude, as does a fantastically tense behind-the-scenes video of Petty and his band laboring long hours to craft their breakthrough record.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    The film portrays Plimpton as someone devoted to illuminating how talent and creativity work — both for himself, and for the rest of us.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    The movie might not be a vengeance-driven wolf-man cage fight, but in subverting those escapist expectations, it sinks its teeth far deeper and more memorably.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    If these experiments in shock comedy don't always work, there's a certain courageousness in the way Tim and Eric refuse to back down from them, as well as the gusto with which guest stars like Reilly, Robert Loggia, Will Ferrell, and Jeff Goldblum throw themselves into the film's gonzo aesthetic.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    As obvious and expected as this turn of events is, the filmmakers and Hollyman create such an endearing character in Sarah that one still wants to see her get there.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    For all its obsession with the past, Photographic Memory ends in a simple, genuinely moving interaction between father and son that illustrates McElwee's discovery that memories are nice, but can't be touched and embraced as we can the present.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    What emerges as the film goes on is that the things military service provided for many of these individuals - family, friends, camaraderie, a support network of other like-minded individuals willing to lay down their lives for them - is the exact thing that has been taken away by their injuries, leaving them feeling particularly isolated. The climb provides them with that sense of community once again.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    There's black comedy, and then, in the darkest corner of an airtight box buried deep underground, there's the humor of Big Bad Wolves.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 64 Ian Buckwalter
    Aided by subtly wounded performances by Daniels and Stone, and a surprisingly affecting comic turn from Reynolds, Paper Man makes up for many of its shortcomings with an abundance of heart.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    A skilled cast is Blakeson's greatest asset in his attempt to elevate his material above its pulpy limitations. All three are better actors than this sort of movie might call for.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    The film's main problem — apart from its predictability and the sometimes unconvincing and cartoonish CGI for the army of giants — is that it never entirely commits to what kind of fantasy movie it wants to be.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    It's well made, polished, and hits every mark — but is it crazy to want a futuristic sci-fi action flick about a motorcycle-riding metal supercop to be just a little more fun?
    • 36 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    Genre aficionados are likely to revel in every crunched bone, gratuitous decapitation and slow-motion iron-maiden impaling.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    At times Francine feels like a documentary as well, an intimate observational work in the mode of Frederick Wiseman or the Maysles brothers, where the omnipresence of the camera puts the characters so at ease that they reveal subtle moments of character that they might otherwise hide out of self-consciousness.

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