John Anderson

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For 208 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

John Anderson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Polina
Lowest review score: 0 Nothing Like the Holidays
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 208
208 movie reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    It’s a masterpiece — an overused word, but not the wrong one.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    As a work of nonfiction, it deserves its own nomenclature. "Docu-poem" is too inelegant; "masterpiece" works, although it's been used before.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    It is the library as an urgent idea, and the obligations that the institution’s leaders have embraced, that win Mr. Wiseman’s admiration and attention.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    There are not a lot of moments in documentary cinema that equal Citizenfour. Ms. Poitras was already at work on a film about government surveillance when Mr. Snowden presented himself, and she’s something of a lightning rod, too, one with little evident sympathy for Obama administration data mining.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Like the film itself, Porter’s handful of devoted, charismatic attorneys do a righteous job of reminding people that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and that the criminal justice system seems otherwise disposed.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Mr. Ostlund positions his troubled characters in an environment of polished ash and Scandinavian spotlessness, under which there are dark mutterings — the constant creak of tow cables and un-oiled metal.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    One of the assets of Stranger Things is its air of mystery, and the actors give the indelible impression that they have much locked away inside.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    Thoroughly entertaining, startling and highly erotic film.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The Square is journalism, but Noujaim’s agenda is greater than mere reportage.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    “Montage” is about expression. As such, it’s a more honest tribute to Mr. Cobain than any conventional documentary could pretend to be.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Much of the fun of Marjorie Prime is in figuring out where it’s going, and why. It would be shameful to reveal much more of the journey save to say that the people who make it do a splendid job.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Years after its initial release, Ornette: Made in America, part of Milestone's continuing "Project Shirley," still feels fresh - its moves always surprising, yet always somehow perfect.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig's work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Few viewers anywhere will be immune to the movie’s charms, or the performances, notably that of Mr. Sigurjonsson, who makes Gummi a slightly mournful, enormously lovable and quixotically heroic figure.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    The characters are really minimalist masterpieces, sculpted, polished and uncompromisingly female.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The situation is fascinating, and given an illuminating investigation here.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Likely to create considerable nervous tension among viewers who think they've seen this all before. They haven't.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Director David Mackenzie's gripping, convincing and convincingly violent convict drama owes its authenticity largely to the experiences of ex-prison therapist Jonathan Asser, who wrote its screenplay. But the opening 10 minutes are a virtuosic example of virtually wordless filmmaking.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Kon's best work yet.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Containing as much forward motion as any film in recent memory, Good Time is as heartbreaking as it is exhilarating, and that’s no small thing.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The deliriously talented Lake Bell wrote, produced, directed and stars in this peculiar bit of comedy magic, set amid the cutthroat world of Hollywood voiceover artists.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    While much of The World Before Her speaks to global womanhood, other aspects are more specific to India, but that’s what gives the film much of its life and spark.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    With a mood and setting worthy of a murder story by Jack London, this audience-friendly, atmospheric work could be remade as a thriller, although that’s really what it is already.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    It’s hard to make a compelling movie about a character defined by indecision, Hamlet notwithstanding. Ms. Hittman, however, has done it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The scope of the subject is such that when Mr. Jarecki's voiceover cuts into the narrative, imposing a personal angle on the national story, it reduces the sense of significance its creator aimed for. But that's a fairly backhanded endorsement of a very potent movie.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    Felix (Duvall) simply wants to host his own goodbye, maybe have a band, and the reasons why are the reasons Get Low is essential viewing. That, and the acting.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    What keeps Ain’t in It for My Health from being a really satisfying portrait isn’t a lack of access, but a lack of intimacy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    A very entertaining black comedy for very mysterious reasons.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    Frank is a genuine original in a summer sea of sameness, and a darkly comedic manifesto against the cultural status quo.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    For all its immersion in the roar, grease and danger of Formula One, the fact-based Rush — about the sport's great rivalry of the 1970s — is also more predictable than a pit stop, something well-suited to Mr. Howard. He's made perfectly palatable pictures, but never a truly great one, partly because he has such a weakness for the commercial and a consequent gift for the obvious.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    The pulp-fictional hero is inhabited by the charismatic Andy Lau who, together with Chinese stars Bingbing Li, Ms. Lau and Tony Leung Ka-fai, makes Detective Dee the most purely entertaining film of our vanishing summer.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Soko is terrific, but it is Mr. Lindon who delivers the performance of the film, his internalized consternation amounting to an eloquent dispatch from the war between the sexes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The source of all this information was a real-life KGB agent, Vladimir Vetrov, code named Farewell, and with the usual adjustments for drama his story gets a respectable retelling in this nervy French production.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    What makes this nominee for the best-foreign-film Oscar singular among Holocaust movies is the way it characterizes the banality of life underground.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    There’s much amusement to be had in the film. Very little of it stupid.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    There's a near-sacred history in Hollywood of non-U.S.- born directors providing fresh perspectives on America. Miloš Forman. Alfred Hitchcock. Ang Lee. Ernst Lubitsch. Billy Wilder. For Prisoners, a stress-inducing trip into child abduction, the director is Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who gives us an American "hero" guaranteed to push many buttons, many times, and who might not have been allowed to be quite so awful, under a different director's lens.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 John Anderson
    When the film leaves the realm of the impolite or even criminal for something far more extreme, it achieves a level of excess that makes the whole enterprise increasingly cartoonish, rather than just awful.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 John Anderson
    The filmmaking is fluid and electric; the acting, precise; the archetypal storytelling, seamless and brutal. What happens in “La Jaula de Oro” might enrage audiences, and probably for a variety of reasons. But there’s no getting away without it leaving a mark.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    The psychology of The Club is warped and gnarled, the thinking of its members less-than-jesuitical.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 John Anderson
    A dispiritingly vitriolic, only sporadically funny satire of ’50s Hollywood, Hail, Caesar! verifies a suspicion long held here, that the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, really hate the movies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Noisy, frenetic, grandiose and essentially a soap opera, director J.J. Abrams's second contribution to the franchise has everything, including romance: Never before have Capt. James T. Kirk and his Vulcan antagonist, Mr. Spock, seemed so very much in love.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Helmers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin... don’t quite get to the issues behind the trio’s infamous performance at the historic Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow last year, but the young women’s vulnerability and defiance make for stirring viewing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    [Barry's] search for an identity is the ignition and combustion of the film. The exhaust, however, comes courtesy of Philip Morris. And the odor, like that surrounding the film itself, is of provocation in service of no cogent point.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    Veber, also responsible for "The Dinner Game," apparently has a finger on the pulse of French audiences and Gallic-minded Americans, but there's just not a lot of freshness in this Closet.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    One of the reasons documentaries often take so long to make is the filmmakers' need to keep their subject from giving a performance. They want something genuine, something that materializes only when the camera disappears. Nothing Mr. Courtney is says is inaccurate or, God knows, dishonest. But it isn't quite true either.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    A mood piece, a character study and an exercise in poetic gesture possessed of a sort of evanescent, secular spirituality.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    People might have laughed at the old Jack Rebney, but they were laughing at themselves as well. And counting their blessings. Everyone has a cranky side. Unlike Mr. Rebney's, it isn't usually gawked at by 20 million people.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Sleepwalk With Me makes the subject palatable, funny and maybe even touching.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Ms. Plaza delivers a wide-ranging, nuanced and demanding performance as a mad woman, whose attic is the cellphone.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The upshot is an emotionally satisfying fusion of the mixed up and the magical.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    A kind of blues song in its own right, Sidemen: Long Road to Glory is an affectionate attempt to showcase three major figures in the development of Chicago blues, musicians who spent their entire lives eclipsed by the oversized stars they played with.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Something about Eklavya: The Royal Guard suggests a lost film by David Lean. With some muted echoes of "Hamlet." And a whiff of "Rigoletto."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The common problem of Solondz's characters is an inability to see the world in shades of grey, which is fitting in a film where color-garish, boring or just plain ugly-is so important, and the actors are working off palettes of such extreme emotions. A few of them-notably Ms. Rampling, Mr. Hinds and Ms. Sheedy-are as good here as they've ever been.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 John Anderson
    The creative process is always an elusive thing for filmmakers to capture, but amid all the startling visuals and the splendid acting, Polina rises, gloriously, to the challenge.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    What Mr. Parker has committed to the screen is a righteously indignant, kinetic and well-acted film — Mr. Parker, as Turner, delivers a fierce, complex performance. At the same time, his film is remarkably conventional. The framing and the camera movements are all very routine, even dated; one would have said it looks like television, before television gained its current lustre.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    Although Born Romantic is sweetly intentioned and staunchly on the side of love, it meanders long to enough to alienate whatever affection it otherwise earns.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Anita may be a tribute doc, but it’s one with real heft.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    As in the previous films, the pilgrims stay in the most picturesque places, and are served the most sumptuous meals, the preparation of which Mr. Winterbottom uses as a visual digestif when his two stars begin to cloy. Most often, though, they are supremely urbane and consistently hilarious.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    For those more concerned with what “The Avengers” movies do best — outsize spectacle and wry comedy — Age of Ultron has to be declared a victory.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Guaranteed to fan antigovernment sentiments among its audiences, Dinosaur 13 is less about paleontology than it is about prosecutorial overreach, political gamesmanship, dinosaur swindlers and true crime — if in fact crimes were even committed, and/or committed by the people accused.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 John Anderson
    Proyas is trying simultaneously to create a pure thriller and sci-fi nightmare along with his tongue-in-cheek critique of artifice. And this doesn't work out quite so well.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    Even as Cecil lives his life slightly adjacent to history, building a heroic film around him requires herculean effort.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    The screenwriter/playwrights have processed the characters’ last words in ways that imbue them with as much humanity as possible.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    Any self-respecting period piece, historical drama or even caper movie - and The Debt is all three - balances issues of global significance with interpersonal drama. The problem here is that the personal eclipses the global. The stakes are too low.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Ms. Israel's movie proves, once again, that the best nonfiction cinema possesses the same attributes as good fiction: Strong characters, conflict, story arc, visual style.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    This is a movie about longing, desire, desperation and the abandonment of principle - quite a collection of themes, all universal.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    It's a purely sensory journey until the pictures start making editorial comments, in slaughterhouses and garbage dumps.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    World War II is often called the “last good war,” which has also meant that it was the last global conflict out of which the studios could make an unabashedly heroic movie. Fury is not that movie. And because it is not, it provides a few psychic disturbances beyond its shocking gore, burning soldiers blowing their brains out, children hanged from trees by the SS and imminent rape.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    The truth is, Mr. Farina would be considered Oscar material if "Joe May" were a bigger film. As it is, he'll have to settle for being great.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Naturally, Mr. Murray is a joy to watch. And he has brought so much joy to so many grumpy people he deserves whatever accolades he can accrue, even for a career-assessment comedy like St. Vincent.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Mr. Carnahan has till now been pigeonholed, and rightly, by comedy shoot-'em-ups like "Smokin' Aces" and "The A-Team." But here he is with The Grey - certainly an adventure film but one with a spiritual ingredient that is both surprising and fiercely resonant.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    A delicious thriller that gets under the skin à la "All About Eve," albeit with a twist: The craft here is still theater, but of the workplace rather than the stage.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    What she finds is good for her and good for us -- a journey of realization for anyone who's ever felt lost in the crowd.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Gracefully bittersweet and balanced. [16 April 1999, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    The landscape is dire, the architecture is haunted, children disappear by the dozens and antique toys inexplicably spark to life. That Mr. Radcliffe doesn't is part of the problem.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    It's a trip into a primordial world and primeval sensibilities, and if you're looking to shake off the mall-movie blahs, there are few better places to look.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    [The Kings of Summer] is much more interested in the laughs that can be mined from character rather than plot. Galletta’s script, Vogt-Roberts’ direction and the distinctive play of the actors, notably Offerman and Mullally, lets the viewer know who everyone is right away, and the gag lines flow.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    The most profound thing the remarkably dread-filled drama Day Night Day Night tells us is what it doesn't tell us.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    "Witty and brisk" is not the name of a French breakfast cereal, but it does describe a certain brand of French film, the type that coquettishly flirts with comedy while sprinting in the direction of dry, sophisticated charm. Such is Haute Cuisine.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Mr. Damon brings both a weary optimism and convincing physicality to Max, who is no revolutionary. He just wants to live, and is willing to don an exoskeletal combat suit and fight robots to do it.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Everything in The Light Between Oceans is deeply felt and dramatically precise, in a way that seems destined to become profoundly personal for each and every viewer.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Despite its dubious inhabitants, the film consistently entertains by throwing the kinds of curves one should see coming but doesn’t.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Goofily funny, and silly, and in many ways follows the currents of contemporary comedy into the gulf stream of inanity. And yet Ned turns out to be a strangely moving figure, a comic foil worthy of affection, perhaps even respect.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    If the screenplay to Kill the Messenger were a news story, any capable copydesk would have kicked it back to the reporter — not for a shortage of facts, but a lack of dramatic soul.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Following Woody Allen, Ang Lee and any number of sitcoms, Georgia Lee constructs her well-shot, well-written film around three daughters.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    The difficulty is that Brassed Off operates at an emotional pitch that starts at a crescendo and never relents--rendering almost everything equally inconsequential.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Steven Soderbergh takes Gray (who appeared in his little-appreciated gem "King of the Hill") places he's never been on-screen. Motion, color and brazen stylizing enhance what is at times a genuinely hysterical work on rationalized terror.[9 May 1997, p.F12]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    One of the brighter aspects of Life of Crime, which otherwise ambles along good naturedly, is the casting.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    It is Mr. Kinnear's slippery charm that keeps Thin Ice from sinking into the frosty Wisconsin slush toward which it seems to be heading from the start.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Lemon is all about this pull and push, toward and away from the characters and the movie itself. It’s also one of the more original films in recent memory.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 John Anderson
    The type of film with which Mr. Ratner has claimed to be infatuated is itself like a caper - it requires precise execution. Tower Heist is more like that 10-story Snoopy, as he drunkenly bobs along Central Park West.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 John Anderson
    That this is the first film for director Joe Mantello, who was nominated for a Tony for directing the stage version, may be compounding the problem. But frankly, if someone wanted to do a parody of a gay film like this, it's hard to imagine the sloganeering being much different.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 John Anderson
    Writer-director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, who in his feature debut has lashed together a sturdy vehicle for unadorned morality and pragmatic justice.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 John Anderson
    A documentary as messy as the movement it tries to portray, 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film possesses energy, passion and about a dozen documentaries inside it yearning to breathe free.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 John Anderson
    Conventional it is not. Engrossing it is.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 John Anderson
    Consistently daffy, consistently amusing.

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