Joshua Rothkopf
Select another critic »
For 650 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joshua Rothkopf's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 We Are the Best!
Lowest review score: 20 Winter's Tale
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 650
650 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Just as soon as that rarest Lebowskian blend of casual pursuit and big-world conspiracy begins to emerge from the fog, Cold Weather appears to lose its nerve (or run out of money).
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Sometimes, the debunking is overshadowed by cringe-inducing graphics involving pills with little legs running toward a finish line.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    "Rosemary's Baby" it's not, but color us stoked that a Twilight movie even strays into evil-fetus territory.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Had the big boy himself, Steven Spielberg, made his directorial debut with this slam-bang sci-fi thriller set in suburban 1979 (and not merely produced what amounts to an homage), he would have been celebrated as a gifted bringer of mayhem: a Michael Bay before there was one.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    On the whole, it's passable stuff, a surprise, given how mechanical the masked character seemed.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    There's no Deep Throat this time, but Tom Wilkinson does his best Ben Bradlee as a hawkish legal mentor, while Kevin Kline coos menacingly as Lincoln's Nixonian war secretary, Edwin Stanton, a man seeking to hang prisoners out of political expediency. It all seems a little forced.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The movie works-to the extent that it does-because of its sharply un-PC script (credited to Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky) that sometimes feels like a Hollywood rewrite of "Election."
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    But you do take the film home with you - to all your own toys - and that's what decent horror is supposed to do.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Philip Seymour Hoffman and a ratlike Paul Giamatti are the competing spin doctors - you wish the whole movie were about them. And Marisa Tomei brings a hungry sense of scoopmaking to the (unavoidable?) role of a New York Times journalist who's seen it all.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Too much of the movie feels predestined - down to the rainstorm on opening day - and subplots involving budding romance end up forcing what's implicit. Crowe, meanwhile, still can't stop abusing his vinyl collection; the aural wallpapering of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and others will surely please postboomer fans who haven't quite gotten the hang of silence.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Into Eternity has the grandeur of ominous suggestion, but might have benefitted from a director more creatively unbound-an Errol Morris ready to play around at the end of the world.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The movie's first hour happens to be its most absorbing. Director Alexei Popogrebsky sets up the quiet tensions between his two generationally divided characters like a chess match pocked with occasional power grabs.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The middle section of the story is where Rise truly takes off, perhaps in ways that will have viewers forgiving the rest.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    These filmmakers got halfway there, but Carpenter's genius was about more than just a look.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The mood of this movie will brew with you for a while, even if it swirls around characters who aren't quite persuasive.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The Grandmaster, five years in the making, feels like a waste of Wong’s talents.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    You never feel the burn in The Skin I Live In, certainly not the way you do in an immortal shocker like "Eyes Without a Face." It's almost as if Almodóvar wanted to reach out into a gory genre, but couldn't do so without wearing prissy gloves.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    No matter how predictable his arc is, writer-director Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent) never loses sight of the difficulties of cashflow and making one's weekly nut. You'll want to give his movie-and his secret weapon, the lovably neurotic Bobby Cannavale, as a recent divorcé hoping to co-coach the team-a pass for sweetness.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the movie's special effects are seamless and far more cleanly cut than any of Michael Bay's hash. But the element that lingers longest is a subtle strand - also woven into last week's "Take Shelter" - of recessionary anxiety.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Escalation is the main thing Margin Call has going for it, as more substantial actors are trotted out to have their way with Chandor's realistic-sounding boardroom dialogue.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The story is an autobiographical one from screenwriter Will Reiser's own ordeal; you smile with the thought that he had such women in his life, tough yet supportive, giving him the license to be funny again.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Meek's Cutoff has found its passionate defenders, those who admire it almost because of its meandering, heavily politicized nature. Yet you might try it-and try it again-and still only grab a handful of dust.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Given the keys to the franchise and a role in the writing, Black has massively upped the verbal sparring and kept the broad inventiveness of comic-book malleability in mind. “I’m a mechanic,” Stark says to the boy in a moment of self-doubt. That’s 100% Black, that line, a tidy code of craft, and the jitters pass.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Ultimately, the returns of the film's premise can't justify a nearly two-and-a-half-hour squirm. The savagery is honest, raw and hardly entertainment.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    With unexpected supernatural restraint, the movie approaches a religious parable; am I being unfair in wishing it had a touch more apocalyptic hysteria to it?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    As brought to life in the stentorian tones of Ben Kingsley, the curator comes off like a driven visionary, but his actual efforts aren't dramatized enough. The paintings speak more articulately: doomy, dank colors and oppressive shapes.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The movie skips along episodically; it's not quite as sharp as a war narrative needs to be, even if its nightmarish psychology feels spot-on.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Unfortunately, a new problem rears its head: It seems no young audience member can be trusted to enjoy a thoughtful story without a heroic, borderline-obnoxious surrogate (here, he's voiced by Zac Efron) zooming around on a scooter, bonking villainous heads and saving the day.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Renner and scientist Rachel Weisz are sympathetic enough (although lacking in Matt Damon's all-American approachability), and the movie flies along briskly.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Cave of Forgotten Dreams feels stuck in a middling zone of too much conjecture and not enough scholarship.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Redemptively, the cast goes a long way: Jean Desailly is perfect as a jowly literary celeb deep in midlife crisis, while the aloof Françoise Dorléac is magnetic as his airline stewardess and all-too-scrutable love object.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Tyrannosaur won't translate into entertainment, nor as a wake-up call to the dark side of humanity - though it does work nicely as a tart slice of hard-bitten acting; the entire cast is superb.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Illegal has caused a stir in Belgium, and the sincerity of the movie can't be denied. But there's little emotion to hold on to, apart from a mother's impotent concern about her wayward teenage son (Gontcharov), still on the outside.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The script, partly credited to Lost's Damon Lindelof, is so filled with talky lectures about divinity (and boner plot holes) that you realize, with embarrassment, that Scott, at age 74, wants to join the cosmic company of Terrence Malick. Does he not think that making a drum-tight horror film was ambitious enough?
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Knuckleheaded though this faculty-member-turned-MMA-fighter comedy is, there's no denying the plot's lefty credentials, snuck in like Raisinets among the popcorn.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The sincere director, Oliver Schmitz, injects too much movie into his movie; life (above all) would have been enough.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    As with so many modern fantasy films, the sequences here seem designed to go viral on YouTube in a flash of coolness, not necessarily linger in the mind or heart.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    When Sarah's Key leans into the horror (as it should), it's harrowing. Alas, that's only half the time.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Swaddled with a lacquer of nostalgia that passes for cultural insight, this one-night-in-sweatpants drama will make you yearn for a moratorium on teen movies-at least ones so aggressively dewy-eyed.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Some viewers might give the movie a few extra points for its retro vibe of taciturn badassedness. But little punctures the wall of emotional remove-the pulse rate is way too controlled for entertainment's sake.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Based on a banned short story from the 1920s, Caterpillar might be read as a reaction to hawkish nationalism, but it's more a cry for the unknown soldier in the kitchen and bedroom.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Call it a strange and unintended benefit, then, that many of these generic characters work better as awkward adults than as teens.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Burton, as usual, is great on atmosphere and comic timing (these are his weirdest moments since Ed Wood), but less so at reining in an overcomplicated plot and dimly lit action scenes.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    There's no suspense, even as Galifianakis's bone-dry earnestness sometimes kicks the movie into a realm of stealth drama.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    There's too much coyness about the implicit romance across the table; several other tensions concerning female independence go mostly unexplored. But the film's quiet focus on a woman's anxiety is not unwelcome.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Love Crime soon plummets into a flashback-laden mess, a shame since it was marginally stronger as a psychosexual game of dominance.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The tale itself is extraordinary, so why not let it do the talking? When Crime After Crime sifts through the facts, we feel the pull of justice; those moments might be enough.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    None of it makes any sense, except within the high-octane logic of blowing stuff up onscreen. And, in case you’re wondering, sometimes that can be entertainment enough: Slack-jawed euphoria shoots like nitro through the film. (Please be careful in the parking lot afterward.)
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Watch the director's 1976 "The Tenant," and you'll know he can do more with less.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    It all comes down to the Big Birthday Party and a furious bike ride, which he's clearly done before, in "The 40 Year Old Virgin."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Tuschi leans too far into an admiring position, and you thirst for some commonsense critique. It's all a bit rich.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The film's sociopolitical critique is as dull as a sledgehammer - and maybe on the money - but the truth is far more entertaining.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Comfortable with subtle Proustian detachment, the director has taken another stab at colossal scope, this time getting lost in the cerebral folds.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    We might have all felt like lost children for a while, but ten years later, the innocence is shameless.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Breathtaking imagery competes with a scary lack of human interest in this hypnotic, potentially alienating documentary.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The effort - by Vedder & Co., as well as Crowe - is heroic, if not quite persuasive. Legends aren't made of longevity alone, and while you wouldn't wish Kurt Cobain's pain on anyone, you can't help but feel this band survived well past its meaning.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Winterbottom's risks are welcome; it may be time, though, to invest more heart instead of head.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    This is textbook Kaurismäki, neither fresh nor unwelcome.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The metafriction between these classic dupes and today's idiots chafes uneasily.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    No performances stand out, which is a shame given Affleck's track record with actors. Ultimately, it comes down to a chase to the airport, with a scary Revolutionary Guardsman at the gate.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The film wants to be inspiring, when it might have been cosmic-a far greater ambition. Tossing boats and dreamers, the huge waves perform beautifully.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    It's almost cruel to criticize something so essentially lighthearted and disposable, but it must be said that a lot of these jokes feel distinctly recycled, mainly from "Broadway Danny Rose."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Hipsters is also a musical (in an intentionally naive "Absolute Beginners" vein), and while everything looks glinty and gorgeous, the story's political edge is dulled by excessive levity.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    "Amadeus" it's not, but as light transitional music, the film-which has Pete Postlethwaite's final performance, as a swishy landlord-is tuneful enough.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    West holds your interest with material that should feel like a rip-off of The Shining. If this is mere placeholding until something more ambitious comes along for the rising director, it'll do.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    No matter how sincere, Marston's effort also suffers from the lack of a burning lead as he had in Maria's Catalina Sandino Moreno. Fierce acting is a virtue you don't have to travel the world to find - or to lose sight of.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Director Paul Greengrass remains a genius of claustrophobia, yet his better films — "Bloody Sunday," "United 93" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" — all beat with a stronger sense of central identification. He doesn’t have as much to work with this time, and his solution is to slow down the pace. The result is more clarity, but also more monotony.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    A middling entry in the growing genre of tragic, never-quite-made-it rocker docs, this doesn't have a bona fide genius at its core (The Devil and Daniel Johnston), nor a compelling clash of Spinal Tap–ready egos (Anvil! The Story of Anvil).
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    When a movie is this predicated on aping the Coen brothers (effectively, it should be added, in fits and starts), surprise won't be its strong suit.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    There's a more courageous profile waiting to be made by someone who understands the man better.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Cigarettes are sucked hungrily by all involved, old and young, in the trashscape of this depressing Australian crime film - a movie that heaps so much dank atmosphere on its suburbanites, you can't help but sigh with relief when events turn to serial killing (finally?).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    You watch Dafoe's intelligent hands skillfully setting traps, building fires and squeezing triggers, and wonder if an entire movie might be made of such manly components. Probably not.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The documentary feels preprogrammed when it could have been a real-life Black Swan.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The oddest thing about the movie - and perhaps the asset that will tip it over into the plus column for you - is that it's a bona fide scuzz-Western.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Dreams like Garriott's shouldn't be available only to the highest bidder. If you end up taking the kid in your life to go see it, urge them to start saving their allowance.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The movie looks beautiful, its sublime b&w cinematography signaling a fading dream. And there are touching moments here that you rarely see in docs about professional musicians or celebrities in general.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Sinister has so much going for it - adult psychology, a great bitchfest of a marital meltdown - that you wince when it finally makes some rather dull choices involving the supernatural.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    It exists in fits and starts: a Blade Runner–esque moment of rainy contemplation on a hotel balcony; some weird sexual tension with a lizard girl (statuesque Svetlana Khodchenkova) who steals away Wolverine’s healing powers.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    You’re either awestruck, dumbstruck or just plain struck in the face.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    How can a movie so steeped in post-Katrina imagery eschew even the smallest comment about social responsibility? Maybe that was deemed too earnest, a decision that makes zero sense when a twinkling score is ladled on like instant pathos. Real people aren't beasts, nor do they require starry-eyed glorification. Bring your liberal pity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Safety Not Guaranteed doesn't quite know what kind of comedy it wants to be; the humor works best in its first hour, when the news-of-the-weird plot takes on a suggestive dimension of romantic desperation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Dree Hemingway, daughter of Mariel, commits to some unnecessary nudity, but also impresses with her subtlety.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The opinions assembled are impressive: everyone from "Rounders'" Matt Damon to former senator Al D'Amato, a poker defender. But where's the voice of reason? It's card playing, not a dependable income.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The precedent for a movie like this is Ang Lee’s bruised "The Ice Storm," but whereas that film sprung from a novel that burns with indictment, Julia Dyer’s effort — scripted by her late sister, Gretchen — is a more open-ended affair and slightly unsatisfying for it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    I'd trade much of The Master for one extraordinary moment played by the ever-improving Amy Adams, in front of the bathroom mirror with Hoffman.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    If you go into Maleficent expecting Jolie to be the badass of Sleeping Beauty, you’re going to get burned.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Only Julianne Moore, as the Bible-thumping mom, has an instinct to go softer — how couldn’t she, after Piper Laurie? — and paradoxically, it’s a move that feels wrong, the role requiring its cantatory bigness.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Still, the problem that often fells these documentaries - humorlessness - has been licked: Jack Black makes an exuberant cameo pitching recycled toilet water (his fake brand is called Porcelain Springs). Sound gross? Open wide, because it's on the menu for all of us.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    There's too much going on here - of a winning, thoughtful nature - to dismiss Josh Radnor's back-to-college romance as the nostalgia bath it mainly is.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    This film could have done with a few more mouth beats and unlikely moments of extracurricular celebrity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Director Lauren Greenfield has a catty eye, but she's not after simple schadenfreude as the Siegels' time-share hotels are foreclosed, the kids have to fly coach [gasp], and poops go unscooped by a phalanx of laid-off servants.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The movie strays too far into fantasy - Abe suffers mightily - but Solondz still has an ear and an eye for a specific hell in the real world.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The general takeaway, occasionally swaddled in pot clouds and boisterous laughter, is that verse-slinging requires serious thought and planning.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Predictably, the documentary got a rousing reception at hipster-laden SXSW; real people might find it a touch easy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    So why is this songwriter, so articulate on vinyl, so vague and spacey in current-day interviews? Something happened here, deeper than an aborted quest for fame, and the documentary hasn't gotten to it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    Best are the film's tender ghostly visitations from Dad, evoked with a minimum of artiness, and the authentic, impoverished locations.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The way forward, both in Caouette's real-life situation and his development as an artist, remains unclear, yet that frustration makes it to the screen, in spiky waves that signal a vital personal quest.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    For all its episodic, gleeful inappropriateness, the movie Klown most resembles - not that it tries to or anything - is Alexander Payne's half-soused flight from maturity, "Sideways."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    The images wash over you - lush, gorgeous, impeccably framed - just as they did in Ron Fricke's wordless meditation "Baraka" (1992).
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Joshua Rothkopf
    To be sure, the film as a whole feels like a creaky vehicle, belabored with plot strands and stereotypes that only serve to highlight Winstead's ragged commitment to something real.