For 182 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 14% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 12.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Martin Tsai's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 47
Highest review score: 90 Predestination
Lowest review score: 10 Poseidon Rex
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 182
  2. Negative: 61 out of 182
182 movie reviews
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Martin Tsai
    The film's exploration of the tenuous bonds within a community will surely prompt serious soul-searching.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Martin Tsai
    It's just as thrilling as it is edifying.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Martin Tsai
    The Spierig brothers have deftly fashioned an unpredictable thrill ride, and the joy is to fit together all its puzzle pieces.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Despite what seem like the trappings of a Lifetime movie, writer-director Claudia Myers presents us with an unflinching and complex character study of an imperfect woman.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Drenched in nostalgia, this loving tribute to the unsung heroes of cinema has immense appeal.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Since many of the themes from Illmatic have become mere clichés in contemporary rap, this film serves as a reminder of the potential and the promise that hip-hop truly holds.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Some of the black photographers' works here are breathtaking — and may prompt you to hunt down Willis' book for the coffee table. But there's so much more to take away from Harris' documentary.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Brown spent nearly four years so that we would witness Brawner's transformation firsthand. Rather than the after-school special that this film easily could have been, we get so much more out of it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    Impressively, Gangs of Wasseypur manages its sprawling story lines deftly and maintains a brisk pace throughout its daunting length. The performances are uniformly excellent, even if no character in Part 1 is at all likable.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Martin Tsai
    PK
    A biting, whip-smart satire on the thorny subject of organized religion, the Bollywood musical "PK" enlightens and provokes through outrageous slapstick.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    In spite of its insufferably whimsical tendencies — exemplified by its original title, "Oh Boy" — the film may have turned out to be a deeply profound modern postscript about fascism. This isn't that far-fetched a reading at all.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Mbatha-Raw looks, sounds and moves like an A-lister. If "Belle" put the actress on Hollywood's radar, Beyond the Lights heralds her superstardom.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Through "Bhopal," the filmmaker argues that the promise of jobs and prosperity all too often trumps environmental and safety concerns, and it leads government to ignore corporate wrongdoing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Not Yet Begun to Fight is barely an hour long, but it justifies a theatrical release with a lyrical meditation on nature and war.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The lens work by "Crouching Tiger" cinematographer Peter Pau looks super slick; and the film's conformity to trends in regional commercial cinema yields respectable results. But Special ID truly comes alive when it busts out the good ol' fashioned Hong Kong daredevil stunt work.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Schwartz's first-person narrative proves moving. But given that the film is barely an hour long, one can't help but feel that parts could have been developed more — perhaps a deeper exploration of her gravitation toward one identity over another.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Director Yoruba Richen has refreshingly avoided making this polemic into propaganda, a temptation many lesser documentarians could not resist.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Though Mission Blue gets its title from Earle's nonprofit organization, the film rarely comes across as propaganda.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Witnessing him defy long odds, gravity and death is a thrill; even the uninitiated should find his unresolved father complex of interest.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    In spite of its fanciful tendencies, the film nails the growing pains that result from love and loss.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    If nothing else, patience has rewarded Hoogendijk and moviegoers with an inside look at an art administration without common sense.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The documentary Pay 2 Play lays out a compelling case against corporate personhood and money as free speech.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Unexpectedly, the film best serves as a cautionary anecdote that epitomizes the mutual apprehension between Internet-age start-ups and establishment media.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Amid thespian antics, it contemplates weightier ethical dilemmas such as personal tragedy versus collective grief, artistic license versus historical responsibility, revisionist history versus corrective narrative, forgetting versus moving on. It's one creative way to do justice to such a monumental topic when full-blown reenactments aren't within the budget.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Throughout Rob the Mob, De Felitta maintains an unfailingly sympathetic stance toward the lovers and the mafiosi alike, while keeping enough distance from all to disapprove of their dirty deeds and deter any viewer identification with them.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Director Daniel Monzón delivers a conventional genre exercise — albeit a very effective one, with twists and turns that manage to surprise.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The mash-up of the superhero and buddy-cop genres turns out fresh and vital, offering glimpses of a future where reality television and drones proliferate and where conglomerates with bottom lines underwrite crime fighters.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    An offbeat rom-com that ventures down the film-noir path, Hit by Lightning manages to make dark comedy fresh by combining two formulas.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Even jaded viewers who have gathered vague ideas from clues planted by screenwriters Rock Shaink and Keith Kjornes about how things will ultimately play out might find a genuine surprise or two in store.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The film proves much more valuable as a historical allegory than as a musical survey.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The musical numbers are inconsistent, ranging from radio-ready to after-school-special quality. Some story lines pale compared with the others. But overall, this is an immense achievement.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Filmmakers Luis Lopez and J. Clay Tweel achieve the fairness and balance so rarely seen in documentaries nowadays.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The film is enough to prompt soul-searching among parents, educators and the LGBT community on how to provide adequate guidance and support for LGBT youths.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Without passing judgment, Dickman illustrates how Hanna's way of life and personal convictions compelled his politics. He also allows Steve Hanna a fair shot at presenting his version of the events.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The film couldn't be more timely and germane for the American audience. If it weren't a documentary, it would seem like a post-apocalyptic allegory of our own vaccination debate.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Self-discovery through artistic expression is often trite, but Frank's rehabilitation and transformation readily win us over when we're least expecting it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Bears has warmth and fuzziness in spades, especially when the lot of them snoozes on logs. Amid its heaping serving of cuddliness, though, the film doesn't sugarcoat the harsh reality and unforgiving elements with which the bears have to contend.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The Great Invisible gives voice to many of the previously nameless and faceless victims of the disaster. Some worked on the oil rig that fateful day; others have suffered its environmental and economic consequences.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto — collectively known as the Mo Brothers — skillfully handle the moral complexity of the script by Tjahjanto and Takuji Ushiyama. With some of its biggest twists happening out of focus and in the background, the film rewards the most observant viewers.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Its depiction of esoteric facets of immigrant life lends an air of credibility seldom seen in rom-coms.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    The documentary style makes the proceedings all the more frightening.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Writer-director Gerard Johnson resists all impulses to please the crowd. The graphic sex and violence never feel gratuitous, and there's something interesting in the way he deliberately denies his characters and the viewers any reprieve.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Martin Tsai
    Director Megan Griffiths and writers Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel flesh out a female perspective that's refreshing and engrossing without demonizing or objectifying men.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    As far as documentaries go, the film is exhaustively researched, interviewed and documented.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Above all, its gratuitous graphic gore and exploitative nudity are unmistakably giallo. What "The Strange Color" lacks is the heart that separates a good film from a great one.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Despite a few contrivances like the impending romance between Nina and Tennessee, The Frontier remains for the most part refreshing and astute.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Even at a meager 40 minutes, the film feels padded... But so long as the jubilance brought about by lemurs can compel more protection for the near-extinct species, the film will have served its purpose.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The Christmas Candle" seems destined to be a Hallmark movie of the week. But in spite of the hammy histrionics requisite for the genre, it is not at all a turkey.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Fascinating as it may be, the film could have used outside perspectives to provide more context.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Imaginatively interspersing testimonials with reenactments, comic panels and Claymation, the film plays out like an entertaining absurdist satire.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The will-he-or-won't-he question becomes the focus of director Mark Raso's film, and how William responds under the mercy of Effy's whims ultimately determines whether he can emerge from his self-absorption at long last.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Despite the deliberately schlocky effects and puppetry, other aspects of the filmmaking are surprisingly satisfactory. It needs to be only one notch more bonkers to help its chances for cult status.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The film reveals frustratingly little about the sisters themselves.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Director Bradley King and his co-writer, B.P. Cooper, manage to overcome their shoddy premise as the plot progresses assuredly and persuasively.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Landis has acknowledged mental issues in interviews, and it registers so much more on film. The constant scrutiny of a camera seems exploitative and cruel, even if you are at all suspicious when he rationalizes his behavior as childlike mischief.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Dark Star might have been more fascinating had Sallin delved deeper into his place as an artist.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    While Chopra attempts to crack the American market with a slice of cinematic apple pie, he holds up a mirror to how Hollywood's tried-and-true narrative of vigilantism connotes who we are, at home and overseas.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Tsui will try anything once in 3-D. Splatters of blood travel in bullet-time, and the requisite ridiculousness — like action scenes with skis and zip-lines — characterize Tsui's work. But bookending the story with the 2015-set prologue and epilogue turns out to be his most inspired touch.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    There's a lot of truth in writer-director Sai Varadan's observant depictions of the battle of the sexes, the East Coast-West Coast cultural clash and struggling artists in soul-crushing showbiz. Too bad he isn't particularly sympathetic or fair toward his female characters, because there's much to commend otherwise.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Veteran television director Lee Jae-kyoo balances the most engrossing aspects of the South Korean telenovela with grandiloquent Hong Kong-influenced fight scenes.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The home-movie vérité style of the early scenes pays dividends when inexplicable occurrences suddenly take us by surprise.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The film proves most valuable when Hadza subjects candidly discuss their clashes with modernity.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    It does have a point of view, but the intended conclusion ripens for the picking in a roundabout way.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The film's stark juxtaposition of domestic melodrama and gonzo exploitation is very much reminiscent of "Audition." Whereas the Miike film turned into a feverish anxiety dream about feminist revolt, R100 suggests that extreme and perverse films allow the everyman to seek thrills in his otherwise-monotonous life.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    The film supplies a succession of hyper-stylized and potent set pieces without ever establishing any sort of internal logic.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Although this horror flick is somewhat absurd and seemingly forgettable when viewed in a vacuum, its coincidentally contemporaneous release with "Blue Is the Warmest Color" urges immediate reconsideration.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Martin Tsai
    Knights of Badassdom actually delivers everything the 2011 Danny McBride-James Franco comedy "Your Highness" purported to be but fell short on. The film is "This Is the End" festooned with Middle Ages accouterments.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    If bare-knuckle fights are what you seek, director Ekachai Uekrongtham certainly delivers. But the film scarcely scratches the surface of the horrors of human trafficking.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    This cautionary tale certainly has a chilling and timely message of how wars make monsters out of innocent people. But using reductive caricatures — complete with phlegmatic performances — to send that message is perhaps not the best way, because it turns something with modern-day implications into distant allegory.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Miss Lovely does exude an air of authenticity... But much of the film remains underdeveloped.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The film feels like a sketch rather than a portrait, beautifully rendered but incomplete in the details.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Filmmaker Jesse Quinones challenges certain racial and ethnic stereotypes while reinforcing others. When the script falls short, though, Royo and Haggard act up a storm.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The make-it-rain clichés are abundant and Jean-Claude La Marre's direction is pedestrian, but at least a few of the choreographed numbers here prove more magical than what Soderbergh mustered.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    More objectivity would have made this case study a lot more persuasive.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Like a typical Hollywood action-thriller, though, the screenplay jeopardizes the film. The twists concocted by writers James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin are mostly predictable; and the ones you don't see coming are outlandish.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Despite this notable cast, the remake never manages to drum up much excitement for its sleepy hamlet rousing or for its characters, finally filled with purpose.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    With verbal jabs and sight gags in equal measure, the script proves serviceably funny. As the film progresses, though, the hilarity does not escalate along with the outrageousness.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The messy relationships and sexual predilections make for an equally messy plot, which distracts from the film's strength — depicting the truths of a romantic relationship that's past the initial excitement and the selective memories of love lost.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    By allowing Cameron's first-person account to take command of the narrative, though, the film seems to gloss over meaningful logistics of the expedition.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Given the routineness of the chase itself, what jumps out here is the pervasive desperation shared by just about every character.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The documentary A Small Section of the World is straight-up corporate propaganda. But its uplifting, powerful, well-meaning message might be enough to win over even some skeptics.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Ngoc and Faunce certainly make fascinating subjects, and the film persuasively argues to give them the benefit of the doubt. But one can't help but think that in the hands of a shrewder filmmaker like Errol Morris, this stranger-than-fiction account would have been absolutely riveting.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The engaging plot gets a bit absurd toward the end.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    It's excusable for a sheltered novice filmmaker to be out of touch like this, but not for a veteran.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The screenplay by Lane Shadgett and director Trevor White relies far too much on telling rather than showing.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    While the cast and crew's competence well exceed what anyone would expect from this breed of B movies, they cannot compensate for the flawed internal logic in the screenplay.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    The film is certainly interesting, despite the fact that it's a glorified promotional video for Muniz's installations.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    When it becomes apparent that the seemingly linear narrative is in fact woven with several parallel story lines, one might even be inclined to excuse the plot's too many convenient coincidences.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    One Candle, Two Candles proves worthwhile at least as a cultural curio.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    One would almost be inclined to give Morgan a pass for interviewing some of his executive producers as expert sources. A bigger disappointment is the missed opportunity to address the significant retailer markups that could have gone toward improving sweatshop conditions instead of profit margins.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Unfortunately, each main character serves as an avatar emblematic of a societal symptom instead of a real person in whose shoes we can stand. As a result, their trajectories are didactic and predictable.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Fredric Dannen's reportage, which appeared in a 1992 issue of the New Yorker and serves as the film's basis, contains lurid details that leap off the page in a cinematic way. The "Dragons" script by Michael Di Jiacomo and co-director Andrew Loo preserves many, but few register on-screen.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Otherwise fairly routine, the film draws fear from ancient mythology and historical grudges in a way more reminiscent of Japanese horror than its American contemporaries. Had Ojeda delved into that a bit more, he could have really set the film apart.
    • 17 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    Some instances of impiousness work better than others.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Martin Tsai
    This journey into "Martha Marcy May Marlene" territory is never as tense and gripping as it should be, the incidents and most of the performances too tamped-down to spark a much-needed sense of animating friction.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Martin Tsai
    The AIDS scare remains as much window dressing as do other period details such as rotary phones and cassette tapes. Test seems to be about dance above all, with choreographed montages filling the bulk of its running time.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 40 Martin Tsai
    Hector may indeed learn that narcissism stands in the way of happiness, but he also walks away with his privileges intact and unchallenged.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Martin Tsai
    Like many found-footage films before it, The Den never entirely suspends disbelief. It doesn't satisfyingly account for how the characters are producing all the footage.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Martin Tsai
    The narrative of Strachwitz as preserver of obscure music just repeats like a broken record with the introduction of each region, genre and musician.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Martin Tsai
    With "Looper" and the fantastic recent release "Predestination" using the same plot device to explore existentialism, the potboiler Project Almanac feels like a leap backward.

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