Steve Persall

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For 830 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 32% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Steve Persall's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 300
Lowest review score: 0 The Watch
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 81 out of 830
830 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The Rover fascinates and frustrates in equal measure, with Michod withholding details of plot and character so thoroughly that a nihilistic fog sets in.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Kong: Skull Island strips the beauty from a legendary beast, reducing a classic movie star to soulless monster mechanics. Kong smashes, but not much else. Whoever dies doesn't matter. Whoever lives has a sequel promised by the end credits.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It feels like a rush job, needing another draft or two for cohesion's sake, or for Allen to decide what sort of story he's telling.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Real Steel is sci-fi without the science, and the fiction is strictly 20th century, straight out of Rocky knockoffs.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Russell remains one of our most adorable, underused actors, although this role lacks the emotional and comedic breadth of her turn in 2007's "Waitress."
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    White House Down is nearly enough fun to be a bad movie that's a good time. But it always finds some way of being a drag, belching exposition and weak humor when action's all we need, then carrying the action to exhausting lengths.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Chastain plows through this tangled scenario with an icy ferocity that's entertaining. You get the feeling that Miss Sloane would work better as a streaming or cable series, allowing more time to explore characters and issues, giving actors more room for dense dialogue. Maybe come up with a better way out of that corner.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Winter's War isn't tedious. Amiably bad movies seldom are. Theron and Blunt look fabulous doing silly, screechy things in Colleen Atwood's costumes. Chastain makes Sara a formidable match in battle and bed with Eric, who becomes less important as these wonder women converge.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    There's no disputing Streep's brilliance, which this time feels more calculated than usual, in a movie demanding only an impersonation.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Mostly it's hamstrung by an abundance of reverence and dialogue sounding like an art studies syllabus when it isn't rehashing war movie tropes.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Joy
    Endings have never been Russell's strong suit. This time the beginning also eluded him, and the middle fell into his lap. Joy leaves a feeling of panicked disappointment, as if phone lines are open and nobody's calling.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    This is science fiction needing more work on the fiction part, an intriguing premise running its course halfway through. Passengers is too smart for starters to devolve into green screen spectacle relegating its attractive stars to unconvincing gapes.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Stylish to a fault and straying from the source, Guy Ritchie's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. revives a 1960s television hit for the short attention spans of today's youth-skewing movie audience.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    I expected, even wanted to cry at The Fault in Our Stars, or at least choke up a little. Yet the transparent eagerness of this movie to break hearts, through means not entirely justifying that end, always pulled me back.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) doesn't match the feverish nature of Karel Reisz's original, and the gambling sequences convey the sameness of a habit but not as much tension to it.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The actors are so good that you wish Collyer offered them a richer arc to play, rather than just a topic.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    At least the latest movie about the financial meltdown doesn't make the same mistake as the last one. It also doesn't prove that a fictional film can explain the downturn's causes and effects better than a documentary.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Feels like half of a good movie, much of it revealed in admittedly thrilling trailers.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The Farrellys whip up a miss-or-hit affair, the best jokes coming without much set-up, just non sequiturs and malapropisms.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    A nice but unnecessary movie for small children who can find the same level of entertainment on kiddie cable networks.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Calvary becomes a lurid Agatha Christie yarn with something important to say about the church and Ireland that McDonagh can't fully articulate. Pulp keeps getting in the way.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Broadbent carries the movie with signature ease, making Tony easy to dislike while wishing him an overdue peace. Despite its time-flip fixation, The Sense of an Ending finds emotional focus in Broadbent's wilting gaze and discoveries in character with the simplest line deliveries.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    There might be a great movie about any of Hoover's triumphs and secrets, but not all at once.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Pig in the City is a blatant, heartless attempt to turn a surprise hit into a cash cow. That simply won't do, pig. [25 Nov 1998, p.1D]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 74 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Thankfully in space, no one can hear you yawn.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Kubo and the Two Strings is lovely to behold, if viewers manage to keep their eyes open. It's an animated doozy and drowser at once, an uncomfortable mix of Miyazaki-style imagination and generic dullness.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Coppola's movie has a sense of indie vitality, although the energy feels wasted by running in place.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    If this movie truly cost $375 million to produce and market (as the L.A. Times reported), the biggest chunk isn't on the screen.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Act of Valor will likely earn high praise from combat veterans and their families, the way movies like "Fireproof" and "Seven Days in Utopia" resonate with Christians. Civilians, movie critics and certainly pacifists won't be nearly as impressed.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Director Robert Lorenz makes a nondescript debut, after assisting Eastwood on several of his directing gigs. The student hasn't learned much from the teacher about economic storytelling or deflecting schmaltz.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Gimme Shelter exists less as a social lesson than as a wobbly showcase for Hudgens' still-developing skills.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Our Brand Is Crisis shows flashes of insight cribbed from reality, nibbling the edges of satire without ever taking a big bite.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    In telling someone else's story Crowe loses track of his own as a cultural definer, not a panderer. Mee bought a zoo; Crowe sells out.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    X-Men: Apocalypse is sprawling to a fault, in both geography and characters to be given something to do.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Not even J.K. Rowling can say abracadabra and make a worthwhile movie franchise appear. The lightning that struck Harry Potter once merely grazes Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, turning the sorcerer's mentor into a fantasy apprentice.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    This Cinderella is achingly old-fashioned, with scant humor, a regressive heroine and godmother effects that aren't special.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Good intentions don't always make for good movies. Case in point: Zootopia, a Disney film with more on its mind than animated fun and fuzzies. So much, in fact, that it loses track of what audiences expect, what they're being sold.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Spike Lee's remake of 2003's Oldboy is as brutally perplexing as the South Korean original, and needless for both its repetition and tweaks. Nothing is really lost in translation, or gained.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Hanks keeps things interesting with an array of concerned expressions and distant gazes. But there's no tension in faked suffering. The actor and Eastwood's movie are limited by the goodness of their subject, the flawlessness of his actions.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The Boss feels like a fun character gradually wasted.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The reason this overstuffed movie remains tolerable is the inspired casting of Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. as a combative father and son, and their determination to out-thespian each other.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Woo directs Mission: Impossible 2 cautiously, as if still introducing himself to U.S. audiences despite Face-Off and Broken Arrow. Or maybe he has nothing left to say about the poetry of violence after such visual eloquence in his Chinese classics. [24 May 2000, p.1D]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 67 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Soderbergh doesn't always match his pacing to Mallory's fury.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Leigh's characters merely act in a goofy and irritating fashion until their dramatic pay-off scenes. This uneven style cheats fine actors out of the chance to shade their roles rather than rely upon black-and-white emotions. [6 Mar. 1992, p.10]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 35 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Identity Thief is a road movie with its creative lanes clogged, and a Mack truck comedian barreling through, anyway.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Cumberbatch is very good, in a movie that isn't.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Almodóvar dives into perversity, practically daring the audience not to follow. The Skin I Live In is a mediocre addition to his resume, yet for fans, even bad Almodóvar is better than none at all.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Knight and Day never makes sense from the opening credits. Heck, the title is only half-explained, and not as cleverly as the pun deserves. It's a movie that never gestated beyond the pitch: Glamorous stars in exotic locales, shooting and driving their way to safety through a gantlet of bad guys chasing a MacGuffin.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Like a struggling sprinter, Stephen Hopkins' film suffers from wasted motion, too much going on. It's the difference between a merely competent movie and one justifying more discussion of Hollywood's commitment to reward diversity.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The strategy deserves to self-destruct in five seconds.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The Conjuring 2 is serviceable horror, heavy on the audio stings yet smarter than the average gorefest.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's the garish swarm of colorfully twisted action that Batman v Superman needed, the anarchic approach such timeworn superheroes deserve. Suicide Squad characters aren't nearly as familiar, so writer-director David Ayer's movie is also messy, not entirely by design.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Live by Night is ambitious to a fault, with so much material and technical pizzazz that a cable miniseries format might have been a better way to go.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Depp is the only reason this haphazard take on the Lone Ranger legend exists, at least in this swollen state, begging the question of why Disney didn't name the movie Tonto.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's a pleasing tribute to Steadman, but there's a sense that Paul would really prefer to focus on Thompson's brand of altered-state brilliance, which has been covered in documentaries before. If you're a gonzo completist, For No Good Reason is a must-see.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The 33 has a disappointing lack of depth for a movie about being trapped 2,400 feet below.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's Lane who's saddled with dragging this nag over the finish line, with her cliched portrayal of another single-minded woman beating men at their own game.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Baruchel aside, The Sorcerer's Apprentice contains a few minor delights. One is Cage's surprisingly low-key approach to a role that he could be expected to play over the top.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Wang's high regard for women is intact, plus a keen eye for period detail making the 19th century sequences lovely to observe. But it's nothing we haven't seen before.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Chungking Express essentially tells two muted love stories set in a bustling locale, without fully involving the audience in either. [3 May 1996, p.5]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 31 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    At least This Means War is an equal opportunity misfire, with as much appeal for men as women, compared to a one-sided weeper like "The Vow."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Field's eager-to-please performance makes [Showalter's] shovelfuls of sugar go down easier.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The Homesman isn't as confident with balancing madness and dark humor as Jones' only previous directing job, 2005's border odyssey The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. This movie's switchback plotting ambles from crisis to comical, threatening to maintain a tone but not for long.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The redneck rust bucket is on screen so much that 3-D glasses should come with tetanus shots.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's a one-note character that Bardem builds into a complex emotional chord, lessening the urge to dismiss Biutiful solely as an endurance test for viewers.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Vacation is a Gen X comedy franchise rebooted exactly how audiences can expect in 2015, bawdier and less likable than whatever classic inspires it.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    None of it is thrilling, but Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has a Saturday matinee goofiness that'll go well enough with air conditioning.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's just another example of technology intruding upon storytelling, that's been happening since kinetoscopes cranked one frame at a time.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The pleasures of Lovelace are in its casting choices, allowing a brio trio like Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale to sleaze up a pivotal scene, and an unrecognizable Sharon Stone to go full Jessica Lange as Linda's shamed mother.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Curled up at home with the lights off and DVD player running, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark might be passable fun. Spread over a movie screen, the film's modest ambition gets dwarfed by expectations, especially after paying for a ticket.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Salt is a movie constantly painting itself into corners then tromping out with arbitrary twists and action distractions.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Eastwood's unvarnished storytelling style, usually his strength as a filmmaker, is terribly out of place here. If ever a movie needed flashbacks, dream sequences, any attempt no matter how cliche to goose the narrative, it's this one.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It's just an exhausted idea coasting on the charm of its stars.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Ultimately, the movie's energy rises and falls on the presence of Adam Driver as Wallace's libido-on-legs friend, who can make you believe sex can solve anything. Except this movie.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    If anyone gets a career boost from The Expendables it will be Dolph Lundgren, playing a drug-addicted loose Howitzer booted from the team and flipping to the bad side.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It is well acted bunk, led by Hugh Jackman's righteous raging as the father of a missing girl, abducting a suspect (Paul Dano) to pummel and scald a confession from him. If only solving the case and ending this movie sooner was that simple.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Magic Mike XXL is darker, and between money-rain showers, duller. It's the movie many feared the original would be.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    A drab dream with squirmy-cuddly aliens, floating space bubbles and too many Rihanna musical interludes.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Someone describes the T-800 as "nothing but a relic from a deleted timeline." Too harsh to lay on Schwarzenegger yet, but certainly it applies to the Terminator franchise.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    What keeps Daddy's Home watchable is Wahlberg's checkmate machismo, as the intimidating foil necessary for Ferrell's namby-pambyism to register.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Cena handles rough stuff like a pro, and his poker-faced wisecracking isn't bad. But he probably shouldn't quit his day job.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Closed Circuit is a shaggy paranoid thriller in which conversations aren't the shorthand of people who know each other but wordy exposition for those strangers in theater seats.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    McKay's frustration about the financial crisis is obvious, his instinct of how to engage viewers less so. Buyer beware.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Beaver plays like a thickly veiled confessional and plea for forgiveness. It's too creepy for comfort.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Malaise isn't Tom Hanks' thing, so A Hologram for the King with its death of an IT salesman vibe isn't a good fit. Hanks is far too indelible as a can-do personality to play why bother.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Kechiche's doting on entwined limbs, thrusting pelvises and oral stimulation, all carefully posed and continued longer than necessary to get his point across, races beyond titillation to creepy voyeurism.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Close's performance is technically perfect and emotionally pinched, which is exactly what her role calls for, but it doesn't make a compelling movie.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    A Walk in the Woods is a trifle compared to 2014's Wild, which tracked a similar real-life journey toward self-discovery in richer detail. But darned if Redford's easy charm and Nolte's gravelly lack of it aren't enticing throughout.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The only surprise is that Garry Marshall didn't direct this jumbled, star-studded kibitz and rename it "Mothers Day."
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Writer-director David E. Talbert, working from his novel, tackles each musical interlude, montage and mad dash to an airport like he's the first person ever to think of them.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Despite its overt feminism, Neighbors 2 makes the sorority unravel when its guiding man leaves. It's one of several mixed messages in the screenplay, possibly due to having five writers' fingerprints on it.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    With each musical reprise and imitated frame, Condon continues a fight of comparisons he can't win. Either imitate a classic faithfully or leave out the songs and make your own version. Or just leave perfection alone.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    As a cinematic effort, Atlas Shrugged: Part I is competent; in service to Ayn Rand's epic novel, it's less so.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Gold isn't a bad movie, just lifeless except for McConaughey.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Will Forte plays his pitifully deluded creation to the hilt in a penknife movie. There's a lot of material here that only occasionally succeeds on Forte's insanely focused performance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Any resemblance between Allied and a much better movie on the subject isn't coincidental but unfortunate.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Brand is amusing, in a nutty "Get Him to the Greek" sort of way, while Moore delivered one of the funniest performances ever.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    What nags me about Battle Los Angeles is that Liebesman never realizes what he set up to happen after the fade-out.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It's all bathetic enough for Labor Day to be subtitled The Prisons of Madison County.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Lewis' performance is a spectacle of ego and last-chance craft that could only be possible for a legend near the end.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Hollars plays like a Zach Braff cast-off, with its strenuous quirks and strummy musical interludes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Rules Don't Apply is affably mediocre, even tolerable between brief pleasures. The movie's lone constant amusement is Beatty's madcap portrayal of Hughes, keeping aloft his Spruce Goose of nonromantic not quite comedy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Dark Shadows manages in two hours what the TV show took six years to do: become irrelevant and remembered only for how sloppy it was.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Boss Baby is a bun needing more time in the oven, some rethinking of what sort of animated comedy it wishes to be.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Hail, Caesar! is maddeningly hit-and-miss.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The fourth episode in a saga that didn't need a second, Age of Extinction, is 2 hours and 45 minutes of numbing dumb and dull end credits listing the artists cashing in. It is exactly what moviegoers who made this franchise thrive deserve.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    When we-know-who finally gets what's coming, The Girl on the Train briefly reaches its campy feminist potential, after two hours of taking a transparent mystery too seriously.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The only bright spot in Tomorrow Never Dies is watching Chinese action star Michelle Yeoh eventually get a chance to grab a couple of machine guns and start rocking the house. She's a dynamo who has held her own alongside Jackie Chan, so it's disappointing that Spottiswoode doesn't find more opportunities to let her kick some tail. [19 Dec 1997, p.8]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance offers Cage plenty of opportunities to tap his inner circus geek, to twitch, cackle and flail without shame, going full tilt batwing crazy. Not since he danced in a pagan bear suit in The Wicker Man has Cage appeared this unconcerned about what the audience will think.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    There are too many convenient romances, trumped-up crises and reversals of conscience to clear up while those poor whales suffer. Big Miracle isn't an entirely bad movie but a wholly misguided one.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Inferno is another docent tour dressed as an action movie, a baby boomer's fantasy of travel and intrigue.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Conan the Barbarian has its small, insipid pleasures, if you're in the mood.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Wright is an insanely funny filmmaker (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) yet only the front half of that description carries over to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Hereafter doesn't feel like a Clint Eastwood film; it's more like a very special edition of John Edward's psychic TV show.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Without previous knowledge of Andy Diggle's comics, The Losers looks like every other globetrotting gunpowder flick in which good guy bullets never miss and bad guy bullets never hit their targets.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Like its heroine, The Age of Adaline is afraid of its emotions, and stuck flat-footed in time.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    That first movie was obviously a calculated grab for Harry Potter-type movie success but didn't feel like a rip-off. This one skews younger, to an easier-to-please demographic, closely resembling other fantasies since.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It's all harmless, if not entirely fun.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Whatever laughter Lottery Ticket earns is through familiarity with these exaggerated characters, and actors going the extra mile to make viewers believe they haven't seen this material before.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Entourage the movie operates like Vince's pals, making itself feel important solely through who's famous nearby.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Apatow hates leaving anything on the cutting room floor. You could excise entire chunks of The Five-Year Engagement - the donut experiments at college, a couple of wise soliloquies, most of the stuff involving Violet's sister (Alison Brie) - and never miss a beat.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    This is such a generic endeavor — not a poor effort, just one that doesn't attempt to do anything besides splash a screen with color and movement.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Go see Won't Back Down and enjoy it. Just don't believe it's anything more than a stacked deck with a lot at stake.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Some ideas simply work better on book pages, rather than on film where illogic is exposed.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Transcendence is a movie without villains, thrills or, after Nolan fanboys show up, much of an audience.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The movie's only constant pleasure - heck, the whole franchise's - is Eugene Levy as Jim's dad, widowed and wondering if it's time to date again.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The first half is nothing but silly setups for a stretch run that admittedly has its moments of wacky pandemonium, just not enough.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The terror of Sept. 11 feels like little more than a dramatic hook, an easy way to make audiences cry. Oskar and the event defining him deserve better.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Office Christmas Party contains enough lunacy from McKinnon, Bell and Vanessa Bayer to nearly recommend, then enough lame plot threads, Rob Corddry and Olivia Munn to reconsider.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    MacLaine keeps things interesting, snapping off one-liners with precision that comes only through experience.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Fury reeks of self-importance, a strange arrogance for a fictional World War II drama drenched in more blood than ideas.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Intern is a movie outmoded in style and strangely retro-sexist in spirit.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Pawn Sacrifice tells a fascinating story in unspectacular fashion, resulting in a draw.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The junk in Lucy doesn't entirely eclipse the moments when weird is fun.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    At some juncture — much earlier than director Gareth Edwards intends — Godzilla needs to stop being an extra in his own movie.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    I spent several minutes not caring what was happening with the story but just observing the patchwork illusion of oversized props, short stunt doubles and computer grafting of big faces on small bodies. Nice work.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Great Wall is a so-so movie with eye-popping images.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was supposed to settle a fanboy debate older than Adam West. Instead it raises another: Is being a superhero really this much of a drag?
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Rock the Kasbah isn't respectful of truth, or consistently funny in the way it lies.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Poor Thor. Dude can't even hold center stage in his own movie. He's the Asgardian god of stolen thunder, upstaged at each ab turn by Loki, malarkey and Odin's eyepatch.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Let's cut to the chariot chase. The latest screen version of Ben-Hur would be little more than a condensed miniseries without it, framed for small television screens, with performances to fit.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    This Grudge Match is winners take all and losers bought tickets.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    By all accounts, Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was a monster. That's exactly how Johnny Depp plays him in Black Mass, a dark blob of underworld cliches and bad contact lenses.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Imagine a stuffy Merchant Ivory production blended with muted Michael Crichton sci-fi and you have Never Let Me Go, at least as it plays on screen.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Shame smears the lines between daring and taunting, and art versus indulgence. When it ends there's the urge to take a shower, and not a cold one.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    I deferred to the wisdom of Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez): "I didn't hate it as much as I expected to. But I still hated it."
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Big Stone Gap isn't everyone's cup of sweet tea. It's a homespun tale populated by broadly drawn characters and solid actors — Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Anthony LaPaglia — sounding like they gulped hush puppy batter.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    As a rollicking comedy, it isn't.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Comedy and narrative demand more rhythm than simply scamper, jabber, fall but that's what Minions bring to the table.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Raven isn't nearly as much fun as it should be.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    At times the screenplay by brothers David and Alex Pastor strikes the proper tone for claptrap.... Mostly, though, the dialogue thuds in circles.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Fifty Shades Darker is what you'd expect from encoring a regrettable one-night stand. Not a keeper, but nothing to gnaw off your arm about.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Life Happens still has the obligatory relationship cracks and repairs to wade through but it's finally tolerable.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Flat and polished is a fine condition for mirrors, not movies. There is imagination galore but no genuine magic in Mirror Mirror, a Grimmly disappointing take on Snow White's fairy tale.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It's a story told accurately, if not particularly well.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The movie zings when Jenkins is snapping off venomous wisecracks, or O'Hara speaks politically incorrectly with only the best intentions. But those moments aren't enough to raise A.C.O.D. above the level of a failed pilot for a racy pay channel sitcom.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Like the live action Beauty and the Beast, its best impressions come from imitating the source, lifting visuals and dialogue to deja vu effect.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    As an actor, Meryl Streep is incapable of making false moves. That doesn't mean she's incapable of making false movies.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The problem isn't entirely Lehane's script... It's the way Belgian director Michael R. Roskam, making his English language debut, is so visually uninspired by all this meanness.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Unstoppable isn't unwatchable, but it is a letdown after "Speed" and some of the Speed-on-a-(fill in the blank with a vehicle) flicks that followed. Forget missing Hopper; even Keanu Reeves might make this movie more entertaining.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    13 Hours is another flag-wrapped paean to true-life Alamo heroism in the vein of Lone Survivor, hoping for ticket sales like American Sniper. Neither of those movies carry the political burden of 13 Hours, and Bay isn't one to channel it.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    American Ultra is a clumsy mix of courtship and gunpowder, passion and horror leading to a romantically sick-humored conclusion. The end nearly justifies director Nima Nourizadeh's means of getting there. But not quite.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Yes, this is a great time for escapism at the movies. But there's a point at which escapism throws what we're trying to forget back in our faces.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Somewhere, Wes Craven is laughing up his sleeve, and Robert Englund is grinning. It's nice to know that you're irreplaceable.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    This is a comedy never proceeding beyond its idea pitch and attractive casting.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The movie veers between disapproval, farce and something uncomfortably close to envy, with a trio of game performances barely holding things together.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The movie is geared to preschoolers, so only parents dragged with them may complain. There's only that Looney Tunes overture to savor before the Acme production begins.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    I seriously doubt that it happened this way, with such convenient strife and truncated solutions. The movie is about baseball but plays like T-ball, with each situation teed up for easy swings.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    If you prefer hipster romantic comedies that are unromantic and not too funny, Lee Toland Krieger's movie may be your grande half-caf caramel mocha frappe.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The three young stars biding time in Tom Gormican's listless rom-com are too gifted for one mediocre movie to bury.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    A comedy as lazy as Sandler's previous boondoggles.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    I honestly thought Eclipse would be different, after "New Moon" showed stirrings of cinematic life.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    A terrible title for a not-much-better movie, missing a grammatically correct question mark and most of the point with romantic comedies.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The Host doesn't strive for social allegory, as previous body snatcher flicks have done with the Red Scare, civil rights and Watergate. If anything it's merely a teenage girl's fantasy checklist for prom.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Everything plays out brutally, and the acting's not bad. But it's unsettling for external reasons beyond its control.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Jobs the movie isn't as fascinating as Jobs the man, much less the myth of entrepreneurial superiority he left behind.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Sure, the plot is paper thin like most reboots, but CHiPs is less about the story and more about the special effects and stunt riding, which are jaw-dropping.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The movie's best performance — and worst defamation — belongs to Tony Shalhoub, playing the first victim as a conniving, egotistical jerk who deserves to be kidnapped, maimed and ruined financially.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Man on a Ledge makes bigger leaps of logic than Nick will if he fails a gravity test. If the transparent sting springing him from Sing Sing doesn't roll your eyes, then wait for the climax when Nick becomes a kind of plainclothes Spider-Man.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Veronica Mars, the movie, plays like a two-parter without commercials. Its uninspired framing and static action suits a TV screen better than a multiplex's.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Watching Spectre unfold, lumbering and slumbering, on the heels of a franchise high is a shock, so much talent coasting this time.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    It's enough to make Kim Jong ill.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner makes a troublesome filmmaking debut, wasting a dream cast for a comedy in a fitful story of family tension, mental illness and corrosive self-absorption.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The movie's glaring problem is the design and execution of Chappie, whose look is unremarkable except for a pair of polymer rabbit ears ready for meme posterity.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Despite its haunted house setting, the movie's most visible cobwebs are found in Jane Goldman's screenplay, adapted from Susan Hill's novel.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The movie has all the propulsion of a trolling motor, traversing long-charted dramatic waters.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Sinister is basically a collection of bogus snuff films linked by standard haunted house tricks - everything creaking and slamming, with the power conveniently shut off.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    A distinct lack of merriment marks each frame of this film, with Scott determined to erase all fond memories of past Robin Hoods.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    If not for a few choice performance moments and a couple of peppy montages, Wanderlust would be cinematic compost, recycled and thoroughly smelly.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    After a lucrative career of bashing well-made scary, epic, disaster and date movies, Friedberg and Seltzer have a source begging to be mocked.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a downgrade from the first, doing lots of thing wrong that 2012's sleeper hit did right.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Jonah Hex isn't abrupt by design but by desperation.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Disney's remake of Mighty Joe Young has little to recommend except more realistic special effects than the 1949 original and a handful of kid-sized thrills. The movie feels designed only to pass some time in a theater, without much attention to anything except building the perfect cuddly beast. [25 Dec 1998, p.8]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 44 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Filmmakers simply can't make Tarzan like they used to. If someone tries, like director David Yates did with The Legend of Tarzan, he's just another superhero, swinging on vines rather than spider webs. Natives can't be restless. Lions won't be wrestled...Tarzan fans leave feeling Cheetah'd.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Paul Haggis is positive that withholding information while John makes "A Beautiful Mind" flow charts and deals with bad dudes will keep it interesting. Haggis is wrong.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Blended is simply more of the stale Sandler formula that audiences wisely haven't sought as much.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    As director and writer, MacFarlane appears to have forgotten everything about cinematic standards of pacing, characterization and meaningful smut, resulting in an encore that's slow, sketchy and dumb-dirty.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Harrelson and Dern's efforts aside, Wilson is indie ennui at its emptiest, a vessel of misshapen wit with a hole in the bottom. Its nihilism is exhausting. Oddness gets oppressive when a movie goes through more mood swings than its unbalanced heroes.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Nothing to skip school over but at least it's not in 3-D. No sense in paying an extra ticket charge for something belonging on TV, anyway.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Vittorio Storaro's cinematography is superb, casting gauzy glows and sensual silhouettes against impressively designed sets. Allen drops a few philo-cynical lines worthy of his reputation but not nearly enough.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Fey and Poehler remain game throughout, mustering a bit of besties magic here and there. Sisters flips a tested formula to become the New Coke of comedy, looking familiar and bubbly on the surface, disposable before it's finished.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Timecop has its fleeting moments of fun; mostly when Van Damme finally starts ribbing himself, years after Stallone and Schwarzenegger poked a hole in their own musclebound images. But director Peter Hyams and screenwriter Mark Verheiden (who co-created the Timecop comic book character) aren't nearly as clever as they think they are. [16 Sep 1994, p.6]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 56 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Date Night is really just another example of what happens when funny sitcom stars are lumped together in a movie, believing that laughter exponentially increases with screen size.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Pan
    Director Joe Wright's movie barely gets off the ground, and gets old quickly.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The Night Before isn't anything Harold, Kumar or Billy Bob Thornton didn't desecrate before and better.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The fifth edition of the franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, is the brawniest and most brainless of the bunch.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    The concept is rich with potential to offend yet after a promising opener Cody doesn't seem interested.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    A movie that wouldn't get much attention if the creator of "Titanic" and "Avatar" (as the ads overhype) weren't tangentially involved.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Clash of the Titans redefines 3-D but in the wrong way; the movie is dull, dingy and, well, let's just say dull again.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Step Up Revolution is a bad movie with a few good moments, usually when the cast sets aside delusions of acting prowess and does what comes naturally to them.

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