The Dissolve's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,474 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 34% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Lowest review score: 0 The Cobbler
Score distribution:
1474 movie reviews
  1. Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.
  2. Sincerity and good intentions are all it has going for it, alas, and the result is the cinematic equivalent of a plate full of spinach.
  3. The bigness of Mann’s performance can’t help but set the film’s tone, which goes manic and high-strung to the point of hysteria before settling down and becoming really stupid and gross.
  4. Afternoon Delight is one of those bad films that seem to drift further and further away from a recognizable reality the more we get to know it.
  5. Even Neeson can’t rescue this halfhearted shrug of a movie.
  6. Young Ones looks promising in the early going, when it’s relying on Shannon’s customary intensity and building its harsh, arid world. (Principal photography took place in South Africa.) Shannon quickly disappears, though, and that’s when the dreary plot kicks in.
  7. Barbarash doesn’t do much to compensate for the misshapen script, either. Fumbling camerawork and incoherent editing rob the film’s generous fight sequences of their oomph, and amateurish green screen hobbles a car-chase sequence.
  8. It’s stale B-movie rubbish of a barely watchable sort, albeit slightly more depressing than many of its genre compatriots.
  9. Charlie Countryman feels like the cinematic equivalent of a dodgy first novel, the kind authors write when they’re young and full of romance, hubris, and pretension—then look back on later in life with something approaching mortification.
  10. The impression left by Harmontown is that the podcast and the tour are feeding the beast, worsening a pathology that casts him as the “mayor” of whatever stage he happens to be occupying at the moment.
  11. Neither Grossman’s uninspired staging nor the performances help much.
  12. Planetary’s message is repetitive without being enlightening, and the film and its assorted participants insist on hitting the same beats without pause, until the concept loses all meaning.
  13. Ribald yet frantically unfunny, it wears out its welcome within the first five minutes, and never comes close to gaining it back. It feels like an alternately flat and flailing television pilot for a bro-comedy no one in their right mind would ever pick up.
  14. Premature isn’t nearly as inventive and witty as Groundhog Day or Edge Of Tomorrow about finding fresh angles on repeating events, and it overestimates how much the audience might care about the self-improvement of a bland, clueless douchebag.
  15. The film aims for twee, but lands on torturous. It’s narcissism blown up to a global scale, in the guise of a quirky voyage of self-discovery.
  16. First-time director Nate Taylor, who has a background in editing, gives Forgetting The Girl impressive technical polish, but the performances he gets from his young, unknown cast are strictly amateur-hour.
  17. The result is a relentlessly dour film livened up only by Bardem’s shameless scenery-chewing and the occasional jolt of action. Otherwise, it’s an endless frown of a movie that does little but confirm that Penn’s talents, while impressive, aren’t limitless.
  18. No doubt a decent movie could have been made about the behind-the-scenes life of CBGB, but CBGB isn’t it. It’s as flip about the club as it is about Kristal, the music, and the time and place that shaped it all.
  19. This kind of dully formulaic filmmaking accomplishes little more than congratulating viewers for caring enough about historical atrocities to watch.
  20. Although the film is supposedly about movement, Growing Up And Other Lies frequently stalls out, and whole patches of it grind on without momentum or purpose.
  21. After The Ball commits its most garish faux pas in rooting its plot in the thorny politics of high fashion, despite an apparent lack of any understanding of how the business works.
  22. Though light on drama, Apple’s scenes at the shelter are easily the best part of the film, among the few moments when Gimme Shelter decides to show the effect of faith and charity rather than simply preach it.
  23. Dolphin Tale 2 makes audiences wade through endless oceans of tedium for those scattered, fleeting moments of grace.
  24. The film isn’t remotely funny or insightful enough to justify spending an hour and a half in such intensely disagreeable company.
  25. There’s something deeply depressing about a debut film centered on fading talent, but even more depressing are the downright amateurish insights it musters about youth, the art world, and the burdens of growing up gifted.
  26. As bluntly unimaginative as its title.
  27. There are no casual conversations in The Citizen, and no idle moments. It’s pushing its agenda at every moment, first gently, then relentlessly.
  28. Brill’s point that there should be no such thing as a “walk of shame” is a good one, but he lacks the conviction to see it through honestly—or humorously.
  29. Gomez-Rejon has erected a gleaming shrine to adolescent narcissism.
  30. Phantom Halo is overstuffed even before Bogdanovich starts layering in the soliloquies and comic book metaphors.
  31. As Above/So Below purposefully generates a certain air of mystery by keeping the exact nature of its protagonists’ experience enigmatic, but for a film that takes place underground in tightly enclosed spaces, it’s surprisingly thin on suspense and palpable physical danger.
  32. A deeply dopey, distinctly not-terrifying, unintentionally hilarious supernatural thriller.
  33. The jokes are few and far between, and the film lacks the spark of imagination required to engage meaningfully with young viewers... but Fire & Rescue is a competent distraction all the same, mostly on the strength of its non-threateningly round animation and magic-hour color palette.
  34. A mid-film montage of nipples squirting milk high into the air like the Bellagio fountains shows Ben-Ari has a sense of style and humor, but her general approach is tediously earnest, resulting in a documentary with such niche appeal (just parents with breastfeeding problems, basically) that it belongs on a library’s self-help shelf.
  35. There are reasons why everyone on screen looks as unhappy as they do, but Llosa puts viewers in a place where they can’t understand precisely why, so the only choice is to sit there marinating in misery and boredom.
  36. Movies about female friendship are rare, so it’s dispiriting when one comes along, then hauls out the same tired plot in which both women fall for the same guy. Very Good Girls can’t even blame rampant film-industry sexism, as it was written and directed by Naomi Foner, making her directorial debut after many years as a screenwriter.
  37. Shamelessly exploitative, but never entertainingly so.
  38. At every turn, Frankenstein’s Army exhibits a preference for jolt scares and gore over actual suspense, which never materializes, thanks to a general indifference to plot and minimal interest in character.
  39. Stranded isn’t a for-the-ages howler—just a terminally stupid, monotonously unimaginative rehash of umpteen space-horror classics.
  40. All would be forgiven if director Brian A. Miller were the next John Woo, but the shootouts and car chases call to mind adjectives like “requisite” and “obligatory,” and the ready-made New Orleans ambience is nonexistent, probably for budgetary reasons.
  41. The trouble with Black Or White is that it feels reverse-engineered, as if Binder wanted to deliver one big statement about race, and rigged an entire movie to make that possible.
  42. It’s many different films at once—all muddled, all unsatisfying, and all crying out for Liam Neeson’s participation.
  43. First-time writer-director Tom Gormican fills his script with jabs at romantic convention, but his story doesn’t attempt to subvert those conventions in any meaningful way.
  44. The rare cinematic experience that is both wall-to-wall jokes and wall-to-wall depressing.
  45. Excerpted from The History Channel’s 10-part 2013 miniseries The Bible, then given extra footage, Son Of God boils the life of Jesus down to feature-length, but it plays less like a movie than a hastily edited attempt to explore a new revenue stream.
  46. The sumptuous production values and stirring performances that make the equally brutal Game Of Thrones so irresistible are nowhere in evidence in Battle For Blood, which has all of Thrones’ savagery, but none of its mystery.
  47. It’s hard to tell who’s who; it doesn’t really matter, because they’re all equally bland, and the threat these ciphers face is almost certainly nonexistent. It’s just about the perfect formula for tedium.
  48. A Yuletide comedy so slight, it sometimes feels like a bonus-sized Christmas episode for a sitcom that never should have been green-lit in the first place.
  49. The Signal would desperately like to be a film of ideas, but the few it presents are vapid and secondhand. Eubank’s overachieving work on the film suggests he’s destined for bigger and better things, though given the airy nothingness of the film’s mind games, that’s setting the bar awfully low.
  50. The real problem with Open Grave is that screenwriters Eddie and Chris Borey have no game plan for getting from their mysterious premise to their big reveal, which isn’t all that shocking or unexpected anyway.
  51. The Railway Man is such a safe, respectful portrait of true-life catharsis that it feels afraid to reopen the same old wounds it exalts Lomax for confronting.
  52. The film is so busy attending to all its people that it never manages to adequately serve any of them.
  53. Supremacy is a well-acted, abysmally written, deeply unpleasant exercise that pays no dividends of insight (or heaven forfend, amusement) for the chore of enduring its endless racial epithets and handheld shots of gun barrels in faces.
  54. Baseline competence elevates The Outsider, just barely, into the realm of perfect forgetability.
  55. The pretense of concern, combined with the cynical manipulation of the plot for cheap thrills, is both transparently hypocritical and broadly repulsive.
  56. Though the memory of Hooper’s picture haunts every frame of nü-Poltergeist, Kenan’s will fade unseen into the great beyond first.
  57. As a film, it’s sappy, preachy, and sleepily paced, but it also makes walking in faith seem about as flavorful and appealing as a lettuce sandwich on white bread, slathered in mayo.
  58. Think Like A Man Too isn’t a movie, or even an arbitrary sequel to an arbitrary adaptation of a novelty book, so much as an extended victory lap from filmmakers and actors convinced that all they have to do is show up to equal or top the first film’s success. The sad thing is that they’re probably right.
  59. The deathly silence doomed to haunt theaters during Get Hard allows audiences far too much time to think about its problematic attitudes toward race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as its borderline-nonsensical plot.
  60. Frankie & Alice gives her the rare opportunity to play a film’s hero and its villain inside the same body, and she does a memorably dreadful job in both capacities. That trainwreck fascination is about the only redeeming facet of a prestige picture gone terribly, though not entertainingly, awry.
  61. The faux-doc foundation simply doesn’t work here.
  62. The surrealism that dominates so much of Mr. Jones’ final stretch is admirably unusual, but it’s also confusing, and quickly becomes tedious.
  63. Instead of trying for something truly outrageous or surreal—qualities that should flow naturally from the script’s insane premise—writer Jeff Tetreault and director Huck Botko opt for rom-com blandness from beginning to end, leaning hard on generic conventions even as they pretend to satirize them.
  64. While discipline and self-control certainly figure into Ladouceur’s teachings, there’s also a passion and drive that’s totally absent from Caviezel’s performance. It’s not that the film needs any more goosing—it’s broad and shameless even by inspirational-sports-movie standards—but its basic lack of plausibility starts with him.
  65. Ostensibly a lame treatise on how slippery self-image can be in the Internet age, the film ultimately reveals itself as a much lamer treatise on the evil sorcery of female sexuality.
  66. Ultimately, the lackluster fight scenes are what make 14 Blades a disposable addition to the wu xia world.
  67. The film aspires to educate as well as entertain, rattling off the names and relevant distinctions of various dinosaurs as they appear onscreen for the first time. But the overwhelming impression the film leaves is that dinosaur poop was enormous.
  68. The movie’s style consists of tossing up a lot of heartbreaking medical stories next to a characterization of the industry as a mysterious monolith, and letting viewers finish the correlation in their heads. When it’s possible to use the same line of reasoning to push both truth and lies, different tactics are in order.
  69. The movie plays out like an improbably plotted work of overly aggressive schmaltz.
  70. Virtually nothing happens in the film that enhances viewers’ understanding of the situation. Winterbottom and company merely survey the scene, kick around a few half-assed moments of atmosphere and suspense, shrug their shoulders, and pack it in for the night.
  71. Where Ted managed a respectable ratio of clever (or at least transcendently dumb) gags to lazy/offensive ones, Ted 2 is a repetitive, self-congratulatory slog, dragged down by a haphazard plot and the same third-act problems that ultimately sunk the first film.
  72. Dracula Untold boldly attempts to retell the Dracula origin story by sinking its teeth into Bram Stoker’s novel and draining it of all the passion, sensuality, and ambience that have seduced readers and moviegoers since the turn of the 20th century.
  73. Even at 86 minutes, with plenty of chases and action sequences thrown in, The Nut Job feels overstretched and arbitrary.
  74. The movie offers more of the same, only more: more T&A, more conspicuous consumption, more cameos, more Jeremy Piven yelling, and significantly more Mark Cuban than anyone outside the city of Dallas needs to see.
  75. What’s left in the absence of McCarthy’s prose is a sincere but fundamentally pointless ode to a madman, which does little more than invite viewers to gawk at the unspeakable.
  76. At least White summons the camp energy that Lake Placid is fecklessly seeking.
  77. For all the scary refrigeration on view, this is a concept that’s long since gone stale.
  78. Even Tyler Perry seems bored and exhausted by his own shtick. To its credit or detriment, Single Moms Club cannot muster up the energy to be as insulting and offensive as Perry’s previous two films.
  79. Hit By Lightning might have worked as black comedy, but Blitt clearly lacks any instinct for genuine darkness.
  80. Pettyfer and Wilde look the parts, but any scenes asking them to emote quickly turn disastrous.
  81. Strange Magic certainly isn’t an ordinary sort of mess, and the personal nature of the project is still evident in the finished film.
  82. Writer-director-star Luke Moran has his heart in the right place, and a clear compassion for soldiers thrust into impossible situations with no training, but he lacks the desire to steer his film in the honest direction this topic requires.
  83. Underdogs isn’t painful to sit through—the silver lining to well-worn clichés is their comforting coziness—but its antipathy to risk, even if that only meant straying momentarily from the path of least resistance, is more dispiriting than outright awfulness would be.
  84. Though Dorff isn’t the only thing wrong with Zaytoun, he is still its biggest liability, and the rare case where one miscast role ruins a film’s essential premise.
  85. When the film doesn’t strain for twinkly enlightenment, it stoops to find the easiest possible joke.
  86. That My Lucky Star isn’t serious is less an issue than the fact that its comedic action is so broad, ridiculous, and predictable that it soon feels juvenile, akin to a training-wheels variation on various genre formulas.
  87. A heavy-breathing, narrowly focused outrage-generator about a corruption case that both the court of public opinion and the actual court system have already agreed was outrageous.
  88. Old Fashioned fails in more banal ways, too. It’s a flatly predictable sort of romance; numerous leaves are turned over, both figuratively and literally. The film’s predilection for screamingly obvious symbols gets old fast.
  89. Free Birds feels like Hollywood brining small children for the blockbusters they’ll pay to see when they’re older. It’s littered with quips, but the film puts a premium on loud, effects-driven action that mistakes nonstop intensity for cartoony entertainment.
  90. Even allowing The Identical its premise, the reframing of the Elvis myth as a wholesome example of following God’s plan is not as inspirational as the film seems to believe. Rock fantasies are rarely this milquetoast.
  91. Apparently unsure whether to go with the lazy idea of a disastrous beauty pageant or the equally lazy idea of a zany road trip, Raphael and Wilson lazily combine the two.
  92. Sorting through the shards of the Ottoman Empire requires a historical complexity that eludes Crowe, who flattens the landscape into bromides on family and country, and the hard-won glories of being Russell Crowe. His on-screen persona could stand to be as modest as his filmmaking abilities.
  93. Theory’s premise dares to interrogate what, if anything, the apparent randomness of life means. Brown and screenwriter Michael J. Kospiah haven’t the foggiest, but they’re willing to unload as many harebrained plot twists as it takes to obfuscate the question.
  94. To the film’s mild credit, it’s the rare woman-in-peril thriller where the woman takes intelligent steps to defend herself.
  95. Rising Sun boasts shiny, shiny production values befitting a big-budgeted Sean Connery vehicle adapted from a bestselling novel, but scratch the glossy surface and Rising Sun reveals itself to be a Cinemax-ready B-movie, complete with a rogue’s gallery of villains, each tackier and more ridiculous than the last.
  96. Momoa does capture some scenes of genuine warmth and beauty that suggest he has the potential to develop a filmmaker’s eye for visual poetry.
  97. Shatkin is trying hard here, but Whaley’s overwrought script keeps the young actor from utilizing his charm; Reggie is simply difficult to be around, even as Meester’s Eleanor is expected to act charmed by all his quirks and issues.
  98. Lewins’ reductively humanist approach is at odds with how distanced the movie feels from any trace of a real human at its core.
  99. As the onscreen moon goes through its inexorable cycle, Late Phases transforms from laughably non-frightening horror film to self-serious family drama and back again, all the while remaining ferociously, ravenously boring. Silver bullets would be a mercy.
  100. Perhaps it was deliberate strategy on the part of McCann and his screenwriter, Anthony Di Pietro, to neutralize the politics of a mass killing and focus more on the psychic stress that triggered it. But even if that was the case, it doesn’t make the film any less crushingly banal.

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