Alison Willmore

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For 139 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 66% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alison Willmore's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Little Women
Lowest review score: 10 Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 139
  2. Negative: 15 out of 139
139 movie reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    What it is, really, is a showbiz satire about media ownership and our nostalgia fixation, though it muddles its message before the tone gets too scathing. It is, after all, still a Disney movie, even if it takes a perverse pleasure in playing around with Disney’s vast catalogue of characters.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Thyberg clearly set out to create a hysteria-free look at the industry, taking on the challenge of critiquing structural issues without casting judgments on the idea of having sex on camera. Pleasure succeeds at this, though not without a cost. It’s a clear-eyed treatment of porn wedded to a character study that never comes to life.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    All of the miseries that are revealed as the two men go about their day may be bleak, but the humor comes from the small indignities inflicted on them even as they try to go out with a bang.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alison Willmore
    The mechanics of Sciamma’s film are simple, but they’re realized so delicately, and with the help of such unaffected child performances, that they feel miraculous.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    The Northman doesn’t invite its viewers into its world, but instead dares them to try to catch up.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    If the series was conceived as a way to hold on to the fans of the original books and movies who are now grown, what’s clear in practice is it’s a children’s story staggering to support a few ambitious and deeply underdeveloped themes.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    More than anything, Aline feels like a kamikaze act of wish fulfillment, wildly indulgent but so deeply committed to what it’s doing that it can’t help but be compelling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    The film’s litany of details about growing up in the Houston area in the ’60s isn’t enveloping — instead, in its drone of vintage sitcom titles and reminiscences about fecklessly riding in the back of a pickup on the freeway to the beach, it feels, for the first time from Linklater, like a lecture about how things were better back then.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    Everything Everywhere All at Once may be a kaleidoscopic fantasy battle across space, time, genres, and emotions, but it’s an incredibly moving family drama first.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    X
    Like most of West’s films, X is not particularly ambitious in its psychology or storytelling. It’s his technique that makes his work feel like it has one foot in the arthouse, with its elegant compositions and the way the camera moves as though daring us to see something the characters have yet to spot.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Deep Water, which was written by Zach Helm (of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium) and Euphoria Svengali Sam Levinson, never creates any sense of internal coherence in its toxic main pair.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    Effervescent and ridiculous and grounded in a pastel-shaded Toronto and the nearby throwback details of 2002, it has texture and specificity to spare, and the only person it cares to speak on behalf of is its 13-year-old heroine, Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang).
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Like a lot of movies these days, Fresh feels like it was conceived through its themes first and then written to bolster those ideas, rather than from the perspective of character or story.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Alison Willmore
    After Yang has the structure of a subdued mystery, though at its core it has no answers to these, or any, questions. Instead, it provides a slowly dawning and utterly devastating understanding of the hidden richness of its title character’s existence.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Dog
    Dog feels like it should have been bigger and braver, but by the end, it also feels as if it could have been improved by being much smaller, closing in until it was just a guy and a dog and some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. What else do you really need?
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Kimi threads its increasingly tense interactions with a modern melancholy.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    For all that it has been positioned as the comeback of the rom-com queen, Marry Me isn’t really a return to form for the genre. Instead, it aims to have things both ways, to have the glamour and the buoyant fantasy and to also be more textured in its treatment of its characters and their relationship.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    It’s so unapologetically absurd and so very fun.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    It has the air of a television-show fragment, and not just because its initial entanglement feels like the stuff of a pilot, something that has to be gotten out of the way to reach the actual premise. It’s also because it introduces characters who feel like they have storylines in the wings.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    As is often the case with Hosoda, it’s the extracurricular details that make his work so moving, the textures of the everyday lives of his characters that become something larger and more profound when placed in contrast to the genre elements at the center of his story.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    The 355 was directed by X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s Simon Kinberg, who wrote the script with Smash creator Theresa Rebeck, and he’s genuinely terrible with fight sequences, which is a real issue in a movie that has a lot of them.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    It’s hard to think about who, exactly, is going to be moved to make changes to how they live their lives by Don’t Look Up, a climate-change allegory that acquired accidental COVID-19 relevance, but that doesn’t really end up being about much at all, beyond that humanity sucks.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    The real sin of The King’s Man is its near-total lack of fun.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    The film’s bursts of violence are genuinely bracing — a face bashed in, a skull shattered, and the signature act of animal mutilation performed by a carnival geek, a figure of abject degradation who haunts the film’s ill-fated protagonist. But for a pulpy tale of addiction and desperate lives on the fringes, Nightmare Alley is otherwise depressingly short on actual darkness and discomfort.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    It plays like a movie-length bout of aversion therapy aimed at our instinctive fondness for motor-mouthed strivers with Mikey’s every small victory creating more dread.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Licorice Pizza — a movie as exasperating as it is delightful — could be described as an exploration of the unstable ground where Alana’s arrested development and Gary’s precociousness meet.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Gaga is wildly watchable in the role, broad but unwinking, an absolute scream, and the movie only really makes sense when it’s about her.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    There’s a sealed-off quality to The Souvenir Part II that the first installment doesn’t have, a sense of surrendering to the idea that it’s possible to authentically portray only oneself — which may be true and may be a creative dead end. But even that turns out to be by design, something both the film and its protagonist can acknowledge and then escape.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    It’s a romp, full of touches that go by almost too quickly to pick up on — I was partial to the strongman who plays a small but key role — but the lingering mood is unmistakably sad.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    In its glimpse into the lives of partnered-up fictional directors, Bergman Island invites its viewer to guess how much it’s a reflection of Hansen-Løve’s actual relationship, while also acknowledging the gap between the art someone makes and the person they are.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    By the time the final act rolls around, Lamb approaches the idea that there’s a price that must be paid with a shrugging diffidence rather than impending doom. It’s such an underwhelming conclusion to a film with such a compelling start.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    It’s so obviously shaped by fan response that it feels like the movie equivalent of someone who went viral online and now can only repeat themselves to diminishing returns in an attempt to hawk merch while they can.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Washington manages the near-impossible feat of delivering his lines as though he’s putting the words together in the moment, speaking some of the most famous sentences in the English language as though they’re actually being dredged up out of Macbeth’s roiling consciousness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which was written by Abe Sylvia, is unable to decide if it wants to understand its subject or make fun of her, and ends up never really committing to either.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    Diana, with her glamorous gowns and her taste for fast food, may be forever too much and not enough, but Spencer is just right.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Being the hero of the story has never looked so poisoned, and that alone is thrilling enough to hope Villeneuve gets to make part two of this impressively batshit venture.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    What makes The Card Counter so delicious, aside from the Mad Libs quality of the way it connects card playing and government-sanctioned torture, is that the movie undermines the Spartan swagger of William’s half-existence as often as it basks in it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may give us the franchise’s first Asian American superhero, but what may be the most Asian American thing about it is the way it’s caught between the legacy of its forebears and a still-developing sense of self, its protagonist yanked away from that journey and enlisted as the face of the latest representational win, without ever seeming entirely decided on what he’s representing.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Reminiscence is the damnedest thing — a movie filled with promising concepts it doesn’t get around to exploring, because it’s dedicated to a romantic mystery that’s never very romantic or mysterious
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    We love charismatic murders and compelling monsters, but it’s always a little more comfortable to love them when they appear to be acting for good. The best thing about Don’t Breathe 2 is the way it constantly undermines that comfort, as though demanding we question the desire to assign hero and villain roles at all.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    While a little sentimentality never hurt anyone, what stands out when revisiting CODA outside the festival bubble are the parts that feel unguided by formula, all of which have to do with the dynamics of the Rossi family.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Swan Song is a tremendously tender love letter to someone who survived so many of the slings and arrows that accompanied being an openly gay man in a small, conservative area.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Stillwater is the new movie from director Tom McCarthy, and it feels like one he’s spent his career preparing for — an enthralling, exasperating, and, above all else, ambitious affair that doesn’t soften or demand sympathy for its difficult main character but does insist on according him his full humanity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    The Green Knight is about someone who keeps waiting for external forces to turn him into the gallant, heroic figure he believes he should be. But at the film’s heart is a lesson that’s as timeless as any legend — travel as far as you like, but you’ll never be able to leave yourself behind.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Old
    Shyamalan . . . feels caught between the more emotionally considered movies he used to make, and the leaner, meaner ones he’s done more recently. His filmmaking can’t make up for the fact that Old is hovering indecisively between the two halves of his career, unable to commit to either direction.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Roadrunner may have been made too soon, and made with a misguided approach in mind, but in its closing moments, it manages a sudden magnificence in affirming that there’s no right way to mourn. Grief, in all of its ugly reality, is a part of life too, and there’s no tidying it up for the camera.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    That it feels like it’s half at war with its title character, bringing her firmly to Earth (until she, like Bond in Moonraker, has to make her way to a high-altitude villain’s lair) and insisting on emotional coherence from her personal history, is its most interesting quality, though it’s maybe not as revolutionary as it first seems.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is a nasty, effective slasher.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    The film is about the power of storytelling, and not in the cornball, self-congratulatory sense in which that phrase is normally deployed.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    To watch director Justin Lin, who returned for F9 and the two subsequent films that will close the series out, wind things back to the start is to feel blessed relief that this improbably good gearhead daddy-issues opera may very well stick its landing.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    Luca is so intent on meaning something that it only ever halfway inhabits the delightfully colorful world it lays out. We never get a deeper understanding of the history between the sea monsters and the humans beyond some hints that there has been far more interaction than Luca was raised to believe.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 10 Alison Willmore
    Infinite feels like a depressing fable about the movie industry.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    It feels like a fist that won’t close, its elements never intentionally coming together.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    It’s not Chaves’s takeover that makes this new film feel like it runs off the rails — it’s the choice to shift focus from a haunting to a murder.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    There is something endearing about watching a high-end cast and crew treat this material with such seriousness, even if they all seem to have missed the point. Sometimes schlock is just schlock, and it’s better off treated that way.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    Aja knows what sort of product he is turning out and does it ably, if without much excitement, as though understanding he is filling a hole in a lineup. It’s actually Laurent, who is too classy to be here, who doesn’t entirely grasp the assignment. She keeps overreaching, giving her cutout character shows of realistic emotion that the film she is appearing in can’t support.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    While Here Today never works, there is a confessional quality to it that makes it intermittently interesting. It’s the movie equivalent of someone telling what they think is a funny anecdote, but that instead comes out as an inadvertent glimpse into their soul.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    At the age of 78, Andersson continues to make films that desire to capture no less than a grand sense of human existence — and that somehow achieve it. Here’s hoping this one isn’t his last.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 10 Alison Willmore
    Without Remorse is awful — an incoherently shot, grindingly dull movie in which just about every actor manages to seem miscast.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Agrelo steers clear of the straight-up hagiography that plagues so many docs framed as tributes to their subjects.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    COVID has proven a difficult subject for fiction, but In the Earth feels as though it sets up an emotional parallel that it doesn’t follow through on, abandoning the virus as a backdrop for a horror story that’s slapdash and never very creepy. It’s another instance of pandemic cinema that feels as if it could use more distance to figure out what it wants to say.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 20 Alison Willmore
    Thunder Force doesn’t work as a comedy, but that’s because it doesn’t really work as a movie. There’s so little chemistry between McCarthy and Spencer, longtime real-life friends, that, rather than buddies, their characters often just come across as mildly surprised to find themselves in the same room.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    Voyagers, in keeping its focus where it does, feels like a waste not just because of how predictable its beats are, but because it ends just when it feels like it’s getting interesting.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    Watching the movie summons the distinct sensation of arriving at a party just as the guests are starting to leave.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    Naishuller doesn’t bring the elegant coherence that Leitch and Stahelski do to their fight sequences or manage the same touch of absurdity to lighten up the brutal excesses. What he does have is Bob Odenkirk, and watching Odenkirk join the middle-aged action hero fold is pleasurable enough to make Nobody worth the while, even if it’s an obvious echo of other, better recent films.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    The Human Voice is all about the muddied lines between the fabricated and the genuine, and about how much a performance can be divorced from the sincere feelings that might be undergirding it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    There is a maddeningly unconsidered quality to Boogie’s emotions about Asian American masculinity, and never more so than in the film’s fraught relationship with Blackness.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Raya and the Last Dragon is a reminder of the things that Disney has always been capable of doing so well at its heights, a marvel of character design, world-building, and canny choices. It unfurls a richly realized Southeast Asia–inspired fantasy realm called Kumandra, made up of craggy deserts, snowy bamboo forests, floating markets, and canal-shielded cities.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Alison Willmore
    Masterful and agonizing, The Father is a gorgeously crafted film about a doomed arrangement entered into with love, even though it can only end in tragedy.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Supernova isn’t adapted from a play, but it sometimes feels like it was, not because of its talkiness or the tightness of its focus, but because it has a tendency to be a little blunter in practice than its understated initial tone might have you expect. The performances are lovely, though, and they carry this minor-key movie through to its ambiguous end.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Chung is a patient filmmaker who works in small sequences that accrue imperceptibly into something grander.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    It’s whimsical and bold and also easier to admire in the abstract than to get deeply emotionally invested in, though it features a late-breaking burst of beauty that will soften the hardest of hearts.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    Wild Mountain Thyme is not just charmless. It is genuinely confounding, a movie constantly working against itself to make its characters and their dilemma comprehensible.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    The delight of the exuberantly bittersweet closing sequence comes from the way it fulfills a promise the audience doesn’t realize, until that point, has been made.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    Run
    Whenever Paulson is on screen, she gives Run a much-needed jolt of vitality as this Munchausen’s-by-proxy monster in catalog knitwear. Her character’s devotion is as terrible as it is unshakeable, but what makes the turn so enjoyable is that it’s grounded in something recognizable — a soul-deep dread of being abandoned, hidden under a nurturer’s smile.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Freaky, an unabashedly gory but also oddly sweet feature from Christopher Landon, is a riff on slashers that really owes more to the meta-horror trend than it does to any of the original films that inspired it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    They’re progressive, positive young women, and they’re tragically boring, which is less the fault of their woke makeover than the film’s conviction that it’s incompatible with conflict or distinct personalities.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Alison Willmore
    It’s an adaptation without direction or purpose, with an unwieldy but deeply committed performance at its center. Hathaway looks to be having fun, at least. Someone should!
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    Time is an extraordinary documentary from director and artist Garrett Bradley, who didn’t make a film about Rich and her family so much as make one with them.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Shot in black-and-white with occasional accents of color, and given to camera-facing testimonials from characters around Radha’s neighborhood in a nod to Spike Lee, The 40-Year-Old Version feels like a ’90s indie throwback, loose and left raw at the edges, marked by an intimacy that can only come from drawing from the stuff of its multi-hyphenate creator’s life.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    If Possessor ultimately feels more like a testament to its director’s excellent taste in influences than a film that entirely gels in itself, it’s still a thoroughly troubling watch.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    On the Rocks isn’t a great movie, but it’s one overflowing with feelings that it tries to squash into something tidier.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    This film is one of those exhilarating instances when Sorkin finds a context in which all of his well-established impulses that can be so annoying elsewhere — the self-righteousness, the straw men, the great men, the men who aren’t onstage but are nevertheless digging deep in their diaphragms to deliver their lines to the back row — actually work.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    Ammonite is Winslet’s movie to shoulder, and she carries it as far as she can.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    As a statement on a decade of consumerism, The Nest doesn’t have anything particularly new to say, but as a fable of familial dysfunction, it’s resonant and, yes, frightening, with nary a ghost in sight.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alison Willmore
    Through these characters, Zhao is able to examine the idea of wide-open frontiers without nostalgia or the need to pathologize the parts of our social structures that are eroding or have failed. Those shots of Fern, a tiny, determined dot out there on a stunning panorama, are breathtaking and elegiac. She is a woman eking out the life she wants to lead, a woman who has gone to look for America.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Alison Willmore
    Mulan is a dour drag as a work of art and entertainment, an empty if occasionally impressive-looking spectacle propped up by some incredibly clunky writing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    In its constant asterisking of its own material, I’m Thinking of Ending Things feels like an artistic dead end, like the confession of someone who can only burrow deeper and deeper into himself instead of looking outward.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    The most successful quality of the film is how close it keeps in spirit and haphazard style to the first two installments, and how it feels proudly unstuck in time.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Alison Willmore
    There’s a resilient buoyancy running through The Personal History of David Copperfield that proves irresistibly moving by the end of its journey. Its protagonist weathers hardships and cruelties in addition to benefiting from acts of kindness, and yet he never loses his capacity to be fascinated by people, a quality that’s comforting without feeling cloying.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    For a movie marking a week in which theaters are reopening, Unhinged feels a lot like a movie that would be best caught on cable someday.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Alison Willmore
    The trouble with trying to push at the boundaries of the superhero genre isn’t that we’re out of material, it’s that imaginations are so limited that a film that starts with a twist on a familiar premise nevertheless loops around to a standard showdown involving an incoherent blur of computer generated effects.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    McBaine and Moss are the team behind 2014’s The Overnighters, a wrenching film about the North Dakota oil boom, and they’re interested in something beyond the contrast of adolescent faces and grown-up topics — or, for that matter, serving up simple optimism about Gen Z when taking in these young men at the cusps of their political lives.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Alison Willmore
    As a thriller, The Burnt Orange Heresy is entirely underwhelming, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    When it works, which it does most of all in its opening and closing acts, it’s because it manages to give a surprising emotional solidity to what’s otherwise a whimsical premise.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    As a film, it’s warm and beautiful without being sentimental about the temporary intimacy that alcohol can provide, creating bonds that can dissolve in the daylightlike haze but are no less legitimate in the moment for it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Alison Willmore
    Palm Springs would have been a scream and likely a word-of-mouth hit in theaters, but maybe there’s something fitting about its going straight to streaming in the middle of a pandemic. What is quarantine, anyway, if not waking up and going through the same routine over and over without end?
    • 47 Metascore
    • 10 Alison Willmore
    Irresistible isn’t just shockingly ineffectual in its insights into national schisms — it is, in an added betrayal, unfunny, requiring its audience to slog their way through so much laborious farce without a laugh in sight.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Alison Willmore
    If there’s a complaint to be made about it, it’s only that it feels like another sign of a stylistic trend that’s inexorably cohering, as seen in other recent (and enjoyable!) work like Emerald Fennell’s "Promising Young Woman" and like "Killing Eve," a show Fennell wrote for and that Murphy has directed episodes of.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 10 Alison Willmore
    The movie is so charmless and hopelessly incoherent that you might feel the need to consult Wikipedia afterward for some help on what it was even about.

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