Barbara VanDenburgh

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For 211 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Barbara VanDenburgh's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Short Term 12
Lowest review score: 20 Show Dogs
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 211
  2. Negative: 17 out of 211
211 movie reviews
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    What we see onscreen instead is mere competence, handsomely shot but bereft of purpose. One gets the sense that it was remade for no other reason than because more tolerant 21st-century content standards mean you can spill a man’s guts onscreen.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Perhaps the problem isn’t one of too little ambition, but of too much. The Spy Who Dumped Me is, after all, trying earnestly to be about half a dozen different things: a buddy comedy, a spy drama, a raunch fest, a thrilling action film. It’s just that it doesn't have the focus to do any of those things particularly well.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    What elevates this sequel are stakes.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Hotel Transylvania 3 is a harmless enough excuse for a couple hours of air-conditioned entertainment, which is all some people ask of a kid’s film. But there’s something bleak about its banality.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The imagery is romantically period, with textured scenes staged in handsomely lit smoke-filled rooms, its newsreels and baseball stadiums suffused with charming Americana. But you can’t root for set design or feel empathy for colored filters. You need human beings for that, and The Catcher Was a Spy keeps its heart under lock and key.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    You’ve heard this song before and can predict all the emotional high notes before they hit, but sometimes that’s all you need from a summer bop.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s a film entirely lacking in pomp, but there’s a certain bravado in its delicate reservation. A tender and spare meditation on family unfurls in the stillness of a sleepy, sun-soaked Spanish summer.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s befuddling that such a barrier-breaking filmmaker would make a biopic about a woman who shares similar daring qualities that’s so … ordinary. To make boring the revelries of 19th century literati is no mean feat, but it is Mary Shelley's chief accomplishment.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    On the whole it’s a remarkably controlled exercise. It’s to the film’s credit that Moll is the center of attention from start to finish, and not even a romantically damaged bad boy can steal the spotlight from her barely contained wildfire of emotions.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 20 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Yes, it recalls “Turner and Hooch,” a movie Show Dogs references so many times you start to feel nostalgic for it. And when you find yourself longing for “Turner and Hooch,” things are very bleak indeed.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Breaking In is a shallow nod to female empowerment, not the embodiment of it.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The case is a gut punch to the American dream, and yet Little Pink House is a tepid viewing experience, in part because it rarely invites us into these homes so we can lament their loss.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    For a film that atonally screams praises of the destructive power of punk rock, The House of Tomorrow is disappointingly, if crowd-pleasingly, textbook. The pedestrian narrative still makes for a winsome coming-of-age tale, buoyed as it is by a talented cast and visually striking setting.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The ways in which Love After Love is successful at portraying the grief process is also what makes it at times wildly unpleasant to watch.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Pfeiffer may be stripped of her luminosity, but she is vivid onscreen.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Beirut is inoffensive in its familiarity, a handsome enough thriller to pass the time. What it’s lacking are stakes.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Foxtrot is far too interior to be called flashy, but there’s something striking in director Samuel Maoz’s visual confidence, the way he translates his characters’ states of mind into images.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Barbara VanDenburgh
    For 90 minutes we’re presented with idiot characters who do terrible things to themselves and each other, and in its final gasp the movie tries to retrofit them into heroes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s disheartening that it took until 2018 to get a gay version of this adolescent staple from a major studio. But at least it was worth the wait.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Andrea Pallaoro’s frigid portrait of a woman in crisis is more a calculated exercise in formalism than an achievement in storytelling. His well-composed images of loneliness are cerebrally satisfying but lack emotional heft.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The film doesn’t need to make a case for Marina’s basic humanity and smartly avoids clichés of persecution storytelling, instead ceding the floor to Vega’s magnetic presence and soulfulness. She is a marvel, and if one doesn’t come away loving her as Orlando did, it’s no shortcoming of the film.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Barbara VanDenburgh
    For anyone familiar with the original Peter Rabbit, it’s a little depressing to see its storybook charm reduced to slapstick. You can only see a person get electrocuted so many times before the gag wears thin, and with it the movie’s welcome.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Barbara VanDenburgh
    That Freak Show is not the joyous gay party it aspires to be is a testament to squandered opportunities. For all the aces up its sleeve, Freak Show never quite lets its freak flag fly.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The narrative is so diffuse that putting together the pieces is beside the point. You feel no closer to knowing or understanding the Laurents, and their collective unpleasantness gives one little reason to want to. It’s a skilled ratcheting of discomfort – but to what end?
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Paddington 2 is a winsome confection. More than just a movie, it’s a necessary mood corrective, a temporary escape hatch from negativity. The world does indeed feel right in the company of this kind and polite little bear.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The title Acts of Violence has less to do with the storyline of the movie it graces and more about what’s perpetrated against the audience watching it.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 20 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The dialogue is agony.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Thelma treads the line between the psychological and supernatural, gracefully at first, and then with increasing abandon.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    For all its heart and beauty, The Breadwinner sputters a bit to a close. Its themes are undeniable — one walks away feeling angry and empowered. But with the story’s soft focus, one soon forgets why.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Instead, the story is largely told from Dahmer’s perspective, and we know too much about where he ends up to feel anything like sympathy for him. It’s still a morbidly fascinating peek behind the blood-stained curtains.

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