Gary Thompson

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For 313 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Gary Thompson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 After Auschwitz
Lowest review score: 25 Adrift
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 313
313 movie reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Gary Thompson
    There are a few fearful moments when you think the movie will be a collection of affectations. But the characters are too real, Gerwig’s eye for the adolescent lives of young women too keen.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Gary Thompson
    Kean inherited these subjects from his earlier documentary Swimming in Auschwitz, and has said that gender informs the film – the women are particularly attuned to the emotional nuance of the survival story, which comes through beautifully.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    The script is shrewd about the problems that money can and can’t solve. Wild Rose also threads the needle between the genre expectations and its own brand of realism, grounded in the very palpable heartache Rose feels as she tries to survive in the space between her family obligations and her artistic ambitions.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Like many a good documentary, Honeyland takes us to a faraway land and culture in a way that reveals what is distinctive and what is universal about people.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    There is honest sentiment in the arc of this story, aided by the chemistry between Gottsagen and LaBeouf, and by the warm mood of the film.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    The Big Sick is romantic and funny, but the movie is way too sprawling and ambitious to be contained by the words romantic comedy.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Nolan fractures the narrative so that it loops back on itself — we see the events from the perspective of different characters and from different chronological vantage points, though the story coheres by movie’s end.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    It is often a captivating visual marvel, using newfangled special effects in ways that aspire more to the poetic than the kinetic.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    It’s a remarkable performance by McDormand, matched by Rockwell.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    A movie that could have been about loss and defeat becomes something else — a testament to spiritual stamina, to the power of family bonds and their importance to homes, to streets, to neighborhoods and to cities.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Spielberg and Co. are obviously excited to be making The Post, and that palpable enthusiasm makes the movie feel so unusually lively for a big-studio movie. It’s nimble, crisp, passionate, full of verve and invention.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Black Panther sticks to Marvel orthodoxy, and yet does so with a nearly all black cast (Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis have small roles), and with strikingly Afro-centric production design. In the process it freshens and enlivens the Marvel brand.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    For Iannucci, who loves to mock the craven, unprincipled pursuit of power, the scenario is an antic delight and plays to his talent for hectic plot turns and (pardon the expression) rapid-fire dialogue.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Lean on Pete is life affirming in that it affirms life is hard and unforgiving.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    It’s barbed, bighearted, and brave.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    A spare, meticulously crafted movie.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    It is a portrait not of grinding earnestness but of a penetrating sincerity, the kind that reduces the cynical, the skeptical, and the callous to tears.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Whitney offers an informed and moving portrait of a complex, talented woman who was poorly understood, and often cruelly judged.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Writer-director Bo Burnham is after something different here, a complex, thoughtful and funny look at the way the internet can insert itself into the coming-of-age search for identity.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Can You Ever Forgive Me? charts the offbeat alliance and ultimately the friendship that develops between the Hock and Israel, a bond that exists somewhere between proximity and affinity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Ali and Mortensen make the friendship feel real, using some unexpected tools from Farrelly's kit. His comedic instincts help the movie tiptoe through some dangerous cultural minefields.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Buster Scruggs, it seems, is about not just the Old West, but The West in a larger sense.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    The more-is-more approach to superhero movies is usually a deadly mistake, but it works nicely in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Cold War, a love story about music and musicians, is for people who found A Star Is Born way too cheerful and optimistic. It’s pretty downbeat, but it’s also another black-and-white (subtitled) marvel from Pawel Pawlikowski.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    They Shall Not Grow Old avoids geopolitics to concentrate on the lives of the common soldier and the reality of trenches — the horseplay, camaraderie, boredom, disease, squalor, and terror that were all part of life on the front. It’s a sobering, moving success.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    The small miracles that do occur in The Mustang feel real, and well–earned.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Pulling us through all of it is Place, who imbues her character with a touching persistence, and gives striking depth and dimension to this “regular” woman, who used to be a regular.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    Often fascinating, and sometimes even moving. There are lessons here about the cycle of life that can only be driven home by the real, random, and sometimes cruel dictates of fate.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Gary Thompson
    The movie clicks, and given the sorry state of movie comedy, its ability to be consistently funny stands out. It is expertly, briskly paced — shout out to the judicious and effective editing of Jamie Gross.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    A funny, freaky, often profound animated adventure that is certainly the best movie ever made about a spork.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie simply has the best use of music (Talbot is also a musician) that I’ve seen this year, starting with a gorgeous score by Daniel Herskedal , and embellished with the smart, eclectic use of songs that speak to the city’s cultural history.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The value and uses of spectacle become part of the story in Far From Home, which can be read as a bit of playful in-house MCU criticism of CGI fatigue.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    A movie as atmospheric as Hereditary, narratively more satisfying, but much, much longer.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    There is a lot to like here, a few things to love. Like the fact that someone in Hollywood can still assemble a cast this large and impressive — someone who does not work for Marvel.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Part of its appeal lies in the truth and specificity behind the clunky presentation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie sometimes seems (like its title character) to drag its feet. It’s messy, but with the untidiness of real life.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The idea of knowing your place may be offensive, but the idea of having a place is appealing.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is a little too postured.... Even Baby’s busy backstory threatens to make him a collection of quirky details. But all of that artifice is probably part of the point, best appreciated by generation Ear Bud and its preference for curated experiences.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Some are born great, others achieve greatness, and in the documentary Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, we meet a musician who falls squarely in the latter camp.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Hawkins — small and mighty as usual — draws her energy from the quiet courage in Maud’s drive to create, to modify and adorn her bleak world with the images that express the contentment she knew as a child.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is as bubbly and eager as Peter himself, but a little more efficient. It designs its actions sequences around character and story and — a rare thing in comic-book blockbusters — lets the actors act during the climactic action piece.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The contributions of the actors now blend more seamlessly with the animation to create digital characters, and the characters are being integrated more successfully and believably into the landscape — director Matt Reeves works on a big widescreen canvas of sweeping, picturesque exteriors.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    It’s possible, even given Lee’s jaunty structure, that he could have given Girls Trip a more disciplined edit — the movie runs more than two hours, devotes generous time to less interesting characters, and makes room for the movie’s long roster of performance cameos — in addition to Hart, there’s P. Diddy, Common, Ne-Yo, Mariah Carey, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and many others.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Lady Macbeth is a mash-up of a different sort — it’s not strictly Shakespeare, but based on a Nikolai Leskov novel that transplanted elements of the play to 1865 Russia. Like "Shanghai Knights," this film adaptation is a period drama, but the actions of the woman are faintly anachronistic — modern attitudes transplanted into 19th-century characters.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    When we finally leave the hotel, the movie’s energy is spent.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    One of the best of the 16 Bond films, thanks to Dalton's athletic, tough and deadly new 007.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Suffice it to say that as James is pushed into the real world, the real world is more than willing to meet him halfway, in a way that is touching and charming, and at the same time plausible.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie has things on its mind, like the expendability of labor in the modern workplace.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    It’s an obvious formula, but when the movie sticks to it, it works well enough; Reynolds and Jackson have pretty decent chemistry.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Patti Cake$, in the end, is a little pat, but it doesn’t take its underdog, band-of-misfits formula too far, and Macdonald’s infectious grit carries the day.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is an inventive and shrewd satire of the way social media can be used to describe and distort the lives of users.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movies may be frivolous (and stitched together from British TV shows), but they are unique — they have an astute understanding of mature male friendship that is rare, even in a male-dominated industry.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Maslany is first-rate in this role.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Seal, though, makes for a poor fall guy. Liman had it right in that first scene: The turbulence in Seal’s life was of his own making.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Victoria & Abdul, though, is Dench’s show. She wrings dignity and humanity (and a good deal of comedy) from Lee Hall’s broadly drawn scenario, much as she did in this movie’s cross-cultural bookend, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Lucky, written as a tribute to Harry Dean Stanton, ends up being a fitting cinematic eulogy to the late actor, who died last month.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The actors make the most of Baumbach’s lively script.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    One of the movie’s goals is to grant neurodiverse subjects their full measure of humanity, and to that end, Dina is candid on the subject of sex, where the movie also finds its loose narrative arc.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Marshall overcomes some early stiffness and flat-footed storytelling and evolves into an engaging courtroom drama, where witness-stand theatrics and Perry Mason flourishes give the movie needed narrative momentum.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Only the Brave has a respectful and heartfelt regard for its characters, and something more — an unusual sense of their spiritual lives, abetted by the movie’s impressive visual presentation.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    A few actors with limited range are asked to do too much. Still, it doesn’t stop the momentum of this engaging, humane little movie, which builds the moment when its internal worlds finally collide — Moonee’s self-willed magic kingdom, her mother’s less hopeful reality.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    It’s a good, quiet performance by Teller, and also by Bennett — her Saskia is welcoming but wary.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie also runs 2 hours, 20 minutes, which is a lot of dead samurai. The violence is often numbing, and the translations — the movie is subtitled — are sometimes as deadly as the swordsmanship. On the other hand, Blade of the Immortal is flat-out gorgeous. Widescreen, lush, beautiful.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Branagh the actor finds a nice balance between Poirot’s colorful flourishes and his moral seriousness. Branagh the director gives the movie the same balance, and wants the audience to have as much fun as the actors, which is true more often than not.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    In general, Coco is the kind of first-rate technical production you expect from Pixar. On the other hand, it often feels more frantic than exciting, and it counts on moments of humor that often do not materialize.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The Disaster Artist really hangs on James Franco’s performance. He’s an uncanny mimic of Wiseau’s legendary accent and mannerisms, but what he really nails is Wiseau’s complete lack of self-awareness.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    These sequels trade directly on the emotional legacy of the originals (The Last Jedi makes some leaps into sentimental hyperspace, particularly in the way that it handles Fisher on-screen), and the more of the aged Luke and Leia we see, the more we chip away at the mythic power of characters as Lucas left them: Young, strong, immortal.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Del Toro somehow manages to keep the deeply weird mash-up of ideas and images coherent, unified by style and mood.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Churchill, by way of Darkest Hour, hands the actor some of the best speeches of his career, and Oldman brings them vividly to life.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The Jumanji reboot Welcome to the Jungle is a happy surprise — a movie that turns out to be good (almost clean) fun, and is much more interested in character and comedy than special effects.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is a pitch-black comedy, told with a wink and a smirk by unreliable narrators, who include Harding, her mother, and her husband — all presenting self-serving versions of the truth, often standing in arch contrast to the images we are shown.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Chalamet and Hammer map this progression expertly.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Aaron Sorkin’s entertaining new film is a tough, smart look at the way some Hollywood heavyweights treat women. Spoiler: not well. But it’s also more than that – it touches on broader legal and labor issues and systems that disadvantage women everywhere, in different ways.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is a cockeyed love story that starts as weirdly as it ends.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    In essence, it shows that what the “horse soldiers” did was pretty remarkable — efficient, daring, effective.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    What Kruger does is remarkable — showing Katja paralyzed with grief, but doing so in a way that does not paralyze the story.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is often whimsical, a tone augmented by clever use of special effects and sudden flourishes of animation. Offbeat soundtrack selections and effective music by composer Andrew Harris help set the mood — ultimately genial and hopeful, and the movie is short and sweet.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Garland’s alien biodome is a trippy mixture of tactile old school hardware and computer-generated images. It combines to give his brightly ominous new world a sinister sheen, especially when showing how it has consumed/subsumed the old seaside community it has displaced.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Potter has assembled a good cast that gives the claustrophobic material some air — the theatrical drama is set in just a few cramped rooms, including the loo. Potter also chooses black and white, suggesting stark contrasts that blend, like the viewpoints of the characters, into shades of gray.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Game Night is not the greatest comedy in the world, but it has a great grasp of the ingredient that makes comedy work, identified centuries ago as brevity.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    It’s a tough two hours, but director Zvyagintsev invites engagement by giving us more than a chronicle of dysfunction — he’s searching for its source.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Finley ends with a poetic epilogue that draws themes into focus, and gives voice to them. I’m not sure the movie fully earns it, but it does grab and hold your attention, thanks to the frighteningly good rapport between Taylor-Joy and Cooke.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The actress had legendary power to charm men and women, and we suspect one of them may be Bombshell director Alexandra Dean. Early on, we hear biographers and fans tell us about something that “probably” happened, or that “may be apocryphal,” but it all becomes part of Bombshell‘s print-the-legend approach.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Foy is quite good in this role.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie has metaphors to burn, and those looking for provocative commentary will surely find it. Foxtrot, though, is a slippery thing that resists easy categorization, and will reward viewers who wait until all of its secrets have been revealed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The chief pleasure of Isle of Dogs is admiring its lovably tactile stop-motion creatures (more than 1,000 rendered characters, a stop-motion record) and meticulous backdrops, giving the movie a deep-focus depth of field uncommon to animation.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Journey’s End makes no attempt to disguise the stage origins of the script. Instead, director Saul Dibb shows the physical dimension of the situation in a new way — much of the action occurs in the tunnels — it’s shot imaginatively in extreme low light,.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    At first the flippant tone of some of these scenes seems a bit off, but the movie (full of narrative curves) eventually makes tonal sense. The movie’s epilogue sends us out on a flat note, but Kirke, and her character, make an impression.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Mostly what lurks around the edge of the action isn’t danger, but affection.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The ability of political power to impose narratives, says Chappaquiddick, has always been conditional on our willingness to believe them.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Director Ferenc Török departs from the High Noon arc, and finds a way to end the movie with an invocation of violence, rather than an eruption of it. His final image, gruesome and evocative, is unforgettable.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Hamm is in his sweet spot here as a former hotshot now emptied of ideals and passion. Pike plays a woman who trades on being underestimated by men, and supporting pros like Whigham and Norris obviously enjoy working with better-than-average dialogue.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    It all adds up to a handsome, engrossing slice-of-life movie with the feel of a Western, inventive and unique. The Rider desegregates a genre that typically presents cowboys and Indians as separate and opposing forces – archetypes unified here in one remarkable individual.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The movie is mostly gore free and tame by the standards of modern horror movies, and some of the familiar visual touches borrow greedily from the James Wan school. But it’s smartly written and well-acted.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    The Endless works on its own modest spooky-kooky terms, and also as a rumination on life’s ruts and patterns, best considered over a couple of beers.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    RBG
    Brisk and informative.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Here, Leitch uses brevity to do for witty action what it famously does for wit alone.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    A Man of His Word...is not a lecture. It conveys the pope’s concerns, certainly, but it also conveys his charm — his gentle, personal manner, his sense of humor (he quotes from the St. Thomas More joke book), his “charisma.”
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Suffice it to say, there is a good deal for Buckley to do, and she does it. In a year of memorable and unnerving female characters, she makes Moll stand out.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Gary Thompson
    Writer-director Ari Aster excels at making these old-school horror movie moves (he gets great mileage out of seance scenes), and the intensifying atmosphere of dread is thick. And he layers on effective, original ideas.

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