Ian Buckwalter

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NPR
For 117 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ian Buckwalter's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 95 Inside Llewyn Davis
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 117
  2. Negative: 13 out of 117
117 movie reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    For those with any interest in cult cinema or just the bizarre behind-the-scenes stories of any film production, Jodorowsky's Dune is a fascinating document of one of the most legendary films ever not made.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    It's Liam Neeson at his Neesoniest, and yet another entry in his expanding late-career bloom into gruff and commanding action hero.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Ian Buckwalter
    Anderson's repeated hurling of flaming volcanic projectiles directly at the screen — the dominant feature of the latter third of Pompeii — is firmly in the lovably trashy spirit of the '50s drive-in.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    It's well made, polished, and hits every mark — but is it crazy to want a futuristic sci-fi action flick about a motorcycle-riding metal supercop to be just a little more fun?
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Ian Buckwalter
    The effect eventually becomes that of about a dozen story pitches all strung together. Any one of them might have the potential for greatness in isolation. Try to mash them up into one movie, though, and much like Jack, they fall to pieces.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 85 Ian Buckwalter
    Nathan's film gets at a difficult and sobering fact: Pug's world is one that often rewards only hard detachment and distrust. That's a cultural tradition perhaps even more entrenched than the dirt bikes, and one from which it's more difficult to find release.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 25 Ian Buckwalter
    The result isn't fresh and realistic, though; it's clumsy and stilted. Improvised dialogue can work wonderfully if the actors have a solid feel for their characters, but everyone here seems rushed and uncomfortable.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 65 Ian Buckwalter
    There's black comedy, and then, in the darkest corner of an airtight box buried deep underground, there's the humor of Big Bad Wolves.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 45 Ian Buckwalter
    The entertainment value of the violence trumps most of the larger meaning, and the film exploits its characters just as they do their prisoners.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    It's impossible for all of them to work, but the sheer volume of material, delivered by a cast dedicated to the absolute absurdity of the setups — Fantana's new career as a kitten photographer, Kind's side business running a fast-food chain with a specialty in fried bat, Burgundy nursing and training a live shark while blind and living in a lighthouse — is a kind of comedy carpet-bombing. All it takes is a certain percentage of hits for things to detonate.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 55 Ian Buckwalter
    This all essentially serves to distract from the fact that all that really happens in the film is that the company manages to eventually reach the mountain.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 95 Ian Buckwalter
    In a movie set up to trap us within Llewyn's repetitive loop of failure, baiting us with hope before quashing it with quiet desperation again and again, something more than comic relief is needed to soften the blow a little, and the film's musical interludes are that pillow.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 79 Ian Buckwalter
    Everything that felt clumsy in The Hunger Games has been improved upon here. That's most apparent in the clarity of the action, but it also extends to how efficiently the film establishes so many new ensemble members.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    The documentary is at its best when it eases up on the adoration a little and turns to a serious discussion of the state of comics these days, what with newspapers on the decline and digital media scattering an art form that was once centralized on pages delivered to everyone's door.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Ian Buckwalter
    The lack of chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman, plain enough in the first Thor movie, is still a problem here, but at least they've largely ditched the starry-eyed schoolgirl routine.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 55 Ian Buckwalter
    It may seem odd for a teen-focused action movie to feel so glum, but that's actually something that the director gets right, even if it threatens to make this a dull affair: Ender's Game is a dark story of a children's crusade built on the crushed psyches of damaged youths, and too much uplift would undermine it.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 55 Ian Buckwalter
    If The Counselor is a failure, it's at least a fascinating one. Much of the reason for that is time spent in the theater examining why the film isn't working.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 45 Ian Buckwalter
    At times, to be blunt, he (Trejo) comes off like a silent film star who's accidentally lumbered onto the set of a bloody, violent, thoroughly ridiculous talkie: reluctant to speak, sometimes a little confused by his surroundings.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 85 Ian Buckwalter
    Mickle and co-writer Nick Damici gutted Grau's story to the bone. And they not only built something entirely new on that skeleton — they managed to equal and in many ways surpass the dark, bloody beauty of their source material.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    Loki is a skilled creation, but lacking that sense of why, it's hard not to think of him as an artistic construct rather than a character. The same goes for Prisoners, a work of impressive craftsmanship that winds up making us think too much about how it was fashioned rather than what it has to say.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Ian Buckwalter
    Moors' film is at its best when it worries at notions of how evil is born, fostered and brought to bloom.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 30 Ian Buckwalter
    This is a movie for those who watched Liam Neeson in "Taken" and thought, "Hey, this is fun, but can we do it without having to wait 15 minutes for the action to start?" Solomon has 90 minutes at his disposal, and doesn't want to waste time with setup.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Ian Buckwalter
    Judging from the lack of care that went into making this one, I'm not so sure how much Schrader cares about the movies anymore either.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Ian Buckwalter
    I'd like to credit Mangold, along with writers Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank for their good intentions; the smaller scope and lighter tone of their film is a tonic after bloated doom and gloom of "Man of Steel."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Ian Buckwalter
    Director Guillermo del Toro knows that the charm in the clash of scale - or armor-plated titans isn't necessarily tied to the low budgets and laughable production design of those guilty-pleasure TV shows. And with Pacific Rim, he cracks the code.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    Neil Jordan seems well aware that audiences may be feeling deep fatigue about vampires. So with his latest, the director of Interview With the Vampire makes a vampire film that seeks to reinvent the species, while harking back to a more classical — read: less sparkly — take on the genre.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Ian Buckwalter
    That makes the latter portion of the film much more successful than what precedes it, an improvement aided by the fact that the POV device eventually feels less like the director trying to show off and more like an integral part of the story. But it's still not enough to save a remake that, rather than trying to fix the deep flaws of its source, just covers them in a shinier coat of paint.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Ian Buckwalter
    Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio is one horror film that opts to skip the usual frolic among those metaphorical monsters in favor of a deeply unsettling dive into the subconscious.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Ian Buckwalter
    The Purge is mostly a genre picture trying to layer on some prestige by way of social commentary. The latter falls flat; the film is actually stronger when it just goes for our baser instincts.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Ian Buckwalter
    (Marsh) downplays political questions of ideological rights and wrongs. Rather than making a film about terrorism, or about war, Marsh looks at how they affect the people caught up in their machinery.

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