Matthew Lickona Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

Matthew Lickona

Matthew Lickona
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
1/5 52% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) When we meet up with brash pilot Poe, he's lightspeed-skipping his way out of trouble, and Abrams is in much the same mode, whisking you from one thing to the next before you have much time to think or feel anything in response. ‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
1/5 77% Frozen II (2019) Not much gain against a good deal of loss.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
3/5 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Think Iron Man and Captain America, only it's a (mostly) true story and what's at stake is not the fate of the universe, nor even an auto race, but the glorious, endless pursuit of perfection.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
1/5 73% Harriet (2019) The gospel songs are gorgeously performed and cleverly deployed, but the rest of the soundtrack makes an absolute mess of the film's mood: swoopy where it should be driven, wistful where it should be achingly tense.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
2/5 80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) There's a deep and sincere sweetness in the work of writer-director Taika Waititi. It's a kind of relentless and innocent good cheer that persists in the face of horror - to the point where the horror is obscured, or maybe defanged.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
1/5 79% Cyrano, My Love (Edmond) (2019) For us to care about the froth, we need a proper sense of the churning that creates it.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
3/5 91% The Lighthouse (2019) It's rough going, but it's beautifully filmed and framed in black and white, and Dafoe is wild and wildly entertaining in a role that feels written to match his every aspect.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
2/5 97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) There's plenty of artfulness on display in the intertwining of life and what gets made of it, but also a fair helping of artifice. Art imitating life, but also improving it a bit.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
1/5 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) And [Jolie] is a star here: something amazing to behold, an Old Hollywood glamour shot come to...well, not exactly come to life, but mobile, anyway.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
2/5 94% Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019) Janice Engel's loving portrait of perhaps the most famous liberal journalist in Texas history (there must be a few others, right?) feels a bit like a pitch for a biopic. That is to say, it's more portrait than story. ‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2019
1/5 26% Gemini Man (2019) The same High Frame Rate that make the actors look like they're on Days of Our Lives makes the colors absolutely pop. And those textures on the skulls in the underground ossuary fight scene! It's cooler than the action, anyway.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
3/5 96% First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) What keeps it from becoming a bloody farce is Miike's profound sympathy for his leads, innocents trying to find their way out of the maelstrom.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
2/5 69% Joker (2019) If there is a meaningful difference between performing and acting, Joaquin Phoenix surely exemplifies the former here, creepily contorting as the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips' timely, toxic take on the Making of a Murdering Madman.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
2/5 94% Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019) The result, for the most part, is pleasant and informative, if not particularly inspiring or revelatory. But now and then, the music and images can't help but break through.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2019
1/5 84% Downton Abbey (2019) A soufflé is a light and airy confection of unvaryingly smooth consistency, and so is director Michael Engler's movie...everything whipped into a perfect, bland uniformity.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
2/5 64% The Sound of Silence (2019) Lucian is a man with a theory, desperate to extrapolate from what he knows is true to what it might imply, and if you've ever known such a man, you will likely appreciate Sarsgaard's performance‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
1/5 24% The Goldfinch (2019) There are ideas at work here, about providence and salvation (or at least their secular counterparts), about civilization and the worthwhile work of preserving it, and about defining moments and our response to them. But there isn't much of a movie.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
1/5 39% Vita & Virginia (2019) It's never a good sign for your rulebreaking romance when the occasional bits of dialogue between wayward wives and their sad husbands is more human, more feeling, and more emotionally intelligible than that between the lesbian lovers.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
2/5 100% Los Reyes (2019) It's a clever portrait of masculine drift, approached in sly and sidelong fashion: as background to the peaceful days of two happy mammals who never give thought to the approaching and encircling flies.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
2/5 96% Love, Antosha (2019) The title is how the immigrant's child closed his frequent and heartfelt letters to his fiercely devoted mother Irina, and the film plays a bit like her loving reply: a tribute to the son whose grave she still visits daily.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
2/5 96% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Writer-directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz team up to bring you what is quite possibly the feel-good movie of the year, for good and ill.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
2/5 36% The Divine Fury (2019) What surprises there are are mostly of the pleasant variety, starting with the tone of intelligent sincerity alongside the glowing red pupils and projectile vomiting.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
3/5 98% One Child Nation (2019) As a rule, talking heads do not make for compelling film. But such heads, and such talk.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
2/5 60% Them That Follow (2019) Boy howdy, do the serpents ever serve a fine cinematic purpose: visual proofs of invisible things: faith, forgiveness, and the danger to self that makes it "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
2/5 94% Mike Wallace Is Here (2019) A solid piece of cultural investigation built around a man who helped write history while it happened.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
0/5 23% The Kitchen (2019) The direction is flat (actors taking turns speaking their lines instead of actually conversing, etc.), the characterization baffling, the plot mechanics incredible - as in, not to be believed.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
3/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Meandering but deliberate, gorgeous and garrulous, it is very much the writer-director doing what he does so well, but in very familiar fashion. Which brings up the possibility that in making a movie about movie making, his real subject here is himself.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
3/5 90% The Third Wife (2019) Perhaps most remarkable is the contrast between the intense interior drama and the lush, languorous world in which it rages.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
2/5 90% Walking on Water (2019) The film does what it apparently sets out to do, which is to give some account of two statements Christo makes to a group of schoolchildren early on in the proceedings: "I love real things," and, "When you are an artist, you are all the time artist."‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
3/5 84% The Art of Self-Defense (2019) It's tempting to imagine that writer-director Riley Stearns caught a screening of the supremely feel-good The Karate Kid and thought, "Yeah, I can make the opposite of that." ‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
1/5 53% The Lion King (2019) By this point, Disney's do-overs feel a lot like their cash-grabby, inspiration-free '90s direct-to-video sequels, only with vastly better production values.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
1/5 64% Ghost Fleet (2019) Alas, it's another heroic and remarkable story undone by muddled and middling moviemaking.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
2/5 75% Halston (2019) How can you stay mad at something so chock full of delicious detail about a man who actually lined his office walls with mirrors?‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
0/5 55% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The scary (and gory) things on screen may be zombies, but the real monster here is the troll in the director's chair.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
3/5 87% Non-Fiction (Doubles vies) (2019) Writer-director Olivier Assayas goes looking for one real thing amid a group of French sophisticates who deal in artifice, both as a way of making a living and (with one possible exception) as a way of life.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2019
1/5 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) It didn't have to end this way...It didn't have to end with so little emotion, so little meaning - with a sad little speech about evolving, for Phoenix's sake.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2019
3/5 92% Sauvage / Wild (2019) What's the old saw about war? That it's long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror? Tweaked a little, the line serves pretty well as a description of Sauvage. All that's required is the addition of "and/or emotion" at the end.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
3/5 100% The Silence of Others (2019) Directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar's documentary...tracks the dogged efforts of those who refuse to let the past stay buried when the suffering it caused is still very much alive.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
0/5 42% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Budget is not normally the sort of thing you mention in a review, but when you see a film that is almost entirely driven by spectacle and you keep marveling at how slapdash and/or unreal everything looks, you do start to wonder where all the money went.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
1/5 57% Aladdin (2019) There are efforts made, whether through good faith or just market savvy, to update Princess Jasmine into a people's champion who might prefer ruling to romance. Enough to make you wish the Disney people had gone whole hog and just called it Jasmine.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
2/5 97% Booksmart (2019) Dever and Feldstein's friendship and chemistry provide the film with both its chief appeal and dramatic engine, and the winning pair make Booksmart a film that's very easy to like. But it's less easy to believe.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
2/5 91% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) A splendid commercial - as opposed to argument - for small-scale biodiversity as an effective operative principle for a family farm in Southern California.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
1/5 72% All Is True (2019) Ultimately, it's a bit on-the-nose, and the disconnect between Shakespeare's genius for character and his befuddled attempts at personal relationships makes for a man too bifurcated to believe, as if the fire that gutted the Globe also burned his brain.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
1/5 90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) It's rather like when Bond films went from Sean Connery to Roger Moore. Plenty of people will find this copacetic. A few will grouse about what's been lost: a touch of the real amid the merely fantastic.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
3/5 96% Hail Satan? (2019) The question mark in the title of Penny Lane's documentary on The Satanic Temple is integral to the story she's telling...a fine, thought-provoking effort.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
1/5 69% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) For a while, the first live-action Pokemon movie's achievements are enough.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
3/5 50% Tolkien (2019) Tolkien casts a delicate spell: it's not difficult to imagine some viewers proving utterly impervious to its peculiar magic. But some others will be enchanted and even transported by its charms.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
3/5 66% The White Crow (2019) Not exactly a warts-and-all artist biopic. It's more an account of the way that the artistic spirit is a wart, a strange affliction that besets certain people even as it fascinates others.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
1/5 81% Long Shot (2019) It may not work as a movie, but as a love story, it's got great appeal.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
2/5 69% Stockholm (2019) Budreau states at the outset that the true story he's working from is absurd, and it's clear that he relishes that absurdity: yes, lives are being threatened throughout and powerful feelings are at play, but this is a strange and amiable comedy at heart.‐ San Diego Reader
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019