Emily VanDerWerff Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

Emily VanDerWerff

Emily VanDerWerff
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
2.5/5 96% The Half of It (2020) There's a great movie inside of The Half of It, and Wu is a tremendous talent who shouldn't have to wait 15 years to make another feature film. Like too many Netflix movies, this one feels like the script needed a few more drafts.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
70% Trolls World Tour (2020) I appreciated the way Trolls World Tour genuinely took an interest in drawing lines between personal and political systems of oppression.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2020
5/5 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) Sciamma has a keen eye for the ways that women have always cared for each other under the radar of society, dealing with unwanted pregnancies and building little communities in plain sight.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
2.5/5 53% Noelle (2019) Noelle frequently feels like it's running in place, frantically throwing shiny objects in your face in the hope you don't lose interest. But for fans of movie depictions of Christmas, there are worse options. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2019
4.5/5 87% Hustlers (2019) Hustlers asks what a movie like Goodfellas looks like with women at the center of the story. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
4.5/5 98% Deadwood: The Movie (2019) I'm about to say is a compliment, even if it might not sound like one: Deadwood: The Movie feels like the best TV episode of 1997.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
88% Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons' (2019) This special might have grown out of nostalgia, or Jimmy Kimmel's ego, or a genuine desire to fete [Norman] Lear while he's still alive. But there's a comfort in ritual, in recreating the same basic ceremony over and over again. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
3.5/5 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) I don't know a dang thing about Pokémon, and I really had a great time with Detective Pikachu... I found plenty to enjoy here, and I was never once confounded by what was happening onscreen.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
91% Mirai (2018) This is a movie for patient viewers, but trust that you will be richly rewarded.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
3/5 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) I had a good time watching it, but I could always see the filmmakers just offscreen, holding up the big table the Legos were scattered across, sweating and straining to keep the whole thing from toppling over.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2019
43% The Village (2004) It all comes to a head... in perhaps the greatest sequence Shyamalan has ever filmed. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
4/5 89% You Were Never Really Here (2018) It's the kind of movie I'm glad [Ramsay] made because her interrogation of Joe's masculinity is the sort of thing endemic to the material that many male directors might have missed in an attempt to make the movie more "exciting."‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2018
4/5 66% Vice (2018) It was the supporting players who really grabbed me, especially Amy Adams (effectively blending her Drop Dead Gorgeous and The Master characters into one person)...‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
1.5/5 35% Welcome to Marwen (2018) Welcome to Marwen can never overcome the question of why it exists.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
2/5 53% Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) You have to wade through a whole bunch of effects that feel ... abandoned before they were fully baked.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
100% The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) It's still a superb version of a very good story, with some terrific songs. The special loses something by condensing the story as much as it does, but it's hard to go wrong with Dickens in song. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
B+ 100% The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) The Stingiest Man In Town remains a brisk retelling of one of the most famous stories ever told, a retelling that boasts fun songs, a good deal of TV history being made, and a great central performance. ‐ AV Club
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
63% The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985) This is something like Rankin/Bass's fifth attempt to tell the back-story of the jolly old elf. But there's something so pleasingly goofy about Santa wandering into scenes that might as well be ripped from the pages of Marvel Comics.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
56% Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977) Muller's script is willing to go for the jugular in terms of pathos. Plus, watching this one lets you realize how much terror of being made fun of as a child animates Rankin/Bass. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
No Score Yet Cricket on the Hearth (1967) There's blindness caused by grief, melodramatic plot twists by the bushel, and a cricket narrator. But it's all a little bland, with songs that last way too long.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
75% The Little Drummer Boy (1968) The drummer boy is a misanthrope who hates all of humanity, which makes for a surprisingly entertaining character to follow around. Rankin/Bass was terrified of playing up the darker sides of its characters. It shouldn't have been.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
20% Pinocchio's Christmas (1980) It's confused and more than a little boring. And the Christmas connection is very nebulous.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
20% Rudolph and Frosty: Christmas in July (1979) The attempts to turn these corny stories into some sort of epic strain with flopsweat, and the hoped-for Avengers-style team-up of the company's big two mostly results in scenes where you wonder why Frosty's not melting in the middle of July.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2018
57% Jack Frost (1979) Jack Frost features some marvelously cracked creations... but the 1979 special's fairy-tale structure and flimsy integration of Groundhog Day folklore make for a bloated, quasi-magical mess. ‐ AV Club
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
57% Jack Frost (1979) Here's a special to show your kids if you want to teach them life is full of crushing disappointments.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
50% Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976) In its best moments, Shiny New Year lives up to the howling madness at the center of all Rankin/Bass.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2018
93% Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) Everything Rankin/Bass did works perfectly here. The guest voice (Fred Astaire) is dead on. The filling in of mythology around a holiday figure is just great. And even the song the special builds toward is one of the better Santa Claus songs out there.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
2.5/5 65% The Christmas Chronicles (2018) The masculine Jesus was all I could think about when watching The Christmas Chronicles... This is a Santa who, in the parlance of the times, can get it.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
No Score Yet Leprechaun's Christmas Gold (1981) This is perhaps peak Rankin/Bass insanity. Roughly two-thirds of the script is exposition...‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
3.5/5 84% Creed II (2018) One reason Creed II manages to avoid totally losing itself in Rocky lore is simple: It's still rooted in a movie that took its characters and their emotional complexities seriously.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
4/5 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) As bold and smart a story about what it means to live online as any we've ever come up with...‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
90% The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) This is, like, 15 different specials awkwardly stitched together. That's normally a bad look for Rankin/Bass, but it works here, where the battles of the Miser brothers play nicely off Mrs. Claus's attempts to save the holiday.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
3.5/5 79% Halloween (2018) The single best reason to see the new Halloween movie is that it nails the last 20 minutes, when Laurie and Michael finally face off.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
1/5 14% Life Itself (2018) Fogelman's work is a little like listening to James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" while shopping for candles in a Pier One: It never stops to question its economic comfort, its upper-class value system, or its essential whiteness.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2018
2.5/5 32% The Predator (2018) What's wrong with The Predator goes deeper than a couple of bad cuts, but it still stinks that a promising movie was scuttled by a director's questionable decision-making - both on set and in post.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) What I especially love is how the movie refuses to offer up any pat or easy answers.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2018
3.5/5 73% Christopher Robin (2018) The only way to completely and totally enjoy Christopher Robin is to not think about the Disney corporation.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018
62% Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) There's something so fun and goofy about them that it's hard to get too mad.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2018
62% Uncle Drew (2018) Uncle Drew is a lot of fun, the storytelling is rock solid, and if this were somehow a Saturday Night Live sketch starring Irving, we'd all be saying, "Wow, he's a lot better than most athletes they get on this show!"‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
3.5/5 55% Book Club (2018) I would like to rent out a massive theater and invite the mothers of everybody I know to sit and watch this movie with me. I'll provide the blankets and wine.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
70% Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) In an age when our blockbusters feel more pointlessly busy and somber than ever, [Solo] just might come as a relief. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted May 15, 2018
85% Avengers: Infinity War (2018) As it is, everything feels like a bait and switch.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2018
4.5/5 96% The Death of Stalin (2018) The Death of Stalin is Iannucci's most complex and almost nihilistic rendering of what politics is:‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2018
3/5 91% Love, Simon (2018) As a piece of filmmaking craft, it's competent, if unremarkable...if Love, Simon helps even one gay teen come to terms with their sexuality, in the friendly confines of familiar movie formulas, hey, it was probably worth it.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2018
3.5/5 46% Red Sparrow (2018) ... as a movie about being Jennifer Lawrence, about having everyone think they understand you simply because they're looking at you all the time, about trying to hide your real life behind ineffective filters, it's much more compelling.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2018
97% Black Panther (2018) Black Panther asks how we retain our moral compass in the face of people who invite us to give in to our baser instincts.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2018
3.5/5 79% The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) ... will appeal to every member of the family with almost scientific precision.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2017
2/5 53% Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) What's interesting about Roman J. Israel, Esq.... is that what doesn't work about it is exactly what did work about Gilroy's earlier film, which was one of my favorites of 2014.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
2.5/5 52% Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) The Golden Circle is two hours and 21 minutes long, and at least half of that feels like clutter. ‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
4/5 90% Stronger (2017) Fortunately, almost everything in Stronger works really well.‐ Vox
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017