John Simon Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

John Simon

John Simon
John Simon's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): New York Magazine/Vulture, Esquire Magazine

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
92% Nashville (1975) In Nashville, the sum of the parts is, unfortunately, greater than the whole, but, bit by bit, they are mostly well worth attending to.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
70% Tommy (1975) The most stupid, arrogant, and tasteless movie since Russell's Mahler. To debate such a film seems impossible: anyone who can find merit in this deluge of noise and nausea has nothing to say to me, nor I to him.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
88% Professione: reporter (The Passenger) (1975) If vacuity had any weight, you could kill an ox by dropping on it Michelangelo Antonioni's latest film, The Passenger. Emptiness is everywhere: in landscapes and townscapes, churches and hotel rooms, and most of all in the script. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
No Score Yet Les guichets du Louvre (Black Thursday) (1974) An honest and harrowing film. It makes horror not a glamorous adventure, merely horrible and, worse yet, banal. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
No Score Yet Violins at the Ball (Les Violons du Bal) (1974) It is very much what a clever -- but not so very clever -- kid fresh out of film school and stuffed to the gills with Godard, Resnais, Robbe-Grillet, etc. might make to prove his cleverness and originality. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
No Score Yet Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (Rafferty and the Highway Hustlers) (1975) Everything is absurd, but in a homey, relaxed way. The film treats its unusual occurrences casually, as if they were quite ordinary, which may be less artistic than taking the mundane and perceiving its extraordinary dimensions, but not bad, all the same.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
83% Mahler (1974) Collectors of supreme cinematic monstrosities had better keep a sharp lookout for Ken Russell's latest, Mahler, which may yet set a quick disappearance record even for a Russell film.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
94% Young Frankenstein (1974) Miracles still happen: Mel Brooks has made a funny movie. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
90% A Woman Under the Influence (1975) The film's incidents... look and sound like improvisations in which a dreary little situation is stretched, worried, reiterated until any spectator with a sense of the value of his time must turn as blue in the face as the hero's collar. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
88% Lenny (1974) A mess -- precisely because it is neither fact nor imaginative fiction. Fosse and Barry never figured out for themselves how this nothingy little comic grew into a heroic figure and, rightly or wrongly, a legend‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
90% Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Murder on the Orient Express is that unusual thing; an inflated trifle that actually works. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
86% Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) (1974) Much that has been hailed as Buñuel's profundity is merely self-purgation: catharsis for himself rather than for his audience. Though this may be the commonest motive for artistic creation, it is, by itself, insufficient.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
90% Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap) (1974) Alongside the great literary tracts on love by writers like Stendhal, Kierkegaard, Ortega y Gasset, we must now place this cinematic treatise on married love -- indeed, on basic man-woman relations -- by the giant of Swedish and world film making.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
100% Lacombe Lucien (1974) Lacombe, Lucien is remarkable, first, because it brings to film perhaps better than ever before (including even Bergman's powerful Shame) the sense of the banality of evil. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
87% Amarcord (1974) Its people look neither funny nor touching, neither monstrous nor human; they are mere lay figures tugged about aimlessly to fill out the space of the screen, the prescribed time for a major movie, and the leaky balloon of Fellini's ego.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
67% Promised Lands (1974) Not only does the film have a fine eye for visual detail, it also breaks new ground by allowing two main speakers to carry on an antiphonal debate that weaves its way through the entire fabric. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
No Score Yet The Seduction of Mimi (1974) At this stage of her development, the director is good at unsentimental tragedy and uncomplaisant comedy, and has an admirable visual sense. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
93% The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) The film has going for it a well-observed milieu, a rich gallery of colorful locals, and a wealth of incident that sometimes gets out of hand. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
50% Malizia (1973) Vulgarity of the most prurient sort, which has the gall of posturing as artistic restraint.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
73% Going Places (Les valseuses) (1974) My objection is not so much to its amorality as to its untruthfulness and dishonesty.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2020
100% Les Noces Rouges (1973) Among Chabrol's better films, despite, or because of, its simplemindedness... Actually, what makes the film interesting, over and above the sheer technical expertise, is its evocation of physical passion.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
75% Daisy Miller (1974) It is hard to determine to whom [director Peter Bogdanovich] has done the greater disservice: to his author, by assuming he could bring him to the screen, or to his inamorata, by assuming he could get her to act.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
33% Mame (1974) Suffice it to say about Mame that it is one of the most inept and repugnant items ever to crawl out of the Hollywoodwork. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
96% The Conversation (1974) The icy fascination soon succumbs to two forms of excess. One is Coppola's growing infatuation with the technical aspects of his subject... The other is a mystery story that thickens into ever greater contrivance, improbability, and opacity.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
85% The Sugarland Express (1974) [The Sugarland Express] has a certain cinematic knack, but is all effect and no real humanity, all manipulation and splash, and no attempt at honest insight.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
98% Badlands (1974) The film is admirable visually, verbally, psychologically. It took guts for a neophyte film maker still in his twenties to fire two cinematographers before a third gave him what he wanted; yet the result is seamlessly impeccable.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2020
88% Blazing Saddles (1974) A model of how not to make a comedy. It is like playing tennis not only without a net but also without a court, and with twenty balls simultaneously. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
89% The Last Detail (1973) There is a film in all this; Ashby and his cohorts, however, have not found it. Their movie is too schematic in its rote ups and downs, too predictable in its calculated alternation of drama and farce, and too whorish in its playing to the gallery.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
82% Thieves Like Us (1974) The characters seem real enough, but authenticity without some appeal isn't worth very much. It is worth even less without some fresh insight into social and psychological problems. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
47% Zardoz (1974) It has that homemade, backyard look we encounter so frequently in low-budget films. This is particularly damaging to a work that tries to compete with such superproductions as 2001 and A Clockwork Orange. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
42% The Day of the Dolphin (1973) Worst of all is the suspense plot, simplistic enough to be rather more laughable than the high-pitched, anile voice in which the bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) shrills his truncated banalities.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
82% The Exorcist (1973) Such perfectionism at the service of trash takes on a lurid, almost indecent, character. Still, Friedkin has a crass expertise with which he can keep the average moviegoer from laughing at these absurd goings-on, and he certainly gets great performances.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
9% Ash Wednesday (1973) Ash Wednesday is so bad that even Liz Taylor's performance becomes almost inconspicuous in it. Fonda and Keith Baxter do act a bit, but only just, and Helmut Berger doesn't even try, which seems to come naturally to him.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet England Made Me (1973) For the most part, this movie suffers from undernourishment: not enough plot, characterization, notable dialogue, visual interest -- not even enough costume extras -- to keep the mind and eye properly occupied. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet The Serpent (1973) This is altogether one of those lamentable films in which false clues are constantly tossed at the viewer -- events that could not have happened in this particular way in the light of the explanations given later.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet L'attentat (The Assassination) (2013) It is not a brilliant script, and is not superlatively directed; but it is an honorably imaginative re-creation of a major political and human scandal, and it has throughout the aroma of verisimilitude.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
83% Charley Varrick (1973) The two truly indigenous forms of Hollywood film making are, of course, the western and the gangster movie. Both genres have undergone decades of refining, and Charley Varrick is one of the more accomplished specimens of the latter.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
95% Mean Streets (1973) A film without structure, whose episodes might as easily be fewer or more numerous, begin or end anywhere, or not exist at all. And it is very hard to evince even superficial sympathy for these characters.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
93% The Long Goodbye (1973) There may be one or two more farcical elements here than is customary, but for a real send-up you would have needed Woody Allen rather than Gould who is All Wooden.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
63% The Way We Were (1973) The entire picture reeks of prophetic hindsight, whereby the cleverer characters so splendidly predict the future, thanks to the author's writing them years after the fact.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
8% Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) The film, at any rate, closely resembles every other predigested, semiliterate, mistily mystagogic piece of hope-mongering with which seekers after Great Life-giving Truths in small packages have been traditionally gulled.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
63% The Big Feast (La Grande Bouffe) (1973) I am not quite convinced that our society is all that sick as this film's exegetes would have it, but assuming that it is, cures like this "satire" are considerably worse than the disease.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
17% Diary of Forbidden Dreams (1973) Confirms me in the belief that this gifted film maker is the sad victim of his supreme lack of discipline. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972) Historical pageants may be fine for high-school graduation ceremonies, but since none of the performers in this film is likely to be your son or daughter, why bother with it? ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet Lovin' Molly (1974) Sidney Lumet has directed with remarkably little feeling for the Texas landscape and how people fit into it -- understandably, I suppose, since he is a New York City boy and a dependably uninspired director. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
83% The Paper Chase (1973) Back in 1926, Virginia Woolf wrote that at the movies, "as smoke pours from Vesuvius, we should be able to see thought in its wildness, in its beauty, in its oddity..." The Paper Chase fails to make thought visible.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
92% Bang The Drum Slowly (1973) The film profits immeasurably from the performance of Robert De Niro, a Northerner who completely transformed himself into the Georgia cracker with the fatal crack running through him. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
96% American Graffiti (1973) George Lucas has directed with a remarkably firm but unostentatious hand, two virtues equally rare in a young film maker. ‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
52% Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) The supreme failure is the director's own for trying to fill in the vacuity of the material with desperate stratagems of montage and camera trickery, and by feverishly latching on to bits of contemporary relevance that no other cat would have dragged in.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020
No Score Yet The New Land (1972) I never once looked at my watch or wished the film would end. One is much less easily affected when viewing a film alone, but in that empty little room I repeatedly wept and rejoiced.‐ Esquire Magazine
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2020