If the link is not live, I have review notes but have finalized it for publication. If you have a question about a specific movie, feel free to email me with a question at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
I have three platforms for publishing my reviews: the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, where long reviews and analysis typically run; Facebook (Movie Reviews by Sam Staley, or @themovieswithsam), and on my personal blog (blog.srstaley.com). Facebook is typically the most timely. Also, follow me on twitter @samrstaley.
Don't forget to check out my book Contemporary Film and Economics (Routledge, 2018) and see why one film producer called it "subversively educational."
Reviews for 2019 movie releases: (* Academy Award nominee)
- 6 Underground (B-).
- 21 Bridges (B).
- 1917 (A)*. A visually and cinematically innovative story about heroism and the horrors of trench warfare during World War I.
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (A-).
- A Hidden Life (B+). An incredibly moving and poignant drama about a true story of an Austrian conscientious objector during World War II.
- Alita: Battle Angel (B). A Manga-inspired story of re-awakening (re-birthing?) and search for identity by a cyborg abandoned on a scrap heap on Earth.
- Alladin (B-). Disney’s live-action remake of "Aladdin" is good solid fare for young ones, but may not rise to the level adults will feel fully engaged or entertained.
- Anna (A-). Luc Besson's action movie featuring a Russian female assassin another is a stylish, action drama that also is a a paean to the human spirit and its innate quest for freedom.
- Bharat (A-, in Hindi w/ English subtitles). “Bharat” is a human drama, a story of tragedy, sacrifice, social change, and personal growth in India.
- Ad Astra (A-).
- Apollo 11 (A, documentary). A documentary tribute to human sacrifice, ingenuity, and technical achievement.
- Avengers: End Game (B+).
- Bennett's War (A-). A solid drama about the personal costs of war as a soldier and former motor cycle racer returns from Afghanistan and suffers through PTSD.
- Black and Blue (A-).
- Black Waters (B).
- Bombshell* (A-/B+). Top flight performances from Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margo Robbie can't keep this film about sexual harassment in the Fox News workplace from falling a bit flat.
- Captain Marvel (B-). Superhero movie fans will find excellent action, top flight cgi graphics, seamless blending of animation and live action, an intriguing origin story for the lead character, an interesting incorporation of Nick Fury into the storyline, and a cat.
- Captive State (B). Understated performances serve this sci-fi movie about government tyranny, attitudes that support it, and the quest to restore freedom.
- Charlie's Angels (B-).
- Dark Phoenix (A)
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold (B+)
- Fighting With My Family (A-)
- Five Feet Apart (A).
- Ford V Ferrari (A)*.
- Gemini Man (B+).
- Harriet (A-)
- The Highway Men (B+)
- Hobbs and Shaw (B+).
- Hotel Mumbai (A).
- Hustlers (A-).
- I Am Woman (B+).
- India's Most Wanted (C-, in Hindi w/ English subtitles).
- John Wick 3: Parabellum (B-).
- JoJo Rabbit (A)*.
- Joker* (A).
- Judy* (B).
- Just Mercy (A).
- Honey Boy (A).
- The Kid Who Would Be King (B).
- Knives Out (A-).
- The Current War (A-).
- The Irishman* (A-).
- The Kid (A-).
- The Lighthouse (B).
- Last Christmas (B+).
- Last Black Man in San Francisco (B-). A somewhat plodding, aesthetically driven story about a black man's search for home and family in San Francisco.
- Little Women (A). A faithful adaptation of this classic coming of age story with Oscar worthy performance.
- Marriage Story* (A-/B+).
- Men in Black: International (B-).
- Midway (C+).
- Miss Bala (B+).
- Miss Virginia (B).
- Motherless Brooklyn (A-).
- Once Upon A Time in Hollywood* (A-).
- Parasite (A)*.
- Queen and Slim (C+). A not particularly well executed but important drama about racial identity, policy brutality, and race relations in the US. This review includes commentary.
- Richard Jewell* (A-).
- Commentary on controversy surrounding the movie can be found here.
- Rocketman* (A).
- Run The Race (B+).
- Shazam (A).
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (A-).
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (B-).
- Super 30 (B+, Hindi with English subtitles).
- Terminator: Dark Fate (A-).
- The Farewell (A).
- The Two Popes (A/B+).
- Uncut Gems (A-).
- Unplanned (A-)
- War (B+, Hindi with English subtitles).
- Wild Rose (B+) .
- Won't You Be My Neighbor? (A).
- Yesterday (B+).
For 2018 reviews click here.
For a complete movie review archive click here.
A movie may not be on this list for one of two reasons: I have not seen the movie, or the movie scored lower than an 8.5 on my rubric (roughly a B).
Given the subjective nature of movies as an expression of art, and the fact negative reviews tend to prejudice the commercial success of a film more than positive ones, I generally do not post negative reviews.
If you have a question about a movie, feel free to email me at Sam@srstaley.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.