Jim Lane

Jim Lane
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
4/5 82% Green Book (2018) Take a true story, add a super-smart script, brilliant turns by the two stars, and matching support from Linda Cardellini as Mortensen's wife, and you get a bullseye crowd-pleaser.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) It's all too clever by half -- or rather, by about 20 minutes; its feathery charms are hard put to support nearly two hours' running time.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
4/5 91% Widows (2018) Davis' powerhouse presence is complemented by Rodriguez and Debicki (in a starmaking turn), plus an equally powerhouse supporting cast.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
1/5 16% Robin Hood (2018) "Forget history," says the narration, "Forget what you think you know." Better advice would be to forget this godawful movie.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
2/5 38% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) [Rowling's] script here is the worst thing she's ever written -- incomprehensible if you haven't seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, saddling the actors with endless pages of indigestible exposition, an inert, lifeless set-up for the next movie.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/5 68% The Happy Prince (2018) Everett the writer sometimes overplays things, while Everett the director lurches from one martyrdom to the next in a sort of pity-party promenade. But Everett the actor, in a role he was born to play, never makes a false move.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
2/5 81% Instant Family (2018) The movie has amusing moments, but they feel prepackaged with everything but a sitcom laugh track.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) Alvarez doesn't let us linger to make sense of it all; he keeps the action set-pieces coming, and if we're never fully engaged, at least we're never bored.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3/5 57% The Grinch (2018) The smoothly animated result isn't as dreadful as the Jim Carrey live-action version, but it's almost as wrong-headed.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
2/5 22% Nobody's Fool (2018) Writer-director Tyler Perry throws all kinds of ideas at us, but he never manages to get over the basic problem at the center of his script: Sumpter's character is shallow and unlikeable, while Haddish's... wears out her welcome in record time.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
34% The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Either desperate rewrites by Tom McCarthy and reshoots with director Joe Johnston taking over from Lasse Hallström didn't help -- or the movie must have been really awful before. Now it's a grab bag of remnants from far better books and movies, ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
3/5 68% Beautiful Boy (2018) Dramatically flat and frankly monotonous. On the plus side, Carell and Chalamet give fearless performances.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
3/5 62% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) A standard musical biopic with all the conventions in place... Still, the music is electrifying, and Malek is a stellar presence, as is Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
3/5 37% Hunter Killer (2018) Muscular direction by Donovan Marsh keeps the action tense and clipping along, compensating somewhat for a tendency of minor characters to blur together.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
4/5 34% Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) I said that such James Bond spoofs were an exhausted genre and had worn out their welcome. Now I have to take it back; here's an inspired bullseye. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
1/5 24% Van Helsing (2004) By the final scene, all we care about is when Sommers will wrap up his magic act and let us all go home.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2018
1/5 79% Halloween (2018) It was sadistic schlock in 1978 and it's more sadistic and schlockier than ever now.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
3/5 74% Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Writer-director Drew Goddard gets off to a stylish start, with a burst of Tarantino-esque narrative energy and a garishly beautiful retro-'60s look... But Goddard can't sustain it past the first 25 minutes.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
3/5 88% First Man (2018) Ultimately, the movie is proficient but unsatisfying -- we leave the theater feeling like we know less about Armstrong than we did going in.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
2/5 47% Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) The novelty has worn off, and Lieber and Sandel offer nothing to replace it. It's stupefyingly humdrum, with none of the first movie's scares, laughs or charm.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
3/5 92% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) The whole movie has a loose-limbed, shambling, unpretentious charm, not unlike the matter-of-fact bemusement of Grann's original New Yorker piece.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
4/5 97% The Hate U Give (2018) Strikes a perfect balance between coming-of-age story and social-justice-warrior manifesto, never resorting to slogans, clichés or cardboard characters. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
3/5 67% The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) This unabashed Harry Potter clone is enjoyable enough, thanks to Black's campy theatricality and Blanchett's sly minimalism.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
4/5 87% Colette (2018) Knightley and West head a pitch-perfect cast, and Westmoreland (aided by cinematographer Giles Nuttgens and designer Michael Carlin) flawlessly recreates Belle Époque France.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
3/5 76% Smallfoot (2018) This animated time-killer is better than it has any right to be-but it's just barely good.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
2/5 29% Night School (2018) With six writers (including Hart) and Malcolm D. Lee's call-action-and-step-next-door-for-coffee direction, the movie can hardly help being what it is: a half-baked, disconnected parade of gags and undeveloped episode ideas.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
4/5 85% A Simple Favor (2018) An impish throwback to the stylish glam-thrillers of the early 1960s with a 21st century sass to go with all the twists and turns of the plot. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
1/5 11% Peppermint (2018) Rehashes tropes from better (though not necessarily good) movies.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
2/5 13% Life Itself (2018) Fogelman pretends to offer the random kaleidoscope of real life, but his movie is riddled with the rankest Dickensian contrivances -- without Dickens' flair for vivid characters. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
3/5 55% The Bookshop (2018) Writer-director Isabel Coixet paces her tale with subdued dignity that borders at times on a dogged plod, but which makes it all the more effective in those rare moments when somebody finds it necessary to raise their voice.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2018
2/5 65% The Little Stranger (2018) Neither a horror movie nor a ghost story, it's just a lot of atmosphere and earnest acting looking in vain for a story.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
2/5 59% Operation Finale (2018) Unfortunately, the movie lacks the ring of truth because much of it isn't... False details abound, clouding the effect of decent performances.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
4/5 82% Juliet, Naked (2018) Jesse Peretz's direction smooths out any wrinkles in the text, and the movie draws a nervous, energetic charm from Byrne's performance.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
3/5 23% The Happytime Murders (2018) The puppet work is brilliant, the jokes (however tasteless) are often funny, and McCarthy and Barretta have a strong chemistry. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
1/5 25% A.X.L. (2018) Didn't anyone notice that the story made no sense, that it was just remnants of Short Circuit, E.T., WarGames and other better movies, strung together more or less at random? ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
3/5 92% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Chu's career has been a tad uneven in the past, but he shows a sure hand here, drawing fine performance from a large ensemble - especially Wu, Golding, Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2018
2/5 79% Alpha (2018) Give director Albert Hughes an A for ambition, but a C for cornball achievement. As a piece of prehistory, the movie is maybe a cut above One Million Years B.C., but with cheesier visual effects. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2018
2/5 23% Mile 22 (2018) A low-class Mission: Impossible wannabe.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2018
3/5 95% BlacKkKlansman (2018) It's entertaining and angrily thought-provoking, with Lee at the top of his game - even if he can't stay off the soapbox and piles on too many endings. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
1/5 7% Slender Man (2018) This tawdry, shoddy stinker is a movie of rare and total incompetence, literally unwatchable thanks to some of the worst cinematography in film history.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
2/5 49% The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) Kunis has a nice flair for comedy, but she gets shoved aside by McKinnon - who, like the movie at large, is obnoxious and funny in a roughly 60-to-40 ratio.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
2/5 17% The Darkest Minds (2018) If you've seen The Hunger Games, Divergent or The Maze Runner, there are no surprises in this low-rent X-Men knockoff.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
3/5 59% Dog Days (2018) The movie's heart is in the right place, and like a good doggie we forgive it if it doesn't always know what it's doing.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
3/5 91% Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) There are some pretty clever turns along the way, the look is bright and shiny enough to keep toddlers from getting restless, and there are enough self-referential in-jokes to amuse their older siblings and parents. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
2/5 71% Christopher Robin (2018) Earnest acting, brilliant CGI and a few good lines can't conceal that the script is a half-hour's worth of stale whimsy dragged out to 104 minutes, directed at a plod by Marc Forster and murkily photographed by Matthias Koenigswieser.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
2/5 51% Equalizer 2 (2018) Washington's implacable charisma and Fuqua's robust command of pace and style are desperately needed because writer Robert Wenk is back too, and he's flat out of ideas. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2018
2/5 46% Skyscraper (2018) Johnson's charisma lifts things a notch or two above the bottom of the barrel, but he's not a magician - and he can't really fly.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2018
4/5 92% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Riley is an original voice, and not as undisciplined as he seems; his movie begins in gritty, flippant realism, then pulls us along step by step until it becomes a paranoid fantasy so feverish that it plays almost as a parody of paranoid fantasies.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2018
3/5 88% Whitney (2018) Director Kevin Macdonald's documentary traces the life and career of Whitney Houston, a sad arc that could wring tears from a bronze statue... Macdonald traces her fall with sensitivity and compassion.‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2018
3/5 88% Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) It's enjoyable enough, even for those who would rather eat broken glass than sit through another elephantine CGI-fest from the damned Marvel Comics Universe. ‐ Sacramento News & Review
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2018