Todd VanDerWerff

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For 19 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Todd VanDerWerff's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Lean on Pete
Lowest review score: 16 God's Not Dead
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
19 movie reviews
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Motion capture is a great way to achieve certain effects. But it turns out when you use it to graft human expressions onto animals, you end up with the first movie to star an all-Tuunbaq cast.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 20 Todd VanDerWerff
    The worst thing about Life Itself is how it can’t realize that it’s limited by its own point-of-view. It harps on the idea of unreliable narrators in literature, without seeming to understand either how the device is used or how it works or how literary critics have approached that idea throughout time.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Throughout, The Predator feels like it’s been cut to the bone, in a way that ultimately requires viewers to make tiny little leaps to keep up, and all those tiny little leaps eventually add up to a big, big gap between viewer and film.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    When the central four women are played by Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen — and the rest of the cast is stuffed with ringers — well, it doesn’t matter if the camerawork isn’t especially vibrant.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    You Were Never Really Here hints at the extent of the horrors Joe suffered, but it never tells you directly about them, which is one of its strengths.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    A horse might not be able to feel love for a teenage boy, but Lean on Pete makes sure you know how deeply a teenage boy can feel love for a horse. It’s one of the best films of the year.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    If Red Sparrow is a movie about the things it purports to be about, like the blurred lines around issues of consent in the espionage game, then it’s a misfire at best and horribly exploitative at worst. But 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    “What my more curmudgeonly colleague misses,” said the ghost with a smile, “is this film’s potential for great camp enjoyment, especially thanks to its bevy of perfectly fine performances."
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the most frustrating kind of movie there is: one that almost succeeds, and is more disappointing because it doesn’t.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's a lot of fun. But there's also something very bizarre about Kingsman. Namely, its politics are incredibly strange, wildly vacillating between a kind of egalitarian progressivism and the equivalent of shrugging wildly and saying, "Who cares! The status quo is fine!"
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Just like the first movie, the film’s politics are all over the place in a way that should be fun but ends up feeling distracting. Yet it’s hard to hate this movie too much. It has a weird generosity toward its audience. It keeps giving and giving and giving, until you’re overstuffed. It’s a Thanksgiving feast movie, where you’re vaguely impressed at all of the effort, even if the individual elements leave something to be desired.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Stronger just works, thanks to strong performances across the board and lovely, understated direction from Green (who’s tremendous at how he uses the frame to highlight his actors).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Director David Leitch is a little too nonchalant about the gigantic pile of corpses his heroine leaves in her wake. But damned if it doesn’t look cool as hell. And sometimes in life...all you want is something that looks super awesome, regardless of whether it makes any sense. Atomic Blonde manages that trick in spades.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    There’s fun to be had in The Last Knight, if you can find it among the chaos — and if you can remember it after the fact.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    Like all Pixar movies, Cars 3 is gorgeous...but like most of the studio’s 2010s output, its storytelling is perhaps too complicated to really register. The movie is constantly trying to outmaneuver itself, leading to a film that’s pleasant but not much more.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Dead Men Tell No Tales tries to serve far too many masters with its story.
    • 16 Metascore
    • 16 Todd VanDerWerff
    Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, God’s Not Dead is a disaster.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    Burdened with tangential musings, The Cold Lands is at its most effective when grappling with those who believe themselves so self-reliant that they refuse help from anyone—be it government, charity, or just a well-meaning friend.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    Director Chiemi Karasawa is on her best footing when she deals with Stritch not as a Broadway icon and occasional film and TV star, but rather as a woman approaching 90 and holding on thanks to lack of filtering and an indomitable will to perform.

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