Wenlei Ma


Wenlei Ma
Tomatometer-approved critic

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
2.5/5 59% The Front Runner (2018) A misguided defence of a man and an attitude that feels particularly ludicrous in 2019. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3.5/5 97% The Hate U Give (2018) The Hate U Give features a strong and incredibly moving performance from Amandla Stenberg, who never holds anything back from the audience and never overplays a moment. She's a star in the making. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3/5 80% Ben is Back (2018) Ben is Back is a fairly rote drama - it ticks the boxes and it occasionally veers into over-sentimentality. Julia Roberts' performance is what makes it stand out. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3/5 80% Green Book (2018) Where Green Book runs into trouble is if you scratch even a millimetre beneath its fuzzy, warm surface. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
2.5/5 37% Glass (2019) Nineteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel that's so unsatisfying. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
3/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Mary Queen Of Scots is a passable historical drama whose odd story choices are saved by a strong performance from Saoirse Ronan. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
2.5/5 50% Storm Boy (2019) There is something elemental about Storm Boy - but there's probably just not enough story to stretch the running time. It's more like a series of vignettes that soar but bundled together feels flat. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 100% Pick of the Litter (2018) This is exactly the movie we need right now. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 99% Eighth Grade (2018) Eighth Grade is one of the most thoughtful and nuanced films made about the teenage experience, an authentic story of angst, anxiety and confusion - in other words, what it's like to be 13 years old. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
3.5/5 96% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) It ends with a sweet but emotional climax with what is so rare in this franchise-obsessed industry - a proper conclusion that remains faithful to the story it's been trying to tell over three movies. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
3/5 78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Mary Poppins Returns plays it exceedingly safe, aping the original film beat by beat and note by note. It follows the exact structure of the 1964 movie to the point it starts to feel more like a remake than a sequel. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/5 93% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) Cold War is seductive and yet there is darkness at its heart, one that elevates the Polish film into a thoughtful piece about the complexities of love in a time of political oppression. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
4/5 88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Ralph Breaks the Internet would've been a fun but soulless movie if not for its nuanced and necessary story about friendship. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
5/5 94% The Favourite (2018) Quite simply, an utter and hilarious delight. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
3.5/5 66% Vice (2018) While Vice can highlight all the ills with the system, and partly blame public apathy, its pessimism leaves you despairing as the credits roll - and not in a way that inspires action, only nihilism. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2018
3/5 65% Aquaman (2018) Aquaman is so unapologetically over-the-top, its madness is undeniably entertaining. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2018
3.5/5 87% Colette (2018) Colette features some wonderful performances, especially from Keira Knightley, who deftly, convincingly charts Colette's journey from "innocent" to authentic bohemian. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2018
3/5 93% Bumblebee (2018) Bumblebee works best when the story is focused on Charlie. For a Transformers movie, it's surprisingly serviceable. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2018
5/5 96% Roma (2018) A movie like Roma is rare - something that's intimate yet also grand. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2018
4/5 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Its trippy animated visuals is truly a comic book come to life, capturing the spirit and aesthetics of its source material better than any film before it. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
4/5 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Melissa McCarthy gives a brilliantly calibrated performance that should see her touted on the awards circuit. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
4/5 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Sorry to Bother You is a wake-up call to the uncomfortable truth that the world we already live in may be the real dystopia. A little movie with a mighty punch. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
3.5/5 84% Creed II (2018) Creed II does beat you over the head with its sentimentalism - too much text instead of subtext. But it's generally effective, - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
5/5 91% Widows (2018) It's rare to come across a film that is both brilliant and brilliantly entertaining. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2018
3/5 34% The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Younger audiences will enjoy the bright colours and fun energy but it's unlikely to leave a lasting impression. Sometimes, that's enough. But don't expect it to become an instant favourite. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2018
3.5/5 72% The Children Act (2018) The Children Act is a mature and thoughtful film that is, above all, a wonderful showcase for a brilliant Emma Thompson. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2018
2/5 37% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) The movie jumps from one dizzying sequence to the next with little care about a cohesive story or throughline. It's a discombobulated mess. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2018
4/5 92% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) There's nothing here that's going to vex or perplex you, and you'll walk out of the cinema happy and satisfied. A real crowd-pleaser. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2018
4.5/5 99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) Hirokazu Kore-eda imbues his characters with so much empathy, no matter what they do (and some of it is quite questionable), you don't judge them, you understand. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2018
3.5/5 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) The film is an intriguing experiment for the Coens and it's one that's very rewarding for the viewer. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2018
2.5/5 63% Outlaw King (2018) Outlaw King is surprisingly underwhelming. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2018
3/5 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) Let's call it watchable and diverting, rather than mandatory viewing. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
3/5 81% Boy Erased (2018) Joel Edgerton has made an effective movie and a significant story with wonderfully rich performances - casting Kidman will automatically give you that. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
3.5/5 64% Suspiria (2018) If you let yourself be taken over by its sinister spell, you'll be in for an unforgettable experience. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
3/5 69% Beautiful Boy (2018) It all sounds very heavy and bleak, but there is a lightness of touch in Beautiful Boy that keeps it from being enveloped in unbearable darkness. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
3.5/5 79% Halloween (2018) Halloween embraces the simplistic fear of the original and crafts a 40-years-in-the-making follow-up that will scare the crap out of you. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
4/5 80% 22 July (2018) 22 July is not an easy movie to watch but it's one you should consider giving your time to. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
4/5 100% Wajib (2017) Annemarie Jacir's insight into inter-generation tension is what makes Wajib so compelling and watchable, while never losing touch of the specificity of this particular father and son. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
4/5 90% A Star Is Born (2018) While imperfect, A Star Is Born is a satisfying and emotionally evocative epic. If only it had managed to maintain the intoxicating allure of its first hour. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2018
3.5/5 75% Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Bad Times at the El Royale is an engrossing, entertaining noir-thriller with some effective set pieces and some standout performances. If only it had a bit more to say. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
5/5 87% First Man (2018) In a word: Flawless. First Man is a stunning film where everything works in symphony. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
4.5/5 88% American Animals (2018) American Animals is a different kind of movie, a truly electrifying story with purpose and meaning but one that has also given us a new form of storytelling. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
3.5/5 100% McKellen: Playing the Part (2017) It's a must-see for any fan, and, be honest, is there anyone who's not an Ian McKellen fan? - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
2/5 29% Venom (2018) A disjointed, tonally confused and mediocrely written action flick, the best thing Venom has going for it is its relatively short runtime. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2018
2/5 28% Night School (2018) There were some laughs, some giggles, even an occasional cackle, but for the most part, Night School is a lesson that often feels more like punishment. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018
3/5 83% Ladies in Black (2018) Ladies in Black isn't really a plot-driven movie, it's more of a mood, it's about inviting you to spend some time in this lovely, quaint world where it's always sunny. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2018
3/5 67% The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018) It works if all you're looking for is a movie you can take your children to see. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2018
2.5/5 73% Christopher Robin (2018) It's a heavy-handed, unsatisfying experience. A more apt title would be Melancholy and the Infinite Childhood. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
3/5 32% The Predator (2018) The first entry in the Predator franchise in almost a decade is a solid action romp that's even kind of ... goofy? - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
3/5 85% A Simple Favor (2018) With its gripping premise, likeable cast and a director in Paul Feig, A Simple Favour has much going for it. - News.com.au EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018