Alistair Harkness

Alistair Harkness

Agrees with the Tomatometer 78% of the time.

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

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Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
4/5 93% Force Majeure (2014) "Östlund's merciless and often very funny film doesn't just ridicule its male protagonist, it interrogates what a fractious institution marriage can be when predicated on a societal pressure to conform to expected gender roles. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
2/5 31% Lost River (2015) "Gosling may craft the occasional moment of strange, demented beauty, but his reliance on dream logic and over-use of the sub-Terrence Malick-style imagery that has pervaded American indie cinema in recent years doesn't convince. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
3/5 90% Jauja (2015) "In abstract Western in which the harsh but claustrophobic beauty of the landscape is intensified by the confines of Academy ratio framing ... " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
3/5 81% Good Kill (2015) "Writer/director Andrew Niccol reteams with Gattaca star Ethan Hawke for this timely dramatic treatise on drone warfare. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
5/5 96% Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck (2015) "Though Cobain: Montage of Heck is unlikely to be the last word on the subject - the Nirvana legend is, ironically, far too lucrative now for that - it certainly deserves to be. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
4/5 85% John Wick (2014) "Reeves ... elevates it all. Gliding through the carnage in a three-piece suit, steely eyed and steel-fisted, he is, in short, most excellent. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 12, 2015
3/5 100% Blind (2004) "[An] intriguing Oslo-set drama ... " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
2/5 73% Altman (2014) "A depressingly conventional exploration of American cinema's most fearless rebel. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
4/5 100% The Dark Horse "The film explores the damaging, uber-masculine gang culture that exists on the fringes of Maori culture, using chess as a simple but effective metaphor for the struggles Potini and his young charges face in the everyday battlefield of life. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
3/5 71% The DUFF (2015) "The once-ubiquitous American high school comedy has been supplanted by dystopian Young Adult franchises in recent years, but it makes a minor and surprisingly welcome comeback with The Duff. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
3/5 73% The Water Diviner (2015) "Russell Crowe's directorial debut proves an odd mix of war-is-hell realism and slushy romance. It doesn't always work but is at least handled with sincerity. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
4/5 85% While We're Young (2015) "A sharp satire about the middle-aged fear of youth. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Apr 6, 2015
1/5 29% Get Hard (2015) "Offensive on many levels, even before you factor in the ironic (but not really) racial banter between Ferrell and Hart - or the sleazy objectification of some of its (minor) female characters. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 30, 2015
3/5 85% Cinderella (2015) "With enough respect to eschew the easy option of modernising it with a hip and radical make-over, it's kind enough to the characters to get round the problematic sexual politics of the story without making a big statement about them. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 30, 2015
4/5 95% Wild Tales (2015) "Succeeds not only by being outrageously entertaining, but by functioning as a sort of hellish magic mirror ... " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 30, 2015
3/5 86% My Name Is Salt "The infinitesimal nature of humankind in the face of the environment is poetically essayed in this starkly beautiful documentary about a salt farmer and his family's seasonal struggle to earn a living from India's Gujarati desert. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 15, 2015
3/5 100% X+Y "Matthews - riffing on his own documentary Beautiful Young Minds - makes the film's formulaic nature work to its advantage without dumbing down the science of it all. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 15, 2015
3/5 100% Elle L'adore "Films about obsessive fandom tend to home in on the psychopathic nature of the follower, but this French comedy/drama turns things around by making the object of a fan's love the exploitative monster. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 15, 2015
2/5 72% Suite Française "So ordinary and dully executed there's almost nothing to recommend it. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 15, 2015
3/5 60% Run All Night (2015) "An occasionally-too-flashy, but otherwise pleasingly old-school tale of twisted loyalties, revenge and bloody redemption. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Mar 15, 2015
75% Crash (2004) "It's a bold effort that initially attempts to tackle the issue of racial conflict in a refreshingly unstinting way for a mainstream film. Ultimately, though, the story is too contrived to achieve the profundity it's striving for. " ‐ Film4
Posted Feb 23, 2015
4/5 92% Slumdog Millionaire (2008) "It's a story with a simple and schematic structure, yet as the film progresses and the stakes get higher it cleverly works the built-in tension of the TV show into the drama of the unfolding narrative. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Feb 22, 2015
4/5 81% Beyond Clueless "It's an auspicious debut, a wry but serious and passionate cine-essay ... " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 26, 2015
4/5 90% A Most Violent Year (2015) "A far more timely and provocative film than its period setting suggests. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 26, 2015
4/5 89% Ex Machina (2015) "An intriguingly stripped-down sci-fi thriller about artificial intelligence that's fully attuned to its more blockbuster elements yet pleasingly cerebral at the same time. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 26, 2015
5/5 96% 12 Years a Slave (2013) "As hard-hitting as this is, though, it's the muted sense of outrage and injustice coursing through every fibre of Solomon's being that lingers longest, ensuring 12 Years a Slave triumphs as a human story about an inhuman institution. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 13, 2015
4/5 65% A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) "The film gives Neeson a chance to play a type of character that almost feels archaic in an age of superheroes and indestructible action heroes. A Walk Among the Tombstones proves the gumshoe still has legs. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 6, 2015
3/5 90% Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) "The allegorical simplicity of The Planet of the Apes films has always been their greatest strength, of course, and the way this film continues to make us root for Ceasar is a neat trick. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Jan 4, 2015
1/5 27% Annie (2014) "It's a hard-knock life for cinemagoers who make the mistake of going to see this new version of Annie hoping for some of the Broadway pizzazz of the original. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 29, 2014
4/5 71% Big Eyes (2014) "Feels like a deceptively complex formal experiment, one designed to reflect what happened to Keane by celebrating artlessness as a valid form of artistic expression. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 29, 2014
2/5 51% Unbroken (2014) "Overall the film is too staid and reverential in its approach to Zamperini ... to linger as an inspiring tribute to his indefatigable spirit. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 29, 2014
3/5 85% Kon Tiki (2013) "Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg certainly seize the opportunity to deliver a spirited high seas adventure, taking some creative liberties along the way, but remaining true to the spirit of the times and the participants. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 22, 2014
2/5 50% Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) "Send-off for an uber-bland family franchise that has never really embraced the anarchic spirit of its Toy Story-riffing high-concept. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 22, 2014
2/5 28% Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) "Just another disappointingly so-so Scott production - more Kingdom of Heaven than Gladiator. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 22, 2014
3/5 78% The Green Prince (2014) "Though no film really has a hope of untangling the complexities of the conflict, this succeeds in putting a human face on them. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
2/5 43% The Face of Love (2014) "Sadly, this all feels like a wasted effort. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
2/5 72% TinkerBell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2015) "This is the second Tinker Bell film to be released by Disney this year and the churn-em-out approach is obviously taking its toll on the eponymous fairy: she functions more as a brand name than a main player this time. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
1/5 No Score Yet The Snow Queen: Magic of the Ice Mirror (Snezhnaya koroleva 2. Snezhnyy korol) "Charmless and boring, bears little relationship to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, and should in no way be mistaken for a way to satiate fans of Frozen. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
3/5 82% Me, Myself and Mum "The twist on the coming-of-age story makes this stylized comedy intriguing up to a point, but Gallienne's decision to retain the theatrical and confessional nature of the show ... starts to grate after a while. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
61% The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) "[Jackson] may have intermittently lost his storytelling footing over the course of these three films, but with The Battle of the Five Armies he gets there in the end. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 15, 2014
4/5 89% Frozen (2013) "[Proves] that, when done well, there is still a place for big song-driven animation films in an age of quip-filled, pop-culture-referencing buddy movies. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3/5 71% Penguins Of Madagascar (2014) "The gag rate really is something to behold, ensuring this has more in common with old Looney Tunes cartoons or the screwball sensibility of Tina Fey's sitcom 30 Rock than its Pixar-chasing forebears. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
2/5 31% Men, Women & Children (2014) "Though a couple of the storylines have some of the bite of Reitman's earlier work, the film mostly resorts to look-how-crazy-this-is handwringing ... " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
2/5 76% Get Santa "Flatulent reindeer, sugary sentimentality, ropey effects and a rubbish riff on The Shawshank Redemption. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3/5 78% The Grandmaster (2013) "It's difficult to work out if Wong really had some biopic-subverting purpose in mind or if he just found himself unable to tell the story in a way that gelled with his sensibilities " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3/5 81% Black Sea (2015) "Black Sea may not be a groundbreaking drama, but it's an effective genre thriller that grapples with real world issues and offers another interesting challenge for Law - accent and all. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3/5 77% St. Vincent (2014) "There's only so much fun to be had watching Murray blatantly at odds with a movie so clearly intent on sentimentalizing audience affection for him. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Dec 8, 2014
5/5 98% Citizenfour (2014) "It's astonishing stuff; full of bizarre revelations and incredible details that even the most paranoid conspiracy theorist would struggle to make up. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Oct 20, 2014
2/5 52% The Face Of An Angel "The depiction of the creative process far too tedious and pretentious to illuminate anything meaningful about the way fiction and reality intersect. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Oct 20, 2014
5/5 93% Birdman (2014) "The film ultimately reveals itself to be a delirious slice of meta-fiction that both sends up and sincerely explores the monstrous egos and thin-skinned mania that drives people to perform. " ‐ Scotsman
Posted Oct 20, 2014
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