Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
8/10 95% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) There is something quietly (and very surprisingly) moving about Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, and how it depicts two men out of time, caught in a transitional period between two cinematic eras to which they don't belong. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
4/5 87% Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) (2019) I can't think of another living director whose examination of the creative process could be so emotionally involving. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
4/10 60% Young Ahmed (Le Jeune Ahmed) (2019) Young Ahmed is nowhere near as problematic as it could have been - but it's nowhere near as dramatically engaging either. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
83% The Whistlers (2019) No film relying so hard on the originality of its premise should fade from the memory this quickly. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
94% The Wild Goose Lake (Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui) (2019) It goes from patience testing to pure excitement at the tip of a hat; dialogue free sequences of wandering round the town are followed minutes later by moments as gleefully insane as a man getting killed by an umbrella. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
5/10 75% A Hidden Life (Une vie cachée) (2019) As you can expect with Malick, there are moments of transcendental beauty - but at nearly three hours long, it can be a slog sitting through a one note character study just to find them. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
8/10 100% The Lighthouse (2019) There is nothing as unnerving as the most striking sequences in The Witch - in fact, for the more adventurous genre audiences out there, this unpredictable ride could constitute the year's most unlikely crowd pleaser. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
100% First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) First Love feels like a great reminder as to why we love Takashi Miike's brand of insanity in the first place. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
No Score Yet The Swallows Of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul) (2019) The Swallows of Kabul vividly captures the horror of life under Sharia Law, packing such a visceral punch in its drama that it's often easy to forget you're watching a beautiful work of hand drawn animation. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
8/10 72% Little Joe (2019) It may be hard to look past the problematic allegory, but Little Joe is a fantastic sci-fi throwback that made me long for more of the paranoia fuelled films like the high watermarks of the genre's past. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2019
7/10 76% Sorry We Missed You (2019) A haunting, urgent film that needs to be engaged with despite its faults, in order to change workers' rights for the better. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
78% Les Misérables (2019) Les Miserables is a powerful debut - one that functions as well as a sobering examination of policing in poverty-stricken areas as it does a tense mainstream thriller. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
88% Bull (2019) Bull is likely to receive a rapturous response from any audience member who hasn't seen The Rider or Lean on Pete - but for those who are familiar with those, Silverstein's debut doesn't offer anything to shake up the pre-existing formula. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
81% Deerskin (Le Daim) (2019) Deerskin is a hilarious midlife crisis satire, with some of the darkest belly laughs I'm sure to have this year. You'll never look at a tacky jacket in the same light ever again. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
6/10 88% Nighthawk (Bacurau) (2019) It's exciting in the moment, but can't help but feel like a let down when thinking it over afterwards. The film's mystique is eventually revealed to be nothing more than a cover for what is a midnight movie through and through. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
4/10 51% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The Dead Don't Die is a resounding disappointment; a failure as a social commentary, an insufferable mess as a comedy, and an irritating scare-free chore as a B-movie throwback. Jim Jarmusch will never make a film worse than this. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
88% Diamantino (2019) Forest Gump meets Brexit. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
82% Marilyn (2019) There are many stories about gay trauma that feel like emotional abuse - Martín Rodríguez Redondo refrains from the horror as much as he can within a story like this, making the character study all the richer as a result. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
4/10 97% Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) (2019) By depicting a destructive activist as the only person willing to make a difference, there is a creeping sense of unease that this film could ideologically play into the hands of those who choose to do nothing about the crisis we face. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
6/10 98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) Ash is Purest White is one of Zhangke's finer marriages between his thematic interests and form of genre storytelling, but the narrative trajectory still remains somewhat obvious, so attuned to what he's already stated repeatedly elsewhere. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2019
92% Donbass (2018) Donbass avoids looking at the conflict beyond the surface - but when it's depicted as viscerally as this, you'll be left reeling regardless. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
3/5 100% The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füssen) (2019) As an exploration of the emotional toll on women in the male dominated world of business, it would definitely make for a delightfully oddball double bill with Toni Erdmann. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2019
83% Loro (2019) For a director obsessed with the decadence of Italy's most powerful, Loro feels like the film Paolo Sorrentino was born to make. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2019
29% Red Joan (2019) Suffocatingly mediocre, a political thriller with a bizarre disinterest in the inherent politics of the story, or anything that could be considered remotely thrilling. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2019
88% Wild Rose (2019) Jessie Buckley is a star, and the fact she makes Wild Rose almost worth watching is testament to her skill as an actress. But the film is a regurgitation of bland underdog story tropes, too contrived to have the effect that it needs. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
8/10 89% Missing Link (2019) Missing Link is a charming adventure featuring Laika's most ambitious animation to date. It's their most accessible and conventional film yet, while still being leagues ahead of every other animation studio in the business. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
36% Out of Blue (2019) With The Falling, Morley proved herself skilled at examining the human condition through a surreal lens. Here, she remains on the outside looking in, never offering a perspective on the philosophical meanderings of her characters beyond the surface. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
3/5 83% L'Animale (2018) A cursory glance at the synopsis of L'Animale suggests an LGBT narrative that we're all too familiar with, but director Katharina Mückstein understands that an authentic coming of age story doesn't neatly resemble a cinematic narrative. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
3/5 60% Splinters (2018) Splinters takes a melodramatic premise and brings it down to earth. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
5/10 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Schnabel seems unsure as to whether he wants the audience to be enamoured with Van Gogh, or find him as insufferable as the other citizens of his adopted hometown of Arles. It didn't take long for me to settle on the latter. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
7/10 47% Dumbo (2019) Here, in the most unlikely of projects (a Disney cash grab remake), you can feel Burton getting passionate about the film he's making again through the care given to every detail. It's almost as impressive as seeing an elephant fly. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
80% Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite) (2019) People who died of AIDS were reduced to being viewed as mere victims of the disease, overshadowing the richness of their lives - Sorry Angel is tragic because, by focusing predominantly on that richness, the sadness becomes all the more affecting. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
4/5 100% Night Comes On (2018) An impressive directorial debut for Jordana Spiro, and a powerful showcase for two young actresses with a bright future ahead of them. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2019
92% Giant Little Ones (2019) Like its protagonist, the film thrives because it doesn't conform to a simple label. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
3/5 92% Carmen & Lola (Carmen y Lola) (2018) A refreshing new take on a familiar tale of hidden sexuality and forbidden romance. It isn't entirely flawless, but seeing this story transported to a culture rarely depicted in pop culture makes it worth seeking out regardless. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 100% Making Montgomery Clift (2018) Making Montgomery Clift may be co-directed by a member of the Clift family, but nothing feels sanitised; in digging deeper to find the man behind the cautionary tale, Clift and Demmon have crafted something far richer than any fanmade biography. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
78% Captain Marvel (2019) This outing may be more of a Meh-vel than a Marvel for me, but I'm confident that a film worthy of the hero at its centre will arrive sooner rather than later. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
6/10 89% Sauvage / Wild (2019) Sauvage understands the bleak realities of sex work, yet refreshingly never demonises the people who have no choice but to enter the profession. But as a work of drama, it isn't fully satisfying. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
5/10 71% Piercing (2019) It sounds interesting on paper, but as it explores ideas so similar to narratively bolder Murakami adaptations (most notably Takashi Miike's Audition), it can't help but feel decidedly unengaging thematically. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
55% Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (2017) One of the most self indulgent auteur efforts in recent memory. It's an absolute chore to sit through, and the threat of a sequel is more than likely to kill off the director's career altogether. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
92% High Flying Bird (2019) The most fun I've had with a Soderbergh film since his return from self-imposed retirement. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
8/10 83% Jellyfish (2018) A perfectly realised social realist work that feels like an unlikely Ken Loach reimagining of a Judd Apatow movie. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
100% Of Love & Law (2017) Of Love & Law is an inspirational documentary that will leave you wanting to make the world a better place - even if it's just to ensure everybody has a right to sail in a vagina shaped canoe. - Gay Essential EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2019
63% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) As a satire, its thesis is too obvious to be truly biting, and as a horror, it's too ridiculous to be scary. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2019
6/10 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) It's enjoyable family entertainment, but it becomes a resounding disappointment when placed next to the two superior films that preceded it. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
6/10 78% Green Book (2018) There is a surprising amount of charm that manages to sell the preposterous schmaltz, making it feel entertaining, if slight. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
8/10 96% On Her Shoulders (2018) It asks questions of the audience that will leave you uncomfortable - but are an effective way of reframing the conversation on this subject, without proving detrimental to the sheer importance of Nadia's cause. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
79% Brexit (2019) International viewers may be enthralled at witnessing Britain's spiral into madness dramatised in this manner, but for those who have had to live with this political reality since 2016, this film feels like old news. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
7/10 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Mary Queen of Scots isn't the formulaic period drama that you may fear - but the thrilling depiction of power dynamics is let down by a screenplay that doesn't explore the complicated personality of its lead character with the depth it deserves. - The Digital Fix EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2019
84% Girl (2018) Dhont's film comes across as mere exploitation long before the bewildering third act, when it changes gears into a Black Swan-adjacent body horror that quickly loses the grip of reality. - Film Inquiry EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019