Ben Croll

Ben Croll
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
C 43% A Rainy Day in New York (2019) A work that feels stodgily anachronistic. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
40% Mosul (2019) The screenwriter-turned-director spins his tale as an unrelenting action jackhammer, delivered with the same Hollywood polish he brought to his screenplays for World War Z and The Kingdom. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
81% Ema (2019) A prickly punk remix that takes a traditional art-house character study about a young woman dealing with emotional turmoil and filters it through the stylistic approaches more common to recent art-pop hybrids like "Lemonade." - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
C 50% Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) The message is not wrong, but it certainly is a disappointing use of Guerra's talent. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
100% Babyteeth (2019) Does it all work? Not quite, but you can't fault a film for its ambition, least of all one that does manage to bring it all together for a deeply moving home stretch. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
94% The Lighthouse (2019) It rocks. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2019
95% The Climb (2019) Covino shows truly impressive formal control, incorporating sophisticated camerawork and tightly coiled edits while allowing time, space and rhythm - in short, the foundations of cinema - to play as equal participants in the comedy. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
81% Knife + Heart (Un couteau dans le coeur) (2019) Gonzalez may goof on this often-ridiculous world - I mean, how could he not? - but he does so from a place of real respect and admiration. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
99% Ash Is Purest White (2019) Jia Zhang-Ke's large scale reintroduction is hardly a disappointment; it's simply another fine Jia Zhang-Ke film. What did we expect? - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) Kore-eda marshals his considerable talents to tell what initially appears to be another story of family love and perseverance in the margins of society. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
95% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) In his 2014 Palme d'Or winner, Ceylan unpacked thorny issues of ethics and morality with a surgeon's steady patience; he employs a similar approach here, only the territory is much less fertile. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
C 65% Peterloo (2019) You can feel Leigh's fury glowering off the screen through the entire last act, but that fury does the film and the filmmaker little service. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2018
3/5 86% The Nightingale (2019) The Nightingale can be wearingly repetitive, making a point, making it again and making it once more for good measure, each time with the same sleepy whisper. Still, it's a noble effort. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
3/5 No Score Yet It's a noble effort. That resigned-to-violence consistency is a fascinating pitch that brings a new perspective to a well-worn genre. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
80% 22 July (2018) [A] violent and harrowing film... - London Evening Standard EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2018
C+ 87% What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? (2019) Knows exactly where to look and what to ask, but never sticks around long enough to learn anything. What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? is hardly a disappointment, but it does, in places, feel like a missed opportunity. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2018
80% Breath (2018) The film has a kind of workmanlike quaintness to it, offering a number of surfing and underwater sequences that are both terrifically accomplished and so modest as to not call attention to just how well-made they really are. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
88% Die Tomorrow (2017) Rarely has the subject of human mortality been treated with such playful dexterity as in Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's Die Tomorrow. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
100% Fake Tattoos (2017) Working from his own script, Plante never resorts to flashbacks or overt speeches, instead allowing the viewer to piece together the lead's wounded backstory through uneasy interactions, allusions and insinuations. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
24% 7 Days in Entebbe (2018) Director José Padilha's task was simple: find something new to say about the 1970s most famous air rescue. To that end, he ably succeeds at his goal, even if the project itself never quite soars. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2018
80% Genesis (Genezis) (2018) Although linked, each chapter works as its own short story, each with a unique structure and thematic throughline. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2018
No Score Yet Cobain (2018) A naturalistic portrait of a willful adolescent and his steadfast devotion to the troubled addict he calls mum. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2018
94% Styx (2019) It's engrossing, if (somewhat ironically, considering the open sea setting) dry fare made by and for stalwarts of the European academic set. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2018
90% Isle of Dogs (2018) While Isle of Dogs is basically a fizzy, ornately mounted assembly of quirks and barks, the sheer artistry displayed... is so expertly accomplished, and so clearly fueled by love, that you can't help but grin. - Vanity Fair EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
12% Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Fifty Shades Freed ultimately authors its own most stinging rebuke, closing on an extended montage highlighting major moments and turning points from the trilogy. Tellingly, none of them come from this film. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
No Score Yet Maryline (2017) Though the elliptical, time-lapse narrative never offers us much entry into Maryline's interior life, the actress makes it clear that she very much has one. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2017
No Score Yet Outdoors (Bayit Bagalil) (2017) A thoughtful if familiar relationship drama, Outdoors benefits from an incisive grasp of its two lead characters' inner lives and an acute sensitivity for their many sources of angst. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2017
No Score Yet Messi and Maud (2017) Works better as a scenic picaresque than a perceptive midlife character study, but all the same it marks a promising debut for the Amsterdam-based filmmaker. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2017
95% Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle (Muchos hijos, un mono y un castillo) (2017) Far from being a whimsical title, Lots of Kids, A Monkey And A Castle is something of a promise fulfilled. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2017
64% Good Favour (2017) Few narrative or thematic threads yield significant pay offs. - Screen International EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2017
B- 85% The Wife (2018) Without Glenn Close, "The Wife" wouldn't be much to write home about. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
B 75% Mom and Dad (2018) "Mom and Dad" has the same depraved verve, sick humor and berserk pulse of the "Crank" series, and what's more, marries all that to an operatic Nicolas Cage performance in full on nutzoid mode. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
C- 55% Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (2017) Though sprawling in length, the film is quite thin as far as plot goes... - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2017
B- 49% Downsizing (2017) ... "Downsizing" is rife with witty visual touches and inspired comic premises but never quite comes together as fully successful whole. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
C+ 27% Suburbicon (2017) An undeniably entertaining watch, "Suburbicon" stumbles when it tries to recycle effective old ingredients into something new. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
C- 66% Victoria & Abdul (2017) The film is called "Victoria & Abdul" but it only ever lives up to one half of its title. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
A- 90% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Though "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" pursues a number of narrative strains, it's really about lost characters doing whatever they can to scheme their way out of a rut. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
A- 69% mother! (2017) "mother!" begins as a slow burn and builds toward a furious blaze. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2017
A 92% The Shape of Water (2017) For all the veering from one genre to another, neither does it feel rough. Del Toro's tight directorial control sees to that. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2017
77% In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) (2017) Fatih Akin's film is just a solidly well made, straight-down-the-line drama. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
70% Double Lover (L'amant double) (2018) It's an absolute gem. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
88% The Workshop (L'atelier) (2018) The film makes clear that there are no easy answers, no simple Rosebud that can succinctly explain any one person's character. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
53% Ismael's Ghosts (Les fantômes d'Ismaël) (2018) Mixing story elements from other touchstone films and funneling them through his unique style, Desplechin has delivered a familiar if agreeable valentine to the medium itself. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
98% BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute) (2017) If the second half of the film is more conventional, it also packs a powerful emotional wallop. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
46% How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018) It comes off feeling more like promising studio outtake than a polished final track. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
70% Happy End (2017) The film both demands and rewards our close attention, but Haneke is such a master -- his framing so precise, his form so rigorous -- that it sucks you in by default. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
97% The Rider (2018) The Rider marries the majestic vistas of the greatest American westerns with a deeply interior story of a cowboy having to renegotiate his identity. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
88% You Were Never Really Here (2018) For all of its meticulous construction and often masterful craft, the film remains something to coldly admire rather than easily embrace, often playing more as a collection of accomplished filmmaking moments than as a fully enthralling whole. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
C- 65% The Summit (La cordillera) (2017) I don't know if it's worse than a politician without ambition, but there's something inherently dispiriting about a film with significant means and nothing to say. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2017
B- 92% A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) Like any mean prizefighter, it's admirable from afar. - indieWire EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2017