Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Guardian

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 78% Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) It's a film obviously acutely aware of its own deranged silliness, unashamedly transplanting kids movie plotting to a film aimed at adults, and without the shuttering of cinemas, it would have made a fun, if modest, splash last summer. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
2/5 69% Land (2021) There's just not enough here to make it a worthwhile retread through familiar territory, proof of Wright's basic competency as a director but nothing more. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
5/5 100% Flee (2020) Flee is a remarkably humanising and complex film, expanding and expounding the kind of story that's too easily simplified. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
2/5 84% Passing (2021) As compelling and as complicated as this fraught friendship might be, Hall's script can't quite find a way to take it - and the other pieces of Larsen's novel - and turn them into something deservedly substantial. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
4/5 93% Mass (2021) Mass may not be a particularly enjoyable experience but it's a strikingly effective one. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
3/5 84% On the Count of Three (2021) On the Count of Three is proof that Carmichael is a director to be excited about, hoping that perhaps he finds time to write his next script himself. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
3/5 79% In The Earth (2021) While not a total win, In the Earth remains a much-needed leap back in the right direction for Wheatley... - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
2/5 56% John and the Hole (2020) Genuine early creepiness... turns into a fear that actually, Giacobone doesn't really have much to say or do with his concept, like it was written on the fly, an elevator pitch panicked into production. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
3/5 95% CODA (2021) Coda is a mostly likable concoction, but one that's just too formulaic and ultimately rather calculated to secure the emotional response it so desperately wants by the big finale. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
2/5 47% The Little Things (2021) There are little things here that work but the big problems are impossible to ignore. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2021
2/5 75% Palmer (2021) Ultimately, the only persistent feeling is that of deja vu, that we've been here before too many times, and wouldn't it be nice if we could go somewhere else instead. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
3/5 37% Outside the Wire (2021) There's a more interesting film buried here and it's the small nuggets of debate about the military and artificial intelligence that keep us going through the bloated, almost two-hour runtime. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
1/5 45% Locked Down (2021) A shockingly early yet entirely convincing contender for worst film of the year. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2021
3/5 79% Greenland (2020) For those with a certain destructive itch that still needs scratching, this should do the job. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
3/5 10% Songbird (2020) Songbird is an acceptably watchable thriller that's more notable for what it achieves technically than anything else. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
2/5 32% Superintelligence (2019) Superintelligence won't be filed as a total disaster. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
4/5 82% Happiest Season (2020) Happiest Season exists within well-worn framework but still feels fresh, a sprightly and substantial comedy that will be an immediate addition to the Christmas movie rotation for many, including myself. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4/5 83% Freaky (2020) It's just a rare joy to see a film-maker scrambling together overused tropes and making something so vibrant and vital as a result, an exciting and unexpected studio movie with a brain, some guts and a heart. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2020
4/5 83% Let Him Go (2020) Underneath the slick studio surface, there's something compellingly discordant about Let Him Go, as one might expect from a violent thriller brought to the screen by the guy who made The Family Stone and Monte Carlo. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2020
2/5 46% Spell (2020) It's mostly a familiar, if not entirely fruitless, trudge down a well-trodden path, one that takes us into, at times, questionable territory. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
3/5 49% The Craft: Legacy (2020) The witching season is back but I wish it could have lasted a bit longer. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2020
3/5 81% I'm Your Woman (2020) I'm Your Woman is still worth the ride but it's one that you might want to jump out of midway. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
4/5 81% The Kid Detective (2020) An odd little film that might not hit every high note but its diligent avoidance of ending up where we expect it to makes it hard to shake, a disquieting crime drama where solving the mystery isn't enough to make things better. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2020
1/5 61% French Exit (2021) A torturous trifle of a movie filled with people who are very, very, very hard to like. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2020
2/5 30% The War with Grandpa (2020) The fact that The War with Grandpa finally dragged itself off from the shelf is something of a win but now that we're able to see it, the real loser is us. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
3/5 83% Scare Me (2020) While there are lapses, an overindulgence here and there, Ruben mostly keeps his canny debut feature afloat and us entertained, if not exactly scared ... - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
3/5 91% The Water Man (2020) If nothing else, The Water Man is an impactful calling card for Oyelowo, whose choice of debut is a sign of exciting, and big, things to come. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
4/5 53% Joe Bell (2021) There's something disarmingly genuine about the film, a little obvious at times perhaps, but also remarkably unforgiving. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2020
3/5 79% Summer of 85 (Été 85) (2020) While there's tenderness and fire here, it all burns out a little too fast, the embers stamped out by the reality of September. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2020
4/5 80% I Care a Lot (2021) It's a major, much-needed win for both Pike and Blakeson, a caustic little treat for those of us who prefer our stories with a spoonful of salt. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2020
3/5 66% Penguin Bloom (2021) An old-fashioned throwback for families in search of something safe and superhero-free that might not sing quite as loud as it could have but flies just about high enough nonetheless. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
3/5 90% Unpregnant (2020) A progressive, witty and timely way of reminding many of us how antiquated women's healthcare still is while also alerting a younger audience that there's more to the teen movie than Netflix. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2020
3/5 56% Love, Guaranteed (2020) Passably entertaining, a silly and forgettable but mostly charming diversion that should see other '90s has-beens clamouring for their own star vehicles. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
2/5 71% All Together Now (2020) Haley, scripting with Quick himself, is so eager to drown his film in sugar that the grimness quickly becomes soapy instead and any emotional response we might have fizzles with similar speed. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
2/5 71% The One and Only Ivan (2020) A vaguely watchable cookie-cutter caper thrown together by people who should know how to make something far sweeter and substantial, a fleeting attraction for undiscerning young kids and a whelming waste for anyone older. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2020
3/5 85% Work It (2020) There's an easy sleepover movie charm to Netflix comedy Work It, a charm that's proved harder to find in their many other teen offerings of late. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
3/5 100% Host (2020) Host is a lean, nasty little exercise that might not linger for very long but it shows what can be done during this difficult time. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2020
2/5 29% The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020) It's a frothy, forgettable translation of the hit book that takes its central belief system and uses it as the basis for a vaguely magical romantic drama for moms. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2020
1/5 18% Fatal Affair (2020) Sullivan and Garner [avoid] anything too weird or risky or psychosexual or even violent, making the dullest decisions at every point. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2020
3/5 91% Father Soldier Son (2020) It's an intimate portrait that at times borders on meandering but it remains free of judgment throughout... - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2020
3/5 94% Palm Springs (2020) While the romantic comedy is not fully back, despite think pieces assuring us that it is, Palm Springs energetically reminds us, yet again, that it's never really going away. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2020
3/5 15% Desperados (2020) As sunny, throwaway summer fun, Desperados just about hits the spot although like its main characters, you'd be best spending the runtime with a steady supply of alcohol at hand. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
2/5 41% You Should Have Left (2020) You Should Have Left should have left our nerves frayed and our dreams haunted but instead, it leaves us cold. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2020
2/5 71% 7500 (2020) Will work most effectively as an answer to the question "Whatever happened to Joseph Gordon-Levitt?" The answer being: "Sadly, this." - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2020
3/5 92% Spelling the Dream (2020) It's not just an impressive display of linguistics but also a reminder of what American success is and should be perceived as, a reminder that many, sadly, still need to be made aware of. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2020
2/5 14% Intuition (La Corazonada) (2020) Hardcore crime fans are the prime audience, but they're already heavily catered to elsewhere by writers with far more ingenuity. This is everything they've seen before. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2020
3/5 46% Body Cam (2020) Watching Vitthal aim high and not quite make it is still preferable to watching so many other horror film-makers remain satisfied with lazy regurgitation. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
2/5 47% Scoob! (2020) While a younger audience might be enthralled by the fast pace and bright colour palette, those understandably curious adults sitting nearby will find themselves watching in horror, a deep, sorrowful howl emerging. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2020
3/5 87% Spaceship Earth (2020) Spaceship Earth lands with a great deal of promise, so much so that I found myself wanting to like it more than I actually did, a film being pushed as your new favourite documentary that ends up as one you sort of kinda like instead. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2020
3/5 56% All Day and a Night (2020) It's a messy world and Cole refuses to make it more palatable for us, inspiring tough questions while withholding easy answers. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2020