Jim Ross

Jim Ross
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Jim is a Scottish film critic based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been Managing Editor and senior critic at TAKE ONE Magazine since 2011, and has also contributed to Film Inquiry, Cultured Vultures, Vague Visages and Little White Lies, amongst others. Jim has also produced or hosted local radio shows on film in Cambridge (Cambridge 105FM, 'Bums on Seats') and Edinburgh (EH-FM, 'Cinetopia') and has worked for several film festivals.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
98% The Dissident (2020) ...unsurprisingly hard-hitting, but it's the context for macro-scale geopolitics that The Dissident communicates so well. Despite some missteps and wasted frames in the visual execution, the contextual aspect is multiplicative. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2021
79% Synchronic (2020) The film's tight running time leaves [the emotional angle] comparatively starved for attention, and empathy levels generated by the film suffer for it. Still, there are enough intelligently-approached ideas to keep SYNCHRONIC engaging and smart. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2021
73% The Mauritanian (2021) The Mauritanian has a political edge and points to make, emphasising in polarised times that the constitutional aberration of Guantánamo cuts across the partisan divide. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2021
89% Black Bear (2020) In the end, BLACK BEAR is a bit of a Penrose triangle of a film. Viewed from certain angles, it may make little sense, but when considered from a new vantage point or spun around, it paradoxically comes together elegantly and beautifully. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2021
73% The Mauritanian (2021) The film is also politically quite interesting in highlighting arguably how little has changed across different US administrations. [...] The performance of Tahar Rahim is where the film gets its punch from. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) ...the film's most captivating aspects are the central performances and Kaluuya's as Hampton in particular. If the film has any shortcoming, it is that it loses energy when Kaluuya is not in the frame. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
58% Prime Time (2021) Jakub Piątek's tense feature debut is a smart hostage drama that sidesteps some of the genre cliches [but] the film's ambiguity robs it of the energy to make it particularly memorable, aside from a brutal closing sequence. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
70% Land (2021) Land is positioned as an exploration of grief and survivor's guilt - a crowded celluloid space - but the lack of distinctive figures renders Wright's film picturesque but fallow. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
100% Luzzu (2021) The conclusion of LUZZU is profoundly sad but caps off a story told with skill, beauty, and resonance far beyond the shores of Malta. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
55% John and the Hole (2020) There is plenty to commend the technical and performance aspects of JOHN AND THE HOLE. Still, the storytelling choices and structure fill in the intriguing gaps with narrative quicksand, into which the film's potential slowly sinks. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
20% Stardust (2020) STARDUST isn't entirely without merit, but it lacks the cryptic charisma of its subject; something that might distract from a disjointed and inconsequential narrative. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
70% Tenet (2020) TENET ends up something of a Rube Goldberg machine of a film: a wondrously complex set of mechanics that is fascinating, but also an incredibly convoluted way of masking what is, in essence, a thin and poorly executed story. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2020
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Much like FENCES, this new film (adapted from the only Pittsburgh Cycle play not set in Pennsylvania's second city) also showcases exceptional acting in dialogue-heavy scenes, perhaps at the expense of visual storytelling. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2020
83% Mank (2020) [The] attention to look and feel may, over time, position MANK as more of a cinematic curio in Fincher's filmography. However, there is enough bite and edge here to give the film some insight beyond the origin of one of cinema's most significant works. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
89% The Nest (2020) As well constructed as Durkin's space and tone is - the flat, desaturated, and sunless locales conveying the increasing bleakness of the characters' moods - the most engaging aspect of the film are the lead performances. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2020
91% African Apocalypse (2020) Although mostly straightforward in visual presentation, Lemkin isn't above the odd flourish, which adds to the themes and connections the film looks to address. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2020
96% Mogul Mowgli (2020) Bassam Tariq's feature fiction debut is a wonderful showcase for Riz Ahmed's versatility as a performer and an engaging explosion of energy about heritage, identity, and the clashing cultural expression of both. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
78% Concrete Cowboy (2021) The overarching plot of this drama seems very paint-by-numbers, but the setting and underlying themes keep the film feeling fresh, and the central performance from Caleb McLaughlin keeps it engaging. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
67% New Order (Nuevo orden) (2020) ...although Franco is an intelligent observer of the chaos he scripts, the balance of the film tips away from insight and commentary towards narrative brutality. He loses some of the grander points in a nihilistic spray of blood and green paint. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
92% Wildfire (2020) ...character-driven, the film never loses sight of that with the focus on the late McGuigan, in particular. Although the broader-scale backdrop doesn't coalesce fully with that story, it still provides a pointed and bold addition to the film. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) The concept of ANOTHER ROUND reads like a bawdy comedy, but the cocktail Vinterberg and Mikkelsen shake up is altogether sharper and more complex than that. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
98% One Night in Miami (2020) King shakes off a slightly mechanical opening to set up a fascinating interplay, allowing each character to take on symbolic significance and metaphorically represent the clash and overlap of ideas without diminishing their real-life achievements. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
87% Shirley (2020) [Despite being an adaptation], SHIRLEY still very much retains Decker's visual style and that adds to the story. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
100% Apples (Mila) (2020) In divorcing [...] from any modern touchstone - smartphones, laptops, internet - APPLES smartly suggests the absurdity of [modern social] trends and their purpose. The sad emptiness pierces through if you take away the modernity. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
87% Cuties (Mignonnes) (2020) Adolescent struggles on film are a well-trodden path, but CUTIES (MIGNONNES) from Maïmouna Doucouré feels fresh and modern. That modernity often manifests in uncomfortable ways, but the authenticity of this portrait is evident. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
94% Nomadland (2021) ...embodied with heart and strength by Frances McDormand. Zhao's film scatters the shattered remains of the American Dream amongst the breathtaking vistas of the 'land of the free'; a romantic sonnet dedicated to a broken place. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
88% Les Misérables (2020) The final shots of the film [...] have no easy conclusions for viewers. [A] critical standpoint is clear and present, [but] moral and ethical certainties are not. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
84% Pinocchio (2020) PINOCCHIO stands apart from previous adaptations, and most definitely from versions of the story familiar to English-language audiences. [In] doing so, it has an authentic 'fascino' that is unlikely to be bettered by a Hollywood-led live-action version. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2020
92% Clemency (2019) The usual cliché with films of the nature of CLEMENCY is they are 'difficult to watch', but to say that would overlook the reality that Chukwu's film is engaging and thoughtfully constructed. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
88% Madeline's Madeline (2018) ...this really is a superbly made film [...] .The sound design is really fantastic [and] quite disturbing in a way. It takes a while [as a viewer] to find its rhythm, but once you do you'll be with it the whole way. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
54% The Dead Don't Die (2019) At first, it's quite amusing but as the film goes along, I'm not sure what the purpose of [the meta nature] actually was. The rest of the film feels like a rather weak version of others that have done it before. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
98% Varda by Agnès (2019) It has interesting moments, but long stretches play like a TED talk Varda did which covers much of the same ground. While she is a wonderful filmmaker - which bits of this film get across - I think you'd be better watching one of Varda's many other films. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
92% Monos (2019) [...] a stunning looking film, but the musical approach [from Mica Levi] is what really makes it stick in your head... - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
86% Meeting Gorbachev (2019) On the face of it, this could be quite a hard sell, but it's not and the reason for that is the approach taken to questioning. It's not about dryly what happened and instead how Gorbachev feels about it. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
86% The Nightingale (2019) It is an extremely difficult film to watch. It's quite a smart film [...] and Jennifer Kent's direction is very accomplished. But I do think it's a legitimate question to ask whether [the brutality] is pushed a little too far. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
93% The Favourite (2018) The film is much more saturated in the attitudes of the Catholic Church [...] and deals with this particularly 'Catholic' mix of issues that the story brings up. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
87% Non-Fiction (Doubles vies) (2019) The original title means 'Double Lives' and sums it up a lot better, in fact. [...] It's refreshing to see a film with these philosophical discussions that have a very modern sensibility - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
90% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) It really all hinges on the performance, but the way Nadine Labaki has shot certain segments really adds to it... - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
93% Bacurau (Nighthawk) (2020) The editing and the way the film is put together have a bit of a graphic novel vibe [and] it works very well with the tone and shotmaking. Extremely effective. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
89% The Souvenir (2019) A beautifully made film, but one so impossibly dripping with privilege it starts to become distracting. [However,] the film acknowledges this and doesn't really do anything with it - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
94% Marriage Story (2019) Good script, good performances; the whole thing comes together really very well [and] the supporting performances really balance the tone effectively. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
98% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) It's very rare a film makes a step-change in what is going on and the dynamics of the characters, and makes that work as well it does here. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
93% Moffie (2019) Moffie has a lot going for it which is extremely effective [and, despite the intensity,] isn't above poking at and subverting some of stereotypical homoerotic military tropes... - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
89% Ema (2019) It would be very easy to look at Ema on the surface and think it was style over substance, but I don't think it is. It's really pretty good visual storytelling. - Cinetopia EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
97% Why Don't You Just Die! (Papa, sdokhni) (2020) ...the central performers handle the range of tones without snapping as abruptly as Matvey's bones. The insane violence and gore won't sit well with everyone, but Sokolov executes Why Don't You Just Die? with a cinematic sensibility and confidence. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2020
72% Vivarium (2020) A single giant metaphor wrapped in more than one enigma and many influences, Lorcan Finnegan's film is a wonderfully executed pastel-hued nightmare. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2020
94% System Crasher (Systemsprenger) (2019) System Crasher (Systemsprenger) features a tremendous central performance from Helena Zengel, along with superb use of editing and colour. Although the tone is occasionally muddled, the film manages to be both viscerally engrossing and heartbreaking. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
69% The Translators (2019) A stylish and sometimes fun mystery story, with some heist elements thrown in for good measure. However, it's so preoccupied with dramatic reveals and building intrigue that it starts to border on the parodic. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
100% Son-Mother (Pesar-Madar) (2019) Mohammadi's visual storytelling is impeccable, and there is nothing sensationalised about it in the slightest. - Vague Visages EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
83% Proxima (2019) In the end, PROXIMA isn't quite next to the stars, but there are enough unique elements, including a beautiful central performance, to forgive its more thudding metaphors. - TAKE ONE Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2020