Jim Slotek

Jim Slotek
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
A 96% Stray (2021) A day in the life of Zeytin is, for the most part, an agreeable experience that doubles as a dog's-eye-view of humans - a sly angle for social commentary that ranges from heart-warming to tragic. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2021
B-minus 72% The Mauritanian (2021) Foster and Cumberbatch's legal wrangling gives the film the tone of a network procedural series, but the precious few scenes of Rahim as Slahi make things compelling. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
A-minus 88% Sator (2019) Fans of the slasher-film bent may complain "nothing is happening." It depends on whether you think a movie is more effective if it's about horrific things happening, or about the fear of horrific things happening. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2021
79% Greenland (2020) A disaster movie mostly made from spare parts, Greenland is an unoriginal and hardly brain-taxing race against time. But that doesn't negate its entertainment value or heart-pounding pace. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2021
100% More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story (2021) Given the huge shadow Mr. Miyagi cast over the rest of his life, it's ironic that the bulk of More Than Miyagi's narrative is about, well, Miyagi. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2021
89% PG: Psycho Goreman (2021) Comically-gory $1.98 mash-up of tentpole films and My Pet Monster is an entertaining exercise in low-tech sci-fi camp. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
B 77% Shadow in the Cloud (2021) It's a fun ride through enemy territory, both human and demonic, and Moretz wields her weaponry with aplomb. The result may not win any Oscars, but it is a B-film in the best sense. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2021
C 49% The Witches (2020) Dahl demands some darkness and edge, but instead there's a bright Hollywood-y antic sense, and the overused and unconvincing FX only serves to further trivialize what we're seeing. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
B-plus 92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) Amid the darkly comic question, "Do I think better when I drink?" an exceptional cast conjures midlife crises so real-seeming, we can smell their fear and heartbreak. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
B-plus 89% Black Bear (2020) Intriguingly weird, and only loosely tethered to its own reality, Black Bear is two movies in one - both on the theme of creativity-squeezed-from-pain, and both offering Aubrey Plaza the acting turn of her career. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2020
C No Score Yet Sweet Parents (2017) Set in the New York of sitcom fame - where "broke" young people eat at restaurants, and live in "dumpy' flats, which would cost a broker's salary in rent - this morose drama would have worked better as farce. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2020
B-plus 88% Donbass (2018) What may surprise is how relatable the film is to our own situation, with its subplots of conspiracy, "anti-fascists," fake news, event actors and utterly malleable conceptions of reality. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2020
C 29% Come Away (2020) Awash in good intentions and weighed down by its grim premise, Come Away is a fantasy that fails to inspire, despite its star power and occasionally clever flourishes. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
B 83% Let Him Go (2020) Let Him Go doesn't reinvent the wheel. It is a genre thriller, where the good guys face impossible odds against cartoonish bad guys. But it plays out with style, violence that doesn't strain credulity, and with realistic consequences. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
B 78% The Cuban (2020) There's a powerful heart at the core of The Cuban, and some distractions that detract from it. But it's Louis Gossett Jr. who performs the acting magic, popping in and out of consciousness and time-traveling in his head. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2020
B 57% Come Play (2020) Loneliness is everywhere, it seems, and Come Play is always just a little extra thought away from being about more than a monster. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
B 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) There are still plenty of shock-laughs of the I-can't-believe-I-just-saw-that variety. But it's definitely not the Borat of original director Larry Charles, who worked under the mantra, "No lessons, no hugs." - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
B 75% The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw (2020) Reminiscent of Robert Eggers' The Witch (if not quite at that level of artistry), this tale of witchy suspicion lays its cards on the table early and offers plenty of dark atmosphere and, eventually, violent magic. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
B-plus 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Sorkin does a commendable job of getting the dramatic feel mostly right - including the demented rage of the notorious Judge Hoffman (wonderfully played by Frank Langella) and the dislike between Hayden and Hoffman. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
B 93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) Emotionally cold, but feverishly imaginative. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
C 58% Tesla (2020) Static... low energy... no spark to speak of. A weak biopic of Nicola Tesla, the man who defined our electric lives, practically begs for shameful puns. For that, I apologize. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2020
B-plus 88% Jay Sebring: Cutting to the Truth (2020) Why the murder of a beautiful starlet would be the "hook" for the coverage is not a mystery. But Cutting to the Truth makes a case that, in terms of Hollywood influence and potential, Sebring was the "name" victim in the massacre. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2020
B-minus 67% Penguin Bloom (2021) Depending on your mood going in, the first act may be tough going, full of guilt and despair as Sam mourns darkly for her lost abilities. But the scene-stealing magpie deserves some kind of acting award for raising spirits. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
B-minus 70% Tenet (2020) Nolan has taken a trope that has sent many a movie down a rabbit hole - time travel - and found a way to make it even more confounding. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
C 73% All Joking Aside (2020) I get why people want to make movies about comedy that make you cry. But making you laugh first - I mean, really laugh - would make for a potent combination indeed. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2020
92% The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) His trademark cynicism kept at bay, director Armando Iannucci warmly interprets Charles Dickens in this entertaining entry that emerges as equal parts adaptation and homage. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2020
B-plus 96% Red Penguins (2020) With this NHL season being played out in a weird pandemic bubble, it seems an ideal time to release a documentary about another utterly weird chapter in hockey history. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2020
B 78% Greyhound (2020) A lean and tense war film. Maybe Tom Hanks should write more of his own movies. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2020
C-plus 70% Think Like a Dog (2020) A mess, with more unnecessary characters than adults can keep track of, let alone children. But talking dogs, fart jokes and Henry's adversities in school with bullies, and with his crush on a classmate, should play well with younger kids. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2020
B-minus 71% Becky (2020) One-note, but cheesily entertaining... like Home Alone, if Macaulay Culkin had gorily murdered Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern instead of cartoonishly incapacitating them. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2020
B-plus 56% Dreamland (2020) A hoot. The best reason to watch is that it's the most Stephen McHattie money can stream. His dual performances are an island of chill in a movie where everyone else is there to release the hounds, acting wise. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2020
B-minus 100% James VS His Future Self (2020) The time travel aside, it's essentially a rom-com with occasional existential thoughts. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2020
A-minus 72% Vivarium (2020) COVIDly speaking, there's a touch of literally-too-close-to-home in this Twilight Zone-ish tale of a young couple confined to a suburban house, with their food and necessities delivered to them. Taut, weird and claustrophobic with dark humour. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2020
B-minus 64% Hope Gap (2020) A sad and finely tuned domestic drama by writer-director Nicholson. The slow pace may not be everyone's cuppa, but it is undeniably faithful to its characters, terrifically played by Nighy and Bening (without whose energy, there would be no movie). - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
B-minus 83% The Way Back (2020) Possibly the most melancholy sports movie ever made. It is a hodgepodge of things it wants to be, and in every case, it starts to do them quite well before starting to do something else - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2020
B 88% Onward (2020) For a movie with father issues at its core, Onward doesn't quite stick the landing on its emotions, but it has wit, eye-catching anachronisms and imaginative action (think angry biker-fairies in a Fast & Furious-level car chase). - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
C-minus 46% Run This Town (2020) "Rob Ford" (Damian Lewis under a ton of badly applied latex that makes him look like a cross between a burn victim and the Austin Powers villain Fat Bastard) is a raging bit-player in a badly conceived and tedious story. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2020
C-minus 7% Fantasy Island (2020) "De-PLANE," "TaTTOO" and "FUNtasy," These references will be lost on the young horror crowd to whom the movie is pitched. All they'll absorb will be that this is an evil island that kills people (not fast enough in some cases). - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
B-minus 64% Gretel & Hansel (2020) An odd, dark, initially chilling little film that loses its way after it leaves the woods. All that feasting eventually leaves the audience more hungry than scared. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
B-plus 88% And the Birds Rained Down (Il pleuvait des oiseaux) (2019) A moving, languid, often achingly-sad drama about second-chances in life and the primal memory of wildfires, shot amid some of the most beautiful lakes and forests in Quebec. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
C-plus 75% The Gentlemen (2020) The Gentlemen could have been written by an AI that uploaded Guy Ritchie's oeuvre and spit it out in a plot salad. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
C-minus 47% Underwater (2020) A dull piece of off-season horror flotsam, the umpteenth film warning about messing with the ocean bottom, where, apparently, there be dragons rather than blind albino shrimp. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
B-minus 85% Just Mercy (2020) If Just Mercy doesn't aim high as a film, it tells its story effectively, and the story itself is powerful enough to overcome the movie's shortcomings. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2020
B-plus 39% The Song of Names (2019) Powerful music and powerful thoughts about religion, inhumanity, and the inescapability of one's Jewishness, are what raises the film above its prosaic, old-school narrative. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2019
B-plus 92% Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2020) As much about Herzog as it is about his subject. You can be a fan of either and enjoy the film and its voice, so seamlessly did they apparently share a vision of the world. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
B-minus 45% Kingsway (2018) Kingsway is a light comedy, despite its underpinnings of depression and anxiety (which I think are required by law to be in Canadian movies). But I would watch Rose and Sullivan play mom-and-daughter in any sitcom they chose. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
B-minus 77% Richard Jewell (2019) What can you say about a film that tells an amazing story about unlikely heroism and lynching-by-media, but also incidentally betrays everything that story is supposed to teach us? - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
B-plus 100% She Never Died (2019) Canada's increasingly self-assured oeuvre queen Cummings gives us a stylish, violent film with comic overtones about an invulnerable "fallen angel" with off-putting habits like eating people's fingers for the marrow. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
B-minus 83% Brotherhood (2019) An entertaining survival adventure, though Bell makes some puzzling choices that literally keeps the viewer in the dark for much of the movie, with night shoots during the canoe tragedy and in flashbacks, by campfires and in tents. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
B-minus 78% Frozen II (2019) Children will take what they what they will out of the message. What they likely won't be is bored. Frozen 2 makes up in pace and on-the-fly distractions what it no longer has in the depth of its story. - Original Cin EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019