Philip De Semlyen

Philip De Semlyen
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Empire Magazine, Time Out

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 97% Dear Comrades! (2021) The script finds plenty of mordant humour in the Kafka-like contortions of the state and its lackeys. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
4/5 99% MLK/FBI (2021) This captivating and enraging doc records a battle between two forces vying for moral authority with only one combatant. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2021
2/5 51% The Midnight Sky (2020) The sleek sci-fi visuals occasionally elevate it, although more often it's just a bit of a slog. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2020
4/5 60% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) In a year when the cinemagoing experience could be categorised as 'much too little', you can't really blame WW84 for giving us a bit too much. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2020
4/5 96% The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) The story beats are so irresistible, the arc of its trio of big-haired disco titans so snappy, the music so contagious, that it soars like a Barry Gibb falsetto above the clichés. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2020
4/5 100% Host (2020) Until someone makes a film about a haunted sourdough starter, this ingenious horror movie will remain the zeitgeistiest thing to emerge from lockdown. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2020
1/5 27% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) It may once have seemed like an Oscar-winning proposition, but Hillbilly Elegy arrives feeling more like an ill-judged, mind-numbing exercise in Hollywoodsplaining heartland America. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2020
5/5 99% Collective (Colectiv) (2020) A matryoshka doll of a doc, Collective keeps finding new ways to reinvent itself and knock you for six in the process. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2020
5/5 83% Mank (2020) The last time Gary Oldman played a heavy drinker from the 1940s, he won an Oscar for it. Don't be surprised if he does it again. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2020
4/5 66% The Secret Garden (2020) It's a tale of healing that will steal your heart. Step under its canopy. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2020
2/5 39% Rebecca (2020) The rest is a bit of a damp squib. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2020
2/5 85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Borat is hardly Borat anymore. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 27, 2020
4/5 100% Being a Human Person (2020) A film about filmmaking to stand alongside Hearts of Darkness and Burden of Dreams, this portrait of one-of-a-kind Swedish director Roy Andersson offers a generous, honest, insightful and at times rather sad glimpse of the man at work. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
4/5 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) When it all clicks, its terrific cast in full flow in the packed courtroom, it's truly stirring stuff. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
4/5 86% On The Rocks (2020) Sofia Coppola's latest rumination on ennui, drifting relationships and the rarified discontent of comfortable lives may be exactly the existential crisis you need right now. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2020
5/5 98% Rocks (2020) This tough but hopeful London coming-of-age story will fill your heart. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
3/5 73% Mulan (2020) Talking animals and slapstick silliness are very much out and stiff-lipped themes of family, duty and honour are in. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2020
2/5 35% The New Mutants (2020) It finally arrives more than two years after its original planned release date and at times it's hard not to stifle the unkind thought: 'Why so soon?' - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2020
3/5 70% Tenet (2020) After five months stuck in front of the small screen, maybe being a little overwhelmed is no bad thing. But it's hard to escape the sense that less might have been more. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
4/5 94% Boys State (2020) The sight of a thousand frat boys chewing over women's reproductive rights is not going to be for everyone, but there are some genuinely inspiring moments among the discord. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2020
4/5 93% The Guardians (Les Gardiennes) (2018) Full of the sleepy rhythms of rural life, this beautiful-looking French drama has a powerful story of emancipation stitched into its period garb. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
3/5 76% Dragged Across Concrete (2019) The dialogue has a nicely off-kilter feel. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
5/5 100% Make Up (2020) This magnificently unsettling British debut is a serious calling card for writer-director Claire Oakley. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
2/5 76% Summerland (2020) Where films like The Railway Children and Hope and Glory handle the tricky balance between children's coming-of-age story and adult wartime drama perfectly, Summerland fudges it. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
3/5 48% Unhinged (2020) Russell Crowe's satisfyingly nasty turn deserved a bit more brains to go with the brawn. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
2/5 41% The Big Ugly (2020) The preponderance of middle-aged men doesn't help: world-weary, seasoned villains they may be, but you wouldn't bank on any of them breaking into a sprint without pulling something. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
4/5 92% Clemency (2019) The moral and ethical debates around the death penalty rarely touch on the toll it takes on the people involved, but that's the grey area writer-director Chinonye Chukwu explores with a humanist's touch and an keen ear for all her characters. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
3/5 52% Love Sarah (2020) It's easy to be sniffy about a film that sets three friends on an against-all-odds quest to set up Notting Hill's 400th artisanal bakery, but its big-heartedness manages to defy cynicism. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
2/5 40% Irresistible (2020) It's a big old nothingburger of a movie: Wag the Dog with a muzzle on. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
4/5 93% The Delivered (Fanny Lye Deliver'd) (2019) It's a film that always looks to plough its own furrow: chewing over biblical text one minute, unleashing lurid splashes of violence the next. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
4/5 99% On the Record (2020) This compelling story of sexual assault and powerful men violently abusing their positions is a reminder than the #MeToo movement didn't begin - or end - with Harvey Weinstein. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
4/5 94% Babyteeth (2020) Eliza Scanlen mainlines its young protagonist with herky-jerky energy and otherness as she rapturously loses herself in music, dancing and the swells of first love. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
4/5 100% The Australian Dream (2019) You don't need to be Australian, know a bean about Aussie Rules football or have even heard of its subject, indigenous AFL player Adam Goodes, to walk away from this moving documentary fired up and challenged. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
1/5 8% Artemis Fowl (2020) It's 90 minutes of barely established characters doing half-explained things with mysterious objects. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
3/5 88% You Don't Nomi (2020) Searching for hidden depths in Showgirls might feel like going deep sea fishing in a puddle, but this fun, likeable doc makes a decent case for a reappraisal. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
3/5 90% Days of the Bagnold Summer (2019) Monica Dolan exudes warmth, intelligence and resilience as a woman whose self-confidence has taken knocks but who's still out there fighting. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2020
3/5 67% Extraction (2020) It packs some of the visceral punch of a Tony Scott action thriller but little of the heart: not so much Man on Fire as Man Smouldering Gently. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2020
2/5 57% The Hunt (2020) How entertaining you think it is depends on how funny you find your Twitter feed: the 2020 version, not when it was all Pikachu and 'Hotline Bling' memes. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
3/5 88% Onward (2020) There's a little inspiration missing in its bog-standard hero's journey -- even if the bog is a magical one. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
4/5 91% The Invisible Man (2020) It's a #MeToo horror film that couldn't be any more timely if it shuffled into a courtroom with a Zimmer frame. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2020
4/5 92% Bacurau (Nighthawk) (2020) It crams elements of the western, John Carpenter-y beats, mordant wit and peppery political commentary into one hugely entertaining modern exploitation flick. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2020
2/5 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) The climax is a punky, Peckinpah-lite splurge that jettisons the emotion and power in a hail of lead. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020
4/5 86% Color Out of Space (2020) It takes a lot for a movie to out-bonkers Cage on this kind of form. Color out of Space manages it in style. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2020
2/5 47% Underwater (2020) The plot is 'The Abyss'-lite, the horror beats feel cadged from 'Alien' and the seafood-looking CG monsters appear to have been liberated from a bin outside Iceland. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
3/5 36% Seberg (2020) Kristen Stewart's performance burns with far greater intensity than the middling material that surrounds it. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2020
4/5 97% The Kingmaker (2019) The first half is a conventional biography but as it progresses, 'The Kingmaker' takes shape as an acute study of the psychology of power. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
4/5 74% Pink Wall (2019) What makes it stand out from the well-stocked ranks of indie relationship dramas is the way Cullen plays with traditional gender expectations. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
2/5 91% QT8: The First Eight (2019) For all the fun clips and well-placed interviewees, this Tarantino doc has all the critical punch of a DVD extra. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
3/5 85% The Wolf's Call (Le chant du loup) (2019) The plot, which heads off in some improbable directions, recalls 'The Spy Who Loved Me' in a way you suspect it's not supposed to. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
4/5 91% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) Like a cross between 'Microcosmos' and an origin story for Old MacDonald, this wonderful doc is possibly the most joyous 90 minutes you'll spend in a cinema this year. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2019