Robert Horton

Robert Horton
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Robert Horton is a member of the National Society of Film Critics, and the longtime film critic for the Herald (Everett, WA), and Seattle Weekly. He is a regular contributor to Film Comment magazine, and the author of Frankenstein (Columbia University Press) and Billy Wilder: Interviews (U. Press of Mississippi). He also co-authored the graphic novel Rotten (Moonstone Books). He has been a Fulbright Specialist (Romania, 2016); adjunct professor at Seattle University; the curator of the "Magic Lantern" film program at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle; instructor at the Architectural Association in London; past president of the Seattle Film Society; and a speaker with Smithsonian Journeys. He served two terms as a speaker with Humanities Washington, traveling Washington state and lecturing on film history. He is currently a board member at Scarecrow Video and leads the yearlong Scarecrow Academy project there. As a member of FIPRESCI (International Society of Film Critics) he has served on juries at film festivals in Odesa, Ukraine; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Seattle. His work is linked at the website The Crop Duster (roberthorton.wordpress.com).
Favorites:
30 fave films, in chronological order: Un Chien Andalou; M; Monkey Business (Marx Bros. version); Freaks; The Wizard of Oz: The Great Dictator; Cat People (Jacques Tourneur version); A Matter of Life and Death; The Lady From Shanghai; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; The Third Man; The Quiet Man; Sansho the Bailiff; The Night of the Hunter; Rebel Without a Cause; Rio Bravo; Some Like it Hot; North by Northwest; Jules and Jim; Jason and the Argonauts; Help!; Masculin-Feminin; The Wild Bunch; Two English Girls; Duel; Chinatown; Barry Lyndon; The American Friend; Cutter's Way; Local Hero.
Location: Seattle

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2/4 76% Bad Boys for Life (2020) Smith and Lawrence, who could both use a career boost, look tired of the whole thing. The hotshot energy they had as younger actors bubbles up only in flashes here. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
2.5/4 18% Dolittle (2020) Hyperactive and jokey, large-scaled but swift-moving, the film perks along enough to get genuinely bizarre at times. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2020
1/4 20% Like a Boss (2020) A movie in which the dead air that follows bad jokes sometimes threatens to swallow its actors whole. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3/4 83% Just Mercy (2020) Part of the film's power is its portrait of a world in which facts no longer matter--even a carefully-prepared argument can be thrown aside because of the corruption within the system. I'm guessing this might resonate with movie-goers in 2020. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3/4 89% 1917 (2020) The technique does give us a sense of the dreary slog at the front lines, although at times there's something mechanical about the effects and the series of death-defying coincidences that unfold like clockwork. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3.5/4 91% Uncut Gems (2019) One of the great talents of the Safdies is to show you New York from the inside. With their films you always feel like you're getting the worm's-eye view, an underground tour of where stuff actually happens. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2019
3.5/4 95% Little Women (2019) The actors, especially, create an authentic sense of camaraderie -- Gerwig gets lively energy going without violating the period setting. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2019
2.5/4 69% Bombshell (2019) The movie sets up a weird dynamic: While we absolutely root for the Fox women in their legal action, we can't quite forget that they've made a fortune by serving up Ailes' incendiary views for years. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
2/4 20% Cats (2019) Cats is not good. But the blame goes to the clumsy style of director Tom Hooper, not people wearing digital fur. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
3/4 52% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) I don't go into a Star Wars movie with the fear that my childhood will be ruined if the moviemakers give Boba Fett the wrong color headpiece, so for me The Rise of Skywalker (dumb title, by the way) played just fine as a sci-fi spectacle. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2019
3/4 89% The Two Popes (2019) Despite its undeniably cornball moments, it gets by with the two strong actors and the Italian settings. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
2/4 71% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) The wild chases and hordes of stampeding ostriches keep pulling us away from hang-out time with our bantering avatars. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
2.5/4 74% Richard Jewell (2019) So well done, it makes you regret Eastwood's determination to grind an ax on this intriguing story. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
3/4 91% Dark Waters (2019) Maybe, speaking as a non-fan of much of Haynes' career, it might be good to see this filmmaker doing more jobs of work. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
2.5/4 71% The Aeronauts (2019) Settles for high adventure rather than accurate history, and if you can accept the pumped-up heroics, it plays fine as a family-friendly escapade. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
3/4 95% Marriage Story (2019) At times harrowing but often blazingly funny. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2019
3/4 93% Honey Boy (2019) Ha'rel creates a woozy, sunbaked style for the material. She has a talent for finding the rhythm of intense exchanges between characters -- and there are quite a few of those here. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
3/4 77% Frozen II (2019) A smartly-turned piece of family entertainment. It is also redundant, somehow even more than most sequels. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
3.5/4 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) What really puts it over is Hanks, doing a wonderful balancing act. He's willing to let Mr. Rogers be somewhat enigmatic, and yet his performance suggests that doing good is a choice, and an effort. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
2.5/4 81% The Report (2019) Thanks in part to Driver's committed performance, we never lose awareness that something urgent and tragic is at play. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
4/4 96% The Irishman (2019) Everything from the color of the drapes to the way people eat cereal has been shaped; you can feel Scorsese's care. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
2.5/4 52% Charlie's Angels (2019) The whole thing goes down fairly breezily. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
2/4 46% Last Christmas (2019) Golding came out of Crazy Rich Asians as a hot new property, so it's disappointing to see him stuck in a neutered role. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
2.5/4 77% Doctor Sleep (2019) This movie has a good eye for people. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
3.5/4 97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) In his Hollywood career, Banderas tapped his manic energy. All that gets bottled in here, as Salvador tends to watch and reflect, an artist observing everything around him, saving everything for future use. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
2.5/4 80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) It isn't every day you find yourself saying this about a movie, but I'll go there: Not enough Hitler. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
3/4 70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Cameron's gift for grabby ideas is on juicy display - it's candy you know is empty calories, but hard to resist. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
3.5/4 91% The Lighthouse (2019) Maybe too knowing. It tired me out at times. But it has a strong afterlife in the mind, like a briny shanty recalled at night. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
3/4 61% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) The Current War probably sounds old-fashioned -- a bunch of guys in Victorian suits talking through giant mustaches -- with the potential of becoming a Drunk History episode. But the movie plays in livelier fashion. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
2.5/4 52% Black and Blue (2019) Its tendency toward overstatement gets more flagrant as it goes along. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
4/4 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) You don't want to know too much about it in advance. Parasite unfolds in such a surprising way that watching it work on an audience - through levels of delight, shock and disbelief - is part of the fun. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
3/4 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) A funny showbiz picture, and a welcome return for Eddie Murphy's still-sharp talents. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
2/4 68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Just as jokey and just as violent as the first film, a demonstration of having it both ways. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
2.5/4 22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) Another fine turn for a terrific actress, even if the film itself has a tendency to bump its tail on terra firma. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
3/4 86% Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019) Doesn't generate much sympathy for the devil, but it does confirm that Cohn's direct influence is still being felt today. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
2/4 26% Gemini Man (2019) The Ang Lee of Eat Drink Man Woman and Brokeback Mountain seemed like the last filmmaker who would get obsessed with tech. I would love to see him return to the human factor. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
3/4 No Score Yet The Weight of Water (2019) Plunges us right into the experience. But for all the visceral thrills of that kind of adventure moviemaking, the film's best aspect is one of the oldest in cinema: the close-up. - The Crop Duster EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
3/4 100% Chained for Life (2019) Pearson radiates personality and humor, and his presence lifts the movie into interesting territory. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
2/4 69% Joker (2019) A sour, incoherent jumble, redeemed only by Joaquin Phoenix's astonishing performance in the central role. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2019
2.5/4 64% The Day Shall Come (2019) Most of the jokes are just a tad overstated, slightly pushed with winks or eye-rolls, as though Morris didn't trust the audience to pick them up. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
2/4 82% Judy (2019) If you're a fan of Hollywood, you know the yellow brick road did not lead to happiness. Judy repeats the idea, without expanding on it. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
3/4 64% The Sound of Silence (2019) A major co-star is the sound design, which, fittingly enough, tends to sound like a comforting blanket of white noise. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
2/4 84% Downton Abbey (2019) Nostalgic nonsense of the most shameless kind, a gushing mash note to the British upper class. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
2/4 84% Ad Astra (2019) The way the film plugs in its science-fiction elements willy nilly, without particularly caring about them, is an issue. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
3.5/4 83% Official Secrets (2019) Does a clean, devastating job of laying out the ways that, as the central character puts it, "we were lied into an illegal war." - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
1.5/4 24% The Goldfinch (2019) Somehow the deep thoughts on the immortality of art don't sit well with gunplay that seems to have crept in from a so-so NCIS episode. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
3/4 92% David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) There's some kind of lesson there: Be full enough of spit and vinegar, and you might just survive your biggest mistakes. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
2/4 63% It Chapter Two (2019) Substituting breakneck editing and migraine-inducing strobe lights for actual ideas, Muschietti wants to convince you that something exciting is happening. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
3.5/4 87% The Nightingale (2019) The testy relationship between Clare and Billy, not vengeance, is at the core of the film. There's nothing conventional about this ad hoc partnership between people traumatized in different ways. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
2.5/4 39% Don't Let Go (Relive) (2019) Its cop-movie cliches and shock effects keep dragging it back into standard time. - HeraldNet (Everett, WA) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019