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
3/4 89% Charlatan (2021) Holland has the character remain opaque, to the point where the final reels are almost excruciating in their depiction of a man who will not yield to our expectations of redemption or enlightenment. This is interesting. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2021
3.5/4 100% The Woman Who Ran (2021) Completely beguiling .... this movie looks casual, but something urgent and human is at stake. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2021
3/4 91% No Sudden Move (2020) Like so much of what Soderbergh works on these days, the thing seems modest in its ambitions, until you reach particular moments and the pattern locks into place. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2021
2/4 59% F9 (2021) Bathetically soulful and winkingly postmodern...engineered with the greatest digital effects possible and incompetent in matters of make-up and lighting. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2021
3/4 90% Les nôtres (2021) Works committed variations on the respectable-community-with-dirty-secrets scenario. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2021
3.5/4 95% The Sparks Brothers (2021) The stuff of their uncompromising career has lots of color (and great source material in the music, of course), but the thread of artistic integrity makes it almost irresistible. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2021
3.5/4 92% Two Lottery Tickets (2021) The comic ideas must come from the confines of that squared-off screen space -- and, indeed, the confines become a huge part of the comedy in at least a few set-ups. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2021
3/4 88% Undine (2020) It feels unfair to complain about a film that does what it wants to do very well. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2021
3.5/4 98% There Is No Evil (Sheytan vojud nadarad) (2020) In all of its segments, the movie lets you breathe, and finds a way to allow the passage of time become slightly uncanny. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2021
2.5/4 98% The Paper Tigers (2021) Throw in a non-postcard approach to Seattle's Chinatown/International District, and the director's canny sense of comic timing, and you've got a sleeper on your hands. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2021
3.5/4 94% About Endlessness (Om det Oändliga) (2020) The unreality -- the way snow doesn't really look like snow in the film's most enchanting sequence, but an artificial idea of snow -- is well suited to these No Exit sketches. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
2.5/4 78% In The Earth (2021) This is the kind of movie you go along with because you enjoy the genre conventions -- or you don't. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2021
3.5/4 62% French Exit (2021) A gliding wackiness that never seems labored, but isn't without gravity, either. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2021
2/4 75% Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) It was disconcerting indeed to watch this one on a TV set, where its point is pretty much lost. I thought the previous Godzilla picture was pretty awful, but at least it was bigger than you. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2021
3.5/4 93% The Fever (A febre) (2019) With its soundscape of insects and rainfall, and its keen eye for lived-in interiors and fluorescent-lit urban in-between spaces, The Fever is, minute-by-minute, a compelling experience. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2021
3.5/4 91% The Inheritance (2020) Raises the question of whether Maoists would've achieved more if they'd had access to antioxidant smoothies. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2021
3.5/4 98% The Father (2021) Illuminated, often thrillingly, by a central performance from Anthony Hopkins that might be the best of his career. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2021
3.5/4 97% Night of the Kings (La Nuit des Rois) (2020) The dizzying atmosphere that emerges is haunting. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
3/4 98% Minari (2020) Its approach seems literary more than cinematic, which may be why I'm resisting its charms a little bit. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2021
3/4 95% Dear Comrades! (2021) The feeling of being absolutely at sea in the midst of political chaos is piercing. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
3.5/4 82% Notturno (2021) Rosi can get a lot out of very little. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
2.5/4 92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) Mikkelsen manages to imbue two syllables with a kind of terrible retreat from life, a despondent resignation masquerading as acquiescence. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
2.5/4 89% The Nest (2020) Everything is top-notch in this film, which maybe contributes to the sense that The Nest is just a little too perfectly executed somehow. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
3/4 69% Ammonite (2020) Mucus drips from the tip of Charlotte's cold nose as she excitedly muscles a large rock out of the mud; you could hardly have a better measure of her journey from corseted wife to elbow-deep partner in discovery. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2020
3/4 92% Mother (Madre) (2020) Somewhere in the background is the specter of Jonathan Glazer's Birth, with some similarly uncomfortable results. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
3/4 79% Synchronic (2020) If it seems to wobble a little too recklessly between beer-commercial sincerity and snazzy showing off, it still clicks often enough to create its share of authentic sci-fi shivers. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
3/4 86% Martin Eden (2020) In the end I wanted to like Martin Eden more than I actually did, but a lot of it is enthralling. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
3/4 88% Major Arcana (2020) "Not the precious object it might first appear; the film has a goofed-up strain of humor and a great ear for hostile dialogue." - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2020
3/4 90% Kajillionaire (2020) When Wood and Rodriguez share the screen in their unlikely partnership, we're in the company of something undeniably tender and odd. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
3.5/4 96% Mr. SOUL! (2020) Style itself is one of the film's subjects, not just because of the gloriously out-there early-70s flair (and flare), but because of the defiant Black-is-beautiful aesthetic being championed, fashion as political act. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
3/4 97% Buoyancy (2020) Whatever its motivations as a docu-drama, Buoyancy also bears the unmistakable outline of a Jack London story; it's an adventure film, if a grim one. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
2/4 73% Mulan (2020) The best I can think of for an explanation about the overall slogginess here is that the concept of Mulan really, really needs songs and talking animals. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
3/4 87% Get Duked! (2020) A little like an Ealing film colliding with a gonzo Ben Wheatley picture. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
3.5/4 58% Tesla (2020) A postmodern jamboree, a spiky collection of biographical tidbits and fourth-wall-busting asides, an essay masquerading as a biopic. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
3.5/4 100% Jazz on a Summer's Day (2020) It's impossible to find a bad or uninteresting person on screen here; maybe people just looked cooler then. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2020
3/4 83% She Dies Tomorrow (2020) Things especially light up when Jane Adams staggers through; it's like watching a downtown art project suddenly invaded by somebody playing Chekhov. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2020
2/4 77% Summerland (2020) A plot turn in the final act pushes the limits of what might accept from a Dickens novel. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
3/4 93% Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020) The Ross brothers never let anyone overstay his welcome -- the latter point especially impressive, given how quickly drunkards can become tiresome. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2020
3/4 71% Amulet (2020) Garai gets mileage out of the house's funky plumbing, always a rich source of horror-movie eesh. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2020
3/4 79% Greyhound (2020) Close to being an avant-garde experience, with an abstract field of action and an invented, inscrutable language. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
4/4 96% First Cow (2020) If this isn't the best movie of the year, it will serve until something else comes along. But seriously, it might be the best movie of the year. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
3.5/4 88% The Truth (La vérité) (2020) Among its other pleasures, the way Kore-eda keeps the film seamlessly moving between family drama and on-set revelations is so easy and fluid you won't have a chance to consider how complicated all the pieces are. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
2.5/4 40% Irresistible (2020) The political landscape has tilted, and the world calls for a different kind of satire-as though anything could keep up with reality, of course. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2020
3.5/4 No Score Yet A Muse (2020) It's gorgeously and searchingly shot, and delivers the spectacle of young Europeans living what David Lynch calls the art life. - The Crop Duster EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
3.5/4 93% Babyteeth (2020) A director's opportunity to say "Look what I can do with image and sound" (the answer: quite a lot), but also a wonderful evocation of one of those youthful nights that just take off in their own ecstatic trajectory and become both ordinary and singular. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2020
3/4 77% Tommaso (2020) In a basic way Tommaso is about being an artist, and the trade-offs and negotiations that go along with that. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2020
2.5/4 87% Shirley (2020) It's hard to think of better casting for the mid-20th century couple than Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2020
4/4 98% Fourteen (2020) So much of moviemaking is the art of selection -- what goes in, what gets left out -- and Dan Sallitt's Fourteen is a gem of that art. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
3/4 87% The Trip to Greece (2020) Retreats to the usual formula-pleasant enough, if a little tired. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
3/4 88% Spaceship Earth (2020) Wolf is fortunate that the Allen folks were documenting their own existence from the beginning; there's a huge amount of colorful footage of their escapades even before the media turned its hungry attention to Biosphere 2. - The Scarecrow EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2020