Robert Roten

Robert Roten
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
After graduating from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree, I wrote for several newspapers in Oregon, Michigan and Wyoming, writing news stories, columns, editorials and movie reviews. I started my movie review web page in 1996. I retired from newspapers in 2000, but continue to write reviews online. I was elected president of the Laramie Film Society in 2000 and continue to serve in that capacity. I am also the webmaster for the Laramie Astronomical Society and Space Observers (LASSO: www.lariat.org/LASSO/index.html).
Favorites:
Favorite Movies: Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove, Tootsie, Groundhod Day, Citizen Kane
Publications: Laramie Movie Scope
Critics' Group: Online Film Critics Society
Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B 89% Rocketman (2019) Drugs, alcohol, sex, corrupt management, we've seen this all before, right? Not like this, we haven't. This musical biographical film about the early life of pop music star Elton John is presented in a highly imaginative way. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
B 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) One Avengers movie to bind them, and in the darkness rule them all. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
B 90% Shazam! (2019) The way the movie switches quickly back and forth between adult and child themes, comedy and horror, is a bit disconcerting, but it worked for me. I am not sure how well it would go over with young children. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
C+ 47% Dumbo (2019) This movie is entertaining enough, particularly for children and families, for me to recommend it, but the plot is pretty weak. Visually, it looks great (this is, after all, a Tim Burton film) and the baby elephant is very cute. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
B 78% Captain Marvel (2019) This is a new kind of female superhero, one who is fully comfortable in her own skin -- a funny, casual, wise cracking, cocky superhero. She's not overly serious, stiff, formal, or straining under destiny's weight. Instead, she's just fun to watch. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019
B No Score Yet The Resistance Banker (Bankier van het Verzet) (2018) This is a better than average historical war drama with good performances. This Dutch language film is a well told story worth knowing about little-known heroes of World War II. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Without those references at the film's end to the real Knight Family, I would have sworn this is a made-up story. Probably some of it is made up, but the real story behind this movie seems amazing to me. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) There aren't too many feature length animated trilogies, perhaps none as good as this one. Dreamworks animation has done it, capped off a trilogy of 'How to Train Your Dragon' movies with a fitting final chapter of high quality. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B+ 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Lee Israel and Jack Hock come across as scoundrels that we have some sympathy for. They are crooks, but their victims are, for the most part, not entirely innocent either. This film walks that narrow path between these sympathies very adroitly. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
A 94% Blindspotting (2018) This is a powerful, well-acted film with memorable characters. Director Carlos López Estrada makes good use of imagery, poetry, drama and humor to illustrate what it is like to live as a troubled black man in a racially divided city. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2019
B 81% Quincy (2018) This documentary gives a vivid, intimate portrait of Quincy Jones, as well as some people close to him. This is an enlightening and well-constructed documentary about an amazing man. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
B 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) The movie uses lots of cultural references and jokes which appeal to a very wide age group. It is a movie suitable for the whole family. It is funny, the characters are interesting, and it has a nice positive message. What's not to like? - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
C+ 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) I liked the main character, even though she is pretty sketchy, and I like Ido, too. I think these characters are strong enough to keep the series going, but I'd like to see an Alita movie that is better able to stand on its own. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
C 82% Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) For a filmmaker with a reputation for humor, this film is not funny. It is all doom and gloom. It seems to me this film aged very quickly during the November 6, 2018 elections, which yielded a result at odds with Moore's overly pessimistic thesis. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
B 89% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) This is a fun fantasy adventure suitable for families, and there aren't many of this quality made these days. It is amusing and enjoyable. The characters are engaging and there is plenty of action. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
B 91% The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) A tour de force performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal and a fine effort by writer-director Sara Colangelo. It is a haunting portrait of a woman seeking love and recognition in ways that are increasingly disconnected from reality. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) I enjoyed most of these stories, except for 'Meal Ticket,' which seems pretty tasteless to me. You have to accept death along with humor in most Coen brothers movies, and you get multiple doses of death in this movie. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 94% Private Life (2018) This is a very well acted movie. It is a good, solid story with well-drawn characters. It isn't a great story, but I was on board, through the unevenness of it, up until the end. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 86% A Twelve-Year Night (La noche de 12 años) (2018) This is a well-acted film and the director, Álvaro Brechner ('Bad Day to Go Fishing') does a fine job of showing us how it feels to be imprisoned. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C 70% Roxanne Roxanne (2018) This movie is well acted, but it does seem to operate on a single, rather depressing note throughout. It would have helped if there was more of an emotional story arc to it. It ends not far emotionally from where it starts. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 86% The Land of Steady Habits (2018) I like this movie. It is dark, but it also has a lot of humor in it. It also has the benefit of having characters capable of a bit of very unlikely redemption. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 80% 22 July (2018) This depiction of a terrorist attack is straightforward, matter-of-fact and unambiguous. The contrast between the weak, lone, angry killer, and the steady, strong, supportive unity of those oppose him is clear. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C 62% Vox Lux (2018) This movie is certainly an ideal vehicle for Natalie Portman to show off her acting, singing and dancing talents, but beyond that, it doesn't seem to amount to much. The sum of its parts seem to add up to less of a whole than it should. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 85% The Wife (2018) A well-constructed movie by director Björn L Runge. The performances are excellent. The screenplay and actors create a couple of complex characters in Joe and Joan, in a complicated relationship. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C+ 72% Hold the Dark (2018) I found the story fairly involving, even though it did not make much sense to me. It has a fine sense of place, and there is a lot of suspense because the murders seem so random and sudden you don't know who is going to die next. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B+ 100% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) He's a fine director, skilled at doing large, complex projects (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies) and for this film, he put together a large, dedicated team to make an exceptional documentary film. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 66% Suspiria (2018) If you really like horror films, this is not a bad one. The acting is good and the story is complex. The climax is a crazy and unbelievable. It's sort of thing that would work better as comedy, because then one is not expected to take it seriously. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
B 82% Ben is Back (2018) Drug addiction has been explored in many movies, but this is an especially revealing look into not only the nature of an addict, but the effect he has had on his own family, and on the lives of many other people in a tight-knit community. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
B 100% Shirkers (2018) This documentary is about all the effort that went into making a film in 1992, as well as detective work to track down a mysterious hustler who manipulated the filmmakers, and who sabotaged that 1992 Singapore film, 'Shirkers.' - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
B 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) Willem Dafoe gives a fine performance as Vincent and he is ably supported by strong performances by Rupert Friend and Oscar Isaac. The film provides a beautiful visual feast to go along with Vincent's unique vision. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
B+ 61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Probably 'A Star is Born' will collect more awards, but as far as memorable music and great musical performances, nothing I've seen this year comes close to 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
B 96% Border (Gräns) (2018) I felt uncomfortable watching some scenes in this film, but ultimately, it is rewarding. In an era of so many sequels, remakes and derivative movies, it is nice to see one that is so original. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
B 93% First Reformed (2018) All this seems to be heading into familiar art film territory, darkness, despair, suicide, violence and existential ennui. On the surface, this is a one-note, drab, downbeat movie, but it is more than that. A lot is going on here. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
A 78% Green Book (2018) I laughed a lot and responded to the emotional content of this film, which is powerful. There is an old saying that drama is easy and comedy is hard. This film gets both just right, and that is truly rare, making this a movie to treasure. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
A 74% Destroyer (2018) The story bounces back and forth in time, revealing more and more about Bell's soul, as each new layer of truth is revealed. Bell's appearance changes greatly over the 16 years in the story, due both to makeup and Kidman's amazing performance. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
B 93% The Favourite (2018) This film is especially suitable for Anglophiles, particularly those who are familiar with these historical characters and who care about upper class affairs. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
A 96% Roma (2018) There are many memorable images in the film that stuck with me after the film was over. Roma is full of life and love -- ordinary, down to earth people in extraordinary circumstances. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
B+ 93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) The acting is effective and the story moves right along. Director and writer Boots Riley has produced a wonderful screenplay and an extremely impressive debut film. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
B 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) In the end, all these families have to rely on is their love for one another. That is what sustains them. But is that enough to lift this movie out of the pit of despair it has descended into? Some say it is. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
C+ 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie both give strong performances as dueling queens in this somber film. The story is not very lively and has little suspense, but the costumes are nice and the sets are elaborate. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
B 66% Vice (2018) Admittedly, this movie is put together very cleverly, but the fact that it is so unfocused and self-referential, tends to work against its attempt to create a compelling narrative. On the other hand, the casting and performances are excellent. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
C+ 79% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) As far as family entertainment goes, it fits the bill, especially for kids who haven't seen the 1964 film. However, if you've seen the 1964 Mary Poppins, and you love it, prepare yourself for disappointment if you buy a ticket for this sequel. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
B 93% Bumblebee (2018) All the Transformers movies have had some humor in the mix, while also trying to be serious. This movie works the comic/serious motif about as well as can be expected, given the subject matter. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
B 65% Aquaman (2018) This action movie has a fair amount of humor in it. Jason Momoa seems to embody the right combination of imposing physique and jovial good nature to pull this off. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2018
C+ 27% Mortal Engines (2018) This big budget, effects-laden movie about a strange post-apocalyptic world where predator cities roll around on tank-like treads looks great, but the story of romance and revenge is just barely adequate. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
B 70% The Mule (2018) The performances of Eastwood and Wiest are very powerful, along with that of Taissa Farmiga. There is some drama in this film, but mainly it is a story, and an effective one at that, about a man trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his family. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
B+ 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) This is very fast-paced, smart and high energy story telling. It has some drama, and a lot of comedy. The characters are interesting, and it all looks great. Its fast, its funny, and it is stylish. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
B 81% Boy Erased (2018) The scenes of Jared coping with his feelings are hard to watch, including a homosexual rape scene, and Jared's uncomfortable relationships with his parents and friends. While there is a peaceful resolution to Jared's dilemma, there is also tragedy. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
C 92% Nico, 1988 (2018) Gone is the blonde hair, gone are the glamorous looks that got her into the modeling business in her younger years. Gone is Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. What remains? That is the question the film poses. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2018
B 84% Under the Tree (Undir trénu) (2018) While some of the story seems a bit contrived, the overall plot of the film is solid and believable. The characters are well defined and the actors are all quite convincing. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2018