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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      The Beasts (2022) Deborah Ross A riveting, merciless study of human nature, so cleverly tense throughout that even a game of dominoes becomes menacing. You didn’t know a game of dominoes could be menacing? Trust me, it can.
      Posted Mar 23, 2023
      The Black Pirate (1926) Iris Barry The Black Pirate is wholly -- to steal a phrase from Juno and the Paycock -- a darling film. There is no ostentation, no mock morality, no cheap love-making, no error of taste, and, above all, no stupidity in it.
      Posted Mar 23, 2023
      Finding Michael (2023) James Delingpole It is by turns exhilarating, moving and macabre.
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Chris Rock: Selective Outrage (2023) James Delingpole I personally don’t begrudge Rock the gazillions he earns from this shtick. But as with fellow masters of the art you cannot help but think: what a gloriously easy way to earn a living!
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Allelujah (2022) Deborah Ross It’s weirdly lifeless and perfunctory and introduces a tonal shift at the end that belongs to a different film. That part did make me laugh but for all the wrong reasons, alas.
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      The Dark Angel (1935) Graham Greene One of the worst films of the year.
      Posted Mar 10, 2023
      Champions (2023) Deborah Ross The main thing you need to know is it is so formulaic I could have written it, you could have written it, it could have written itself. Heck, it’s so predictable it could have also directed itself.
      Posted Mar 09, 2023
      Close (2022) Deborah Ross A coming-of-age-story that’s exquisite and heart-breaking. Take tissues, and probably not just the one box.
      Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) Ian Cameron Celine and Julie are not people but only actresses improvising, and the film is no more than an inconsequential investigation of its own nature.
      Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Cocaine Bear (2023) Deborah Ross This is basically a marketing concept put on screen. And it’s not that much fun seeing a computer-generated image attack sentient beings who may as well have been made out of cardboard.
      Posted Feb 23, 2023
      Consent (2023) James Walton The author’s message -- urgent if not wildly surprising -- comprehensively overrode such considerations as making much narrative sense.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Women Talking (2022) Deborah Ross It is compelling, gripping, powerful, as tense as a thriller. Think of it this way: it’s like Twelve Angry Men, but in this instance it’s Eight Angry Women (in a hayloft).
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      The Whale (2022) Deborah Ross Ultimately, it alludes to things without adding up to much of anything. Still, the performances are all excellent, and Fraser is especially compelling, bringing a sincerity to Charlie, and an openness and gentleness.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      The Fabelmans (2022) Deborah Ross This could have been sentimental and soggy, a "magic of the movies" endeavour. There is some of that, but this is more than that. It’s about family, and the complexity of family, and it’s intensely personal, moving, absorbing and full of love.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      Bank of Dave (2023) Deborah Ross There are pockets of charm, and Kinnear captures something of a man who is sensationally rich but has never lost touch with his humanity or roots. But, as directed by Chris Foggin, it’s all fairly one-dimensional, as is the script.
      Posted Jan 19, 2023
      Tár (2022) Deborah Ross It’s basically everything you are certain will bore you to death, but it doesn’t here. It’s riveting. The film is 157 minutes long and doesn’t drag for a single second.
      Posted Jan 12, 2023
      Empire of Light (2022) Deborah Ross The magic of film-going is the theme but there is almost no film-going in it and what there is isn’t magic. Peculiarly soulless, pedestrian and plodding, it is, however, wonderfully shot by Roger Deakins.
      Posted Jan 05, 2023
      Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Basil Wright Snow White engrosses the attention from beginning to end. So convincing is it that it is difficult at times to realise that one is watching the painted figments of an animation-table, with no life beyond their creator's pencils and brushes.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Christmas Carole (2022) James Walton Despite the infectious fun it continues to have, where the programme really triumphs is in the sadder moments. Like Dickens, it makes no bones about manipulating our feelings -- but, like him too, it does so in a way that’s impossible to resist.
      Posted Dec 20, 2022
      Corsage (2022) Deborah Ross It’s mesmerisingly sad, and Vicky Krieps, who won the best actress award at Cannes, is superb.
      Posted Dec 15, 2022
      The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022) James Walton Mackesy’s film is clearly hoping to join The Snowman as a tear-jerking Christmas classic. The trouble is that this hope is so nakedly, even desperately apparent on screen -- with the programme practically begging us to find it both charming and touching.
      Posted Dec 15, 2022
      Lady Chatterley's Lover (2022) Deborah Ross It’s more in keeping with Lawrence’s alternative title for the novel, Tenderness, and it’s more a gentle, affecting, immersive love story than a sex story although there is plenty of sex in it.
      Posted Dec 07, 2022
      Last Flight Home (2022) Deborah Ross If you’re planning on seeing The Last Flight Home at the cinema, don’t make any plans for afterwards as you’ll be completely done in. I soaked the top half of my jumper with the crying, and then needed to race home to wring it out.
      Posted Nov 30, 2022
      The Menu (2022) Deborah Ross It doesn’t land perfectly at the end but overall it’s a hoot if you have the stomach for it.
      Posted Nov 17, 2022
      No Bears (2022) Deborah Ross It’s deceptively simple: the more you think about it, the more layers there seem to be and the more you realise how much this film has to say about lives made small by restrictions that can, and do, result in tragedy.
      Posted Nov 09, 2022
      The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Basil Wright Though we pretend to believe in this happy Lubitsch world, we know we're pretending. It is a toy we could reach out and break; but why break our toys. There are few enough of them left, with the toyshops all closing down.
      Posted Nov 08, 2022
      Living (2022) Deborah Ross It is as profoundly and deeply felt as the original and as heartbreakingly tender. It asks the same question, but this time with Englishness, bowler hats, the sweet trolley at Fortnum’s and Bill Nighy. Really, what more could you want?
      Posted Nov 03, 2022
      Triangle of Sadness (2022) Deborah Ross Östlund needs someone like my mother in his life to tell him it’s not clever, it’s not funny, pack it in.
      Posted Oct 27, 2022
      The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft (2022) James Delingpole I guarantee you will be transported by the mix of beauty and terror. The Kraffts did not die in vain.
      Posted Oct 27, 2022
      My Policeman (2022) Deborah Ross It’s meant to be sexy but it just made me laugh and then I felt rotten, because this is so earnest.
      Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Emily (2022) Deborah Ross It’s a "speculative biopic," and modern, but there’s no Billie Eilish on the soundtrack or breaking of the fourth wall or jokey intertitles or any of those larks, which is a mighty relief. Instead, it’s daring, and ravishing.
      Posted Oct 13, 2022
      The Lost King (2022) Deborah Ross It’s a terrific story, an unforgettable story, but a fairly forgettable film. It’s directed by Stephen Frears, stars Sally Hawkins, and yet it’s somehow underpowered.
      Posted Oct 06, 2022
      Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) Deborah Ross It is handsomely mounted, Manville mostly keeps the sentimentality under control, and if you are in the mood for something pleasantly untaxing you will be pleasantly untaxed.
      Posted Sep 29, 2022
      Catherine Called Birdy (2022) Deborah Ross It’s fun, and endearing, and the patriarchy gets a good kicking which, as you know, is my favourite thing. But it feels like one joke or sketch that’s been dragged out for nearly two hours. It’s fine, yet forgettably so.
      Posted Sep 22, 2022
      Moonage Daydream (2022) Deborah Ross If it’s David Bowie, make it special or just don’t bother. And this is special. It’s an immersive, trippy, hurtling, throbbing two hours and 15 minutes. If Disneyland did a Bowie ride, this would be it. Yet it isn’t shallow. There are some real insights.
      Posted Sep 15, 2022
      Crimes of the Future (2022) Deborah Ross In this instance, the most shocking thing is that it’s so muddled and dreary. It’s a gore-fest, true enough, but it’s a gore-fest that is mostly a snooze-fest.
      Posted Sep 08, 2022
      The Forgiven (2021) Deborah Ross It’s a compelling, tense journey even if it’s a pitiless one. Human nature doesn’t come out of this at all well.
      Posted Sep 01, 2022
      Beast (2022) Deborah Ross Whether this was ever intended to be a serious film, I cannot say, but it’s fun in its schlocky, gory, silly way, doesn’t outstay its welcome and will satisfy anyone who has ever yearned to see Idris Elba wrestle a lion and then punch it full in the face.
      Posted Aug 25, 2022
      Platoon (1986) Richard West As a physical evocation of one part of Vietnam, Platoon is astonishing. As a commentary on the politics and morality of the Vietnam war, Platoon is at best sententious, at times abhorrent.
      Posted Aug 19, 2022
      My Old School (2022) Deborah Ross There is something tragic and disturbed at the heart of this tale but that is never investigated... He is allowed to talk yet never reveals himself. Still, you will enjoy the ride.
      Posted Aug 18, 2022
      Thirteen Lives (2022) James Delingpole On the downside, it’s too long, it’s a bit flat and linear, and you don’t really get a feel for any of the characters... That said, the basic raw material is so strong that it’s hard not to become involved in the story.
      Posted Aug 11, 2022
      Eiffel (2021) Deborah Ross The love affair is tiresomely humdrum, plus the stakes are too low, particularly as the Eiffel Tower never hits an iceberg, does not sink, and nobody dies. Although you might, a bit, from boredom.
      Posted Aug 11, 2022
      Where the Crawdads Sing (2022) Deborah Ross You never feel Kya’s connection to her environment, even though I’m guessing that should be of utmost importance. For a film about what it is to be wild it’s incredibly tame. Plus you don’t even encounter any crawdads.
      Posted Jul 21, 2022
      Persuasion (2022) Deborah Ross This isn’t one of those films that’s so bad it’s good. Instead, it’s so bad it’s boring. It may be the longest one hour and 49 minutes of your life.
      Posted Jul 14, 2022
      Brian and Charles (2022) Deborah Ross It has no lofty intentions whatsoever. It wants only to be a goofy non-taxing delight, which it is, and it comes in at 90 minutes, which is scant by today's standards, but ideal, and do stay for the credits. They're a hoot.
      Posted Jul 07, 2022
      Up the Down Staircase (1967) Penelope Houston Up the Down Staircase earns full credits by keeping one rooting for its heroine and her small, wistful and utterly improbable victory. Early on it looked like doing rather more.
      Posted Jul 01, 2022
      The Princess (2022) Deborah Ross The doc attempts to indict the media, but can you do that, when you’re using all their material yourself? It’s linear and well put together but it doesn’t try to understand the grip she had and still has on our national psyche.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      Citizen Ashe (2021) James Walton If the result never entirely convinced us that its subject measures up to our exacting modern standards, it left us in no doubt that the reverence was justified.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      Elvis (2022) Deborah Ross You may even be begging: Baz, come on, just hold still. But no, we’re off again. I’ve had fever dreams that have been less delirious. But on the plus side, even if it’s never deep or enlightening, it has a fizzing energy.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022) Deborah Ross There is genuine chemistry between the two leads and McCormack is insanely charismatic while Emma Thompson is very Emma Thompson but also world class.
      Posted Jun 16, 2022
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