Observer (UK)

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Ben Is Back (2018) Simran Hans The material feels more like a play than a film, its drama shrunk down into a single, digestible day, but it's affecting in its muted seriousness. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
2/5 Under the Silver Lake (2018) Simran Hans It is too infatuated with its own cryptic mythology, too fawning in its references to LA noirs and too self-indulgent to be praised as parody, let alone an effective critique of its boring protagonist. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
3/5 What Men Want (2019) Simran Hans It's a fun idea to gender-flip the premise of Nancy Meyers' 2000 romcom What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson), and a shrewd decision to recast the film's protagonist as black... EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
3/5 Girl (2018) Mark Kermode A performance infused with great stillness and energy from actor/dancer Victor Polster drives Belgian director/co-writer Lukas Dhont's affecting if uneven coming-of-age tale. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
4/5 Benjamin (2018) Simran Hans Amstell's generosity in mining his own anxieties about celebrity, intimacy and the blunt desire to be loved is proof that pain can be productive. EDIT
Posted Mar 17, 2019
4/5 Rosie (2018) Wendy Ide Wrenchingly powerful and heartbreakingly relevant... EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
4/5 The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) Mark Kermode Throughout, I was mesmerised by the ambiguity that this smart, sharp film maintains, entranced by the deceptive simplicity of its complexities, unsettled by questions that are left deliberately unanswered. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
4/5 Ray & Liz (2018) Wendy Ide It's gruelling at times, but the film is extraordinary and unflinching. And remarkably, it's made with as much love as anger. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
3/5 Captain Marvel (2019) Wendy Ide The main strength is a core of female friendship: Carol Danvers is the only Marvel hero you could imagine getting hammered and belting out songs by No Doubt. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
3/5 Everybody Knows (2018) Wendy Ide While it's not vintage Farhadi, the film has merits, not least the magnificent Bárbara Lennie. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
4/5 Border (2018) Wendy Ide Like a mating between the mind of David Cronenberg and something that crawled out of a compost heap. EDIT
Posted Mar 9, 2019
() Euan Ferguson Throughout, I couldn't help wondering what the parallels would be in today's climate of offence-taking as digital artform. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2019
2/5 The Aftermath (2019) Simran Hans Something is missing; the tone frustrates, caught awkwardly between lusty, full-out melodrama and thin period drama. EDIT
Posted Mar 3, 2019
4/5 Foxtrot (2017) Simran Hans The film's tastefully constricted aesthetic is enjoyably at odds with its unruly, philosophical themes; the slipperiness of a dual identity, the fragility of war and the relentless manner in which grief can leak into a home's every crevice. EDIT
Posted Mar 3, 2019
1/5 Serenity (2019) Simran Hans McConaughey and Hathaway are matched in their dead-eyed, phoned-in hamminess... EDIT
Posted Mar 3, 2019
4/5 Fighting With My Family (2019) Mark Kermode Fighting With My Family is a hugely likable underdog tale, packing plenty of crowd-pleasing comedy wallop, and boasting a smack-down turn from the indomitable Florence Pugh. EDIT
Posted Mar 3, 2019
4/5 Sauvage (2018) Simran Hans What's special about the film is how it refuses to moralise about sex work, finding tender moments of intimacy, desire and longing. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2019
Female Human Animal (2018) Charlie Phillips It's trying something truly bizarre that punctures the pretentiousness of the art world while also, of course, being rather pretentious - and it's a triumph. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
4/5 Capernaum (2018) Simran Hans Rafeea, a non-professional actor and Syrian refugee, is the film's secret weapon. At times, the tragedy unfolding on screen feels borderline unwatchable, but his strange, fascinating, eerily adult face offers a litany of minute expressions. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2019
4/5 Old Boys (2018) Wendy Ide It takes two elements - the story of Cyrano de Bergerac and a British same-sex boarding school - that have already been mined extensively by film-makers over the years. And it somehow manages to create something fresh and distinctive. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2019
2/5 Cold Pursuit (2019) Wendy Ide The whole tone of this glib black comedy, with its cartoon bad guys and conspiratorial wink with each addition to the body count, seems rather dated. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2019
3/5 The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) Wendy Ide While it takes a few dramatic liberties and could have benefited from a tighter edit, there's a swell of goodwill as the story progresses that is hard to resist. EDIT
Posted Feb 24, 2019
2/5 On the Basis of Sex (2018) Wendy Ide It's not an entirely terrible film. It's just not the film that RBG deserves. EDIT
Posted Feb 23, 2019
2/5 The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Simran Hans I'm a huge fan of Cornish's 2011 debut Attack the Block, but this film isn't nearly as energetic or enjoyably wacky as its predecessor. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2019
3/5 Instant Family (2018) Simran Hans Anders and his wife are parents to three adopted children, and there's a sense of verisimilitude and attention to detail regarding both the joys and the travails of foster care. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2019
3/5 A Private War (2018) Mark Kermode [An] impassioned if occasionally contrived drama... EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2019
2/5 Jellyfish (2018) Simran Hans Though Hill's performance enlivens an overwritten script, her jokes never quite land, undermining the film's basic premise. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2019
3/5 Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (2017) Simran Hans Kechiche is quite brilliant at using stretches of time to create space for actors to let their characters breathe. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2019
5/5 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Mark Kermode It's a terrific film, as sinewy as it is sensuous, interweaving stark social-realist themes of prejudice, oppression and imprisonment with a poetic evocation of love, loss and, ultimately, transcendence. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
2/5 Boy Erased (2018) Simran Hans The film feels thin, drab and ultimately unable to harness the collective power of its otherwise talented cast. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
4/5 América (2018) Simran Hans Stoll and Whiteside are careful to show that sacrifice does not guarantee sainthood. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
3/5 All Is True (2018) Simran Hans Branagh casts himself as the beloved "Will" (of course), playing him with a convincingly world-weary edge, while Judi Dench stars as his wife, Anne Hathaway. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
4/5 The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Simran Hans The final set piece is a little protracted, but the jokes are mostly sharp and enjoyably self-referential and the songs still catchy. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
3/5 Green Book (2018) Wendy Ide Mahershala Ali's performance shines through despite ill-judged moments from director Peter Farrelly. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2019
The Last Survivors (2019) Euan Ferguson As all best programmes do, this managed to raise quietly unanswered questions, which (if we're any good at all) we have to reach deep into ourselves to answer. What equates to trauma? EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2019
4/5 Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Mark Kermode As for McCarthy, her performance is less of a revelation than a confirmation of her talents. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
2/5 Escape Room (2019) Wendy Ide Escape Room is too contrived to convince us of genuine peril. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
4/5 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Wendy Ide There's a new maturity both in the character and in the storytelling that makes this final film in the trilogy take wing. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Simran Hans The originality and scope of Talbot's vision feels exciting. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
Native Son (2019) Simran Hans Native Son... is a fascinating, jagged, feature debut from visual artist Johnson. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
Animals (2019) Simran Hans Think the sharp, brittle millennial observations of novelist Sally Rooney meets the bawdy, female anarchy of Věra Chytilová's Daisies. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
Official Secrets (2019) Simran Hans The film comes alive in the newsroom scenes, played with a tongue-in-cheek edge. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
The Report (2019) Simran Hans [A]n enraging true story that zips along in spite of Burns's dense script. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
Honey Boy (2019) Simran Hans The script, written by LaBeouf, is refreshingly direct, and at times, wrenchingly personal, anchored by vulnerable old-soul Jupe, who gives one of the most moving child performances I've seen in years. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
The Souvenir (2019) Simran Hans [A]n exquisitely judged excavation of and grainy homage to director Joanna Hogg's film-school days in 1980s London and the toxic relationship she was in at the time. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
Blinded by the Light (1980) Simran Hans It's a big-hearted crowdpleaser that rollicks along at an irrepressibly giddy pace, but it's earnest to a fault; those with a low tolerance for corniness will struggle. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2019
5/5 Burning (2018) Wendy Ide It's chilling and brilliant. EDIT
Posted Feb 2, 2019
4/5 Destroyer (2018) Mark Kermode There's a clear thematic debt to such character-driven 1970s classics as Serpico or The French Connection, but Destroyer also feels profoundly contemporary in its flipping of traditional gender roles. EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2019
4/5 The Devil Outside (2018) Wendy Ide It's not a film that sets out to shock but it does succeed in quietly unsettling the audience. EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2019
3/5 The Mule (2018) Wendy Ide It's perfectly watchable but a film with this puttering pace is never going to get the blood racing. EDIT
Posted Jan 27, 2019