The Spectator

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Toy Story 4 (2019) Jasper Rees Though it springs fewer surprises, Toy Story 4 is still reliably fab. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
() Deborah Ross In short, this is gripping and heartbreaking as far as it goes, but it doesn't quite go far enough. EDIT
Posted Jun 13, 2019
Women in Love (1969) Penelope Houston To make the novel so excitedly, lip-smackingly "period" in its decorations leaves unreconciled problems of thought and character, a kind of weightlessness never securely anchored in Russell's direction or in Larry Kramer's devoted script. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2019
My Night at Maud's (1969) Penelope Houston This is a calm, gravely ironic, finely balanced film, an exceptionally graceful bit of screen architecture whose elegant proportioning is the more alluring because its symmetry doesn't instantly hit the eye. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2019
Late Night (2019) Deborah Ross So, while this isn't flawless, it is a start, and it has verve and energy and pathos and quite a few white, entitled men running scared. More, please. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
Mommie Dearest (1981) Peter Ackroyd Mommie Dearest becomes a kind of homage to the monster herself -- the emotions are so splendid, the scenes so dramatic, the experiences so incandescent. EDIT
Posted Jun 3, 2019
Napszállta (2018) Deborah Ross At no point does any character own their behaviour in any consistent or recognisably human way. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
The Buddy Holly Story (1978) Ted Whitehead The film should please Buddy Holly fans and perhaps the young generation who are curious about rock's beginnings. Rave on. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
Rocketman (2019) Deborah Ross [Egerton] captures the Elton-ness of Elton without ever resorting to mimicry, and he does his own singing which, astonishingly, also captures the Elton-ness of Elton. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
Pájaros de verano (2018) Jasper Rees This Colombian thriller passes the tropes of noir and the spaghetti western through a magical prism. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
Amazing Grace (2018) Jasper Rees [T]his is a mighty resurrection. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
Tolkien (2019) Deborah Ross Tolkien is a biopic covering the early life of J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) and it is not especially memorable. I'm even forgetting it as I'm trying to remember it. EDIT
Posted May 2, 2019
Bel Canto (2018) Deborah Ross The film is, essentially, methodical rather than dramatically tense and, while it should be an exciting blend of guns and Puccini and sex in the china cupboard, it never fully comes to life. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
Loro (2018) Deborah Ross Hard to say what it is, beyond a sprawling mess that caters so exclusively to the male gaze it makes The Wolf of Wall Street look like a children's tea party. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1987) Hilary Mantel The film asks us to like [Rita and Sue] and pity them, to find them funny and to find their lives funny, but in fact the girls appear desperate and pathetic EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) Hilary Mantel The film's entertainment value outweighs its irritations. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
The Accused (1988) Hilary Mantel Kelly McGillis can make little of her underwritten role; economy is commend-able, but a woman in all her complexity cannot be represented by a pair of outsize shoulder-pads. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Too Beautiful for You (1989) Hilary Mantel Flashbacks and fantasy sequ- ences disrupt the narrative line, but do little to disguise a lack of substance and development. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) Hilary Mantel Engaging as the film is, its inconsequentiality soon begins to grate on the nerves. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Wild at Heart (1990) Hilary Mantel The scattergun nastiness is, after a while, profoundly unaffecting. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Working Girl (1988) Hilary Mantel Mike Nicols's comedy is frothy, fast-moving and impeccably put together. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Crossing Delancey (1988) Hilary Mantel It's all rather old-fashioned and unlikely, no doubt, but there are enough good jokes and touches of individuality to make Crossing Delancey one of the pleasantest films around. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
The Krays (1990) Hilary Mantel Peculiar but very interesting film. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Wild Rose (2018) Deborah Ross True, there are clichéd moments. And predictable moments. And the ending is pat and sentimental, and has it all ways, but her energy whizzes you past all that. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
Overboard (1987) Hilary Mantel God bless us all. And send us better films next week. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Talk Radio (1988) Hilary Mantel Yet despite its faults this is a strikingly intelligent film, which keeps its chilly grip to the end. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Au Revoir, les enfants (1987) Hilary Mantel Without portentousness or pretension, it achieves genuine tragic depth. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
The Dawning (1988) Hilary Mantel Decorous direction and a stately pace render it indistinguishable from all those other films where sweet gels in pretty frocks take tea in the garden. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Mama, There's a Man in Your Bed (1989) Hilary Mantel You do not have to believe in the ending, you simply have to hope that it could be so; this is a shrewd fairy-tale, aware of the transforming power of money as well as the transforming power of love. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Strapless (1989) Hilary Mantel Indeed, the film's inadequacy lies in its failure to interweave its different themes. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Slate, Wyn & Me (1987) Hilary Mantel The film looks good, but continually disappoints, working against itself for much of the time. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Colors (1988) Hilary Mantel Colors is - almost incidentally a riveting and skilful piece of work, but it is made with an integrity and seriousness of purpose which will be confusing to some of the audiences it may attract. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Business as Usual (1987) Hilary Mantel Above all, the film suffers from a fatal lack of tension. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Born on the Fourth of July (1989) Hilary Mantel As Kovic, Tom Cruise gives a performance that is adroit, moving and mature. The devices of fiction illuminate fact, but the film gains in power because we know that it is telling a true story. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Maurice (1987) Hilary Mantel It is difficult to sympathise with [Maurice], however dire his predicament. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
The Stepfather (1987) Hilary Mantel There is not much original here; but it is a neat idea to have the myth of Mom and apple pie subverted by its own successes. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) Hilary Mantel It is not an unintelligent film; but it is prone to caricature and to queasy decorative touches; the magic is the icing on the cake. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
The War of the Roses (1989) Hilary Mantel DeVito's sprightly, slightly skewed approach can both surprise and please. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
() Hilary Mantel The man [lain Glen] portrays has charm. The rest of the film works against his portrait. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Prick Up Your Ears (1987) Hilary Mantel Alan Bennett's script is Ortonesque, but without the theatrical extravagance; it suits the cinema, in other words, and it is witty, acute and economical. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Anna (1987) Hilary Mantel Anna is a traditional, even predictable tale, but thoughtful direction, solid performances and snippets of originality make it into almost a very good film. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Burning Secret (1988) Hilary Mantel The chief culprit, though, is Faye Dun away, who looks pained throughout. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
Joyriders (1989) Hilary Mantel If Aisling Walsh can preserve its strange virtues into her next feature, she will be a director to watch. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Resurrected (1988) Hilary Mantel There are good performances from David Thewlis as Deakin, and from Rita Tushingham and Tom Bell as his parents. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
The Commissar (Komissar) (1988) Hilary Mantel But at times, thanks largely to the performance of Nonna Mordyukova as Clavdia, [director Alexander Askoldov] achieves a stunning economy of effect. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Longtime Companion (1990) Hilary Mantel Typically, we enter a scene a moment too early and leave it a moment too late, while the camera lingers over-long on faces expressing the obvious emotion. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Wild Orchid (1989) Hilary Mantel No connoisseur of the preposterous should miss it. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Steel Magnolias (1989) Hilary Mantel In the Robert Harling play from which is it adapted, the events take place entirely in the town's beauty parlour, and director Herbert Russ has opened the action out quite successfully. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Far North (1988) Hilary Mantel Sam Shepard is a talented actor and writer, but his directorial debut is a disappointment. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019
Cinema Paradiso (1988) Hilary Mantel Giuseppe Tornatore's film is a charming and gently humorous work of semi-autobiography, composed with an attentive painter's eye and a cinematic cross- referencing of images and motifs. EDIT
Posted Apr 9, 2019