The Spectator

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
The Day Shall Come (2019) Deborah Ross It is funny, fitfully, but it asks us to laugh at someone I wasn't sure we should be laughing at, plus it is repetitive and acts like we didn't get the joke the first time, when we did. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Judy (2019) Deborah Ross Zellweger captures Garland's jittery, broken-bird fragility (if not the singing voice) and I was often on the edge of my seat. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
Joker (2019) Deborah Ross A masterpiece, or irresponsible trash? You decide. Or just step away, and spare yourself the grief. That's probably for the best. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
The Goldfinch (2019) Deborah Ross It is, indeed, beautiful to look at, but it's not layered or textured or meaningful and it plays like a tiresome, empty blockbuster that goes on and on and on. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2019
The Farewell (2019) Deborah Ross There are no grand declarations or tear-stained confrontations, as it's not Downton, mercifully. And if you think grandma knows the truth and is fooling everybody else, you will need to think again, as it's just not clichéd in this way. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Downton Abbey (2019) Deborah Ross It's critic-proof and the fans will race to see it even though it is, in truth, extremely predictable as well as extremely dull. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Graham Greene It is a great film, even though it is not a great story, acted by a magnificent cast, so that Capra can afford to fling away on tiny parts men like Eugene Pallette, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell and Harry Carey. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
Each Dawn I Die (1939) Graham Greene The picture goes out in a blast of bombs and bullets: odd that it leaves so little impression behind. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
Never Say Die (1939) Graham Greene But the most enjoyable film for weeks has slipped by un- noticed among the heroic and romantic. Never Say Die is consistently absurd... EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
Kentucky (1938) Graham Greene Kentucky is the first film I have seen which has been made by its colour. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
The Dawn Patrol (1938) Graham Greene It is quite a good picture, well-directed and in some cases well-acted, but I don't believe it's true-a great deal of self- pity and romanticism have gone to the making of this excellent ham-sandwich. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
Idiot's Delight (1939) Graham Greene Over-acting could hardly go further... EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
21 Days Together (1939) Graham Greene The brilliant acting of Mr. Hay Petrie as a decayed and outcast curate cannot conquer the overpowering flavour of cooked ham. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
The Stars Look Down (1939) Graham Greene Since this is the story of a mine disaster his work will inevitably be compared with Pabst's in Kameradschaft : he can bear the comparison. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
Scarborough (2018) Deborah Ross It is well directed and it is well performed and while certain plot points don't add up... there is a neat twist at the end that you absolutely don't see coming. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2019
The Souvenir (2019) Deborah Ross Julie unfolds slowly, as does the film, and sometimes conversations start, stutter, stall, go nowhere. But the leads are both sensational and it's not paint drying, whatever anyone may say. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2019
Dolor y gloria (2019) Deborah Ross Pain and Glory, is wonderfully restrained and all the better for it EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2019
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) Deborah Ross I can't say what this adds up to. I can only say I was never bored and while the ending - brace yourself - has proved divisive. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2019
Blinded by the Light (2019) Jasper Rees However familiar they may be, it's in these clashes, when everyone stops fixating on Springsteen, that the film feels most visceral and authentic. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2019
The Blue Angel (1930) Edgar Anstey There can be few moments in the cinema more truly horrible than the scene when the ruined professor shambles on to the stage of the disreputable tavern. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2019
Photograph (2019) Deborah Ross There are some nice touches, and the bustle of Mumbai is always fascinating, and the performances are good all-round, but whatever Batra hoped this would add up to it doesn't. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2019
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019) Deborah Ross Really, it is hard to fathom what the point of this is beyond, say, noting that the Hydra survivors have aged quite badly so, kids, stay out the sun. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2019
() Iris Barry Lincoln's life and his character... are on the heroic scale, and this film has excellently recreated both; but more than that, it has an unaffected simplicity and naturalness very much more powerful than any mock-romance. EDIT
Posted Jul 23, 2019
Mons (1926) Iris Barry Mons is a picture in a thousand, one which each single individual should see. It is a purge for apathy and forgetfulness as well as an inspiration. EDIT
Posted Jul 23, 2019
Les aventures extraordinaires de Michel Strogoff (2004) Iris Barry This spectacular film from France, with its surging mobs and bloodthirsty incidents, leaves one with a rather mixed impression. It is not a good film, but it is a little enjoyable. EDIT
Posted Jul 23, 2019
The Big Sleep (1946) Basil Wright It is brilliantly directed and photographed. It moves with breathless speed. The acting is admirable. The dialogue (Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner are among those credited) is of an unusually high level of humour and crispness. EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2019
L'Atalante (1934) Basil Wright Again, and unrepentantly, I call attention to the purity of Vigo's filmic conception, to his genius for presenting the world to us in subjective terms, in terms of the secret and not the public life of the human being. EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2019
The Lion King (2019) Deborah Ross You'll want to pluck Simba from the screen and give him a cuddle. EDIT
Posted Jul 18, 2019
Black Eyes (1940) Graham Greene Baur, too, is a great enough actor to lend what might otherwise seem a somewhat grotesque situation genuine suspense... EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) Graham Greene There is no doubt any longer of Miss Durbin's immense talents as an actress ; any undertones that there are in this amusing, astute and sentimental tale are supplied by her. EDIT
Posted Jul 16, 2019
Les Biches (1968) Penelope Houston The whole film has a sleek, well-fed look to it, as though Chabrol himself were purring with satisfaction at his own dexterity. As well, on the whole, he might. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
The Red and the White (1967) Penelope Houston After only a couple of films, the landscape of Miklos Jancso is already one of the most unmistakable in cinema. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
The Queen (1968) Penelope Houston The competition itself is decorous and dull. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
Wonderwall (1969) Penelope Houston Self-indulgent whimsy, with not a great deal to be self-indulgent about. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
The Brink (2019) Deborah Ross Klayman is not sympathetic to Bannon. That is obvious. But by slavishly following him from one meeting to another she has not only made a fairly dull and repetitive film, but is also serving the ideological machine and feeding the beast. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
() Iris Barry Had it been called anything else it would have seemed a faintly more interesting melodrama than usual on the often reiterated seduction theme. But that it should pretend to be a version of Thomas Hardy's novel is monstrous. EDIT
Posted Jul 11, 2019
Dante's Inferno (1924) Iris Barry Now that a powerful American producer, Mr. Fox, has attempted to film the Inferno, we can only sympathize with his crude if sincere desire to give something more dignified to the picture-theatres than their usual fare, and acknowledge that he has failed. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
() Iris Barry The Lover of Camille, intended to be a distinctive film, lacks even the constructive skill in which America has no rivals. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969) Robert Cushman The question of whether or not Heironymus will get over the Humppe never becomes pressing. Nor does anything else; bets can seldom have been so consistently hedged. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
Midsommar (2019) Deborah Ross There are horrors, but this is still a good horror film for those who don't like horror films as it's as much about the disturbing, menacing rhythm. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2019
Ben-Hur (1925) Iris Barry There is a real poetry of size and opulence in the film. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
() Iris Barry A picture which is so packed with visual beauty that one needs to see it several times fully to appreciate its perfection. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
() Iris Barry It can sincerely be said that it is infinitely brighter and better than the average of our native pictures. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
Variety (1925) Iris Barry A grim drama in the life of a troupe of acrobats, it is incomparably acted by Emil Jannings. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
The Black Pirate (1926) Iris Barry Each new Douglas Fairbanks seems better than the last. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
() Iris Barry The Salvation Hunters is an honest thing ; and if it rouses the critical faculties that is a good sign, a proof that the man who made it aimed high, aimed above pleasing the public by drugging it. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
() Iris Barry There is little enough amusement of any other kind, save what is supplied by sub-titles taken from the veteran farce. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
Forbidden Paradise (1924) Iris Barry Too often the cinema presents us with a picture of attractive moral laxity, and tags a text at the end. There is no text to Forbidden Paradise, nor was any necessary, for the laxity it shows is not attractive, though depicted with fine wit. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
The Miracle Of The Wolves (1924) Iris Barry The Miracle of the Wolves is sound rather than astonishing, though the Louis XL of M. Dullin is superb. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019
The Epic of Everest (1924) Iris Barry To my mind the great merit of this film is its almost abstract beauty and its direct satisfaction of a human need. It is not art, I know, but it sets an example to those who try to produce pictures which are. EDIT
Posted Jul 2, 2019