The Arts Desk

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
5/5 () Joe Muggs Such a well constructed film that it almost works as a piece of music in its own right, the bass lines interweaving with endless bravura Jamaican anecdotalising to create a steady, intoxicating flow of impressions and events. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2019
3/5 Gemini Man (2019) Nick Hasted The combination of a fine director, untried technology, clunky script and relaxed cast make Gemini Man a very odd film indeed. The more Lee tries to fit in, the further out he gets. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
3/5 () Adam Sweeting [A] caustic and often hilarious satire targeted at exploitative businessmen and dim, avaricious celebrities. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
3/5 The Aeronauts (2019) Adam Sweeting File under "entertaining and family-friendly". EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
3/5 Ford v Ferrari (2019) Adam Sweeting We've seen compelling racing sequences before, but Mangold has captured a dynamic, ground-level gutsiness which lets you feel every bump jarring your tailbone. It's half an hour too long, though. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
2/5 The Day Shall Come (2019) Demetrios Matheou It's telling that such a seasoned comedienne as Anna Kendrick looks desperately ill at ease. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2019
4/5 American Woman (2018) Adam Sweeting It's a revelation to see the way Miller is always up to the task. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
5/5 Marriage Story (2019) Demetrios Matheou The actors tackle massive monologues, one truly volcanic row and the silent shorthand of a years-long bond with beautifully naturalistic performances. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 The King (2019) Adam Sweeting [I]t succeeds in converting the Bard's fabled Henriad into a powerfully cinematic experience liberated from any vestiges of staginess, and finds room for some strong performances, not least Robert Pattinson's hilariously bitchy Dauphin. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2019
3/5 Good Posture (2019) Nick Hasted It's affectionately told from inside its particular world, admitting absurdities but essentially forgiving. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2019
4/5 Werewolf (Wilkolak) (2018) Saskia Baron Panek treads a thin line between historical realism and horror movie tropes. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2019
4/5 Judy (2019) Matt Wolf Zellweger finds the amalgam of fragility and fury that drove Judy Garland for as long as was possible. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
5/5 Joker (2019) Demetrios Matheou Starring a phenomenal Joaquin Phoenix, it's seriously themed, brilliantly executed and quite extraordinary. EDIT
Posted Oct 3, 2019
4/5 The Last Tree (2019) Graham Fuller The Last Tree is an advance on Amoo's gentrification film A Moving Image (2016) and announces him as an important British director - one whose work demands a multicultural audience. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2019
() Demetrios Matheou Director David Zonana offers a highly original provocation, which looks at the injustice of the class divide with a cool, satirical eye. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2019
Tremors (Temblores) (2019) Demetrios Matheou Bustamante offers a vibrant portrait of Guatemala City's street life, its bars, fast food joints and gay clubs, alongside a colder depiction of the stuffy, repressed and repressive domains of the monied elite and their evangelical partners in intolerance. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2019
Monos (2019) Demetrios Matheou Eliciting compelling, persuasive performances from both Nicholson and her young co-stars, Landes creates a grippingly immersive drama... EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2019
() Demetrios Matheou It's a quietly powerful drama, unusually devoid of actual violence given the genre, instead revealing the myriad psychological effects of drug and gang culture on individuals and founded on the touching bond that develops between Jaca and Tati. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2019
2/5 The Goldfinch (2019) Joseph Walsh The overall effect is akin to the porcelain mannequins in a store window at Christmas - pretty, but devoid of emotion. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2019
3/5 Hotel Mumbai (2018) Demetrios Matheou The film would have benefitted from more context and less savagery, but there's no denying its accomplishment as a heart-in-mouth drama that never loses its grip, nor its ability to disturb and move in equal measure. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2019
2/5 The Laundromat (2019) Demetrios Matheou Even when playing ordinary, Streep commands the screen completely... without her, Soderbergh's fragile edifice crumbles. EDIT
Posted Sep 26, 2019
5/5 () Adam Sweeting Engle told the story with cool and faintly ironic elegance, counterpointing interviews and actualité segments with smartly-paced music and dreamy archive material. EDIT
Posted Sep 24, 2019
5/5 Proxima (2019) Demetrios Matheou Written and directed by France's Alice Winocour and with Eva Green giving an Oscar-worthy performance in the lead, this makes an intriguing companion piece to the recent, also excellent Ad Astra. EDIT
Posted Sep 24, 2019
4/5 The Farewell (2019) Nick Hasted The play between suppression and sentimentality is as engrossing as that between East and West. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
5/5 Ad Astra (2019) Demetrios Matheou While the space travel aesthetic is one of unfussy functionality, its cinematography is sublime. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
3/5 The Kitchen (2019) Demetrios Matheou Berloff, who was Oscar nominated for her screenplay of the 2015 gangsta rap biopic Straight Outta Compton, doesn't tighten the drama as well she might - the plotting is shot full of holes - but does elicit excellent performances from her stars. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
5/5 For Sama (2019) Graham Fuller It's a film that makes all entertainment movies seem beside the point, and a film that shames the West and the UN security council for letting Assad wage war against his people, as if he were another Stalin. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2019
3/5 Le choc du futur (2019) Owen Richards It's clearly written by someone who knows more about programming than plotting. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2019
3/5 Phoenix (Føniks) (2018) Markie Robson-Scott Perhaps Henriksen is too close to her subject matter in this directorial debut, but its power and promise are undeniable. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2019
3/5 Hustlers (2019) Nick Hasted Lopez's tough carapace, of a piece with her broad New York accent, defines a steely performance. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
3/5 Downton Abbey (2019) Demetrios Matheou It's a long way from the film that put Fellowes on the map as a writer. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
4/5 () Adam Sweeting Harvie had done a skillful and empathetic job in getting her subjects to talk so freely... EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
4/5 The Shiny Shrimps (Les Crevettes pailletées) (2019) Owen Richards Though it follows your typical obscure sports underdog story, the layered characters and unflinching topics make the Shrimps a surprise package. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2019
2/5 It: Chapter Two (2019) Demetrios Matheou Despite the starry cast, these older versions are nowhere near as engaging as the kids. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2019
3/5 A Million Little Pieces (2018) Nick Hasted This close character study in an extreme social setting shuns exploitation, but lacks compensatory power of its own. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2019
3/5 Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) Saskia Baron When Memory: the Origins of Alien focuses on... arcana, it's a treat, but there's not quite enough of it to make up for the acreage of interviews with the superfans. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2019
5/5 The Souvenir (2019) Graham Fuller Hogg's movie almost forces the viewer to relive that shattering early romance, founded on collusion and self-delusion, that reordered her or his universe for all time. EDIT
Posted Aug 29, 2019
The Informer (2020) Nick Hasted The fine cast keep busily working, in a film that's rarely worth it. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/5 () Markie Robson-Scott Haffenden's approach, apart from the occasional clicker, which is more for novelty value than anything, is uncontroversial. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
3/5 L'homme fidèle (2018) Owen Richards What the film does best is play with genre conventions. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
4/5 () Rachel Halliburton Like all the best documentaries, it left us with the desire to know more... EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
3/5 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Nick Hasted An atmospheric world surrounds thoughtful but half-hearted horrors. As The Shape of Water also suggested, del Toro is sometimes too soft-hearted to equal the horror traditions he loves. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
4/5 Hail Satan? (2019) Joseph Walsh Lane is serious about giving the group a voice, highlighting the hypocrisy of religious attitudes in America. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
4/5 () Sebastian Scotney A fascinating aspect is the presence of considered and authentic voices assessing their own pasts. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2019
4/5 Dolor y gloria (2019) Nick Hasted This auteur on the verge of a nervous breakdown is his masterfully understated summation of how it feels to outlive your notoriety, health and maybe times, and still make art from the memories. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
3/5 () Liz Thomson The most poignant stories came from the unsung rescuer who brought the young bodies ashore at Mullaghmore; the passing photographer who captured the scenes at Warrenpoint...And Mary, Paul's still-grieving but proud mother. EDIT
Posted Aug 20, 2019
5/5 Transit (2018) Saskia Baron [T]his is a wholly original take on the Holocaust genre. EDIT
Posted Aug 19, 2019
4/5 Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) Demetrios Matheou [It] isn't the masterpiece that some are claiming; it's too rambling, self-indulgent and - despite a typically grand guignol ending - anti-climactic for that. But it is an evocative and entertaining paean to the Los Angeles of the filmmaker's youth. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
3/5 Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy (2018) Markie Robson-Scott This is Knoop's side of the story, set in San Francisco, but it's so intricately tied up with Albert's that the end result is not completely satisfying - and you feel that another documentary would have been a better vehicle for this extraordinary story. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2019
3/5 Playmobil: The Movie (2019) Nick Hasted Playmobil is a breezy B-movie in a genre aspiring to Mad comic satire and grand opera. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2019