Robert Roten

Robert Roten
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
After graduating from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree, I wrote for several newspapers in Oregon, Michigan and Wyoming, writing news stories, columns, editorials and movie reviews. I started my movie review web page in 1996. I retired from newspapers in 2000, but continue to write reviews online. I was elected president of the Laramie Film Society in 2000 and continue to serve in that capacity. I am also the webmaster for the Laramie Astronomical Society and Space Observers (LASSO: www.lariat.org/LASSO/index.html).
Favorites:
Favorite Movies: Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove, Tootsie, Groundhod Day, Citizen Kane
Publications: Laramie Movie Scope
Critics' Group: Online Film Critics Society
Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B+ 92% Dark Waters (2019) The greatest achievement of the film, however, is not a recitation of facts and the mere telling of a story about chemical dumping, it is how this tragedy is put in human terms - the human cost of all those people exposed to these chemicals. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
B 89% Missing Link (2019) This movie has the distinctive Laika style, but the characters are not as ugly as previous Laika characters in ParaNorman, or The Boxtrolls. It is funny and easy-going. There is a moral to the story, which comes to a satisfactory conclusion. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2019
A 97% Knives Out (2019) Seldom have I seen a murder mystery this well written, directed and acted. It has it all, a big, dysfunctional family all with motives for murder, a big, creepy house with a secret door, a big knife collection, witty dialog and dark humor. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2019
A 98% The Cave (2019) In the midst of this brutal war, the compassion and bravery of those working at this underground hospital is inspiring. They are true heroes. This is a very powerful film, made by a very brave and compassionate film crew. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
B 79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) This oil-and-water mix of comedy and drama works, but the sudden contrast between whimsical romantic comedy and the horrors of war can sometimes be jarring. Waititi has a gift for absurdist comedy, but the fantasy scenes seem intrusive at times. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
B 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) This is an effective and moving film with very strong performances. If you were expecting this film to be about Fred Rogers, it isn't. He's there, and he is an important character, but the movie is more about the magazine writer, Lloyd Vogel. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
A 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) The races are exciting, with close finishes, spinouts, crashes and fires. The acting is excellent, with Damon and Bale turning in some of their best-ever performances. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2019
C+ 68% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) This movie is over plotted, but the characters are engaging, and that makes them worth following. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
D 91% The Lighthouse (2019) Like many others, I am fascinated by lighthouses and their construction, especially those equipped with large Fresnel lenses which are things of beauty. This movie kind of spoiled all that for me. It is a boring and unpleasant movie to sit through. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
B 94% Western Stars (2019) Each song is performed live in the film, and each song is set up with a short video narrated by Springsteen explaining the inspiration for each song. This movie is as much about Springsteen the man, as it is about Springsteen, the performer. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
B 73% Harriet (2019) This movie is a powerful portrait of a remarkable woman. It also highlights the dangers faced by slaves trying to escape to freedom. It provides an inspirational representation of Harriet Tubman and the times she lived in. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
B 70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) This is an effective action movie, one of the better films in the series, but I don't know what you'd get out of it if you haven't seen some of the other relevant Terminator films. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
B 59% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) I was not expecting much from this movie, but it turns out to be a surprisingly good animated comedy. It will probably make my top 10 list for the year's best animated films. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2019
B 93% Us (2019) As far as horror movies go, and they don't go very far, this is one of the good ones. Jordan Peele has once again shown his mastery as a filmmaker, and the actors are excellent in their dual roles. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2019
B 83% Judy (2019) Renée Zellweger gives a knockout performance as a beleaguered Judy Garland in the last months of her life in this dramatic and affecting musical biopic. Zellweger also sings Garland's songs with dramatic flair. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2019
B 26% Gemini Man (2019) As a technical achievement, the film is impressive. Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe captures the action very well. Overall, this is a good action film with some interesting characters. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 20, 2019
C+ 69% Joker (2019) The psychological journey of Arthur Fleck is interesting, but overall, I found this movie quite slow moving and predictable, despite a powerful performance by Phoenix. There is one surprise near the end, though. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
B 84% Ad Astra (2019) Brad Pitt gives a great performance in this film. Don't be surprised if he gets some acting nominations later this year and early in 2020. This movie is almost a one-man show, and Pitt carries it off nicely. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
B 88% Hustlers (2019) Raunchiness aside, this is an entertaining film with captivating characters, especially Destiny and Ramona. Their complex relationship at the heart of this story is compelling. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
B 99% The Farewell (2019) Awkwafina gives an outstanding performance in this film, along with the rest of the cast in this low key Chinese family drama. The drama is also lightened with some comedy. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
C+ 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) This is a big, dumb, but entertaining action movie with some humor and some family relationships. It works well enough as an action movie, but it needed more character development and a smarter script to get to the next level. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
B 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Aside from slow pace of the movie, and the occasional long-winded speech, this is a movie that is fun to watch, mainly because of the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio (great performance) and because of the film's satisfying ending. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2019
C+ 57% Aladdin (2019) The music is very good, and it features a couple of actors who can really sing those memorable songs well. Aladdin has exceptional music because most of its songs were written at a time when Walt Disney Pictures had some exceptional musical talent. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
B+ 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Pixar has not only brought the saga of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the toys back again, they've renewed the saga with style and heart, while keeping it from going stale. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
B 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) This coming-of-age story built around the reluctant hero, Peter Parker, works very well, partly because Tom Holland does a great job projecting doubt and vulnerability. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
B 89% Rocketman (2019) Drugs, alcohol, sex, corrupt management, we've seen this all before, right? Not like this, we haven't. This musical biographical film about the early life of pop music star Elton John is presented in a highly imaginative way. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
B 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) One Avengers movie to bind them, and in the darkness rule them all. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
B 90% Shazam! (2019) The way the movie switches quickly back and forth between adult and child themes, comedy and horror, is a bit disconcerting, but it worked for me. I am not sure how well it would go over with young children. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
C+ 47% Dumbo (2019) This movie is entertaining enough, particularly for children and families, for me to recommend it, but the plot is pretty weak. Visually, it looks great (this is, after all, a Tim Burton film) and the baby elephant is very cute. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
B 78% Captain Marvel (2019) This is a new kind of female superhero, one who is fully comfortable in her own skin -- a funny, casual, wise cracking, cocky superhero. She's not overly serious, stiff, formal, or straining under destiny's weight. Instead, she's just fun to watch. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2019
B No Score Yet The Resistance Banker (Bankier van het Verzet) (2018) This is a better than average historical war drama with good performances. This Dutch language film is a well told story worth knowing about little-known heroes of World War II. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Without those references at the film's end to the real Knight Family, I would have sworn this is a made-up story. Probably some of it is made up, but the real story behind this movie seems amazing to me. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B 90% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) There aren't too many feature length animated trilogies, perhaps none as good as this one. Dreamworks animation has done it, capped off a trilogy of 'How to Train Your Dragon' movies with a fitting final chapter of high quality. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
B+ 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Lee Israel and Jack Hock come across as scoundrels that we have some sympathy for. They are crooks, but their victims are, for the most part, not entirely innocent either. This film walks that narrow path between these sympathies very adroitly. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
A 94% Blindspotting (2018) This is a powerful, well-acted film with memorable characters. Director Carlos López Estrada makes good use of imagery, poetry, drama and humor to illustrate what it is like to live as a troubled black man in a racially divided city. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 24, 2019
B 82% Quincy (2018) This documentary gives a vivid, intimate portrait of Quincy Jones, as well as some people close to him. This is an enlightening and well-constructed documentary about an amazing man. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
B 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) The movie uses lots of cultural references and jokes which appeal to a very wide age group. It is a movie suitable for the whole family. It is funny, the characters are interesting, and it has a nice positive message. What's not to like? - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
C+ 61% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) I liked the main character, even though she is pretty sketchy, and I like Ido, too. I think these characters are strong enough to keep the series going, but I'd like to see an Alita movie that is better able to stand on its own. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
C 82% Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) For a filmmaker with a reputation for humor, this film is not funny. It is all doom and gloom. It seems to me this film aged very quickly during the November 6, 2018 elections, which yielded a result at odds with Moore's overly pessimistic thesis. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
B 89% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) This is a fun fantasy adventure suitable for families, and there aren't many of this quality made these days. It is amusing and enjoyable. The characters are engaging and there is plenty of action. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
B 91% The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) A tour de force performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal and a fine effort by writer-director Sara Colangelo. It is a haunting portrait of a woman seeking love and recognition in ways that are increasingly disconnected from reality. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) I enjoyed most of these stories, except for 'Meal Ticket,' which seems pretty tasteless to me. You have to accept death along with humor in most Coen brothers movies, and you get multiple doses of death in this movie. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 94% Private Life (2018) This is a very well acted movie. It is a good, solid story with well-drawn characters. It isn't a great story, but I was on board, through the unevenness of it, up until the end. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 80% A Twelve-Year Night (La noche de 12 años) (2018) This is a well-acted film and the director, Álvaro Brechner ('Bad Day to Go Fishing') does a fine job of showing us how it feels to be imprisoned. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C 70% Roxanne Roxanne (2018) This movie is well acted, but it does seem to operate on a single, rather depressing note throughout. It would have helped if there was more of an emotional story arc to it. It ends not far emotionally from where it starts. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 86% The Land of Steady Habits (2018) I like this movie. It is dark, but it also has a lot of humor in it. It also has the benefit of having characters capable of a bit of very unlikely redemption. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 80% 22 July (2018) This depiction of a terrorist attack is straightforward, matter-of-fact and unambiguous. The contrast between the weak, lone, angry killer, and the steady, strong, supportive unity of those oppose him is clear. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C 61% Vox Lux (2018) This movie is certainly an ideal vehicle for Natalie Portman to show off her acting, singing and dancing talents, but beyond that, it doesn't seem to amount to much. The sum of its parts seem to add up to less of a whole than it should. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
B 85% The Wife (2018) A well-constructed movie by director Björn L Runge. The performances are excellent. The screenplay and actors create a couple of complex characters in Joe and Joan, in a complicated relationship. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019
C+ 71% Hold the Dark (2018) I found the story fairly involving, even though it did not make much sense to me. It has a fine sense of place, and there is a lot of suspense because the murders seem so random and sudden you don't know who is going to die next. - Laramie Movie Scope EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2019