The Arts Desk

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 () India Lewis Perhaps the most enjoyable part of this documentary is seeing people whose lives are touched, informed, or are echoed by Eliot's writing. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2019
4/5 Meeting Gorbachev (2018) Tom Birchenough Herzog may usher his subject through a kind of swansong lifetime achievement testimony, but Meeting Gorbachev is also a film about the dying of the light... EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2019
3/5 The Aeronauts (2019) Joseph Walsh The action sequences will knock the wind from your lungs as the protagonists climb higher and higher. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
4/5 The Irishman (2019) Demetrios Matheou The fact that that so many Oldfellas can still muster the energy for an epic crime saga is, in itself, rather special. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
2/5 Midway (2019) Adam Sweeting This would have been a splendid wartime morale-booster 70-odd years ago, starring John Wayne or Errol Flynn. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
4/5 The Good Liar (2019) Nick Hasted Condon's repeated dipping of the grey pound in acid remains a bracing achievement. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
3/5 () Adam Sweeting Resembling an old outlaw who'd been dragged into town tied to the back of somebody's horse, Hall cast a caustic eye over the neurotic decades after World War Two. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2019
3/5 () Tom Baily These are fascinating stories...the show lets us briefly celebrate some great music. I hope that is what the artists always wanted. EDIT
Posted Nov 4, 2019
3/5 Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) Nick Hasted The gently funny interactions of a cast of awkward characters remain winningly truthful throughout. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2019
4/5 After the Wedding (2019) Owen Richards Director and writer Bart Freundlich lets the story breathe, trusting the actors to do the emotional heavy lifting. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
4/5 Sorry We Missed You (2019) Demetrios Matheou While so many filmmakers have gone soft in their dotage, at 83 Loach is as focussed and commanding as ever. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
3/5 Doctor Sleep (2019) Nick Hasted Flanagan offers a humane horror Kubrick was indifferent to. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
3/5 The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Nick Hasted If it doesn't all cohere, first-time actor Fails has a hurt soulfulness deeper than his surroundings. And if it is itself a touch gentrified, this matches its characters' aspirations beyond their social boxes, leaving a sweet and kindly aftertaste. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2019
4/5 Grâce à Dieu (2018) Tom Birchenough Ozon follows the experiences of his protagonists directly rather than through the prism of a journalistic investigation, making the film a far more resonant and complex drama. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2019
3/5 The Addams Family (2019) Joseph Walsh Will it have the timeless quality of the 90s versions? Unlikely. Yet, it's more treat than trick, even if it is Despicable Me in a vampire cape and a pair of devil horns shoved on its head. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2019
2/5 Black and Blue (2019) Adam Sweeting We shall eschew spoilers, but the narrative develops exactly as you'd expect, assisted by a few implausible coincidences. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
3/5 Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Demetrios Matheou The good news with Dark Fate is that Sarah Connor returns - now grey and growly, extremely bitter but just as kick-ass fantastic. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
2/5 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Joseph Walsh The plot is overstuffed and under-baked, trying desperately to kindle that spark of Disney magic, that never arrives. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2019
5/5 Double Lives (2018) Graham Fuller Though Assayas's dialogue is so sharp and is delivered so entertainingly by his actors that the subject never becomes dry, the characters' entangled love lives certainly help the pill go down... EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
4/5 Bad Education (2019) Adam Sweeting Having finally thrown off the lucrative but limiting Wolverine, Hugh Jackman is displaying the all-round skills of an actor of real stature. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
4/5 Official Secrets (2019) Demetrios Matheou [A] film that's gripping, righteous, relevant, moving - in short, a very, very good yarn that just happens to be true. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
1/5 The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Saskia Baron It's a step forward that the directors cast an actor with disabilities rather than getting a star to "crip up". But it's a long way from making a film which creates a complex, genuine three-dimensional portrait of life with Down's Syndrome. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
2/5 Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Tom Baily Double Tap direly needs a better script and funnier jokes. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2019
3/5 A Hidden Life (2019) Nick Hasted Malick adopts a meditative rhythm, and if he finally elevates Franz too far from regular humanity, risking saintly cliché, he lets us contemplate a rare hero. EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2019
5/5 The Irishman (2019) Nick Hasted Though this three-and-a-half hour film is among Scorsese's slowest, complete with silent, ruminative pauses, it feels steadily sure-footed, never flagging. EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2019
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