movie film review | chris tookey

Jason Solomons


Mail on Sunday, Observer, UK


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Gummo (1997)
5 stars!
 Obnoxious... Hell-bent on grossing viewers out, Korine as good as grins as he stages nihilistic scenes in a splattery melange of visual styles (cats are killed, feral children disconnect a comatose old woman from her respirator, etc.). And from this we learn ... what? That art isn't pretty? That Super 8 and video stock can look cool? That kids say the darnedest things?
  (Entertainment Weekly)
 If not the single worst film of the decade, at least the worst of the year - and I saw Tarzan and the Lost City... What's the point? There is none except to say that the creator of Kids can show off how shocking he can be. Stupid, idiotic, and offensive - but only because it's such a waste of time.
  (Christopher Null,
 Kids of a certain age like to shock. As some grow up, they achieve the art to go with it. Not, on this evidence, Harmony Korine… [His film aims] to incite the squalid imaginings of people who will patronise a film like Gummo: generally the self-advertising ‘cool’ types, the cheerleaders for a film like Crash, and the Sight and Sound crowd of provincial academics whose relationship to the films they review in that journal is akin to indiscriminate tree-huggers.
  (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
 Plotless, clueless, mind-numbingly awful.
  (Leonard Maltin, Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, 2004)
 Inept, chaotic, mean-sprited jumble of images by the the 23 year-old who wrote Kids. Awful stuff. Even more awful was the pseudo-intellectual drivel written about it by those who should have known better.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Outlaw (2007)
Nick Love just gets better and better.
 More yobbery with violence… Love’s new effort is his sleaziest yet. Laughably, it has pretensions to being an indictment of Blair’s Britain for letting the police become lazy and corrupt, and criminals get away with murder, but don’t expect social analysis or topical insight. It’s more of an inchoate cry of masculine rage, a sort of Fight Club for morons.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 Outlaw commits an unforgivable offense. It makes the vigilante genre boring.
 (Christian Toto, Washington Times)
 The characters never convince and it spirals into plain silliness.
 (Mark Adams, Sunday Mirror)
 What were the capable cast thinking?
 (Ben Walters, Time Out)
 I can only say I found it ugly, naive, and deeply unpleasant: crime-revenge-porn without any style or wit or convincing narrative: another parade of white-geezer cockney crime chic
 (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
Cassandra's Dream (2008)
Brilliant and intriguing. Superb.
 Feels like one of Allen's laziest pieces of writing and direction, leaden with heavy metaphor and characters who rarely make it beyond the archetype - marionettes in a miserabilist puppet theater.
 (Scott Foundas, Village Voice)
 There's not a believable character, nor line of convincing dialogue to be found.
 (Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)
 Allen's latest, his 42nd effort as a director, is the work of an artist devoid of ideas and energy.
 (Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun)
 As writer, Allen offers lazy plotting, poor characterization, dull scenes and flat dialogue.
 (Ray Bennett, Hollywood Reporter)
 An exasperating experience for those of us who used to rate him the best writer-director on earth. It is depressing to see someone’s talent desert him so completely.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
The Limits of Control (2009)
It gradually achieves a delightful Zen-like quality that is so rare in frenetic modern cinema. There is, I think, as subtle political allegory at work, too, one that only becomes evident when the hitman’s target is revealed in the final scenes.
 This is an empty, boring sedative by Jim Jarmusch, a writer-director with not enough talent to be either.
 (Rex Reed, New York Observer)
 Jarmusch has taken the idea of a caper, drained it of plot, action and suspense, and set it against an absurdist background, where every symbol, person and incident should convey meaning but doesn't.
 (Dan Zak, Washington Post)
 Folly of the most pretentious order.
 (Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine)
 A conceited wankfest that tests the limits of the audience’s control to stay awake and in their seats.
 (Erik Childress,
 A dull thriller and a humourless comedy, the sort of colossally self-indulgent and boring film that only a successful and revered film-maker could make - or be allowed to make.
 (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 Torture by tedium… This may well be the most longwinded, boring and pretentious film ever made.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Film Socialisme (2010)
The freshest, coolest thing I saw [at Cannes], bursting with a new wave of anger and vitality.
 An inarticulate bestiary of bullshittery.
 (Cole Smithey,
 Incomprehensible, incoherent and intolerable – 97 minutes of an old man wanking. It’s the sort of movie Godard’s critics accuse him of making all the time, an empty, self-indulgent polemic.
 (Norman Wilner,
 This film is an affront. It is incoherent, maddening, deliberately opaque and heedless of the ways in which people watch movies.
 (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
 Consign the filmmaker to history, and his film to the bin.
 (Matt Bochenski, Little White Lies)
 Unwatchable drivel, veteran Franco-Swiss auteur Jean Luc Godard’s most unwatchable film yet… These are the senescent ramblings of a clapped-out poseur.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Anuvahood (2011)
It’s sharp and funny... The humour lies in the patter of the street language and the unflagging energy of the direction, as well as a complete lack of social messages.
 The know-your-limits message clearly went unheeded by all involved in making the film.
 (Alistair Harkness, Scotsman)
 The characters' non-stop chatter, much of which is shouted at top volume, wears us out within the first five minutes.
 (Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall)
 Sadly, there's little to like here with the comedy plain unfunny and the violence jarring with the satirical tone.
 (David Edwards, Daily Mirror)
 Let's just hope there's not anuva.
 (Tim Evans, Sky Movies)
 Hopelessly broad and almost continually annoying, it's a film that it's hard to imagine even the target audience warming to. It's really just a torrent of age-old gags and clumsy, pointless situations dressed up with street slang. At least they didn't appear to have wasted much money on this, which is one of the few plus points.
 (Phelim O’Neill, Guardian)
 A embarrassingly inept British attempt to spoof black “street” culture… The bottom line is that, if you’re going to satirise arrogant swagger, thoughtless crudity and moronic stereotyping, it isn’t a good idea to exemplify all those faults in your own movie.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
The Duplex(2004)
It keeps you morbidly entertained right up to the neat, final twist.
Che: Part One (2008)
Del Toro is magnificent... Guevara and Castro’s hairy, sweat-soaked rebels overthrew President Baptista on New Year’s Day fifty years ago this week, so the film can be seen as a timely celebration.
The Scouting Book for Boys (2010)
Exhilarating... a twisted Romeo and Juliet for the Skins generation.
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