movie film review | chris tookey

Jonathan Ross


BBC/ Daily Mirror/ News of the World, UK


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Striptease (1996)
Funny and very watchable... Tremendous moments... I thoroughly recommend Striptease.
 While Showgirls was honestly sleazy, Striptease is tacky, pretentious - and boring. Trying to be a comedy, a morality tale and a titillating sideshow, Striptease fails on all counts.
  (Brian D. Johnson, Maclean's)
 Demi Moore can't dance… And in Striptease, she dances. A lot. Every time she does, the movie goes dead. Frankly, it's a little embarrassing watching Moore flash everything except her privates. Has any male movie star ever exposed so much of himself for so long in a film not intended for cineastes in raincoats? I don't think so. And if one ever has, I'm not sure I'd want to see it.
  (Leah Rozen, People Weekly)
 Muddled and dumbed-down adaptation of Carl Hiassen's bitingly funny book.
 (Dan Lybarger, Nitrate Online)
 As soporific as it is sleazy: one of the most unwatchable films ever produced by Hollywood.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Final Cut (1998)
Fresh and original... Unbelievably entertaining... Definitely worth watching.
 It's puerile rubbish, all too obviously semi-improvised by the participants, almost all of whom ill-advisedly play characters with the same names as themselves. This is one of those movies that appears to be inexplicable in rational terms. The most charitable interpretation is that those involved were so high, either on their own self-importance or on some of the substances sniffed so energetically during the film, that they forgot they were making it for anyone outside their immediate circle. Luckily for them, it's so horrendous that virtually no one else will see it.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
 One long and witless scene of gross laddish self-indulgence after another. They wanted to do a Mike Leigh and have ended up creating one long Jeremy Beadle wind-up. And what terrible acting, too!
  (Cosmo Landesmann, Sunday Times)
 Tiresome in the extreme.
  (Ian Nathan, Empire)
 The self-indulgence, arrogance and conceit is breathtaking. These are friends playing a particularly nasty game of charades and expecting the public to treat it as art.
  (The Wolf, Inside Out)
 A nasty, ugly, banal affair… These thespians are toxic.
  (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
Plunkett and Macleane (1999)
 This is an era - the mid-18th century - about which I know nothing, and yet I was constantly left with the impression that, compared with those who made the film, I’m practically a Ph.D.
  (Anne Billson, Sunday Telegraph)
 Was this film part of some new experiment to test the lower limits of audience expectation to see how little we would accept, and how much its makers could get away with? Talk about daylight robbery... It thumbs its nose at the conventions of period drama, but without the foggiest as to what to put it in their place.
  (Tom Shone, Sunday Times)
 Plunkett and Macleane? Plonky and profane, more like…The characters are one-dimensional, the situations cliched, unimaginative and implausible. Dismally dreary and increasingly annoying for its air of mindless self-congratulation, this is one of the most depressing experiences of the year –highway yobbery.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Essex Boys (2000)
Powerfully and acutely observant. It’s very good indeed.
 Terrible... The characters are so one-note nasty and the double-crossings so gratuitously convoluted that it’s hard to give a fig.
  (Anne Billson, Sunday Telegraph)
 This is the latest and most thuggish entry in the Brit Gangster cycle: aren't you feeling as bloodied and battered as most of the play-ers now look in this cycle of pornography? You can see cynical film-makers upping the violence quota with every ugly addition they make to the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels spawn... The violence is explicit and nauseating: worse even than the initial opener is the sight of another victim, who's already done an involuntary back-flip through a plate glass window, being dragged for yards along the asphalt by a reversing car. Rape is thrown in, too, lest repeated mutilation fails to titillate a jaded audience... We hear assurances, day in, day out, from the Home Office and Downing Street, that thuggishness will not be tolerated. Yet this yobs' film, squarely putting the accent of interest on little else but graphic thuggery, verbal and bodily abuse and cold-blooded murder, is being distributed up and down the country. True, such fiction may not incite filmgoers to imitate the gross or lethal acts it gloatingly depicts: but it, and a bloody torrent of others like it, help establish public intimidation, casual thuggery and calculated lawlessness as the expected norm of daily behaviour and life in Britain. Something's got to give: society simply can't stand the overdose of anti-social poison that this kind of entertainment is continuously injecting into its system.
  (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
 Yet another British gangster film which tries and fails to find entertainment value in vicious morons killing each other… The script is a rambling, incomprehensible affair with a neanderthal approach to women…Charlie Creed-Miles isn't remotely sympathetic as a youthful driver so morally blank that he's easily drawn into the criminal underworld represented by Sean Bean, ludicrously unscary as a psychotic villain and Tom Wilkinson, surprisingly dreadful as a middle-class gangster.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
The Way of the Gun (2000)
An instant classic... solid gold... the first great action picture of the year.
 Self-indulgent, excessive, overly personal and wears out its welcome sooner than the filmmaker had ever anticipated.
  (Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Sun)
 Comes off as just another needlessly dense, derivative, smug and depressing throwaway.
  (Edward Johnson-Ott, Nuvo Newsweekly )
 Incomprehensible and deeply annoying.
  (Mary F. Pols, Contra Costa Times)
 Rotten, pretentious movie full of minimalist dialogue and self-consciously arty cinematography.
  (Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle)
 McQuarrie succeeds only partly in his intention “to tell a story without compromise and to make the audience sympathise with bad people without ever apologising for their actions”. One doesn’t so much sympathise with Philippe and Del Toro as yearn for them to be run over by a 10-ton truck.
  (Anne Billson, Sunday Telegraph)
 An unintelligible sub-Tarantino gorefest… wrecked by a soporific pace, uniformly dislikeable characters operating in a moral vacuum, a plot so convoluted that it is not worth unravelling, and a juvenile taste for foul language and extreme violence.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Angelina rocks... This is a blast.
 Movies like Tomb Raider are designed only to part fools from their money.
  (Rob Blackwelder, Splicedwire)
 Sitting through Lara Croft: Tomb Raider had me wishing I'd brought a PlayStation to the theater because the entertainment sure wasn't on the screen.
  (Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews)
 The herald of a cold, heartless, soul-dead cinema for a numbed audience with no interest in human emotion, just a craving to have its synapses jolted.
  (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
 Sitting through the movie is like being made to watch someone else play a video game for one hour 44 minutes, with the volume set to eardrum-battering levels. This movie is, I fear, critic-proof and will probably make its money back - an interesting commentary on a culture that now routinely rewards image, saturation marketing and deception, rather than truthfulness, talent or any of the humane virtues, still less intelligence. By any standards other than commercial ones, this film is a dismal failure.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
High Heels and Low Lifes (2001)
A chick flick with balls. All the right ingredients of another hit - fantastic cast.
 As with most examples of so-called “girl power,” HHLL is the calculated product of stodgy middle-aged blokes, this ‘Mel and Kim’ (Smith, director and Fuller, scriptwriter, also responsible for SpiceWorld) reminding us that, for all his faults, Guy Ritchie knows how to a) write relatively ‘current’ dialogue, blending humour and tension where required and b) film the results with some consideration of visual flair.
  (Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge)
 A British comedy thriller lacking both jokes and suspense.
  (Philip French, Observer)
 A mess… Big laughs are noticeably absent. The actors frequently look as if they're enjoying themselves. That is more than can be said for the audience.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Ali G Indahouse (2002)
Do you know what? He's pulled it off. ****
 The movie doesn’t begin to work because the story’s pathetic and the gags are puerile.
  (The Wolf, Inside Out)
 Crass in all the wrong ways... This film needs to be longer, filthier and uncut. What's the point of Ali G if he doesn't go the whole way?... Most comedians sell out in their forties; Cohen's only 31. Good God, man, why the rush?
  (Caroline O'Sullivan, Independent)
 One of Britain’s most lauded young comedians has ended up on the same mental plane as some drearily controversial pub bore. Check out Ali’s views on female refugees: “We’ve got too many mingas. Why don’t we just let in all the fit refugees and turn away all the rank ones?” Cut to a scene of this actually happening, as busty blondes waltz through immigration and a plain one is ordered back home. Funny, eh? It’s about as hilarious as another vignette - considered hilarious enough to be flogged twice - which shows a pouting Thai ambassador to the UN shooting ping-pong balls out of her crotch.
  (Jenny McCartney, Sunday Telegraph)
 The laziest and most obnoxious British comedy since Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson's abysmal Guest House Paradiso… Instead of a storyline, the film resembles a collection of half-baked sketches assembled by someone with attention deficit syndrome. Even at 88 minutes, it feels padded out to four times its natural length… I really, really, really hated this movie. What it says about our national culture when intelligent people stoop to this level, doesn't bear thinking about.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Irreversible (2002)
Exceptional... A film that should not be missed by anyone.
 Convinces me as nothing else so far that I have reached the point of diminishing returns with movies that pretend to be profound by having their pulpy, banal stories told backwards and sideways and upside-down.
  (Andrew Sarris, New York Observer)
 You'll leave the theater wishing the two hours you spent were not so irreversible.
 (Mark Sells, Oregon Herald)
 It is difficult to imagine many people wanting to sit through this pretentious and meretricious piece of work.
  (Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph)
 You need this like a fire-extinguisher-shaped hole in the head.
  (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)
 By the end, it looked suspiciously as if Noe’s rambling, pseudo-philosophical “director’s statement” in the production notes was just a flimsy intellectual fig-leaf for a darker desire to film a pretty woman being seriously hurt and humiliated.
 (Jenny McCartney, Sunday Telegraph)
 It's pornography... My contempt for the film extends to those mealy-mouthed commentators who fear to endorse it, but are politically incapable of damning it, and prefer to call it simply “controversial”, or insist that society needs to stand by like the immobile camera for nine minutes and watch a simulated rape in an underpass in order to understand feminine vulnerability.
  (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
 The director of Irreversible, Gaspar Noe, makes a guest appearance in his own film, as a customer in a gay sado-masochists' club called The Rectum. He comes on camera wearing only a black leather bondage outfit and masturbates while making faces at the camera. That shot strikes me as encapsulating everything you need to know about Monsieur Noe. In more civilized times, this kind of sad, sickening exhibitionism would never have been granted a certificate. We are living in an age where the attitude, even among censors, is "anything goes". Their turn-a-blind-eye approach simply eggs on irresponsible or deranged film-makers like Noe to more and more extreme and graphic displays of sexual violence.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Great fun... a splendid romp.
 Incomprehensible action, idiotic dialogue, inexplicable motivations, causes without effects, effects without causes, and general lunacy. What a mess... The movie plays like a big wind came along and blew away the script and they ran down the street after it and grabbed a few pages and shot those.
  (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
 Where’s the excitement, the thrills, the tension, the style?
  (Derek Adams, Time Out)
 An epic of silliness and ineptitude.
  (Anthony Quinn, Independent )
 A big, stupid mess.
  (Peter Whittle, Sunday Times)
 This dumbed-down disaster is one of the biggest wastes of a blockbuster budget since Wild Wild West.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Shopgirl (2005)
A small masterpiece.
 A Steve Martin vanity project in ways that are fairly creepy.
 (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)
 A romantic comedy with precious little romance and even less comedy.
 (Meredith Brody, Chicago Reader)
 Deeply tiresome long before it's over.
 (Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide)
 Creepier and more mercenary than it even knows.
 (Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph)
 Superficial, creepy and distasteful.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)
Bloody fang-tastic!
 There’s as much not to like as you might find in a 20 year-old can of rancid minestrone at the back of your mum’s larder.
 (Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph)
 Badly directed, poorly acted, witlessly scripted, it’s a black hole that not even a Simon Pegg could fill. Probably the worst horror movie, comic or otherwise, since an ailing Bela Lugosi crossed the Atlantic 57 years ago to appear in Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire.
 (Philip French, Observer)
 Profoundly awful.
 (James Christopher, Times)
 It’s pretty woeful and unimaginably boring.
 (Anthony Quinn, Independent)
 This is the most puerile, half-witted British comedy since Sex Lives of the Potato Men - lewd, loutish laddism at its worst.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Angels & Demons (2009)
It's great fun... I loved it.
 It's not so-bad-it's-good bad. It's not even amusingly bad. It's worse-than-The Da Vinci Code bad. It's they're-taking-the-piss bad. It's don't-give-them-your-money bad.
 (Mike McCahill, Sunday Telegraph)
 About as exciting as looking over someone’s shoulder while they finish a crossword.
 (Trevor Johnston, Time Out)
 Brown really is one of the dumbest authors ever. In terms of style, characterization and plotting, he makes the routinely and rightly reviled Jeffrey Archer look like Dickens. This is a terrible movie with barely concealed contempt for its audience. Please don’t go to see it, or another of these calamities may be along next summer.
 (Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
The Fifth Element (1997)
It's a bloody masterpiece.
The Waterboy (1998)
If you fancy a good, long, honest laugh then it’s pretty much unbeatable.
Parting Shots (1999)
A fantastic cast.
eXistenZ (1999)
Wildly entertaining... Great fun.
Romance (1999)
In just one word... magnifique.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Cruise is great, Diaz is fabulous... Splendidly entertaining.
13 Ghosts (2001)
The ghosts are all brilliantly spooky and scary... Plenty of shocks.
Twenty-Four Hour Party People (2002)
Funny and moving. Wonderful.
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
A bona-fide masterpiece. Funny, charming and original. I adore it… It is a tremendous movie and I insist you go and see it.
DareDevil (2003)
I can’t think of the last time I enjoyed an action movie so much.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Great fun... a splendid romp.
Scary Movie 3 (2003)
Delightfully silly... The jokes are high in quantity and quality... best of the bunch.
Kill Bill, Vol 1 (2003)
One of the most sheerly, purely, thrillingly enjoyable movies I’ve seen, not just this year but any year.
Meet The Fockers (2004)
Very, very funny.
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (2005)
I laughed until a little bit of wee came out.
Angels & Demons (2009)
It's great fun... I loved it.
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus (2009)
Twilight: New Moon (2009)
A pleasant surprise... way better than it needs to be.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
It’s splendidly successful as a hi-tech thriller... A compelling story.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Consistently enjoyable to watch and hear... A well-executed romp, very exciting and entertaining.
The Great White Hype (1996)
Very funny... entertaining.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Tom Cruise is dynamite... Brian De Palma on top form.
Donnie Darko (2000)
Strange, different, beautiful and compelling - like David Lynch crossed with John Hughes. The most refreshing and original movie I've seen in years.
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
A + entertainment... Heart-stopping action... highly enjoyable.
Anita and Me (2002)
Funny and touching. Meera Syal is fabulous, Kathy Burke is terrific.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Charming... a real joy. A tremendous central performance from Bill Murray.
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