Sarah Cartland

Sarah Cartland
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
4/5 92% Social Animals (2018) So gripping I didn't check my Instagram at all. It's also thoughtful and non-judgemental, and avoids bringing an older person's jaundiced eye to opine on young people's lives. It doesn't need to, as most of the kids interviewed are already aware and wary.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2019
4.5/6 91% The Disaster Artist (2017) A total triumph, and thank goodness for that. Imagine if it had been terrible and someone else had to make a film about the making of the worst film ever made about the making of the worst film ever made. We'd be here for decades, getting ever more meta.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
4/5 92% Bumblebee (2018) A blockbuster about robots that feels anything but robotic, and not really like a blockbuster. The central relationship is as solid as B:127; I did cry, and not because they only played one Duran Duran song. (It was the best Duran Duran song.)‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
4/5 75% My Cousin Rachel (2017) A film of wonderful performances and a did she/didn't she story that had me on the edge of my seat, along with their rather cavalier attitude to candles when in the presence of muslin drapes and white cotton nighties. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
3/5 78% A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) A warm if formulaic film. Treadaway offers a measured and thoughtful performance opposite Bob in a role that was probably trickier than it looks. How do you act with a cat? Is it like green screen work where you give your all to an emotional vacuum? ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2019
2.5/5 75% Kong: Skull Island (2017) Your monster enemy's monster enemy is your monster friend in "Kong: Skull Island", as is the CGI which is genuinely thrilling. But overall it's bloated and overlong, with so many characters running around it feels like the last night of "Big Brother". ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
2.5/5 32% Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Books aren't just the stories within, but also the memories and associations they create, paths to other places. That doesn't really come across in this adaptation; rather it sets up several pathways that remain unexplored.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
3/5 60% Sink or Swim (Le grand bain) (2018) The humour is broad and sometimes I cringed. It doesn't have the subtlety or pain of The Full Monty, and at times it's as focussed as the random splashing when they first jump in. But its highlighting of the social and health issues men face is welcome.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
3/5 62% At War (En guerre) (2018) Like many wars it's mostly boredom, and arguing, interspersed with short bursts of shocking violence which turn events. People talk to, at and over one another. It takes a while to sink into the ebb and flow of the conversations.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
4/5 98% Free Solo (2018) The extraordinarily honest Alex Honnold is a dream subject, even if filming his challenge can be a nightmare. The last few minutes are terrifying; consider sacrificing your fingernails, but don't forget to breathe.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
3/5 72% Christopher Robin (2018) Surprisingly brittle, with realism about work and family knitted into the twinsets and tweed. I'll admit to championing old misery-guts Eeyore, always having the last (bleakly funny) word; if anyone can be the new darling of indie cinema it's him.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
3.5/5 36% The Leisure Seeker (2018) It's a slow and bumpy film but Mirren and Sutherland are excellent; Ella and John are flawed and real, as she discovers a decades-old betrayal and he rages at her first love from 50 years ago.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
3/5 69% Finding Your Feet (2018) The bright and funny first half examines issues affecting older people which are often ignored; the second half feels familiar and manipulative. But just as Charlie's van is held together by goodwill and window stickers, this just about hangs in there. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
4/5 79% The Beguiled (2017) The poverty-struck gentility belies the flaring anger and war of attrition inside the crumbling house; all is brooding, repressed beauty as the young ladies rustle and jostle in their faded dresses, desperate to bloom.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 5, 2019
4/5 92% Thelma (2017) Both a psychological thriller and a supernatural horror, at first glance much in "Thelma" sounds familiar - a teenage girl, extreme religiosity, sex, inexplicably smashing windows, a snake - but they never feel like tropes.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
3/5 99% Lady Bird (2017) The performances are terrific, the dialogue whip-smart, but on a personal level this film didn't grab me. Maybe it's my age, a point when one stops identifying with the irritating daughter and starts nodding along sagely with the irritating mum instead.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
5/5 94% Princess Cyd (2017) The relationships that Cyd has with Katie and Miranda develop at that perfect pace for when time is short but the days are long.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
4/5 84% Darkest Hour (2017) Oldman towers over everything, his Winston as full of self-doubt as he is of hubris and bombast. (Though after so many recent WW2 films I can only imagine the fights between props departments over London's last starched collar, gas mask or 40s typewriter)‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
3.5/5 86% The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) There's a subtlety to Desiree Akhavan's film, and its pitch-perfect performances, even while Lydia's intentions are so piercingly cruel and Rev Rick's methods so embarrassingly blundering. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2019
3.5/5 100% Bros: After the Screaming Stops (2018) Is Matt a bit of a joke with his long, earnest metaphors or is the joke on us? Why doesn't he look like his identical twin Luke now? And where is Ken? None of these questions are answered in this warts-and-all film, but it's so funny that doesn't matter. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
4/5 78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Blunt is practically perfect as the perfectly practical nanny though the film feels overlong (with jokes more genial than hilarious). Among many nods to the original, the crowdpleaser will be Van Dyke's exuberantly joyous song and dance cameo (he's 93!)‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2018
4/5 41% Reign of Fire (2002) A cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for, in this case an extended Tube network. It's an enjoyably doomy B-movie, played straight apart from an Empire Strikes Back "I am your father!" scene featuring the most bouncily over-acting kids ever.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2018
1.5/5 9% Holmes and Watson (2018) This is an old-fashioned mess with flashes of potential: Rebecca Hall's "lady doctor", as hubristic a medic as any of her male colleagues, is clever. And in a film that is mostly an embarrassment, its supporting cast is mostly an embarrassment of riches.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
3/5 64% Bird Box (2018) About a mother and an allegory for motherhood, as we stagger blindfolded after our children in a world that looks the same but has changed beyond our understanding. Bullock is brilliant in an often derivative film that still had me willing their survival.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
4/5 No Score Yet Sometimes Always Never (2018) Finally, a story about the beautiful game that isn't boring or dependent on stereotypical ideas of its players. Yes, I'm talking about Scrabble. Carl Hunter's delightful film is witty and moving, with a superb Bill Nighy as a quietly heartbroken father.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2018
4/5 91% A Quiet Passion (2017) A gem of a film with Nixon riveting as the brilliant, steadfast and justifiably angry Dickinson, railing against convention. It can be an exhausting and deflating watch; all those literary allusions and high level wit that most of us could never sustain.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
4/5 86% The Girl With All the Gifts (2017) I'll admit to a swell of patriotic pride as Brit zombies wobbled aimlessly in front of a few of my favourite stores. This UK-set story employs some classic tropes yet its allegories never overwhelm an ambivalent tale that's both exciting and questioning.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
4/5 85% Tully (2018) Theron's portrayal of Marlo and what her baby's arrival does to her is rivetingly brutal. Night nanny Tully understands the mechanics of motherhood but not its realities and is so irritating she gets in the way of a nuanced story of postnatal depression.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
3/5 51% Tomb Raider (2018) Another ancient tomb, another tomb door puzzle to solve with feats of lateral thinking apparently only available to modern western explorers of high morals. "Tomb Raider" is derivative and daft but Vikander's Lara is a realistically uneven heroine.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
4.5/5 99% Faces Places (Visages, villages) (2017) Eye-opening and hilarious, this photographic road trip through France with Agnes Varda and artist JR delights in their partnership without shying away from the tensions. Varda's old friend Jean-Luc Godard looms large through his confusing absence.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
3.5/5 14% Geostorm (2017) You can always tell who saw this as when we're late we say "I literally had to fly in from outer space!" like a secret code. An entertaining romp with Butler only lurching into Scottish once, this just needed more spectacular deaths from mad weather. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
4/5 87% Okja (2017) Pigs are clever and if they were pretty too we probably wouldn't eat them. Guilt and innocence marble this like fat in a prime cut, with superpig Okja caught in the middle. Funny and sad, it's an allegory about as subtle as, well, a giant farting pig. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
4/5 64% Aquaman (2018) Momoa is a triumph in this joyously spectacular tale of myth and modernity; its hero so endearing it's easy to ignore the clunkiness of the dialogue and a villain treading water until next time. The salt water gets everywhere, I even found some in my eye.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
3.5/5 88% Super Dark Times (2017) An intriguing and impressive debut feature. Director Kevin Phillips' depiction of that carapace of cockiness, built as protection by so many teens but so easily shattered by events they are ill-equipped to deal with, is particularly affecting.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
4/5 90% District 9 (2009) Part found footage (or just footage), part mockumentary, part satire and part action; Blomkamp pulls it into a coherent, moving, violent, sci fi allegory. Copley is terrific as Wikus moving from species-ist opportunist to a genuine if gormless redemption.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2018
2.5/5 28% Suburbicon (2017) The different tones for the almost comedic antics at the Lodges, and the threatening racism outside their neighbours the Mayers, don't work together (with the Mayers reduced to background). Thank goodness for Oscar Isaac's wittily sceptical insurance man.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2018
3.5/5 60% It Came from the Desert (2017) The acting is ropy at times, but as B movies go this is a corker: knowing but not overwhelmingly meta, witty, with schlocky horror tropes tripping over each other. All that's missing is a canister of toxic waste and a Kevin Bacon cameo.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2018
3.5/5 88% Song of Granite (2017) Beautifully shot, this dramatised documentary is a lyrical hymn to a country and a man - but it's occasionally unsatisfying, like reading a brilliantly intriguing biography with a few key pages missing. ‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
3.5/5 48% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Darkly moving (I never thought I'd weep for a diplodocus). The franchise can't go forward, its eternal weakness - but Bayona mixes it up with meta wit and verve. Goldblum is an occasional, iconic presence; I almost believed the cod-philosophy he spouts.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
4/5 69% The Happy Prince (2018) Everett is writer, director and star, delivering an assured piece of storytelling which is bleakly funny and numbingly sad. His Wilde is a master of self-deception after years shining a satirical light on society; and of course a wit to the bitter end.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
3.5/5 67% The Night Before (2015) An amiable festive comedy which touches brilliance (them) and despair (me). It's like a dream where you have to be somewhere by a certain time but you keep being waylaid en route, which made watching it anxiety-inducing. Jillian Bell is a hoot, of course.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
3.5/5 78% Keanu (2016) A funny and endearing tale about Keanu the gangster cat, or as I like to call him the bogeyman. I mean the cat they send to kill the bogeyman. The action is a perfect parody of a Wick-ian ballet with soaring music and slo-mo backflips against pillars.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
4/5 80% Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) Bening is extraordinary and ordinary, deftly balancing the complexities of Gloria's personality, and as with many Hollywood stars we aren't ever sure if they became legends despite or because of them.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
4/5 86% The Lost City of Z (2017) A beautiful, stately, overlong film about obsession and escape, against an epic backdrop. Hunnam is impressively consumed as explorer Fawcett; Miller is very good as his loving but frustrated wife Nina, presenting Percy with a baby every time he returns.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
3.5/5 69% The Seagull (2018) Bening is on great form as Irina, for whom all the world's a stage, its boards to be trod only in full make-up and costume. Moss is hugely entertaining as the black-clad, drinking, smoking Masha, haunting the estate like a bad-tempered, stomping spectre.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
4/5 96% The Death of Stalin (2018) Paralysed by fear, the right answer now the wrong answer; the Soviet Politburo sounds a lot like Twitter. Moving from panic to farce and biting one-liners, it's crammed with sharp performances (though Isaacs steals the show as Yorkshire's General Zhukov).‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2018
3.5/5 No Score Yet Eaten by Lions (2018) Antonio Aakeel and Jack Carroll have terrific chemistry as brothers facing racism and ableism in this brutally funny film. Some scenes with supporting characters make it feel sketch show-like, though Tom Binns' terrible tarot reader is a cold-reading joy.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2018
3.5/5 96% Zama (2018) As befits a film about waiting for answers, this is a languid and enervating watch, and feverishly funny. By halfway I was desperate for something to happen and I was then somewhat over-rewarded in this regard.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2018
3/5 92% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) Stylish, witty and beautifully shot, though very much from the viewpoint of charming robber Forrest; a thief with a gun is still a thief with a gun. Spacek and Redford delight; I never believed in the relationship between Forrest and the cop on his tail.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
3/5 64% This Beautiful Fantastic (2017) A slight, sweet tale about would-be novelist Bella whose life is governed by rules and checks until she tackles her overgrown garden. It doesn't even try to be subtle with the gardening and spreading your wings metaphors but its four misfits are engaging.‐ Caution Spoilers
Read More | Posted Dec 8, 2018