Benjamin Lee


Benjamin Lee
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: Guardian

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
1/5 67% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Happy Death Day 2U is the worst kind of sequel, the staggeringly unnecessary kind that even the most hardcore Happy Death Day fans should avoid at all costs. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
3/5 69% Isn't It Romantic (2019) Wilson is a mostly engaging lead and while she's not a natural with some of the later stage sentiment, her offhand line delivery elevates a number of throwaway jabs and she's well-suited to physical comedy. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2019
2/5 58% Wounds (2019) Wounds creeps and crawls and pokes and bleeds but it never really works. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
4/5 100% The Farewell (2019) There's an avoidance of obvious culture clash comedy... instead Wang deftly details both the guilt of living so far from family and how one's concept of what home really means can get so tangled. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
4/5 89% Animals (2019) Hyde has forged a wonderful, utterly lived-in film about two women at a crossroads, one that attendees should be breathlessly, excitedly discussing around town, urging everyone else to see immediately. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2019
3/5 60% Official Secrets (2019) The film relies on its lead star and Knightley is more than equipped for the task of carrying it on her shoulders. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
3/5 65% Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Despite flaws, there's a strange curiosity that propels Velvet Buzzsaw and Gilroy's unusual, bitter, silly, and often very funny genre cocktail does make for a fun diversion. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
2/5 92% Blinded by the Light (2019) There's something so constructed and suffocating about watching a tried and tested formula not working, the over-sentimental string-pulling on show for all to see. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
2/5 54% Them That Follow (2019) It's competently made but utterly vacant, a forgettable indie fading fast. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
3/5 91% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) There's reality and heart stirring underneath the artifice, I just wish more of it had been allowed to shine through. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
3/5 62% Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) In fact, the most shocking thing about the film is Efron's remarkably accomplished, fiercely committed performance. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
4/5 93% The Report (2019) I left its... premiere on an adrenaline high as if I'd just seen the latest Mission: Impossible movie, giddy from the ride I'd just taken. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
3/5 77% Late Night (2019) While Late Night wants to be loved, instead it will have to settle for being liked. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2019
4/5 79% The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) It's a conventional film in many ways but one that slowly and effectively builds to a remarkably rousing climax, displaying an act of overwhelming ingenuity that's hard to deny. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2019
4/5 65% Native Son (2019) Its flaws are easy to forgive as Johnson conjures up such an intoxicating atmosphere that both his imagery and Sanders' spellbinding performance will haunt you regardless. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
3/5 58% After the Wedding (2019) It would be difficult to invest in if not for its two main stars who work hard to elevate the overly engineered plot, filling in the emotional gaps left by the haphazard script. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
2/5 70% The Mule (2018) As a drama, it's frustratingly insubstantial, failing to provide enough of an emotional centre or a convincing payoff. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
4/5 84% Creed II (2018) Elevated by a central trio of winning performances and a director who provides equal weight to drama in and out of the ring, Creed II deserves to be cheered. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
4/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Rourke and Willimon have crafted a juicy, darkly compelling drama that offers a sleek alternative to what's come before. It's hardly revolutionary or particularly revisionist but there's enough here to make it feel like a worthy endeavour nonetheless. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
3/5 72% On the Basis of Sex (2019) There's a propelling motion that makes the film a swift, slick watch led by a figure rare in a genre still dominated by men. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
3/5 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) There's a slick competency on show. It's watchable enough but let down by a strange lack of interest in presenting Salander as anything but an engine to propel a plot. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
3/5 71% Hold the Dark (2018) While the shifts in genre, plot and location do prove intriguing for much of the film, they ultimately result in a feeling of mild dissatisfaction, the whole never quite the sum of its parts. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
2/5 81% Boy Erased (2018) As a PSA it surely has a necessity and it's undoubtedly well-intentioned but as film with its heart in the right place, I just wish its heart was beating a bit louder. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2018
3/5 80% Green Book (2018) There's clearly a more nuanced drama to be made from this story but given the scale, there's still a lot here to praise. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
2/5 72% Destroyer (2018) It's a mechanical noir dressed up as something more substantial and this is especially felt in an ending that drowns in unearned profundity. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
1/5 13% The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018) It starts to feel like Dolan is parodying a Dolan movie. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2018
4/5 98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) There is a melancholic atmosphere to the film at large, a frankness about the impossibility of dreams and the importance of growing old without shackling one's self to an idealised notion of what life will be. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
2/5 80% Ben is Back (2018) There are good intentions and good performances here, but they're squandered in a movie that isn't quite sure what it should be and how far it should go. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
4/5 94% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) It's a film with love at its root, both familial and romantic, and Jenkins fills so much of it with a radiating warmth. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
2/5 43% Where Hands Touch (2018) It's a film entirely devoid of subtlety yet one that also fails to provide the grand emotion it yearns to deliver, despite the use of a sledgehammer. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
2/5 79% Halloween (2018) Green can't seem to decide whether he wants it to be gritty and lo-fi or slick and cinematic and so ends up awkwardly between the two, anything resembling an atmosphere sorely missing. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
4/5 91% Widows (2018) McQueen is in confident control of the material. It's such a thrill to see him at play with genre material and Widows glides like so few multiplex-packing thrillers do these days. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2018
4/5 59% The Front Runner (2018) There's an authenticity underpinning the portrayal of events in The Front Runner that lifts it above the less-than-groundbreaking set-up. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2018
3/5 69% Beautiful Boy (2018) A grim endurance test that's undeniably flawed but in doggedly aiming to portray this unbearable pain with rare authenticity, it has a raw, haunting power. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2018
2/5 44% Donnybrook (2019) It's a pulpy slab of exploitation masquerading as an important treatise on the struggles faced by the working class in rural America, thumping us in the face with its shallow viewpoint until we beg for mercy. Or at least the credits. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2018
3/5 32% The Predator (2018) Black populates his film with recognisable tropes and character types as well a grand throwback score, and there's a certain charm in his ability to conjure up the past without resorting to pastiche. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
2/5 71% Greta (2019) It's everything and nothing, a familiar regurgitation of a formula with precious little to add. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
4/5 68% Kursk (2018) It's a heartbreaking, troubling film about men whose lives were cruelly deprioritised and whose families remain ever altered as a result. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
3/5 48% Destination Wedding (2018) The pair share an easy, spiky chemistry and Reeves in particular shows himself to be surprisingly skilled at delivering such bile-filled dialogue. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
2/5 48% Like Father (2018) A mostly likable if wholly unremarkable heap of froth. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
3/5 58% Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) It's hardly a script with a great deal of depth but as first-time director Stephen Susco ups the ante, and the violence, we're just that little bit more invested. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
4/5 99% Eighth Grade (2018) Eighth Grade isn't easy, both on screen and in life, but it's a film that should be a rite of passage for all, no matter the age. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2018
3/5 46% Skyscraper (2018) This is stupid but it's also mostly entertaining, thanks to Johnson and a plot that moves fast enough to retain our attention yet without enough, ahem, originality to ensure it lingers in our minds once the fire has been extinguished. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2018
2/5 54% The First Purge (2018) It's a film clearly made with one eye on the news and it's stuffed with increasingly queasy nods to what's been afflicting America. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2018
3/5 57% Hotel Artemis (2018) For all of its faults, there's still plenty here to praise, the result of so much being thrown at the wall is that some of it will stick. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2018
2/5 69% Ocean's 8 (2018) It's made watchable thanks to the cast but star power alone cannot mask creative inadequacy. Stealing a diamond necklace is bad but wasting an opportunity like this is unforgivable. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2018
3/5 67% Ibiza (2018) The three leads are so strong that one wishes Netflix had granted them a whole series to live in, their everyday lives worthy of a deeper dive. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2018
1/5 38% Life of the Party (2018) McCarthy remains the life of the party, but this is not a party you'll want to attend. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2018
3/5 32% Zoe (2018) Doremus, and screenwriter Richard Greenberg, have packed their film with intriguing questions. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2018
2/5 56% Duck Butter (2018) After their seemingly endless day together, it's hard to feel invested in what might happen to them next, despite committed performances from Shawkat and Costa. - Guardian EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2018