Tookey's Talkies: 144 Great Films From the Last 25 Years Book Review

Just by the dedication, "To all those critics who have lost their jobs," I cracked so hard. I never thought I'd find a critic's criticism of films fun and funny at the same time, though not applicable to all.

Tookey's Talkies Book Review
Genre: Compendium
Author: Christopher Tookey
Date Published: February 2, 2015
Publisher: Matador
Edition: Kindle edition (I got a digital ARC via
Size: 448

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Christopher Tookey has seen at least 10,000 films. For eight years, he was TV and then film critic for the Sunday Telegraph. For twenty years, he was sole film critic for the Daily Mail and the world’s most popular internet newspaper, Mail Online. In 2013, he won the award Arts Reviewer of the Year from the London Press Club.

Tookey’s Talkies is a book celebrating 144 of the great movies of the last 25 years. They range from movies that are generally accepted (from The Artist to Toy Story) through to films Christopher liked much more than his colleagues.

These include a very wide variety of films, from the memorably horrific Japanese film Audition to the courageous Chinese drama To Live, via Denmark’s fine political thriller, King’s Game. He also tries to explain why he loved Ed Wood and Isn’t She Great? – both commercial flops – along with such critically underrated movies as Cheri, Separate Lies and The Tourist.

The films collected in this volume are welcome evidence that quality has not yet been drowned out by quantity, and creativity has not been entirely destroyed by commerce. For Christopher, film remains the most exciting and uplifting art form of our times.

Tookey’s Talkies will appeal greatly to the general reader and in particular to all film fans, including those who have followed Christopher’s reviews over the years.


Being that the book was written by a Briton, I find it difficult to read. As to why? You'll always come across words that are exclusive to British usage. Good thing there's WordWeb, always come in handy when I think my nose is going to bleed.

I don't dream to become a film critic but I do film reviews. Reviewing to me is hard. It's one thing to form thoughts and quite another to paint them in words. I've always wanted to learn like in school how it is to critique a film but the only way to do that conveniently in this age is to spend countless of hours reading reviews online. And I don't want to "waste" mine. Aside from rottentomatoes, I have yet to find a credible critic.

Fortunately, there's this decorated film critic who managed to bind his reviews in a book that not only do I get to learn to critique a film but to review a book as well. I'm hitting two birds with one stone, just how favorable is that?
So much for those who pretend that films have no harmful effects on society. And no, I'm not arguing that gangster movies should be banned; I'm saying that film-makers have social and moral responsibilities. Man is, for good and ill, an imitative species.

Not only do you get to see films in the eyes of a critique simply as art, you also get to learn not just their moral values but their socio-political significance as well.

I've discovered words that I've never met before, CINEASTE and cinéma vérité. Cineaste refers to cinema enthusiasts (we do have something we're called!) while according to WordWeb, cinema verite pertains to a movie that shows ordinary people in actual activities without being controlled by a director. Now you know.

Moreover, I find words that are always up in the author's alley in his reviews which are quite new to me: pastiche, panache, haute cuisine, and tour de force.

Some Film Reviews:

  • I could totally relate with what Tookey said about the film, Audition. I was not so much taken by it, much less repulsed as I've seen quite a number of gory films from Japan. But like what the author said,
    The film has lingered in my mind ever since, and it would be churlish to deny its power to surprise and shock.

  • I just find it hard to believe that he included Easy A in his list but not what is now a cult classic, Mean Girls, not to mention the film by Rob Reiner, Flipped.
  • For Il Postini, the actor may think he did something selfless for the sake of art perhaps but I just find it too stupid for him to die just for a movie.
  • I especially enjoyed his review of Little Miss Sunshine. I have not watched the film yet but it felt like I was watching already just by reading his review.
Tookey Talkies is a fresh and delightful read that managed to plaster a smile on my face the whole time. Not only was the book light in tone in its critique, but funny as hell.

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