Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The first image we see of John Wayne, né Marion Morrison, in Stagecoach is inarguably one of the most iconic character introductions in all of cinema. You’ve probably seen it, even you haven’t seen the movie itself (and shame on you, if that’s so): some time after the titular vehicle rattles out of an unnamed […]

“You may talk o’ gin and beer When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere, An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it; But when it comes to slaughter You will do your work on water, An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it. Now in Injia’s sunny clime, Where I used to spend […]

It can be fairly said that Howard Hawks’s ripped-from-real-life adventure story Only Angels Have Wings is one of the most influential films in history, although I haven’t personally encountered that argument before. Here’s what the logic looks like: it was the first Hawks film to really make a splash in France – not the first […]

I have previously spoken about Mizoguchi Kenji, sort of the “middle child” of the three canonically great Japanese directors* (Ozu Yasujiro started around the same time, but had major hits earlier; Kurosawa Akira came along a good while later), currently doomed to being the least-known of them; about his particular geometry-based aesthetic, contrasting the formalism […]

Not nearly enough careers in the cinema end well. I suppose I’ve always known this, but it was really brought home when Robert Altman died last November: what a perfect final film he had, and how vanishingly small the number of directors, actors and writers who can say the same! Of course, 1939’s The Story […]