Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Dress a punishing Austrian art film up like cat-and-mouse thriller, it’s still Austrian, and anybody who’s been following world cinema for the past decade or so knows what nihilistic vivacity that means. But I’ll spare a kindly word for Goodnight Mommy, for cruel though it is, it’s not just cruel. The genre trappings help out […]

The third leg of Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Hope, isn’t nearly as severe and bleak as Love and Faith, nor is at unmitigated in its cruelty as I, for one, fully expected it to be, given the setting of a “fat camp” for overweight teenagers to be humiliated, overworked, and deprived into slimming down […]

Paradise: Faith proves me right about one thing, anyway: Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy would have been better suited to being the Paradise anthology film. The first part, Paradise: Love, is a fine two hour movie that would have lost nothing and maybe gained some focus as a 40-minute sequence; Faith, meanwhile, is a two-hour movie […]

Some titles are just destined to be used ironically, and Paradise: Love is their king. Particularly being from Austria, a country with a fetish for cinematic misery. And particularly, I understand, from the mind of director Ulrich Seidl, who I gather (I have not previously seen his work) is kind of like a version of […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/13World premiere: 19 May, 2013, Cannes International Film Festival There is a great deal to be said about The Last of the Unjust, and since it is three hours and 38 minutes long, this is a good thing – if one invested that kind of time in watching a movie and walked […]

I must first confess to a personal bias: ever since the release of Funny Games U.S., the complete body of work, past and future, of director/provocateur Michael Haneke has come to me with a definite “yeah? prove it” disadvantage. What, exactly, I want him to prove, other than the fact that he can stop being […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/8 & 10/9World premiere: 14 May, 2011, Cannes Film Festival Actors turned director, cinematographers turned director, editors turned director, hell, fashion designers turned director… directors do indeed come from all sorts of places, but until now, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a casting director turned director. The man who […]

It’s a sign of what preoccupies Jessica Hausner’s 2009 feature Lourdes, a film much-praised at last year’s Venice Film Festival, that I walked out away from it absolutely certain that the main character, a quadriplegic young woman with multiple sclerosis played by the underappreciated Sylvie Testud, had no given name. Now I find that she […]

Before I start, I need to get this off of my chest: The Counterfeiters is good enough that it very well might have been the best of the five nominees for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars, and that being the case, it’s all the more obnoxious that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 […]