Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. Last week: there are many ways we could plausibly describe Midsommar, one of them being to call it a psychodrama about the […]

Whatever else we can say about it, 24 Frames sure as hell is different. The final film by the late master director Abbas Kiarostami (it premiered a little under a year after his death) would already have my affection just for being such a swerve, albeit a totally in-character swerve. After briefly leaving Iran to […]

Screened at the 20th Wisconsin Film Festival. Be forewarned: I don’t think it’s possible to discuss this film without sounding like a pretentious ass, and anyway, I wasn’t trying not to. Both in person and online, I have encountered the criticism-or-maybe-it’s-just-an-observation that if you don’t know what The Green Fog is doing before you see […]

The most interesting thing about Dawson City: Frozen Time, by far, is the real-life history that enabled its existence. This is not to slight docu-essayist Bill Morrison, of the very highly-regarded 2002 Decasia (which I haven’t seen), among a couple dozen other films that are, as I understand it, mostly rather like this: moving collages […]

I will say this, and say it sincerely: Rat Film is definitely a weird film in all the right ways. On paper, director-writer Theo Anthony’s documentary argues a basic-unto-banal chain of causes and effects: systemic racism keeps black communities in the United States mired in poverty, urban centers that are mired in poverty tend to […]

Whatever else we might say about it, mother! is the most Darren Aronofsky of all Darren Aronfsky films, combining at least something from every one of his previous six features. This is the point where I need to admit that I’d rank those six features on a scale from “hated it” to “that was pretty […]

A review requested by Jakob G, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It’s a bad habit to compare one film to another and count that as a review, but oh, how hard it is to talk about Baraka without constantly checking it against Koyaanisqatsi. The two films, released […]

A review requested by Andrew Yankes, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There is no film quite like the 1979 animated short Tale of Tales. I mean that in the most literal way. Just about every film is like some other film, but not this one – it […]

A quarter of the way through Knight of Cups, I was despondent with the thought that Terrence Malick will probably never make a great film again for the rest of his career. Halfway through Knight of Cups, I was convinced that I was watching the most important film of the 21st Century. By the end […]

A review requested by David Greenwood, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. L’âge d’or, an hour-long 1930 feature, is the second of the two collaborations between France-based Spanish surrealists Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, and it is certainly less jam-packed with iconic “every film buff alive knows this […]

At heart, Tarr Béla’s curious little noodle of a movie from 1995, the 35-minute Journey on the Plain, is an exercise, not quite avant-garde enough to be a genuine experimental film but totally lacking in narrative or insisted-upon theme. And in this respect, it’s the only such film in the director’s career, for no matter […]

Don’t have time to read my blathering about something I’m underqualified to discuss? That’s fine! But please skip to the end and watch one of the most awesome things you have ever seen. The problem with paying tribute to the films of my birth year is my birth year: 1981 was one of the low […]