Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The most amusing thing about the 1972 adaptation of Solaris – a film about which very little is amusing, to be fair – is that Andrei Tarkovsky made it, basically, as a “one for them” project. His previous feature, Andrei Rublev, had met with enormous hostility upon delivery, and was shelved for five years; his […]

What is cinema? We can speak of its technical aspects: cinema is a medium in which still images (often, but not always photographic in nature) are shown at a fast enough rate to create the illusion of movement. Cinema is a medium of montage, in which the creator shows the viewer a single image followed […]

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 […]

A review requested by Mat Daniel, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I would have thought we were past this, but I’ve recently come to find that no, there’s still a seemingly insurmountable gulf in people’s attitudes towards Orson Welles. On one side, there are people who regard […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. 23 August, 1951, is one of the key dates in the history of world cinema. That was the day (almost exactly a year after it opened in its native Japan) that […]

A review requested by Nik Evans, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Laura is a fucked-up movie about sex. There’s much else to say about it, virtually all of it good, but I think that’s the core of it. Movies released in America in 1944 didn’t have the […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Ugetsu is everything. I don’t think it’s the best movie ever made – I don’t, in fact, think it’s even the best Japanese movie of 1953, what with Tokyo Story sitting […]

Every week 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. This week: if you have been paying very close attention you might have stumbled across the obscure little tidbit that the […]

A second review requested by Julian D, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s nothing more personal and unique than what somebody finds funny – not even what they find scary, maybe not even what they find sexy. The things that make us laugh are as specific […]

A review requested by André Robichaud, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The apparent subject of Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, Andrei Rublev, is indicated right in the title: it’s a story of the life of the most renowned painter of icons in medieval Russia, Andrei Rublev […]

A review requested by Julian D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The career of director Michelangelo Antonioni is not the kind that can be neatly summed up in blunt descriptions like “culmination”, so I can’t use that word to describe his 1975 triumph The Passenger. It does, […]

A review requested by Robert Lovejoy, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. In all the annals of unclassifiable films, I can’t think of anything quite as unclassifiable as 1973’s F for Fake, the penultimate completed feature of Orson Welles’s directorial career (only Filming ‘Othello’ followed it). It’s customarily […]