Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The title of Kim Ki-Duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring pretty much says it all: here is a story of time passing, marked by five particular moments. No points for guessing that the seasons of the title are metaphorical references for points in a man’s life, but yes, this is the story of a […]

“Fucking movies! Fucking overpaid, fucking unhappy childhood fuckers, fucking movie fucking fuckers.” -Lee Bright (Catherine Keener) If you share with me a healthy love for a certain kind of artistic indiscipline – a willingness to give a hearty “piss off!” to the money-men and the more lackadaisical bourgeois members of the receiving public, in favor […]

Michael Haneke, the art house-beloved German director probably best-known for Funny Games and Caché, has something of a reputation as a provocateur (probably because of… Funny Games and Caché) that he doesn’t quite deserve. Not because his films aren’t sometimes provocations; but that is, I think, incidental. Better to say that his is a filmmaker […]

At the time I write these words in the winter of 2010, Finding Nemo is the highest-grossing of all ten Pixar films, and anecdotally, the one that seems to be the closest we come to a consensus pick for their greatest work. And why not? It’s arguably the most structurally sound of all their narratives, […]

No film by the chameleon-like director Olivier Assayas met with as much brutal misunderstanding – at least, in the United States; I cannot speak to its reception in Europe – as 2002’s demonlover, a stupendously intelligent assault on globalism, e-commerce, the media, corporate culture – oh, and violent pornography, although insofar as the movie has […]

If Amores perros had not premiered in the summer of 2000, it would be necessary to lie and say that it had done so; offhand I cannot name another movie which has ever thus stood at the forefront of what would turn out to be a number of different trends in the decade to follow, […]

The reception of anime in the West has followed a torturous path: in the ’60s, it was a cheap source of awful children’s programming; in the ’80s, it was an underground font of bent sexuality and hyper-stylised violence; in the ’00s it had firmly entrenched itself as, if not a mainstream form of cinematic entertainment, […]

I’m not inclined to recommend movies on fuzzy humanist grounds, but The Beaches of Agnès is the kind of film that will make you feel better about cinema, humanity, and life itself. It’s been years since anything has come out with the same messy vitality of this memoir-documentary, and if you are able to walk […]

I do not know what the Frenchest of all film genres is, but if I were invited to submit a shortlist, one of the candidates would surely be the ever-popular drama about a family that quietly tears itself apart through unspoken resentments and bitterness. In fact, the mere fact that I can casually refer to […]

The wave has broken and rolled back, finally: Up is the first film by Pixar studios in three years that does not fundamentally redefine what animated cinema is capable of achieving in the hands of modern filmmaking’s greatest collection of geniuses. It is merely an example of what modern filmmaking’s greatest collection of geniuses are […]

I cannot say whether Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control is exactly a good movie or not, and this is in no small respect because I am not certain whether it’s proper to call it a movie at all. It meets the basic criteria, I suppose: it was made with a motion picture camera, and […]

2009 is just barely a month old, but I’m already prepared to call it a better year for movies than 2008. After only 37 days, we’ve been gifted with the year’s first masterpiece; at the very least, it’s much superior to all five films currently jockeying for the 2008 Best Picture Oscar. The film is […]