Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Joanna Hogg is one of the most interesting working directors that you most likely haven’t heard of. In the four features she’s made, starting Unrelated in 2007, she’s carved out a very peculiar but rewarding niche of crafting sedate character dramas after the fashion of Éric Rohmer, but charged with the kind of overwhelming Englishness […]

Peter Strickland has made his reputation among arthouse genre fans largely on the back of his wild pastiches, with 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio and 2014’s The Duke of Burgundy both drawing extensively from the look and texture of European grindhouse pictures of the ’70s (Italian horror in the former case, French softcore in the latter). […]

As a story, The Two Popes is a confused and messy thing. “Popes! They’re just like us!” it declares in its pizza party scene, or the moment when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the future Pope Francis, whistles “Dancing Queen” by ABBA in the Vatican men’s room. But it’s also about the intractable battle […]

I admire The Aeronauts for its purity. This not a movie that does anything. It’s a movie that seems to exist because somewhere along the line, a producer or writer or director (here, Tom Harper is all three, which means it’s probably safe to blame him) heard about how 19th Century scientists figured out a […]

It’s all kind of right there in the concept of Last Christmas. No, no, not the plot, which is muddy and overdone but basically the standard holiday season romantic boilerplate: she’s a Scrooge, he’s guileless and charming, and he eventually forces her to open up to the spirit of loving and giving and so on […]

Pondering what makes for the nadir of the showbiz biopic screenplay is a yawning chasm that we had best not peer into, lest we fall in and plunge into a rich madness that can barely be described in words. I mean, it’s only been fifteen years since Beyond the Sea, and I’m still not sure […]

I will happily concede that Downton Abbey, the motion picture, does not present itself as a fans-only experience. It does not assume you have seen any or all of Downton Abbey, the 2010-2015 television series (as I have not: the unanimous opinion of every person in my life who has seen it – Series 1 […]

Gavin Hood is an extremely inconsistent director (and calling the man who signed his name to X-Men Origins: Wolverine “inconsistent” is paying him a very nice big compliment, I think), but his last feature is one that left me inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Eye in the Sky, from 2015, is […]

Blinded by the Light is an extraordinarily nice movie. There’s a lot about it that could do with a substantial bit of tweaking, but all of its flaws come directly as a result of its niceness. And who could feel too very bad about that? Plenty of movies have flaws because they’re cynically commercial, or […]

Sequels that are really more like unrelated entries in an anthology series are nothing new at all, especially in the horror & thriller genres, so the fact that 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has absolutely not one blessed thing to do with 47 Meters Down, the banal shark film from 2017, is not surprising. That it […]

In space, maybe, nobody can hear you scream, but in High Life, space is marked out primarily by the thick omnipresence of sounds. The lucky 13th feature film by director Claire Denis – and her first in English, a leap she navigates with a force and confidence that equals any other great director’s forays into […]

Part of me, and it is a very large part, feels extremely uncomfortable giving Yesterday a star rating implying that it’s a good film, because in point of fact it is not. It is an adorable film, almost entirely on the backs of stars Himesh Patel and Lily James; it is one of the most […]