Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

We arrive now at the only time that the Oscar for Best Picture been awarded to a single piece of music. For if there’s any other explanation for how Chariots of Fire took the top prize at the Academy Awards for 1981, I’m god-damned if I know what it might be. Nomination leader and Best […]

One would be hard-pressed to overstate the importance of director-producer-writer-star Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film of Hamlet in the history of screen adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. It’s not necessarily a question of direct influence: despite the film’s commercial success and sizable haul of awards (both the Golden Lion and the Best Picture Oscar, a combination […]

The “kitchen sink” period of British theater and cinema – stretching for a little more than ten years from the mid-’50s to the late-’60s – is, to my mind, much more “admirable” than it is “good” or “watchable”. The movement was all about radicalism, violating social taboos that have long since become social norms, and […]

Fred Zinnemann is the epitome of a certain kind of film director. He was a workhorse – not a hack, not somebody who’d just show up and do the job in the most uninspired way, but somebody who still did obviously view it as a job. There’s nothing flashy in a Zinnemann film, but they’re […]

When a film has a title like My Summer of Love, it wouldn’t be unreasonably to expect a languorous, stretched-out mood, slightly lazy and slightly warm and prone to lingering on moments. None of this is the case. The actual My Summer of Love that exists – a 2004 film that gave Emily Blunt her […]

In the annals of the great director/screenwriter collaborations, I don’t know that Carol Reed and novelist Graham Greene get as much credit as they deserve; I don’t know that they could get as much credit as they deserve. They worked together only three times, but the second of those resulted in one of the highest […]

The United Kingdom has been socked by the ravages of neoliberal capitalism. Rather than serving the best interests of its subjects, the government seems to regard them as a problem to be solved or, better still, ignored. A technocratic, bureaucratic system of means-tested quasi-solutions serves to funnel human suffering into a warren of endless regulations […]

Photographer and music video director Autumn de Wilde, making her deliciously confident feature film debut with the new Jane Austen adaptation Emma., has suggested in interviews that the reason for putting a period in the film’s title is that “it’s a period film”. I think the only thing that would be funnier than if she’s […]

It’s early yet, but I wouldn’t be even a little bit surprised if The Lodge ends up being the most frustrating film I see in 2020. The film starts off amazingly well, with some unexpected and slithery character work, handing off the storytelling perspective from one character to another with absolutely no finesse, but so […]

First and most importantly: the title of A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon can be parsed as a meaning-carrying phrase in English, and is thus a substantial improvement on its 2015 predecessor, Shaun the Sheep Movie, whose title is a syntactically incoherent mash-up of nouns. This is, I’m a little sad the say, one of […]

Did The Rhythm Section deserve to set the grotesque record of having the worst opening weekend at the box office for any film to open in more than 3000 theaters? If we mean “deserve” in the sense of it being the worst film to open in more than 3000 theaters, or the one with the […]

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 […]