Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like Kate Winslet has been gone for a very long time. She has, of course, been showing up in movies and TV shows, lots of them. But for about a dozen years following Sense and Sensibility in 1995, it felt like she was a pretty reliable middlebrow fixture […]

Education, the fifth and final entry in director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology is almost certainly the most straightforward: as a narrative, a delivery system for a political message, as an aesthetic object. Whether this is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder; for myself, I will not pretend to be a […]

The consensus of opinion, as far as I can tell, is that Alex Wheatle, the fourth episode of Small Axe, is also the weakest, granting an exceptionally high lower bound for “weakness”. I don’t agree, but it’s not hard to understand why somebody might come to that conclusion: the 67-minute story (written and directed, as […]

It would hardly be righ to expect a filmmaker to crank out what amounts to five consecutive feature films all right in a row and have absolutely no detectable drop in quality, so the fact that Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s five-part TV anthology, couldn’t keep knocking out one Lovers Rock after another isn’t surprising, and […]

For such a tiny sliver of a thing – 70 minutes long, set almost entirely in one location, almost nothing “happens” – Lovers Rock feels like it’s almost boundless in how much it can yield up to its viewer. This is true simply at the level of how we encounter it: taken purely on its […]

Steve McQueen’s Small Axe project has been gestating almost as long as he’s had a career as a film director: for a full decade, he was attempting to put together what ended up as a five-part television anthology series of stories (some of them based on true events) about life among the West Indian population […]

I can barely process the words I’m about to type myself, but here goes nothing: imagine if – and it is a tough thing to imagine if you haven’t seen the evidence – imagine if there was a film about a 1970s British glam rock superstar so fucking bad that it made Bohemian Rhapsody look […]

1974 is awfully damn late to be indulging in William Castle-style carnival barker tactics to sell a movie – that belongs to an age of cheesy B-movies, not an age of grim, violent grind house fodder. But that is, nonetheless, exactly what The Beast Must Die gets up to, over the vehement objections of its […]

It is with a distinct tinge of melancholy that I welcome From Beyond the Grave to the pages of Alternate Ending. For with this 1974 release, we arrive at the seventh and final “portmanteau” film released by Amicus Productions, the little British horror studio that was, in ’74, just about to abandon the genre (the […]

By 1973, the British horror film industry was collapsing. The smallest of the three main studios focusing genre films, Tigon, released its final film in that year; the largest, Hammer Films, very famously spent the first five years of the decade desperately trying every new idea they could scrounge up, which in 1973 meant a […]

Lord knows if “sequel” is right word to describe The Vault of Horror, a 1973 anthology film based on horror stories published in the first half of the 1950s by EC Comics. Not, as it happens, stories published in the pages of The Vault of Horror, one of the company’s three dedicated horror titles. Of […]

Asylum might have the single best hook of any anthology film I have seen. The story opens with Dr. Martin (Robert Powell), a young psychiatrist, arriving at a remote insane asylum for a job interview. The man who runs the place, Dr. Rutherford (Parick McGee), seems like a bit of an asshole, the kind of […]