Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

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 […]