Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

You might say, if you were a terrible person with a weakness for cheap wordplay, that Shadow is an anti-Hero. It is the work of director Zhang Yimou, one of the most celebrated directors in the world during the 1990s for his delicate character dramas in recent historical settings (the likes of 1990’s Ju Dou, […]

A review requested by Kevin, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! It is entirely possible that Hero is the single most beautiful film of the 2000s. I’m not making […]

Recently, in reviewing the 14-hour La Flor, I suggested that most films that are very, very long achieve their great length in part by trying to make themselves deliberately unpleasant and hard to watch. Here we have a perfect case in point: An Elephant Sitting Still is three hours and 54 minutes long (so let’s […]

Midway is an English-language film financed substantially with Chinese money, directed by a German, about one of the defining American victories of World War II. If you’re thinking that means it’s probably a muddle, I have good news: you’re not wrong. We could put it another way: you know how Roland Emmerich has kind of […]

Nothing about Abominable is even mildly surprising (unless it’s that an English-language movie made by American creators and mostly at an American animation studio should be set in China and have a female protagonist, and neither of these facts are even briefly commented upon), which is kind of a great thing. It doesn’t feel like […]

I have said before and will, I am entirely sure, have reason to say it again: nothing in the whole world of filmmaking in the 2010s interests me as much as the Chinese film industry’s concerted efforts to establish itself as an internationally competitive alternative to Hollywood, concurrent with the swift rise of that country’s […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. The week just ended: Keanu Reeves has spent some 20 years now as a sometimes hand-to-hand combat god, as John Wick: […]

It is well to avoid making absolute statements, especially absolute statements about weirdly idiosyncratic and fundamentally unquantifiable things, but I’m feeling feisty. So here goes: I think it’s entirely likely that the most interesting and important thing happening to cinema anywhere in the world right now is the Chinese film industry’s attempts – largely successful […]

So here’s the thing: The Meg is actually able to concoct a reason for Jason Statham to get into hand-to-hand combat with a 75-foot shark. That is, in a sense, the whole of what the film needs to do, and I unhesitatingly admire it for this, and even love it for this, even though I’m […]

The controversy is dead, dead, dead, and far be it from me to bring it up at this late, but I think the pre-release outrage in the United States over The Great Wall is telling. Matt Damon in a historical action movie set in 11th Century China? Must be a pandering White Savior gesture, went […]

Alright, kiddies, it’s time for some box office numbers: 1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $936,662,22 (winter 2015-2016) 2. Avatar: $749,766,139 (winter 2009-2010) 3. Wolf Warrior II: $679,495,519 (as of 13 August, 2017) What we have there are the three largest single-territory grosses in the history of worldwide box office. The first two of those […]

Rock Dog is a low-down, no-damn-good movie. But terribly fascinating anyway, if more in theory than actuality. The film exists as a hoped-for evolutionary link between the second- and third-largest film markets in the world;* it has been 100% financed by Chinese production companies but 100% created by U.S. artists at a U.S. studio. The […]