Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Film Screens at CIFF: 10/15 & 10/16 World premiere: 30 August, 2014, Venice International Film Festival Satire doesn’t get much more on-the-nose, snottily sarcastic, or, in fairness, absolutely hilarious as the opening of The President, a most uncharacteristic but hugely welcome surprise from self-exiled Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/13 & 10/15 & 10/16 World premiere: 1 February, 2014, Gérardmer International Fantastic Film Festival The first act of Ablations is great. Maybe not great. But promising – hella promising. A man wakes up on the bank of a river, the day after a huge bender, and his kidney’s missing. He wants […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/15 & 10/17 & 10/19World premiere: 7 September, 2014, Toronto International Film Festival Movies about ideas are wonderful things; movies that are “About Ideas” to the point where they start to disappear inside their own ass are much less so. And the French-made Iranian film Red Rose (that is, the crew and […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/11 & 10/13 & 10/17World premiere: 12 February, 2014, Berlin International Film Festival It might have been filmed in color; it might have been filmed in China; it might have been filmed decades after of the essential cultural context of the post-WWII America; but other than those little things, Black Coal, Thin […]

Winner of a Gold Plaque – Special Mention for OriginalityScreens at CIFF: 10/10 & 10/12 & 10/15World premiere: 18 May, 2014, Cannes International Film Festival Apparently, Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Owners is not merely the third in a loosely-connected thematic series of tragicomedies about land ownership in Kazakhstan, but it is directly related to his Constructors […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/11 & 10/13World premiere: 10 February, 2014, Berlin International Film Festival I will concede up front that to a certain type of viewer, and it is the type that I am, there’s no way to describe Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro’s feature debut The Way He Looks that makes it sound tolerable. Or […]

CIFF Opening Night Presentation, 10/9World premiere: 7 September, 2014, Toronto International Film Festival Time for fun with coincidences! What has been, till now (and I suspect it will remain so), the most prominent film adaptation of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s massively important 1888 play Miss Julie was the 1951 Palme d’Or winner directed by Alf […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/21 World premiere: 24 July, 2013, Norwich, UK I have no idea if Alan Partridge, the buffoonish, vain media host played on radio, television, and now in a feature film by Steve Coogan, is well-loved in the United Kingdom or not. I know only that he’s emphatically not well-loved in the United […]

October’s such a busy month: here I am, looking to pack away the Chicago International Film Festival and get to work on Kevin Olson’s Italian Horror Blogathon, and wouldn’t you know it, but I was given an absolutely perfect, gift-wrapped transition from one to the other in the form of Dracula 3D, the latest film […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/16 & 10/18 World premiere: 10 May, 2013, India You tell me if this sounds appealing or hopelessly stupid: modern stoner comedy classic Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle meets infamously terrible video game adaptation House of the Dead. I can’t actually say what it sounds like to me at this […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/21 & 10/23 World premiere: 19 May, 2013, Cannes International Film Festival Writer-director Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman is, to start with, an irresistibly weird movie. It’s also, I believe, an intensely angry movie, though the anger is a little bit hard to suss out underneath all the weirdness. It is […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/22 & 10/23World premiere: 1 March, 2013, Guadalajara International Film Festival The longer I think about Rodrigo Reyes’s documentary Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border, ostensibly about life along the border between Mexico and the United States, the more I am convinced that the best way to approach it […]