Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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. This week: in addition to being the best DC superhero team movie ever released to theaters, Teen Titans Go! To the […]

Far be it from me to tell a theater full of people merrily chuckling away that what they’re laughing at isn’t funny. For it was in just such a room that I saw Eighth Grade, the first feature written by Bo Burnham, and most of the crowd was having a fun time, while I felt […]

Chalk up another victory for the evergreen “non-Americans understand America better than Americans” genre. Lean on Pete has an English writer-director and an English producer, it was made using only British money, and it is the most clearheaded, unsentimental portrayal of the perilous life of poor Americans living outside of the social mainstream since 2016’s […]

Screened at the 20th Wisconsin Film Festival. Minding the Gap might be the best coming-of-age movie of the 2010s, in part because it wasn’t designed as such, and the subject which comes-of-age isn’t necessarily a human adolescent, but the movie itself. The film is the feature debut of director Bing Liu, a young man who […]

The best scene in Love, Simon happens somewhere in the middle, as the closeted gay teenage title character (Nick Robinson), in a fit of frustration, supposes that he’d prefer to put off coming out until college, when he’ll be in the rush of getting to redefine himself from head-to-toe anyway. This is realised in one […]

The one good thing about living in some godforsaken quadrant of the country where the luscious awards-season heavy hitter Call Me by Your Name took forever and then some to open is that, by the time I had my chance to catch up with it, it had already moved from “rapturous praise” to “mild backlash”, […]

A previous version of this review appeared at the Film Experience. In 2011, Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero co-directed a very dark-hearted short film called Birdboy, based on Vázquez’s comic Psiconautas. It left only a bit of an impression on me at the time, but over the years has clung voraciously to the lower tiers […]

So in defiance of all good breeding, let me get this part out of the way right now: Lady Bird has been ludicrously over-hyped. Everything it does good – which is a solid amount, to be sure – has been done just as good in earlier films about teenagers feeling like they’re stuck in a […]

After three exemplary art house masterworks (Reprise, Oslo, August 31, Louder Than Bombs), it’s fair that director Joachim Trier would finally put a foot wrong. And even there, I’m overstating things: if every time a filmmaker messed up, the results were still as amazing as Thelma (for that is the name of Trier’s fourth feature), cinema would […]

I think it is time to draw Cartoon Saloon into the company of the great animation studios of the modern day. It’s not just that with The Breadwinner, a sober-minded tale of the life of a girl in Afghanistan during the height of Taliban control, makes it three-for-three good or great features from Cartoon Saloon, […]

This much we must credit to Devil’s Whisper: it’s certainly not a typical “the creepy old gewgaw has a demon attached” picture, no matter how much it shares the essential beats of one. It’s a movie very much about religion, for one thing (which isn’t quite the same as calling it a religious movie), which […]

Categories: coming-of-age, horror

When they write the histories of the cannibal film, many years from now, they’ll have to save a whole chapter for Raw. It’s a right marvel all the way around: it has the unapologetic, unblinking gore of the all the most sordid examples of Italian cannibal films from the late ’70s and early ’80s,* but […]