Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Movies about the life of Joan of Arc, the visionary teenager who rallied the French army to victories against the English during the Hundred Years’ War and was executed after a politically-motivated show trial for heresy in 1431, are hardly rare. And they are hardly obscure, including this writer’s pick for the best movie ever […]

We could run through a decent list of the things about the (for now) newest cinematic adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio that sound like they should be interesting, but are in fact not actually very interesting. This is different than saying the film is “bad”: it is on the […]

I could tell you what I thought Assassin 33 A.D. was going to be about, and I would not turn out to have been precisely “wrong”, and it would seem like a completely bugfuck bonkers movie that simultaneously must be seen to be believed, and also is so revolting to human decency that nobody really […]

With The Reckoning, we arrive at the saddest point in the life-cycle of any once-promising film director: the point where we need to abandon hope. Almost a whole generation ago, Neil Marshall blew his way into the world with an extraordinary one-two punch of Dog Soldiers in 2003 and The Descent in 2005, a pair […]

Eight for Silver somehow manages to be two irreconcilable things simultaneously: a thorough re-imagining of the werewolf movie that’s also the most traditional, formulaic werewolf movie in years and years. At the level of plot, it’s completely straightforward and without any significant surprises or twists: a haughty landowner in either England, France, or Ireland (his […]

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 […]

The film that has been released in the United States and the United Kingdom as [The] Iron Mask, with the article disappearing if you (like me) are west of the Atlantic – that banal little title covering up a truly dumbfounding number of AKAs in at least English and Russian including Viy 2, Journey to […]

There are so god-damned many film and television incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic misanthropic detective, it would be ludicrous to make a definitive claim about any of them being the best or worst, the most or least faithful, or just about anything else. But I will nudge far enough into this dangerous […]

Every film director in the history of the medium has made, or will have made, their final film. Most of them scrape out some dumb nonsense, the kind of half-assed project that a fading, aging artist can get financed. The lucky ones are able to do so at least semi-knowingly, ending their career on a […]

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 […]

These days, when the 1967 Stimulantia comes up – something it is powerfully unlikely to ever do – it’s almost certainly in the context of being the one anthology film that Ingmar Bergman contributed a segment to, right in the heart of his international heyday in the 1960s (it nestles in his career during the […]

On paper, The Personal History of David Copperfield does everything right. The first feature film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1849-’50 novel in a half century is both clearly in love with the source material (just check out that title, which at least reminds us that most Dickens novels technically have much longer names than we […]