Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The most overwhelming takeaway from Private Life is that Tamara Jenkins needs to be enabled to make more movies. In a career stretching 20 years, the writer-director has only now made her third feature, following Slums of Beverly Hills in 1998 and The Savages in 2007, and once again she’s created an immaculate gem of […]

Whatever you think about Clint Eastwood, as director and actor, The Mule is not the film to change your mind. Myself, I persist in admiring the sinewy minimalism and directness of his style, his utter refusal to sentimentalise even when sentiment is called for. When he’s working with actual professional actors, as he is here, […]

The title of Life Itself comes from one of its most particularly florid, sophomoric lines, “The most unreliable narrator is life itself.” This sentence, or a close variation, is spoken enough times during the length of the film that, if you were to take a shot every single time, you would likely die. Given that […]

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! Every movie, even if just by accident, starts out by telling us how to watch it. Roma, the eighth feature film directed by Alfonso Cuarón (who also takes solo screenwriting credit), just happens to be unusually great at doing this. The film’s exemplary opening shot […]

There is nothing quite like the profound satisfaction of a quiet movie made with absolute confidence and no need to prove itself. And in this vein we have Shoplifters, the thirteenth narrative feature directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu (and a lucky #13 at that; it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the most wholly deserving film […]

If you have to watch one of 2018’s two dramas about the parent of a teen drug addict played by one of the young hot It Boys who co-starred in Lady Bird – and I assure you that you don’t, but let’s say that you have to – I guess the least you can say […]

I would say at the outset that David & Nic Sheff, subjects of the biopic Beautiful Boy, are a real-life father and son (the movie is based on their respective memoirs, titled after David’s), and the suffering depicted in the movie is real-life suffering, and far be it from me to minimise any of it. It […]

On 20 July, 1969, the NASA Apollo 11 mission, commanded by Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon. Spoiler alert. But, I mean, it did, and that’s why we’re here for a movie like First Man to begin with. “First man to almost walk on the moon but then not do it” isn’t a plot. So […]

The new A Star Is Born, fourth film of that title, is an important first film for two of its main principals. For Lady Gaga, playing the titular star, it is her first real acting role of any significance, following cameos in Machete Kills, Muppets Most Wanted, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. […]

From pretty much the instant it premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, The Wife has been greeted with a nearly uniform wave of critical praise to the effect that Glenn Close is absolutely fantastic as the wife in question, at or near her career peak. Having now seen the film with my own […]

Nicole Holofcener is not a name-brand film auteur, but she really should be. Her films, which come out at a fairly steady once-every-five-years clip, are clearly the work of a single mind, tidily unifying her approach to the messy business of humanity by showing people in profound disarray through the lens of quiet, unhurried, unfussy […]

A review requested by Paul Royar, 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! Palindromes isn’t merely an example of a kind of film we don’t really have any more, it […]