Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

With a thin week of wide releases and nothing in the art house looking worth the trip the best course of action seemed to be to arbitrarily pick a few DVDs that have been staring me in the face, unwatched, and make a theme of it. Thus do I declare the first day of ’30s […]

It has for some time been my custom to celebrate Easter by diving into a zombie movie or four; the problem is that there are precious few important zombie franchises and I’ve already reviewed most of them; also that once you get past the tip-top of the A-list of the subgenre, a disquieting and dispiriting […]

When Dracula became a huge hit for Universal in the winter of 1931, this much at least was clear: Universal would be spending a lot more time making horror movies. Not that they hadn’t dabbled in the genre before, of course – some of the most important American horror pictures of the 1920s came out […]

The 1931 adaptation of Dracula is a classic if ever a film has deserved that name: an incalculably important film, just about every single horror picture made in the last 78 years – and certainly, every vampire picture – owes it some debt, if only a small one. Its influence has extended far beyond even […]

Complaining “this film suffers from too much ambition” isn’t something you get to do very often, but it’s still a fairly easy and facile criticism. But occasionally, it just fits perfectly, and if ever I’ve seen a film that seems, objectively, to be the poster child for movies that are being pressed to do too […]

Isn’t it romantic, Music in the night, a dream that can be heard? The first “talkie” – the first sync sound motion picture with spoken dialogue – was also the first musical, Warner’s The Jazz Singer from 1927. And in the first years that followed the release of that landmark, the history of sound cinema […]

Sometimes a movie just comes right along and punches a hole in your gut, and for me, Vampyr was just such a movie. Like any halfway decent connoisseur of paranormal horror and inordinately artsy European films, I’ve known about Carl Theodor Dreyer’s first sound film for ages, but somehow I’d managed to go without seeing […]

We turn today to one of the great forgotten filmmakers of France: Raymond Bernard, who along with Rene Clair was primarily responsible for bringing sound to the national cinema, and along with Clair was almost completely forgotten once the Cahiers du Cinéma/Nouvelle vague kids came along to disparage anything in their country’s cinematic history that […]