Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Notwithstanding its title, one of the most acutely generic and forgettable (not to mention, inapt) I have encountered in an age, No Sudden Move is a triumph of writing, with a hell of a script by Ed Solomon that’s as good as any that director Steven Soderbergh has worked with in a good ten or […]

NB: there are spoilers for events in the second quarter of Nobody that not everybody might want to know in advance. For the record, I have left many splendid surprises in the second and third acts not merely un-discussed, but not even alluded to. The action thriller Nobody is, in the most literal sense, incoherent. […]

In two entirely unrelated ways, I Care a Lot perfectly showcases two of the foremost aesthetic limitations facing contemporary cinema. The simpler one to talk about is that it’s just really damn gross-looking, with the kind of chintzy digital cinematography that has come to define so many direct-to-streaming films (it has been divvied up between […]

To have made one of the most sublimely beautiful urban-set movies of a decade is a sign of talent. To have made two of them – maybe literally the two best-looking movies about cities of the whole of the 2010s – is a sign of outright genius. And that’s the place where director Diao Yi’nan […]

Capone is an outright disaster, but it’s my favorite kind of outright disaster: ones that come from a mortifying surfeit of ambition and creativity. This is the third feature in the short but tumultuous career of writer-director Josh Trank, of the pleasantly clever and low-key Chronicle in 2012, and very much more visibly the farrago […]

Whether you consider it a strength, or the movie’s most damning flaw, I think this much cannot be denied: The Godfather, Part II knows the scale of the movie it’s following, and it is hellbent on topping it. 1972’s The Godfather, adapted from Mario Puzo’s 1969 crime novel, was never supposed to be one of […]

You have perhaps heard of The Godfather. It is a three-hour movie about the Mafia, released in 1972 by a studio that had been losing money at a steady clip, directed by an up-and-coming filmmaker whose last film had been a major flop (he was hired, in large part because the desperate studio knew that […]

I won’t go so far as to say that there’s nothing that can prepare you for Tekkonkinkreet, the 2006 film that, among its many traits, was the first significant Japanese-produced animated feature directed by a non-Japanese person (the man with that honor was Los Angeles-born Michael Arias, who got his start in visual effects and […]

1935’s The Whole Town’s Talking is a weird movie. All the weirder still, because it doesn’t in the slightest bit act like it’s weird. But here’s what we’ve got: a variation of The Prince and the Pauper set inside of a ’30s gangster picture, that spends its first act looking for all the world like […]

Not, by any means, the most important fact about Martin Scorsese’s exhaustive new biographical epic The Irishman, but to me easily the most distracting: it is not titled The Irishman. The film has been adapted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s 2004 nonfiction novel I Heard You Paint Houses, and that is the only title […]

2015’s Embrace of the Serpent, director Ciro Guerra’s third film, was a story of indigenous traditions in Colombia being corrupted and overwritten by an encounter with Westerners. It’s also one of the most remarkable sui generis films of the 2010s, a film that takes place in history but also feels outside of it; draws upon […]

The very first thing that happens in Gotti is that the camera pans across the Manhattan skyline on the far side of the river, to land on John Gotti (John Travolta), turning around to regard the camera with practiced surprise, like the host of a cooking show welcoming us to their fake house. The second […]