Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It’s not the only admirable thing about Phantom Thread, but it’s the one that I think is most immediately available, how it does not whatsoever feel like a film that was released in 2017. This story of sexualised psychological cruelty in the high fashion world of 1950s London puts everything it can into feeling like […]

The Death of Louis XIV certainly does live up to its title. The newest entry in cinema’s third-oldest genre*, the “watch a monarch die” biopic (born with 1895’s The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots), starts at close to the exact moment that Louis XIV, King of France (Jean-Pierre Léaud) begins to suffer from the […]

Marjorie Prime is a wonderful example of a stage-to-screen adaptation. Director Michael Almereyda’s screenplay mostly leaves intact the material of Jordan Harrison’s 2014 play, a Pulitzer finalist. It largely takes place in a single location, and it leaves alone the distinctively stagey cadences of the dialogue. But it’s such a movie. Almereyda’s visual treatment of […]

A review requested by Travis Neeley, 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! In the interest of honesty, I’ll confess immediately that I have no expertise at all on the […]

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”, […]

Good Time is a delectable paradox: it is one of 2017’s most beautiful movies, despite only ever training its gaze on ugly things. I’m not quite sure how the filmmakers – director brothers Josh & Benny Safdie, cinematographer Sean Price Williams – managed it, but I certainly feel that I’ve been put on notice (and […]

In these times of great social change and a rapidly-shifting baseline for how cinema attempts to position itself in the world, Darkest Hour is comfortingly reactionary bit of nothing. I don’t in anyway refer to its content, though that is too; I’m simply referring to how very much this feels like something that somebody might […]

Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was just about every last little thing I want out of a directorial debut: technically adept and hugely gorgeous, full of left-field concepts, and just limited enough in some really obvious ways that it was easy to hope that her next one would be […]

I suspect, with absolutely nothing to back it up besides anecdotal data and hunches, that Murder on the Orient Express, from 1934, is Agatha Christie’s best-known mystery novel; or at least the best-known title to one of her mystery novels, which is the same thing as far as film producers go. And yet here we […]

Nothing says “unforced realism” more than a narratively shapeless slice-of-life snapshot of impoverished kids wandering around in beatific innocence of their own suffering; all the way back to 1946’s Shoeshine and 1948’s Bicycle Thieves, child non-actors floating in front of the camera, guileless in their moral comfort, have been a mainstay of the form. It’s […]

Idris Elba is a damned handsome man, and that’s very close to the solitary reason it’s worth paying any attention at all to The Mountain Between Us. The only other reason I could come up with was the film’s terribly beautiful cinematography, courtesy of Mandy Walker, whom I would like to see get more attention […]

It’s going to sound like I’m crabbing and bitching and pissing and moaning and harboring all sorts of ill will towards Blade Runner 2049, so let me please clarify one important thing: it’s a fine movie. And that’s already most of the battle won. Given the uncountable number of ways that a decades-later sequel to […]