Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

With his fourth feature, Alan J. Pakula made a fairly decisive break with what had been his most easily definable thematic concerns up to that point, and thereby created one of the two films that have since absolutely secured his position as one of the great American directors of the 1970s. Prior to 1974, we […]

When I included Alan J. Pakula on my poll for who most deserved a full-on retrospective (mostly at the urging of a friend, who wanted to see Pakula get his proper consideration as one of the great directors of the 1970s), it was with no small trepidation; though I didn’t think he’d come anywhere close […]

Aspiring filmmakers looking to see how to make the most from a limited budget would do well to take a good long look at Duncan Jones’s Moon, a $5 million indie that’s the next thing to a one-man show, shot in a handful of sparsely decorated interiors. From these paltry ingredients, Jones (the son of […]

God only knows why Steven Spielberg is so hellbent on making an action hero out of Shia LaBeouf, but with Transformers, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and now Eagle Eye, every single film that he’s produced or directed in the last two years has featured LaBeouf running from or through massive […]

88 Minutes is Al Pacino’s worst film ever. I’ve given that sentence its own paragraph, to make sure it sinks in all the way. In fact, I’ll do so again: 88 Minutes is Al Pacino’s worst film. Ever. In this particular film, Pacino plays Dr. Jack Gramm, a forensic psychiatrist whose testimony was instrumental in […]

There is a certain kind of writer-director that emphasises the first half of that equation: write a great script and then just slap it up on the screen. Woody Allen is the godfather of this mentality (though he is not always beholden to it); men like Barry Levinson is its elder statesman; M. Night Shyamalan […]

Bug

Eventually we’ll all stop seeing movies in theaters, favoring same-day HD downloads onto our 150″ flat panel TVs, and that thought makes me incredibly sad, for as I and many others have said many times, the communal aspect of filmgoing is really a very special thing. Being in the dark with strangers and absorbing their […]

Having signed a new lease this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time with a film about the dark side of apartment dwelling: Roman Polanski’s The Tenant, the third film in a loose thematic trilogy about renters going insane. The film about apartment-hunters going insane, a subject with which I am […]

The lamest pull-quote I’ve ever seen is on the back of the DVD case for Battlefield Earth, and it goes something like this (I’m paraphrasing from memory): “Fantastic scene transitions!” In addition to being lame, it is inaccurate; the scene transitions in Battlefield Earth are in fact unusually bad. No-one can say the same of […]