Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The 1983 animated feature Barefoot Gen has the bad luck to suffer from being overshadowed from two different directions. First, it’s an adaptation of one of the most important manga of the 1970s, Nakazawa Keiji’s very loosely autobiographical story about a six-year-old boy living in Hiroshima at the time that residents of that city became […]

I wonder, if I didn’t already know that Ivan’s Childhood was possibly my least favorite and certainly the least audacious and ambitious of the seven feature films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, if I’d be less inclined to nitpick it. Taken solely in the context of the Soviet art cinema of the late 1950s and early […]

The United Kingdom has been socked by the ravages of neoliberal capitalism. Rather than serving the best interests of its subjects, the government seems to regard them as a problem to be solved or, better still, ignored. A technocratic, bureaucratic system of means-tested quasi-solutions serves to funnel human suffering into a warren of endless regulations […]

A review requested by Kelleson, 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! “Adult animation” is a category so broad as to be meaningless,* but I bet if I just put […]

Recently, in reviewing the 14-hour La Flor, I suggested that most films that are very, very long achieve their great length in part by trying to make themselves deliberately unpleasant and hard to watch. Here we have a perfect case in point: An Elephant Sitting Still is three hours and 54 minutes long (so let’s […]

Any film as enervating as The Nightingale must be doing something right: it is one of the most upsetting, unpleasant, grueling films I have watched all year, and this is not something that happens without effort. If you consider (as I do) that the first mission of art is to trigger an emotional response in […]

The new anti-death penalty film Clemency offers no surprises; some unexpected emphases, maybe, but no surprises. And given what message movies are, and what Oscarbait is, surprises weren’t the point, of course. The only thing we can really hope for is that the execution of the not-surprises will be effective, and in this case, I […]

House of 1000 Corpses is an energetic, lively movie, but it is also a substantially dysfunctional one, better-suited for demonstrating writer-director Rob Zombie’s all-encompassing love for the horror genre than for working as an audio-visual narrative object. It’s the kind of first feature that a filmmaker needs to get out of their system so they […]

A review requested by Andrew Johnson, 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! There is an internal crisis that probably just about every film reviewer who uses a rating scale […]

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 […]

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 […]

Far be it from me to tell a theater full of people merrily chuckling away that what they’re laughing at isn’t funny. For it was in just such a room that I saw Eighth Grade, the first feature written by Bo Burnham, and most of the crowd was having a fun time, while I felt […]