Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

CODA is unbearably cloying and contains barely a single narrative beat that isn’t an ossified cliché. Naturally, it has been greeted with rave reviews and a spirited bidding war in the wake of its opening-night premiere at the Sundance Film Festival; elevating sentimental schlock made with little more than the most functional artistry has been […]

The Vast of Night, Andrew Patterson’s first feature as a director and one of the most transparent “look what I can do! Hire me for a Star Wars!” efforts to get this high-profile of a release in ages, is like an episode of The Twilight Zone. In case you miss this (which you would not […]

Eliza Hittman is maybe my favorite American filmmaker right now working in what is probably my least-favorite mode of filmmaking. I honestly don’t even know if that’s a backhanded compliment or a sincere one. Her preferred aesthetic is Indie Film 101:  handheld cameras, a shitload of medium shots and medium close-ups, a plot that coalesces […]

A review requested by Martha, 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 aren’t too many formulations that make me instantaneously suspicious of a movie more than A) a story […]

She Dies Tomorrow is a film that is first and foremost about creating a mood, and I wonder if you might be able to guess what that mood is based on just the title. Hint: while “tomorrow” is a word with a negotiable definition in this case, the title is not ironic. The film, writer-director […]

It’s hard not to be energised by a movie that believes things as hard as Promising Young Woman does, even it ends up doing a remarkably poor job of presenting what it believes. And doubly so when it dumps so many buckets of style over the proceedings, giving us one of the year’s most glowingly […]

It is tempting, easy, and maybe even accurate to describe Shirley, director Josephine Becker and screenwriter Sarah Gubbins’s adaptation of Susan Scarf Merrell’s 2014 novel, as a biopic of Shirley Jackson. But it is not by any stretch of the imagination an accurate one. To be scrupulously fair, it does not pretend to be; it’s […]

Truth in advertising: The Dark and the Wicked is basically nothing else beyond the two adjectives promised by its title. The fourth film directed by Bryan Bertino (whose failure to generate a high-profile career after his 2008 debut The Strangers remains a bizarre mystery to me) is the latest entry in the blossoming genre of […]

The filmmaking duo of Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson has hit upon a very reliable schema – I will not call it a formula, because it’s not really the same thing every time. But in every one of their films, we see a quiet story about the relationship between two people filtered through a mash-up […]

I would like to start by pushing back against the idea that The Assistant, the first narrative feature directed by experimental documentarian Kitty Green, is “about” disgraced former movie mogul and present convicted sex criminal Harvey Weinstein. This in fact seems to me very much against the point of the movie: if we say, Ah, […]

For more (that’s more positive) about Scare Me, check out Rob & Carrie’s interview with writer-director-star Josh Ruben! It is inordinately easy to root for Scare Me (one of two films by that title with extremely similar loglines released in 2020; this is the one picked up by the streaming service Shudder as an exclusive). […]

Kelly Reichardt has never felt like a director who was forcing her career to go in a certain direction, or build to any kind of definitive statement. Her first six features, dating back to 1994’s River of Grass, share a good number of characteristics, but one of the most important is that they’re resolutely small […]