Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

If Neil Jordan’s Ondine were a regular sort of movie, it probably would have opened with a sequence establishing what sort of person its hero was, showing him interacting with his ex-wife and his sickly daughter, chatting with the locals in the small Irish town where he lives, giving us a good sense of the […]

One of the biggest surprises in recent Oscar history was surely the elevation of an unknown French-Belgian-Irish co-production, made by the little-known Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, into the ranks of Best Animated Feature nominees this past spring; thank God for it, too, because without being able to splash “Oscar Nominee!” across the posters, I doubt […]

There’s no such thing as a serious film festival run that entirely misses the occasional bad movie, but I am a bit disappointed that my first real clinker of 2009 happened so quickly. The film in question is The Eclipse, which I plugged into my schedule without reading the capsule, solely for the grave and […]

Winner of the 2008 Camera d’Or at Cannes, Hunger, the first proper narrative feature directed by British artist Steve McQueen, is without question one of the most self-assured first films to come out in ages – among the best debuts for an English-language filmmaker in this decade, along with David Gordon Green’s George Washington and […]

How do you solve a problem like John Boorman? A director who flips from flat-out masterpiece to incoherent wreck like you or I walk out the front door, his career has been a sort of ping-pong match, with early classics like Point Break giving way to later missteps like Beyond Rangoon, or that delightful moment […]

A love story that’s not a love story, and a musical that’s not a musical, there’s something about the tiny Irish import Once that makes you want to fall head-over-heels in love with it no matter how slight it seems to be when you get to thinking about it rationally. I think perhaps it’s because […]

“If we dare to tell the truth about the past, perhaps we shall dare tell the truth about the present.” -Ken Loach, 2006 Cannes Film Festival “A bullet pierced my true love’s side in life’s young spring so early And on my breast in blood she died while soft winds shook the barley.” -Robert Dwyer […]

Breakfast on Pluto far exceeded my expectations, leaving me in the awkward position of expressing a considerable degree of enthusiasm for a movie that, in the cold light of day, doesn’t do much of anything. It’s the story of an orphaned boy named Patrick, living in a small Irish town in the home of a […]