Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The paradox of Drive My Car is that nearly every individual moment within it feels like the most delicate kind of minimalism, while the film that is the sum total of all those individual moments has the grandeur of a big, sweeping epic. This is, not least, because there are almost three hours worth of […]

I am curious if future cinephiles will ever come around to think of Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy as anything other than “Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s other film from 2021”. Winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Fesitval certainly isn’t a little deal, but it doesn’t seem to have done too very much to […]

A review requested by Devin, 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! The housekeeping part first: the 1999 animated feature Adolescence of Utena (whose Japanese title more literally translates as […]

Earwig and the Witch, the first feature made by the reborn Studio Ghibli after it seemingly closed up shop for good with 2014’s When Marnie Was There and the 2016 co-production The Red Turtle, finds the company trying to create a new artistic identity for itself. I would say that I am uncertain of how stable […]

A review requested by David, 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 interests of having some way to start talking about FLCL (pronounced, because why the hell not, […]

I won’t go so far as to say that there’s nothing that can prepare you for Tekkonkinkreet, the 2006 film that, among its many traits, was the first significant Japanese-produced animated feature directed by a non-Japanese person (the man with that honor was Los Angeles-born Michael Arias, who got his start in visual effects and […]

The 2001 animated feature Metropolis, a science fiction parable about robots and class struggle in an incredible Art Deco super-city, has its work cut out for it twice over. First, it’s living in the shadow of that other science fiction parable about robots and class struggle in an incredible Art Deco super-city titled Metropolis, the […]

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 […]

It’s rare to come across a movie so very difficult to prepare for as Dead Leaves, a 2004 animated film directed and designed by Imaishi Hiroyuki and made by the studio Production I.G. The film’s style isn’t completely sui generis, and there are films that have come out since its premiere that openly borrow from […]

Rain, trains, sunlight peeking through the rain, a disaster of an ending: I do not know if 2013’s The Garden of Word has the most Shinkai Makoto of any film, but at just 46 minutes long, I do know that it has the highest density of Shinkai Makoto of any film. In a sense, it’s […]

As we all know (and like many of the things we all know, it’s only partially true), Japanese animation got through its “this is just for kids” phase much earlier than the animation industries of every other country. And once it got out of its “this is just for kids” phase, it very quickly arrived […]

When I have in the past talked about Isao Takahata, a man who’s certainly in the conversation about my favorite animation directors of all time if he’s not indeed #1, it has usually been to reflect on how, to a degree unseen in Japanese animation prior to the ascendance of Yuasa Masaaki, most of his […]