Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I would certainly not want The Dead Don’t Die to be anybody’s first exposure to director Jim Jarmusch, but since it has an unusually wide release for that director, and an unusually friendly genre for that director (it’s a comic zombie movie), and a seemingly endless list of famous people in the cast, it seems […]

Only a director as reliably extraordinary as Jim Jarmusch could make a movie as sensitive and heartbreaking as Paterson and have it feel vaguely disappointing. I cannot speak for any other fans of the director’s work, but what I like most about his now twelve narrative features is how the best of them seriously interrogate […]

I have on three different occasions now described Only Lovers Left Alive as Vampires Who Write for Pitchfork: The Movie, and I still don’t have the damnedest idea if I mean that in a disparaging or highly complimentary way. It’s that kind of movie, where the singular weirdness of it more than trumps judgments that […]

I cannot say whether Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control is exactly a good movie or not, and this is in no small respect because I am not certain whether it’s proper to call it a movie at all. It meets the basic criteria, I suppose: it was made with a motion picture camera, and […]

I think it best to begin by explaining what Down by Law isn’t: a prison escape movie, a study of the places and cultures of Louisiana, a buddy movie, or a cryptic celebration of beatnik jazz. It’s important to clarify that, because it seems like it should be all of those things at once: full […]

It’s a fool’s gambit to declare “The Best Film of the Year” in August. Just, really, really stupid. The studios never release the good stuff before Thanksgiving. Remember 2003, when every watchable film of the year was released after mid-December? Never a good idea to start “best of” lists before January. That said, Jim Jarmusch’s […]