Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I don’t quite know how the career of Frederick Wiseman works – why 2015’s In Jackson Heights seemed to rate such a tiny speck of a release, and now his follow-up, Ex Libris – The New York Public Library is getting substantially more exposure. At least, more exposure by Frederick Wiseman standards, which is to […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: after many, many years, Stephen King’s most monumental work, The Dark Tower, is finally seeing the first fraction of […]

A second review requested by John Grimes, with thanks for donating twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. So as I sit here preparing to confront Giant Robo: The Animation – The Day the Earth Stood Still (and that’s the last time we’ll be typing that all out, thank you very much), […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: a third feature-length adaptation of Ben-Hur is, you know, definitely a thing one could choose to produce. While wondering […]

A review requested by Christopher Pufall, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Slightly more than a quarter of a century since it premiered (and slightly less than a quarter of a century since the first and only time I’ve seen it prior to now), I’m honestly shocked by […]

A review requested by AndrΓ© Robichaud, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The apparent subject of Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, Andrei Rublev, is indicated right in the title: it’s a story of the life of the most renowned painter of icons in medieval Russia, Andrei Rublev […]

Having been shot in color and on media that doesn’t look like a 30-year-old VHS camcorder, telling something that resembles a story pretty much no matter how you look at it, and gliding in at a whimsical four hours and ten minutes, Norte, the End of History certainly earns its reputation as director Lav Diaz’s […]

There’s no good in hiding the obvious: director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s seventh feature Winter Sleep, winner of the 2014 Palme d’Or, is three hours and sixteen minutes long, with most of that time given to people talking. This is a shallow observation, but the film emphasises the weight of its running time to an extreme […]

And so, Nymphomaniac; or is it Nymph()maniac? There are more than just cosmetic reasons for the latter to count as the actual title, since the dividing line between nymph and maniac is even more important to the film’s project than the fact that an open parenthesis followed directly by a close parenthesis looks in the […]

The classic version of the story goes that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas ruined everything, just absolutely every god-damned thing, when they released their big ol’ popcorn movies Jaws and Star Wars in 1975 and ’77, and made all the studios go “Whoa! We don’t want to keep making little movies about the lives of […]

Having arrived in 1963, our Hollywood Century project now completes its first half. And it pleases me greatly that such a milestone should be commemorated with one of the quintessential Hollywood films of all time – maybe the single best example of the grand, epic, stupid indulgence that only Hollywood filmmakers could ever fully enjoy. […]