Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It’s almost certainly unfair of me to propose that Anton Chekhov’s 1896 play The Seagull is one of the most uniquely un-adaptable works of theater in history, but in the immediate wake of watching the hugely blasé new film version adapted by Stephen Karam and directed by Michael Mayer, I’m inclined to be unfair. The […]

Adrift is a curious, inexplicable little beast. It starts out looking like one film and it ends up looking like a slightly but very importantly, different film, and neither of these look exactly like the film it was marketed as being. It’s kind of too bad, because the film it ends up being is pretty […]

A director could do worse than to find the niche that Sebastián Lelio has found, telling stories centered around the kind of women who tend to be shooed all the way to the margins of movies, anchored by terrific leading performances: a middle-aged woman with active sex drives in Gloria, a trans woman in A […]

A review requested by Erin, 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 first thing likely to kill any modern performance of William Shakespeare’s plays is the line reading. This […]

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool was maybe the most Oscarbaity Oscarbait of 2017,* and to a large extent it lives down to that expectation. It’s the story of how 57-year-old Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), Oscar-winning actress and star of at least two rock-solid film noir masterpieces (1950’s In a Lonely Place, directed by her […]

The opening scene of On Body and Soul – winner of the Golden Bear at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, and the tenth Hungarian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – is so unbelievably damn good that it makes one want to root for the whole movie […]

Midway through Fifty Shades Freed, there is a scene in which a man has just been found creeping through the enormously fancy apartment where newlyweds Ana (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) live and practice their increasingly non-kinky and un-erotic “BDSM lifestyle” (I don’t really know from BDSM, but I don’t believe that “ice […]

I cannot in honesty say that Forever My Girl is a bad movie that’s only one tweak in the script away from being good. The filmmaking itself is too defective for that. Especially the camerawork, which is full of irritating little shimmies that oughtn’t be there; most egregiously, during a major emotional beat near the […]

It’s not the only admirable thing about Phantom Thread, but it’s the one that I think is most immediately available, how it does not whatsoever feel like a film that was released in 2017. This story of sexualised psychological cruelty in the high fashion world of 1950s London puts everything it can into feeling like […]

The one good thing about living in some godforsaken quadrant of the country where the luscious awards-season heavy hitter Call Me by Your Name took forever and then some to open is that, by the time I had my chance to catch up with it, it had already moved from “rapturous praise” to “mild backlash”, […]

Lost in Paris is beguiling as all hell, and I would in a pinch call it the most satisfying feature comedy released in the United States in 2017, though that’s not a particularly competitive field. Still and all: beguiling. It’s a featherweight romantic comedy full of many tiny surprises and absolutely no big ones, and […]

The opening ten minutes of BPM (Beats per Minute) (an inscrutably poor re-titling of the original French title, which translates as 120 Beats per Minute) are among the most bracing and original in any movie I’ve seen in 2017. Before we’re given a minute to situate ourselves, we’re dumped into the backstage area where a […]