Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It’s an uncharitable thing to say about such a passionate work of cinema-activism, but there was not one moment in the 81 minutes of Time, a documentary about the excesses of the U.S. prison system and how it affected one family over the course of 20 years, where I could shake the feeling that I […]

An apology, or if you prefer a warning: this is perhaps less on the order of a review than it is a rant. The thing is, I found Nomadland to be a completely repulsive movie, cloying when it works and actively pernicious when it doesn’t, and simply having to choke it down was galling enough; […]

There is certainly a very good film within Better Days. Arguably, in fact, there are three: a story about high school bullying, a story about the high pressure put upon teenagers to perform well academically, and a love story about two teenaged outsiders finding strength in each other’s presence. It’s not very hard to see […]

The detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, where hundreds of men were (and in some cases still are) held for years at a time, mostly without having been formally charged with a crime or tried before a judge, represents what I would consider the single most flagrant human rights violation perpetrated by the United […]

The great Polish director Agnieszka Holland is in the pantheon of European master filmmakers whose work we are more or less required to grapple with, if we take seriously the idea that cinema is an art form. And in this light, it’s not surprising that Mr. Jones, a political history lesson that premiered at the […]

Judas and the Black Messiah is a perfectly fine film about Fred Hampton, a man who deserves much better than a perfectly fine film. If you haven’t heard of Hampton, ah! such a marvelous figure you have in front of you, and truth be told, as a starting point – only as starting point, mind […]

I have noted many a time that it is a particular privilege of genre films to comment on society, politics, and humanity much more craftily than the blunt-force lecture of more traditional message movies, but there’s no reason they can’t be pretty damn blunt themselves. And so it is with La Llorona, a Guatemalan film […]

To give credit where it’s due, Sound of Metal gives you a lot of movie for the money: three movies, in fact, by my reckoning. And the first two of them even fit together pretty smoothly. What this third, aberrant movie means for the whole is something we’ll get to a bit later, although I […]

Eliza Hittman is maybe my favorite American filmmaker right now working in what is probably my least-favorite mode of filmmaking. I honestly don’t even know if that’s a backhanded compliment or a sincere one. Her preferred aesthetic is Indie Film 101:Β  handheld cameras, a shitload of medium shots and medium close-ups, a plot that coalesces […]

A review requested by Martha, 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! There aren’t too many formulations that make me instantaneously suspicious of a movie more than A) a story […]

Reviews of all episodes: Episode 1: “Mangrove” (15 November 2020) Episode 2: “Lovers Rock” (22 November 2020) Episode 3: “Red, White and Blue” (29 November 2020) Episode 4: “Alex Wheatle” (6 December 2020) Episode 5: “Education” (13 December 2020)

Education, the fifth and final entry in director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology is almost certainly the most straightforward: as a narrative, a delivery system for a political message, as an aesthetic object. Whether this is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder; for myself, I will not pretend to be a […]