Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

A finalist in the latest round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 arthouse film I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate The great Polish director Agnieszka Holland is in the pantheon of European master filmmakers whose […]

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:  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 […]

It would hardly be righ to expect a filmmaker to crank out what amounts to five consecutive feature films all right in a row and have absolutely no detectable drop in quality, so the fact that Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s five-part TV anthology, couldn’t keep knocking out one Lovers Rock after another isn’t surprising, and […]

Steve McQueen’s Small Axe project has been gestating almost as long as he’s had a career as a film director: for a full decade, he was attempting to put together what ended up as a five-part television anthology series of stories (some of them based on true events) about life among the West Indian population […]