Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! Every movie, even if just by accident, starts out by telling us how to watch it. Roma, the eighth feature film directed by Alfonso Cuarón (who also takes solo screenwriting credit), just happens to be unusually great at doing this. The film’s exemplary opening shot […]

A review requested by Brian F, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The first question: how is one to even go about the task of watching The Night of a Thousand Cats? The film was first released in its native Mexico in 1972 (the Spanish title is La […]

A review requested by David Q, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The Exterminating Angel, from 1962, was the first film directed by Luis Buñuel after his splashy return to his native Spain to make the magnificently poisonous satire Viridiana (whose official condemnation by the Franco government sent […]

There is a certain type of film, destined to never move beyond the art house, so challenging and unconventional in its storytelling and visual vocabulary that it needs to train the adventuresome viewer how to watch it, in the act of watching it. Carlos Reygadas’s fourth feature, Post Tenebras Lux, is not that kind of […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/22 & 10/23World premiere: 1 March, 2013, Guadalajara International Film Festival The longer I think about Rodrigo Reyes’s documentary Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border, ostensibly about life along the border between Mexico and the United States, the more I am convinced that the best way to approach it […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/19 & 10/21World premiere: 16 May, 2013, Cannes International Film Festival A third of the way through Heli, one might almost inevitably find it a purposeless noodle through the Mexican countryside with scenes that clearly have no connection to each other and random insert shots of things we’ll never need to think […]

It is not an unnoticed fact, but one still worth mentioning, because it is fun, that the career of Alfonso Cuarón repeated itself in a weirdly specific way. First, in 1991, he made Soló con tu pareja, a Mexican film with political overtones, that features a lot of sex. Then he went to America and […]

It is a greatly satisfying thing that the first shot of Sólo con tu pareja, the first feature directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a tracking shot towards an exquisitely-lit man and a woman having sex. That’s as close a one-image summary of the director’s subsequent career as you’re likely to run into, particularly when that […]

The shockingly – one might fairly say unprecedentedly – successful Mexican import Instructions Not Included possesses a title and the skeleton of a plot (womanizer has an illegitimate child dropped on his doorstep, must take care of her) that makes it absolutely obvious what kind of film it is: a warm and cuddly two hours […]

There’s a notion that every one of us has fallen into at one point or another: great art is depressing. It’s what drives the Oscars, film festival praise, top 10 lists (if you can think of any critics who explicitly or implicitly declared insightful relationship tragedy Blue Valentine to be superior to insightful relationship action […]

If Amores perros had not premiered in the summer of 2000, it would be necessary to lie and say that it had done so; offhand I cannot name another movie which has ever thus stood at the forefront of what would turn out to be a number of different trends in the decade to follow, […]

Proof that certain Hollywood tendencies aren’t unique to Hollywood at all, the fine director of the perhaps overly-rewarded The Crime of Father Amaro has come out with his first feature in seven years, and it too is a fine thing. Indeed, the only thing that keeps Backyard from transcending “fine” and turning into “pretty good, […]