Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Kirsten Johnson’s 2016 feature-length documentary Cameraperson is one of the great non-fiction films of the last decade, a personal memoir that doubles as an inquiry into the “meaning” produced by the photographic moving image. For a while, it seems like her follow-up, Dick Johnson Is Dead, will end up splashing in similar thematic waters, as […]

I haven’t done anything even slightly resembling the legwork it would take to prove or disprove this hunch, but I suspect that there might be more footage of Ingmar Bergman working on the set of his movies than any other filmmaker of the pre-home video generations. He has been the subject of a remarkable number […]

My first response to Mank has absolutely nothing do with the what we do see in the film, and everything to do with what we don’t: this is not, as was rumored, “Raising Kane: The Movie“, and for that I am grateful. “Raising Kane”, if you have the good fortunate not to have read it, […]

There have been horror movie icons since the 1920s, and naturally enough, every one of them has to have their Very Last Horror Movie. But not a one of them had a grand finale to their time as a star of horror movies like Vincent Price, who was shipped out of the genre in grand […]

In watching the early films of director Ingmar Bergman, it is hard to avoid feeling a certain polite boredom towards them: some are mediocre, some are good, some are very good, but not one of them feels so strikingly different from the kind of serious melodramas being made in northern and western Europe in the […]

As a genre, the making-of documentary is down near the very bottom of where you’d expect to find genuine artistic inspiration. At their worst, these are absolutely nothing but promotional puff pieces, and even when they are impressively packed with interesting and rare information, presented in a clear and engaging way (my mind immediately goes […]

If there’s a key to cracking Barton Fink, and honestly I’m pretty sure that there isn’t, it might be the simplest bit of production trivia of all. The 1991 film, the fourth written and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen, was written in a brief burst of activity when they were stuck on the labyrinthine […]

Certain beloved directors – Wes Anderson is an obvious example, but I’m sure we can all think of others – often get slagged for making the same movie over and over again. And while I’m sure we would in general prefer for directors to experiment and prod and try out new things, it’s worth pointing […]

Depending on how you count the intermissions that are baked right into the print – there are five of them, all about 15 minutes in length – La Flor is anywhere from about 13.5 hours long to a bit less than 15 hours long. This is, of course The Big Fact about the film that […]

Joanna Hogg is one of the most interesting working directors that you most likely haven’t heard of. In the four features she’s made, starting Unrelated in 2007, she’s carved out a very peculiar but rewarding niche of crafting sedate character dramas after the fashion of Éric Rohmer, but charged with the kind of overwhelming Englishness […]

It’s all right there in the title, a simple little thing that sounds as sensible as a well-fitting pair of shoes: Varda by Agnès. As in “Varda”, the filmmaking career of one of the all-time greats, a master director if ever a director was a master, someone who has more than earned the right to […]

In truth, it doesn’t matter to me that it’s a Romanian film (I tend to love Romanian films), a dark comedy (most of my favorite Romanian films are dark comedies), a story about totalitarian politics (my favorite Romanian dark comedy, 12:08 East of Bucharest, is about the nation’s history of totalitarianism), or as the cherry […]