Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In these times of great social change and a rapidly-shifting baseline for how cinema attempts to position itself in the world, Darkest Hour is comfortingly reactionary bit of nothing. I don’t in anyway refer to its content, though that is too; I’m simply referring to how very much this feels like something that somebody might […]

2017 has been a big year for British-made (or at least, British director-made) movies about World War II, and it takes a lot to be the most fucking stupid out of all of them. But Churchill, written by Alex von Tunzelmann and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, is amply up to the task. I hope we […]

It is quite impossible for Mudbound to be a mere 134 minutes long, and I’m not sure if it is the film’s great strength that it manages to cram such an unrelenting quantity of stuff into that running time, or if perhaps there is some other world where it clocked in at three hours and […]

The only time that an animated movie will ever be made with the raw emotional potency of Takahata Isao’s Grave of the Fireflies, for Studio Ghibli, it will be at the very end of the universe, since two such profound motion pictures could not co-exist. Still, Katabuchi Sunao’s In this Corner of the World comes […]

It would be a blatant exaggeration to call Dunkirk an experimental film, or any such thing. But for a film with a $150 million price tag that’s been positioned as the biggest superhero-free Warner Bros. tentpole of 2017, it does just about as much experimenting as it could possibly dare. The film, on paper, is […]

In the most unyielding, prescriptivist sense, Hacksaw Ridge is not a film about a pacifist. The real-life character at its center, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), firmly believes that it would be sinful to kill other human beings even in combat, but he has no particular complaint if the men surrounding him see fit to kill […]

It’s not very hard to imagine a different version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – only a slightly different version, even – that’s a wonderfully imaginative and full of no end of cinematic marvels. For a film that could be described, in fact very nearly demands to be described as “Harry Potter meets […]

In 2002, the great Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov exploded into international prominence with a movie filmed inside one of the world’s great art museums, using the collection and the physical space to mount an argument about the national identity and history of the country housing that museum. 13 years later, he did the same thing, […]

A review requested by Pat King, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Recommended musical accompaniment to this review. Obviously, if we’re talk about pure, rancid anti-cinematic imbecility, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is Michael Bay’s worst movie and will almost certainly remain that way, for it’s difficult to […]

A review requested by Marc Lummis, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There are many indisputably great films that it’s clearly impossible for any normal audience member to complete unpack in all their nuances without the aid of some highly specialised arcane knowledge, but even then, writer-director Bernardo […]

A review requested by James P, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. If there exists a more pleasant, humane story of the constant horror of life during the London Blitz than John Boorman’s Hope and Glory, of 1987, I am thoroughly unfamiliar with it and frankly don’t know […]

As this final Summer of Blood arrives at the slasher boom of the 1980s, it feels like a homecoming. For this is where we belong, truly: in the gutter trash world of miserably formulaic thrillers, propped up only by their most exploitative element and frequently by nothing at all. And while it’s surprisingly willing to […]