Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

A review requested by Jordyn Auvil, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The big problem with The English Patient isn’t even its fault: the problem is that Elaine Benes fucking hated it, and nobody who saw that 1997 episode of the sitcom Seinfeld before they caught up with […]

With what I can only call the most admirable clarity, the monumental biopic Patton, Best Picture Oscar winner of 1970, opens with a kind of thesis statement that lays out everything the rest of the film is to contain. I don’t refer to the main body of its legendary opening scene, in which famed World […]

In the wide world of sequels that certainly don’t have any actual reason to exist, one could do a lot worse, conceptually speaking, than The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death – though that title! There’s absolutely nothing that mouthful achieves that wouldn’t be more accurately and clearly covered by just plain The Woman […]