Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee I can think of one thing that’s interesting to me about Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile, a heavy hitter at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival that ended up as one of Netflix’s biggest releases of the year. Namely, it provides an especially clear demonstration of the truth […]

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee At the risk of essentialising the rules of narrative (but what is genre, if not a shorthand for essentialising certain clusters of narrative tropes?), I think there’s only one thing that a romcom actually, definitely needs to do in order to “work”. It might work poorly – it […]

In reviewing Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, I summed up my not-really-a-conclusion thus: “If the next two films are great, this will hopefully seem like an elegant piece of scene-setting. If they’re lousy, this will seem like a huge missed opportunity that wasted too much time getting to the good stuff”. As it turns out, […]

Like many of you, I greatly enjoy John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume that those of you who agree with me – and for that matter, those of you who do not – probably do not spend much of your time thinking, […]

Every satire of the for-profit art world makes largely the same points about that target, and Velvet Buzzsaw, the third film by writer-director Dan Gilroy, is not looking to break the habit. Oh, sure, it drags in the stuff of a slasher-style horror movie for its second hour, but it’s still basically the same thing […]

The most overwhelming takeaway from Private Life is that Tamara Jenkins needs to be enabled to make more movies. In a career stretching 20 years, the writer-director has only now made her third feature, following Slums of Beverly Hills in 1998 and The Savages in 2007, and once again she’s created an immaculate gem of […]

The following review spoils the movie, but not any more than the movie’s first ten minutes have already done on their own. Still, tread carefully. A world-wide epidemic of suicides, a monster that manifests as ominous blowing wind – of all the fucking movies to take as a primary influence, why would anybody with a […]

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 […]

There are times when it makes sense to bury the lede, and times when it makes sense to just have out with the thing that needs to be said. So let me have out with it: the reason to see The Christmas Chronicles is Kurt Russell’s performance as Santa Claus. This cuts two ways. First, […]

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! Joel and Ethan Coen have, in their long career as the most interesting and probably best American-born filmmakers alive, dabbled in damn near every genre that a filmmakers in the last 30 years could possibly get away with dabbling in, but in some way it […]

It is real kind of Hold the Dark, the fourth film directed by Jeremy Saulnier, to sum up all of its problems in one single shot. Or, I guess, a pair of shots. Late in the film, there’s a very long, extravagant gun battle (no spoiler: it is one of the only things anybody has […]

Nicole Holofcener is not a name-brand film auteur, but she really should be. Her films, which come out at a fairly steady once-every-five-years clip, are clearly the work of a single mind, tidily unifying her approach to the messy business of humanity by showing people in profound disarray through the lens of quiet, unhurried, unfussy […]