Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A second review requested by Patton with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. How in the name of the good Lord does one even go about starting to discuss Apocalypse Now? It’s among the small population of films about which I think it’s more or less impossible to […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, dedicated to the memory of his father, with my thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It is 1972, and you have a Western with Robert Redford in it. With that in mind, what’s most surprising about Jeremiah Johnson […]

In memory of Michael Cimino, 3 February 1939 – 2 July 2016 Compared to the glut of masterpiece-level films about World War II, American cinema has – perhaps surprisingly – never produced a wholly great and uncompromised movie about the United States’ war in Vietnam. Too many psychic scars, maybe; could be that the divisive, […]

The focus of this review being its subject’s position in the context of filmmaking in 1977, it is not based upon the series of “Special Edition” re-releases in theaters and on home video that have routinely happened since 1997. Instead, I take as my source material the “Despecialized Edition” reconstruction by fan editor Harmy of […]

A review requested by Jonathan Storey, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The title of the magnificent 1975 Warner Bros. release Dog Day Afternoon gives the game away: whatever else it’s about, and there’s a lot of things we could say it’s specifically about, it’s about how fucking […]

One of the main unifying traits that connects nearly all the filmmakers who were part of the New Hollywood Cinema period (not every last one, of course) was their knowledge of cinema. For most of them, this was the result of having gone through film school rather than come up as an apprentice, the way […]

1968, the bright dividing line between contemporary and classic horror – in the autumn of that year, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead brought terrifyingly explicit violence and gore to the genre and things change forever. But that groundbreaking horror classic was beat to theaters by a few months by a film whose […]

A review requested by Scott D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I say this as someone born 12 years later, but it’s probably not possible for anyone who wasn’t around in 1969 to genuinely grasp the enormity of The Wild Bunch upon its initial release. We can […]

A review requested by Travis Neeley, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. By 1974, Brian De Palma had seven features under his belt, with the seventh, 1973’s Sisters, having kicked off his legendary run of Hitchcock riffs. So we cannot possibly call Phantom of the Paradise, the director’s […]

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 […]

The classic version of the story goes that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas ruined everything, just absolutely every god-damned thing, when they released their big ol’ popcorn movies Jaws and Star Wars in 1975 and ’77, and made all the studios go “Whoa! We don’t want to keep making little movies about the lives of […]

One of the grandest clichés in the critics toolkit is to refer to a classic work of satire or social commentary as being “ahead of its time”, with the passage of years not serving to blunt the impact of a film’s satiric insight but to make them seem less like satire at all, and more […]