Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Winner of the 2019 Best Picture Review poll In deference to the idea that negativity is hard on your body and mind, I would like to begin talking about A Beautiful Mind, winner of the 74th Oscar for Best Picture, with my compliment. Starting right at the studio logos, we hear a really lovely motif […]

The first runner-up in the 2018 Best Picture Review Poll There is an absolute limit on how bad any film adaptation of the 1956 stage musical My Fair Lady can possibly be, and that limit is set by the fact that, no matter what else goes wrong, you still have Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick […]

The winner of the 2018 Best Picture Review Poll There are two very different stereotypes of what kind of film wins the Best Picture Oscar, and neither of them is actually true. The kind of people whose movie-watching habits never extends to anything that isn’t a heavily-marketed wide-release blockbuster tends to suppose that Oscar-winning films […]

I like Guillermo del Toro quite a lot, and I like Jean-Pierre Jeunet a lot, and I like them for very similar reasons – they both make over-saturated movies dominated by production design and fanciful rather than realistic visual effects – and I still would never, ever pretend that I wanted to see a film […]

Moonlight is one kind of thing I do not like much at all: a coming-of-age story involving the protagonist’s sexual awakening (it is, to be fair, an excellent one; but it’s my least-favorite genre in narrative art. Consider my bias fully disclosed). It is also one thing I like very much: a structural experiment, in […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: a third feature-length adaptation of Ben-Hur is, you know, definitely a thing one could choose to produce. While wondering […]

A review requested by Monica Reida, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. This article is doing no less than quadruple-duty, so get ready. First, it’s of course fulfilling Monica’s request to go along with her donation to the ACS. Second, it’s plugging another hole in the list of […]

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, […]

A review requested by Christopher Pufall, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Slightly more than a quarter of a century since it premiered (and slightly less than a quarter of a century since the first and only time I’ve seen it prior to now), I’m honestly shocked by […]

An unyielding commitment to honesty in the face of the supremely obvious demands that I concede that Forrest Gump, a gargantuan box-office hit that was the highest-grossing film at the U.S. box office in 1994 and the fourth-highest-grossing film in U.S. history at the time of its release, the winner of six Oscars including Best […]

There’s nothing in and of itself excessively shocking about The Silence of the Lambs. It’s a gory, grotty thriller that just enough of a literary sheen to it – it was based on a best-selling crime novel that could at least pretend to be somewhere in the wheelhouse of classy fiction, thanks to author Thomas […]

There are more good things than bad about Spotlight – in fact, there are very few bad things about it at all – but I frankly think the best thing about it is the way it has redeemed the career of writer-director Tom McCarthy. You will maybe recall, how McCarthy started making movies with 2003’s […]