Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Any film as enervating as The Nightingale must be doing something right: it is one of the most upsetting, unpleasant, grueling films I have watched all year, and this is not something that happens without effort. If you consider (as I do) that the first mission of art is to trigger an emotional response in […]

The hook for Jojo Rabbit, and the central focal point of the advertising campaign, is that there’s little German boy in 1944, Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), who like most ten-year-olds just wants to fit in and be admired, and in Germany in 1944, that means that Jojo wants more than anything to grow […]

In the 50 years since Night of the Living Dead first introduced to the big screen the idea of mindlessly cannibalistic human revenants who spread themselves like a disease, the zombie movie has touched on just about every possible iteration of the basic scenario, in just about every possible setting, that one could reasonably imagine. […]

A review requested by Lisa W, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I’ll get to the review in a minute, but allow me a chance for a brief reflection as I draw near the conclusion of this January 2015 fundraiser, here in June 2017. One of the best […]

An older review of this film can be found here When Peter Jackson, somewhat shockingly, used his brand-new Best Director Oscar and all the accumulated clout from having forced the three massive hit films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy into existence to get Universal to sign off on a new iteration of the […]

It’s genuinely shocking to me that Lion is as good as it is, for as long as it is. It’s Harvey Weinstein’s duly-anointed champion for the Oscar season, which has only rarely been a good sign in the 21st Century and is frequently the biggest red flag I can think of. And that becomes an […]

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a movie full of what they used to call “heart”. They still do, I guess, but in general I don’t know that “heart” is in terribly high regard these days. Generally speaking, movies that are long on heart tend to also be mildly awful, is the thing, and this is […]

A review requested by Anna D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Even without the benefit of years’ worth of hindsight, I think it’s fair to assume that history will judge What We Do in the Shadows to be a quintessential, time-stamped example of moviemaking in the mid-2010s. […]

Overhype is a deadly thing, and I don’t want to contribute to it. So let’s just leave it at this: if you’re on the fence about Mad Max: Fury Road, I think you should see it. Go now, and do not be overhyped. If you’re sticking around to find out why I think you should […]

Making a sequel that significantly improves on a strong original is a feat that few enough filmmakers have ever achieved; asking those filmmakers to try their luck by doing the same thing twice in a row is clearly beyond reason. So it’s hardly a slight against Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome that it fails at the […]

Mad Max 2 is, maybe, the perfect sequel. And if you’ll let me pause on that very ebullient sentiment, a note on usage. The film is known by that title everywhere in the world except for North America; the original Mad Max had received a virtually invisible release in 1980, the victim of immensely poor […]

There’s no way around it: Mad Max is an astonishingly impressive movie. It was made for pocket change by a bunch of of amateurs: director and co-writer George Miller was a medical doctor, of all things, before he and producer partner Byron Kennedy made the short Violence in the Cinema, Part 1. And that was […]