Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A paradox about Titane, and not the only one, is that it almost certainly didn’t deserve to win the 2021 Palme d’Or, and also it’s extremely cool and exciting that it did so. The Palme is probably the major film award with the best batting average, quality-wise, so I don’t mean to impugn it in […]

If there’s a key to cracking Barton Fink, and honestly I’m pretty sure that there isn’t, it might be the simplest bit of production trivia of all. The 1991 film, the fourth written and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen, was written in a brief burst of activity when they were stuck on the labyrinthine […]

Bong Joon-ho has been a brand-name director among cinephiles since 2006’s monster movie-cum-domestic drama The Host, and South Korean cinema’s ongoing golden age has been around for even longer, at least as far back as 2002’s Oasis, directed by Lee Chang-dong. So there’s not really any sense in which Bong’s seventh feature, Parasite, is particularly […]

There is nothing quite like the profound satisfaction of a quiet movie made with absolute confidence and no need to prove itself. And in this vein we have Shoplifters, the thirteenth narrative feature directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu (and a lucky #13 at that; it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the most wholly deserving film […]

Writer-director Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner The Square is a very particular, and at least mildly irritating, kind of satire. It’s a sometimes delicate, and oftentimes savage, attack on the moral inner lives of a certain kind of bourgeois intellectual type (who is probably male, definitely white, socially liberal, and inclined towards post-modernist art), and […]

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 […]

It’s tempting to write off I, Daniel Blake as just Ken Loach doing that Ken Loach that he does so well, as if being one the greatest leftist message-movie directors in the history of the English language cinema is something to sniff at. Certainly it’s more than tempting to look at the uniquely great main […]

Dheepan is terrific right up until a point near the end where it becomes kind of actively terrible in a really bold, gaudy way; not the first time this sort of thing has cropped up, and not likely to be the last. At least Jacques Audiard, the director and one-third of the writing team (with […]

There’s no good in hiding the obvious: director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s seventh feature Winter Sleep, winner of the 2014 Palme d’Or, is three hours and sixteen minutes long, with most of that time given to people talking. This is a shallow observation, but the film emphasises the weight of its running time to an extreme […]

The New Hollywood Cinema was largely a young man’s game, with most of its leading lights part of the first film school generation. Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, and Michael Cimino were both born in 1939; Brian De Palma in 1940; Martin Scorsese in 1942; Terrence Malick in 1943; George Lucas and John Milius in […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12World premiere: 23 May, 2013, Cannes International Film Festival The Palme d’Or winner for 2013, Blue Is the Warmest Color, comes with some serious baggage attached. More than most Palme d’Or winners, I mean. First, the running time: it’s a “lifespan of a romantic relationship” drama that is great at three hours, […]

I must first confess to a personal bias: ever since the release of Funny Games U.S., the complete body of work, past and future, of director/provocateur Michael Haneke has come to me with a definite “yeah? prove it” disadvantage. What, exactly, I want him to prove, other than the fact that he can stop being […]