Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

1950’s This Can’t Happen Here (first released in English under the much less meaningful title High Tension) is certainly not the only film directed by Ingmar Bergman that he would later describe in unflattering terms as an artistic failure. But it is the only one of his films that he hated so much that, for […]

Spike Lee is a director uniquely disinclined to repeat himself, and he’s not really repeating himself with Da 5 Bloods, his first feature-length film made by and for Netflix (which is by no means the way I’d prefer to see it). But he is re-running an experiment. The film is a whole lot of things […]

The book-length interview Hitchcock/Truffaut (one of the greatest texts about how filmmakers make films that you will ever read), was first published in 1966, at which point Alfred Hitchcock’s newest film was Torn Curtain, from that summer. He didn’t have very much to say about it to François Truffaut, skimming over a few sequences, point […]

Fred Zinnemann is the epitome of a certain kind of film director. He was a workhorse – not a hack, not somebody who’d just show up and do the job in the most uninspired way, but somebody who still did obviously view it as a job. There’s nothing flashy in a Zinnemann film, but they’re […]

The United Kingdom has been socked by the ravages of neoliberal capitalism. Rather than serving the best interests of its subjects, the government seems to regard them as a problem to be solved or, better still, ignored. A technocratic, bureaucratic system of means-tested quasi-solutions serves to funnel human suffering into a warren of endless regulations […]

The most interesting thing I could come up with for The Last Thing He Wanted, a movie whose main thing is that it’s not interesting in any way, is that I’m pretty sure Anne Hathaway isn’t wearing any make-up for most of it. Or at least, she’s wearing make-up that’s designed to make her look […]

You might say, if you were a terrible person with a weakness for cheap wordplay, that Shadow is an anti-Hero. It is the work of director Zhang Yimou, one of the most celebrated directors in the world during the 1990s for his delicate character dramas in recent historical settings (the likes of 1990’s Ju Dou, […]

Let us start with the title. The new film titled Les Misérables is not an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, already one of the most commonly-adapted books in cinema history. It is, rather, a story that takes up the same concerns as Hugo, approaching them in their 21st Century embodiment. So this tale of […]

In truth, it doesn’t matter to me that it’s a Romanian film (I tend to love Romanian films), a dark comedy (most of my favorite Romanian films are dark comedies), a story about totalitarian politics (my favorite Romanian dark comedy, 12:08 East of Bucharest, is about the nation’s history of totalitarianism), or as the cherry […]

I’m not going to go so far as to say that Queen & Slim has the best opening sequence of any 2019 movie, though it’s good enough that that thought flickered across my mind briefly. I am going to say that it has the best opening credits sequence of any 2019 movie, perfectly timed after a […]

Synonyms is French as hell, which is a bit ironic in and of itself. This is the fourth film made by Israeli director Nadav Lapid, and it’s about an Israeli man named Yoav (Tom Mercier); but it’s also Lapid’s first movie made outside of Israel, and it’s specifically about how Yoav attempts to bury his […]

Gavin Hood is an extremely inconsistent director (and calling the man who signed his name to X-Men Origins: Wolverine “inconsistent” is paying him a very nice big compliment, I think), but his last feature is one that left me inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Eye in the Sky, from 2015, is […]