Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There us a great deal to admire around the largely French-made Turkish-language film Mustang. It scores two major coups even before you start watching it: it’s a study of adolescent female psychology and sexuality in a cloistered Turkish family, which is rare enough; and it was directed and co-written by a Turkish woman, Deniz Gamze […]

Fifty Shades of Grey is a monumentally boring motion picture. Whatever value there is to a smash hit movie written, directed, and produced by women, and pitched to an audience of women as a way for them to enjoy an expression of sexuality; whatever damage the film threatens to do by seriously misrepresenting the (healthy) […]

What If they made another movie about extravagantly quirky urban white twentysomethings? What if it took place in a loving version of Toronto that somehow still felt exactly like Brooklyn in every other movie in living memory about the same subpopulation? What if it starred Harry Potter, all growed up and able to drink beer, […]

Sofia Coppola’s biggest liability as a filmmaker is typically identified as her immensely cloistered upbringing as an untouchable scion of Hollywood royalty, someone for whom moneyed Southern California celebrity life is so utterly normalised and unexceptional that she’s literally incapable of imagining what it might be like to live like the enormous majority of human […]

Full disclosure: my feelings towards director Harmony Korine (without, admittedly, having seen every last one of his features) are largely hostile. I’m not terribly much a fan of filmmakers who are outright provocateurs to begin with, but where as your Lars von Trier or your Michael Haneke at least have unmistakable talent and a kind […]

I was all set to open up with a little historical primer about how in the mid-’90s, director Richard Linklater, and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke had various things to prove, that they could be more than Gen X chroniclers in the men’s case, and Euroart sexpots in Delpy’s. But movies like Before Sunrise […]

Someone would have to be an abject moron to be “disappointed” by Step Up Revolution, which is after all the fourth film in the Step Up franchise, and which thus is pretty much exactly the movie it’s supposed to be. I think it’s awfully grown-up of me to openly confess in a public forum that […]

Some fun facts for y’all: Dear John, the first of two Nicholas Sparks adaptations from the first quarter of 2010, and the fifth overall, was the very first to open in the #1 at the U.S. box office. In doing so, it became the Lost in Space of the 21st Century, by standing proud and […]

A cluster of circumstances have made this the ideal moment to spring into an exceedingly low-key retrospective of an exceedingly low-key filmmaker: herewith, Mondays in April will be devoted to the films of one of America’s most deliciously minor indie directors, Whit Stillman. There are two terribly important, and tightly related things to know about […]

A love story in which a deeply affectionate and utterly functional couple is torn apart when one half of the pair has a huge chunk of memory sliced clean away in the blink of an eye, leaving her with a confused but relatively happy with her place in life, while her devoted husband is left […]

Black Christmas (2006, USA/Canada) The creators: Writer/director Glen Morgan, who was in his day one-half of the writing team responsible for some of the finest episodes of the early seasons of The X-Files. 2006 was not his day. (His writing partner, James Wong, is on hand as producer). The plot: First, that viewer which looks […]

It’s precisely three shots into The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 that Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off, and in all honesty I don’t suppose that there can possibly be a more legitimate justification for seeing the movie. Actually, the shocking thing about Breaking Dawn 1 is that, after three years and four […]