Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

“I like movies. Old ones. Back when they knew what they were doing,” says Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow), star of The Tomorrow Man, and you know what? I totally agree with that. Also, if you want a really clear-cut example of the kind of movie that gets made now, when they don’t know what they’re […]

A review requested by Carter Smith, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s going to be a lot of wholly subjective, first-person claims in this review, I am sorry to say. But comedy is notoriously subjective and this is a specifically notoriously subjective comedy we have in front […]

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, […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/16 & 10/17 & 10/18 World premiere: 23 June, 2011, Denmark Love Is in the Air feels like a terrible, tragic accident – like somewhere on a wet road at night, a truck containing the complete works of Baz Luhrmann hit a truck containing European urban realism, and before either of those […]

Not so long ago, I cracked, in regards to Mike Mills’s second feature directorial outing Beginners, “if you’ve ever nurtured the desire to see Christopher Plummer dancing in a gay club, you’ve got your chance”. The joke turns out to be on me: Christopher Plummer dancing in a gay club takes up all of three […]

Apparently, the new teen sex comedy/social satire Youth in Revolt is derived from a series of novels that everybody but me has read (or, at a minimum, heard of before seeing author C.D. Payne named in the opening credits). And I can safely judge from the general tone of reviews that everybody but me has […]

With Fantastic Mr. Fox, the notoriously fussy Wes Anderson has I think found the ideal medium for his stylistic preoccupations, not just for his sake but for his audience’s. I know that I’m not the only person to love both Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, only to find The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and […]

I’ve been trying for a while now to figure out exactly what Away We Go proves: -that Sam Mendes has no facility for directing comedy? -that when Sam Mendes is a remarkable chameleon able to shed lovely, high-budget prestige pictures for scruffy, quirky independent dramedies without bringing any trace of the one subgenre to the […]

Writer-director Rian Johnson’s 2005 debut feature Brick was a marvelous genre experiment, inserting the language, plot and mentality of hard-boiled detective fiction almost unchanged into a high school setting. The film was a wholly successful mash-up, with both sides of the equation seeming all the fresher for the wild new context, and the film, it’s […]

Holy hell, it’s an independent comedy about a sweetly damaged man who falls in love with a prickly woman with a heart of gold, and proceed to show his love for her in the quirkiest ways possible, which is meant to be all super-cute except that it shades into stalking, and even if it didn’t […]

Perhaps you would think, from the advertisements (which play up its ties to Little Miss Sunshine), from the presence of Alan Arkin (playing almost exactly the same character he played in Little Miss Sunshine), from the subject matter (the ways that family members both love and hate each other, and the crazy ways they prove […]

Full disclosure: I walked into Juno not expecting to like it very much. I was going to see right through its too-hip vernacular and faux-clever pop culture reference points, I was. And then I was going to write a review about how terribly pedestrian the whole thing felt. This isn’t that review, because I was […]