Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Palm Springs, in one single creative choice, becomes both an extremely fresh and an extremely limited variation on the time loop scenario: it is the first one of these things that I can name that assumes that we all know what “time loop scenario” means (if you don’t, it means “Groundhog Day knock-off”). This means […]

Ingmar Bergman once suggested, I do not know how seriously, that his choice in the early summer of 1955 was between two things: making a lightweight comedy for Svensk Filmindustri, or killing himself. Now, I shouldn’t think that his professional situation was as bad as all that – his position with Malmö City Theatre was […]

The first half of the 1950s was the most troubled time in Ingmar Bergman’s entire career, business-wise if not artistically, and things bottomed out in 1953. This was when Sawdust and Tinsel released, and became the first unmitigated disaster of his career: resoundingly rejected by audiences and treated coldly by critics (that it was his […]

The first question about 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty to tackle is, why in God’s name did the Coen brothers make it? Their tenth feature as co-directors (and the last one which Joel took sole official credit for directing and Ethan for producing – that is, Ethan was credited along with Brian Grazer, but I hope you […]

The Hudsucker Proxy is damn weird. Weird in and of itself, weird that it came into existence, weird for its place in the career of Joel & Ethan Coen. The origins of the film go all the way back to 1981, when Joel had just met Sam Raimi while working as an assistant editor on […]

There’s no way around the elephant in the room, so it’s best just to start with it, and clear it out: yes, Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar for Best Picture, and because of that, Saving Private Ryan did not. If you click on that link and compare my star ratings, you’ll note that I […]

By this point, I think that no more evidence is necessary that Yuasa Masaaki is the most important animation director working in the world right now. But his fourth feature, Ride Your Wave, provides that evidence anyway. It’s not that it’s his best work: I would, in fact, rank it third among those four features, […]

It’s all kind of right there in the concept of Last Christmas. No, no, not the plot, which is muddy and overdone but basically the standard holiday season romantic boilerplate: she’s a Scrooge, he’s guileless and charming, and he eventually forces her to open up to the spirit of loving and giving and so on […]

One of the best developments of the 2010s, in the eyes of this cinephile, has been the ascendancy of Rose Byrne to the status of one of the most reliable comic actors working right now. Obviously, she’s been in some bad things, and sometimes she has been not very interesting in relatively straight dramatic roles, […]

A review requested by Benjamin Ross Johnson, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! The foremost skill of the great writer-director Billy Wilder, I think, is his ability to take […]

“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 […]

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee At the risk of essentialising the rules of narrative (but what is genre, if not a shorthand for essentialising certain clusters of narrative tropes?), I think there’s only one thing that a romcom actually, definitely needs to do in order to “work”. It might work poorly – it […]