Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee I can think of one thing that’s interesting to me about Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile, a heavy hitter at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival that ended up as one of Netflix’s biggest releases of the year. Namely, it provides an especially clear demonstration of the truth […]

Hammer Film Productions made its reputation on a series of violent (by the standards of the time) horror movies set in the latter half of the 19th Century. And while only a handful of them took place anywhere in the British Isles, they were all suffused with a certain distinctive Englishness. That would all make […]

In the latter half of the 2010s, “it’s like an episode of Black Mirror” has replaced “it’s like Philip K. Dick” as the hackiest, laziest way you can describe any work of science fiction. But Anon courts that comparison more vigorously than most. Not just because it’s a satiric treatment of contemporary social ills in […]

Director Tomas Alfredson has, with rather unseemly eagerness (I suppose he knew that his otherwise admirable career couldn’t afford such a nasty black mark at this point, without getting in front to go on the offensive), told all of us how The Snowman production was so fraught that he and his crew didn’t even film […]

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, from 1986, is the filmmaking equivalent to being shot in the gut and kicked into a pool of sewage to bleed out. That’s not a pullquote you should hope to see on any future home video releases, but I mean it in the most earnest, admiring way possible. There […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: director Tarsem Singh shows us the terrible things that can happen when two personalities are stuffed into one brain […]

A review requested by Mike Gibson, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I shall start with a personal anecdote, since who doesn’t love personal anecdotes from nominally objective arts critics? But “a man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is […]

Like a great many films that were birthed in controversy, time has somewhat mellowed opinions towards Cruising since its notorious first release in 1980. Once a film universally condemned by gay rights groups for its apparent series of transitive arguments that male homosexuality = the leather/S&M scene = self-hating gays murdering everybody, the film has […]

Li’l Quinquin is, I gather from those who would know, a really bad choice to have as one’s first exposure to director Bruno Dumont. So before I start going on about how wonderful it is – and I am going be quite obnoxiously enthusiastic, too – you should know that I have no idea what […]

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is not the most important film in the career of director Charles B. Pierce – almost beyond question, that honor goes to 1972’s The Legend of Boggy Creek – and maybe it’s not even his most interesting. It is, however, his best, and the one that best combines the director’s […]

It would be nice if more remakes found some way to justify themselves beyond “because of the money” – it would be nice, in fact, if more movies generally did the same – and this goes doubly for films that are basically flawless. Which is a phrase I feel super uncomfortable in applying to 1980’s […]

The Call is really two movies, and one of them is actually pretty good. It’s the first one, and somewhat the longer (the whole thing comes in at a blissfully contained 94 minutes), and it is about a setting that, to my knowledge, has never been used in a procedural thriller before, which is in […]