Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

The collaboration of director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton resulted in two such exemplary horror films, among the best produced during the horror boom that coincided with World War II, that it’s easy to use their names as a shorthand for everything that the genre is capable of at its most artistic and effective […]

Once again, I must beg your pardon: my Father’s Day entry in the Year of Blood is behind schedule, because sometimes you get the DVD when you need it, and sometimes you do not. Regardless, here we are with a tribute to all that makes dads what they are: psychotic authoritarians whose desire to wreak […]

2012 marks the eighth year that Amanda Seyfried has been a Young Actress to Watch, following the one-two punch of her supporting performances in Mean Girls and Veronica Mars, and at some point those of us in her cheering section are probably going to get the message and go home. Maybe if they do an […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/14 & 10/15World premiere: 16 May, 2011, Cannes Film Festival It’s a kind of weird achievement that Snowtown, the debut of Australian director Justin Kurzel, starts off by promising to be one kind of incredibly distressing movie and turns into another kind of even more incredibly distressing movie entirely; sort of like […]

Come with me back to 1988. I mean that in a particularly literal way: over the years, one of the things that I’ve come to love about shitty horror pictures from the ’70s and ’80s is the way that they seem to capture the essential Zeitgeist of the moment of their creation in a way […]

There’s a temptation to over-praise I Saw the Devil on the grounds of sheer novelty: it takes a basket of ripe clichés and mixes them into something that you simply do not ever see in American cinema, however much each ingredient is individually over-worked to the point of moral indecency. 1) Serial killer 2) who […]

The Saw films and I are not buddies, to put it mildly. Though there is hiding within the first one a very good psychological “chamber horror” film, it is not itself a very good film, and the sequels have all in their way proven to be one diminishing return after another. And morally vicious! I […]

From among the Video Nasties In the special features of a very carefully and lovingly assembled 2002 DVD – the film’s first legitimate release in several years – director Nico Mastorakis admitted that the motivation behind his debut and most famous work, 1976’s Island of Death, was entirely financial. One year before he started making […]