Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I won’t call Monos the best film I’ve seen in 2019. That’s a peculiar way to start a review, I know, but I’m doing it in order to make what might even been a bigger claim: Monos is the most exciting film I’ve seen in 2019. Some of that excitement comes from the undeniable appeal […]

2015’s Embrace of the Serpent, director Ciro Guerra’s third film, was a story of indigenous traditions in Colombia being corrupted and overwritten by an encounter with Westerners. It’s also one of the most remarkable sui generis films of the 2010s, a film that takes place in history but also feels outside of it; draws upon […]

First published, with slight alterations, at the Film Experience. Presented now during the film’s limited release in the U.S. First things first: the Brazilian animated feature Tito and the Birds is a preposterously beautiful motion picture. The film’s style is perhaps best described as looking like a digital oil painting, with swirling smears of color […]

A review requested by Diego Santa Maria, 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! One will from time to time come across a film for which one tangibly lacks the […]

In the first decade of the 21st Century, Argentine director Lucrecia Martel made three feature films and instantaneously became one of the most important and exciting voices in international cinema: first came 2001’s La Ciénaga, then 2004’s The Holy Girl, then 2008’s The Headless Woman, and then silence. Not calculated silence; just one of those […]

There are “right now” movies, and there are movies you expect will live on and linger for all time. It’s not, I don’t think, an insult to A Fantastic Woman, the 2017 Berlinale competitor and winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, to say that it’s 100% a “right now” movie, and it will […]

It is clear to anyone who’s followed my reviewing through more than one Oscar season, I’m sure, that I have very little use for biopics. But anything can be done right, and there’s not much more right you can get than Jackie. On paper, at least, the film looks like a craven attempt to win […]

There’s something deliciously off-kilter about folding a story about the abuse and genocide of indigenous South American cultures into what amounts to a mismatched buddy comedy (minus any jokes), and for that alone, Embrace of the Serpent – Colombia’s first-ever nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars – would deserve our […]

Septuagenarian documentary god Patricio Guzmán scored an enormous triumph with 2010’s Nostalgia for the Light, one of the most important and under-seen films of the decade. Two things are thus unsurprising: that Nostalgia‘s 2015 companion piece, The Pearl Button, would fail to match the same heights; and that The Pearl Button would still be a […]

A review requested by Coco, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It should be no surprise when a movie titled The Milk of Sorrow turns out to be unrelentingly bleak, but the film’s opening minutes are shattering beyond anything one could be prepared for: over black, we hear […]

The original sin of the anthology film is that no matter how tightly controlled it is, no matter how thematically tight, and no matter how aesthetically consistent, there’s always going to be a segment that isn’t as good as the others, and it’s going to feel like it showed up in the worst possible place […]

The pitch for Gloria from virtually every angle has always been some variant on “yada yada, but Paulina García is amazing“. And boy, is she ever. Few actors are ever called upon to support an entire feature-length film with such totality – there is, I think, a grand total of one shot in which she […]