Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The question of whether Green Book is worse on race or worse on class is a tough one. It’s at least more spectacularly bad on race; but I, for one, was unprepared for it to touch on class at all, so that came as the far uglier surprise. Either way, it’s the kind of modestly […]

Every now and then we get one of those little mini-cycles of movies that are in no way actually related, but somehow end up occupying the same exact spot in your brain. For me, at least, we have one of those going on right now, with a pair of movies, each with the word “Boy” […]

To the ordinary list of problems with the conventional biopic – they are boring, they are shallow, they are pandering, they are formulaic – Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us that they can be even worse still than the none-too-high standard. For on top of all its other shortcomings, Bohemian Rhapsody is something of an official, authorised […]

I would say at the outset that David & Nic Sheff, subjects of the biopic Beautiful Boy, are a real-life father and son (the movie is based on their respective memoirs, titled after David’s), and the suffering depicted in the movie is real-life suffering, and far be it from me to minimise any of it. It […]

On 20 July, 1969, the NASA Apollo 11 mission, commanded by Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon. Spoiler alert. But, I mean, it did, and that’s why we’re here for a movie like First Man to begin with. “First man to almost walk on the moon but then not do it” isn’t a plot. So […]

The claims that BlacKkKlansman represents a renaissance for Spike Lee are at least slightly overheated. After all, even his very great movies are frustrating and flawed (except for Do the Right Thing, which is frustrating and perfect), and even his very bad movies are still interesting for the complexity and intensity of their ideas. There […]

When Clint Eastwood, a director whose signature aesthetic includes his proud disinterest in multiple takes and giving actors notes, set himself to make a film about which the single most noteworthy fact is that the lead roles are being filled by non-professionals, the question was never going to be “is this bad?”, but “so just […]

The Rider isn’t sensu stricto a biopic of its star, Brady Jandreau, but it’s a pretty fine line. Jandreau was an up-and-coming rodeo star out of South Dakota when he fell off a bronco he was riding and suffered a debilitating brain injury, and there’s not a single word of that sentence that doesn’t also […]

Adrift is a curious, inexplicable little beast. It starts out looking like one film and it ends up looking like a slightly but very importantly, different film, and neither of these look exactly like the film it was marketed as being. It’s kind of too bad, because the film it ends up being is pretty […]

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: in Adrift, we get to see the real-life results of riding a small boat through a hurricane. Historically, the […]

Director Joshua Marston began his career in TV journalism, and somehow that feels exactly right. Not one of his films have been a documentary, and not one of them have had anything like a documentary aesthetic, but they have do have one important element of great journalism: they observe. The filmmaker’s approach is long on […]

I’m not sure that I have such a thing as a list of the filmmakers that I’d be interested in seeing make a biopic of legendary critic, filmmaker, political agitator, and cantankerous asshole Jean-Luc Godard. But I am 100% certain that Michel Hazanavicius would be nowhere remotely near that list if it existed. The one […]