Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Winner of the 2019 Best Picture Review poll In deference to the idea that negativity is hard on your body and mind, I would like to begin talking about A Beautiful Mind, winner of the 74th Oscar for Best Picture, with my compliment. Starting right at the studio logos, we hear a really lovely motif […]

I take it as self-evident that to love cinema is to love Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the comedy duo paired under the guidance of producer Hal Roach in the silent era and who made several wonderful short films before transitioning to sound and making several even more wonderful shorts and features in the 1930s. […]

Ultimately, On the Basis of Sex is exactly the thing it most evidently appears to be: a paint-by-numbers biopic that rewards its audience for having politics more socially progressive than people had 50 years ago, and which was clearly aiming for Oscar glory until the distributor figured out far enough in advance that it was […]

There is a thing that costume dramas sometimes do, and it always annoys me, and Mary Queen of Scots does it a whole lot: make characters who weren’t even progressive by their own era’s standards progressive by our own. What we have here is a story about two people who very much existed, and about […]

Ultimately, there is a grand total of one test that Welcome to Marwen has to pass, and it does not. To wit, does this film do anything to justify its existence in face of the 2010 documentary Marwencol, which treats on exactly the same subject as this highly fantasised biopic, and does so with great […]

The very first thing that happens in Gotti is that the camera pans across the Manhattan skyline on the far side of the river, to land on John Gotti (John Travolta), turning around to regard the camera with practiced surprise, like the host of a cooking show welcoming us to their fake house. The second […]

There are individual moments of goodness littered all throughout Vice, and individual moments of badness, just like with any movie. Unluckily for the film, the moments of badness are all given pride of place, and so what might, in a happier life, have just been a moderately irritating “hip” biopic turns into one of the […]

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! A movie about the love life of a British monarch, released during the last six weeks of the calendar year, directed by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who also has a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee to his credit, starring in the three roles a trio […]

Not one solitary thing is fresh about Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and I’m not sure how far back in time you’d have to go for that statement not to be true. Even if you got as far back as 1991-1993, when the film takes place, I think people would be unimpressed by how much […]

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 […]