Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Valdís Óskarsdóttir’s Country Wedding has a remarkably avant-garde central concept that makes for a great nugget of trivia, and as it turns out, only a modestly entertaining finished project: at the start of shooting her film, she rehearsed the characters and their history and their relationships, had each of the cast members think of one […]

My Brother Is an Only Child was co-written by Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, whose best-known previous work in America was the massive The Best of Youth, and possessing that knowledge colors one’s response to the new film, directed and co-written by Daniele Luchetti. Because once that connection has been made, it’s almost impossible not […]

Before I start, I need to get this off of my chest: The Counterfeiters is good enough that it very well might have been the best of the five nominees for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars, and that being the case, it’s all the more obnoxious that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 […]

The festival and art house crowd might be excused for declaring a Romanian New Wave on the basis of what amounts to just three films in as many years, for those three films are all pretty amazing: Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, winner of the 2005 Un Certain Regard at Cannes; Corneliu Porumboiu’s […]

A love story that’s not a love story, and a musical that’s not a musical, there’s something about the tiny Irish import Once that makes you want to fall head-over-heels in love with it no matter how slight it seems to be when you get to thinking about it rationally. I think perhaps it’s because […]

If someone had said to me, “So there’s this movie out that plays exactly like a blend of Dogme 95 and the French New Wave,” I would surely not have seen that movie. And as it turns out, I would have therefore missed one of the very best films to be released in America in […]

An admission: I feel actively guilty for not loving Indigènes (Natives, released in this country under the confoundedly meaningless title Days of Glory). It’s clearly an important film, documenting the institutionalized racism in the French army against the North African soldiers who, in a very real sense, liberated France from the Nazis. So compelling is […]

I try not to judge movies based on what I want them to be (in which I often fail), nor on my moral opinion of their content (in which I fail even more often). But I’m not in the least bit ashamed to confess that if a film is going to show a graphic rape […]

For all that I bitch about the tedious movies that I see these days, I do live just one short el ride from the second-best art movie market in North America. Sure, a lot of what gets into art theatres is crap nowadays, but lo and behold I actually saw something like a masterpiece on […]

Ah, the agony of heightened expectations. By no means a “bad” film, L’enfant, the winner of the 2005 Palme d’Or is nonetheless a film I expected to enjoy a great deal more than I did. Indeed, it was this ambivalence that led me to withhold this review for so long (at five days, this was […]