Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There is absolutely no reason for the wonderful 2015 short World of Tomorrow to have needed a sequel. But we got one, and it is equally wonderful. World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts is a fucking miracle: it manages to succeed entirely as a follow-up to World of Tomorrow while […]

I cannot tell you about the moments in Faces Places that brought me the most happiness. This is partially because those moments are clustered in the film’s last 30 minutes, and they are far too wonderful in their little surprises for me to dare spoil them. This is partially, also, because they are so pure […]

A previous version of this review appeared at the Film Experience. If one ever gets to feeling (as I routinely do) that American animation is in a rut from which it will never emerge, or at least not until the back side of some terrible economic collapse, there’s a simple enough solution: look to Europe. […]

The promotional subtitle of First They Killed My Father (as well as the subtitle of the 2000 memoir from which it has been adapted) is A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, and it’s that last word, “remembers”, that ends up being the key to the whole film. With a screenplay adapted by Loung Ung and director […]

The only time that an animated movie will ever be made with the raw emotional potency of Takahata Isao’s Grave of the Fireflies, for Studio Ghibli, it will be at the very end of the universe, since two such profound motion pictures could not co-exist. Still, Katabuchi Sunao’s In this Corner of the World comes […]

I’ll say right out that if you’re the kind of person for whom “style over substance” is a bad thing, you’ll certainly have less of a good time with Atomic Blonde than I had (and I had a very good time indeed – it’s my favorite movie of summer 2017 to date). The film is […]

I’ll say this about Your Name.: as much as I love it (and I do, a lot), I really cannot begin to understand why this was the film struck such a huge chord, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film in the history of the Japanese box office (the second-highest Japanese production on that list) and the highest-grossing […]

Personal Shopper was booed at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival en route to winning the award for Best Director for Olivier Assayas, both of which are exactly right. I would be inclined to call it not merely a great film, but a very great film, and comfortably the best thing Assayas has directed since 2002’s […]

Best case scenario, I figured, was that John Wick: Chapter 2, would be in pretty much every way just as good as 2014’s John Wick – the best American action movie of the last decade and a half or more* – only without the jolt of novelty & thus not as enjoyable. Fairy tale, cloud […]

Starless Dreams is an exercise in pure heartbreak. The documentary has more on its mind than simply making the viewer feel terrible (it is, in fact, a social problem film, though one that offers nothing resembling a solution for the seemingly endless nightmare of human suffering it depicts), but feeling terrible is an unavoidable side […]

There’s a notion going around that The Assassin is a hard movie to parse out at the narrative level. This is so. I have now seen The Assassin three times, in fact, and if you were to tell me that I had to clarify what every scene contributed to the overall narrative at each point, […]

The list of great documentaries about the political process is not a long one, but its highlights are some true all-time masterpieces: Robert Drew’s Primary, from 1960; D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus’s The War Room, from 1993. To this rarefied company we must now certainly add Camilla Nielsson’s Democrats, an absolute miracle of a film […]