Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There’s only one actually useful thing that art critics can ever do, which is to celebrate the small and underseen, to do whatever it is in our power to make very special work find an audience it otherwise wouldn’t have. In that spirit, I would like to suggest that if you take one piece of […]

The new anti-death penalty film Clemency offers no surprises; some unexpected emphases, maybe, but no surprises. And given what message movies are, and what Oscarbait is, surprises weren’t the point, of course. The only thing we can really hope for is that the execution of the not-surprises will be effective, and in this case, I […]

There is one truly sublime moment in Just Mercy, near the beginning. Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), a legal intern on the verge of taking the bar, has been sent to meet with Henry (J. Alphonse Nicholson), a young man of about Bryan’s age on death row, to give him the news that there is […]

The Hegelian dialectic is a concept that sometimes gives people trouble (it is also a concept that Hegel did not devise and openly derided, at least its typical formulation), but it’s not that hard to understand. There exists a condition; a thesis. The existence of this condition necessarily triggers its opposite reaction; an antithesis. The […]

All the credit in the world to Shia LaBeouf – there’s a phrase that makes me feel unwell just typing it out – for how unfathomably hard it must have been to write and then act in Honey Boy. The film is a barely-disguised autobiography drawing a bright, bold line from LaBeouf’s years as a […]

Waves is an absolute disaster, morally odious on top of being aesthetically confused. But to its credit, it couldn’t be such a thoroughgoing failure if it wasn’t swinging so hard for the fences. The movie’s failure is absolutely not a failure of ambition: writer-director-editor Trey Edward Shults, making his third feature film, has approached this […]

When Marvel blew the world apart back in 2012 with The Avengers and the creation of the most financial dominant shared universe in cinema history, two things leapt to my mind. The first thing was that DC and Warner Bros. weren’t going to be able to compete with that financially, and it would maybe be […]

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! I have not read James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk, so I cannot say if the new film adaptation written and directed by Barry Jenkins is especially respectful (it’s the first English-language feature film taken from Baldwin’s works). I can certainly say […]

If you have to watch one of 2018’s two dramas about the parent of a teen drug addict played by one of the young hot It Boys who co-starred in Lady Bird – and I assure you that you don’t, but let’s say that you have to – I guess the least you can say […]

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” […]

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 […]

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 […]