Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

According to a certain strand of criticism that has existed since the early 1960s, the biggest single shortcoming with Ingmar Bergman is that he is fundamentally apolitical. His international heyday exactly overlapped with a moment of heightened political activism around the world from artists of every medium, much of it oriented in opposition to the […]

The winner of the latest round of voting in the poll to select what major 2020 release – such as there have been major 2020 releases – I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate If, as is so often […]

The honor of being the first Japanese feature-length animation is typically given to the 1945 propaganda film Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, and by pretty much every definition of “feature-length” that’s correct. However, it was preceded by a 1943 film, Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, running to just 37 minutes (the shortest standard definition for “feature-length”, offered by […]

Spike Lee is a director uniquely disinclined to repeat himself, and he’s not really repeating himself with Da 5 Bloods, his first feature-length film made by and for Netflix (which is by no means the way I’d prefer to see it). But he is re-running an experiment. The film is a whole lot of things […]

Worse films have won the Best Picture Oscar than 1933’s Cavalcade, though not many. I think there is a real argument to be made, though, that it is the most defective movie to win that award. Sure, 1929’s The Broadway Melody and 1931’s Cimarron are both weaker technically, with their janky early sound hiccups, and […]

I wonder, if I didn’t already know that Ivan’s Childhood was possibly my least favorite and certainly the least audacious and ambitious of the seven feature films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, if I’d be less inclined to nitpick it. Taken solely in the context of the Soviet art cinema of the late 1950s and early […]

The learning curve for early sound cinema was steep and fast. In the immediate wake of the enormously popular sync-sound scenes from 1927’s The Jazz Singer, the American film indsutry jumped with great enthusiasm and no planning into making some of the most awkward, unwatchable films of its entire history across the course of 1928, […]

You might say, if you were a terrible person with a weakness for cheap wordplay, that Shadow is an anti-Hero. It is the work of director Zhang Yimou, one of the most celebrated directors in the world during the 1990s for his delicate character dramas in recent historical settings (the likes of 1990’s Ju Dou, […]

I find Sam Mendes to be a frustrating director far more often than not – he lets his actors get away with a whole lot of very easy choices, and he gravitates towards projects with the most desperately banal bourgeois middlebrow sensibilities – but if one of the signs of a great film director is […]

Midway is an English-language film financed substantially with Chinese money, directed by a German, about one of the defining American victories of World War II. If you’re thinking that means it’s probably a muddle, I have good news: you’re not wrong. We could put it another way: you know how Roland Emmerich has kind of […]

The problems with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil begin right with its title. It’s a reference to a climactic moment in the 1959 Disney animated feature Sleeping Beauty, in which the imperious evil fairy Maleficent, voiced with haughty cruelty by Eleanor Audley, reveals to the protagonists that they have failed in their single goal: “You poor, […]

A review requested by Gabe, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! Starship Troopers is maybe the clearest articulation I can name of the disappointing fact that you can never, […]