Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

When all else fails, every Werner Herzog documentary has at least this going for it: they make for a fascinating glimpse into the things that Werner Herzog finds interesting, and he’s nothing if not an interesting man himself. This is probably the best argument I can make in favor of all 104 minutes of the […]

The subtitle of Werner Herzog’s new documentary Into the Abyss declares itself to be “A tale of death, a tale of life”, which is accurate-ish: it is about both of those things, but skewed rather heavily to the former for virtually the whole of its running time. Not in bad way – not in a […]

There is a cave system in the south of France, named Chauvet after one of the three people who discovered in 1994. The Chauvet cave contains a wealth of paintings created by Stone Age artists; there are the usual dating controversies that crop up whenever people want to find exact dates for things that happened […]

Werner Herzog is not, in the best of times, a director who especially cares if you (yes, you personally) particularly like what he’s doing in a given movie or not. Which means that when he goes full-bore and makes a film that seems to spend its entire running time ensconced firmly in his own head, […]

Customarily, it is an unpromising sign when you do not know how to correctly punctuate a title, because it has so many different parts jangling about. My current operating guess is The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans, which runs afoul of rules about serial colons, but then again, nobody – not even the […]

There are many types of people in the world, but the two I’m concerned about right now are these: those who hear about a new Werner Herzog film and immediately clear space at the top of the year-end Best Of lists, and those who, unaccountably, do not. I’m shamelessly one of the former; yet even […]

It doesn’t seem right that there should be “Werner Herzog’s first documentary.” His career ought to have sprung fully-formed. And yet here we are, with Werner Herzog’s first documentary, Land of Silence and Darkness. Or at least it’s his first feature-length documenatry, if we don’t count the sort of documantary-ish visual tone poem Fata Morgana. […]

It’s not exactly the case that I disliked Rescue Dawn because it is a distinctly uncharacteristic project for director Werner Herzog; nor is it exactly the case that I disliked Rescue Dawn because it is essentially a retread of ground that Herzog himself covered to Olympian perfection in the 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to […]

I got into a conversation this weekend on the subject: can a Werner Herzog film actually count as a misfire? Even if it’s inscrutable and unsatisfying to watch, that’s probably exactly what Herzog wanted it to be. So even if it’s bad, it’s still a success. I shortly thereafter saw The Wild Blue Yonder, and […]

In a vain attempt to calm down the perhaps-schizophrenic character of this blog (Movie reviews! But I like politics! But I like movies more!), I recently did a double feature of films about the First Iraq War. As it turned out, neither film had anything to say about Operation Enduring Quagmire Freedom, but at least […]