Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Hell or High Water is comfort food cinema, above all else: whatever one might say about its level of execution (which is quite exceptionally high), one cannot say that it’s at all surprising. It’s a neo-Western for neo-Western lovers, a lean character study of Texan poverty told with wiry masculinity of the sort that, had […]

The basic plot of Seven Samurai has been re-worked so many times in so many wildly different contexts that it’s frivolous to complain about one specific remake. Of course, nobody had to make The Magnificent Seven in 2016, and it’s no shock that it’s not remotely as good as The Magnificent Seven of 1960, but […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, dedicated to the memory of his father, with my thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It is 1972, and you have a Western with Robert Redford in it. With that in mind, what’s most surprising about Jeremiah Johnson […]

There’s surely a great feminist Western hiding somewhere in the concept of Jane Got a Gun, and I have to assume that producer-star Natalie Portman has been nurturing the project for so long, through so many production woes, in the hopes of finding it. It absolutely didn’t happen. This is not the story of how […]

A review requested by Christopher Pufall, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Slightly more than a quarter of a century since it premiered (and slightly less than a quarter of a century since the first and only time I’ve seen it prior to now), I’m honestly shocked by […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: I swear, the worst thing about doing this feature every year is coming up with something, anything to riff […]

I know the internet has decided that we’re supposed to hate Birdman, but I persist in admiring its razor-sharp presentation of a smudgy POV through sardonic, jazzy comedy. I had even allowed myself to hold out hope that was to be the salvation of Alejandro González Iñárritu, a director whose filmography started out with the […]

If you’re going to make a new version of a ’70s Italian cannibal movie, to be set in the American Old West, the first thing to do is ask yourself why the actual fuck you want to do that. But okay, let’s assume you come up with a satisfying answer, so you go ahead and […]

The Hateful Eight, sure enough, is about hate. I can’t recall the last movie so explicitly about how all of its characters, and by extension the society that they are a part of, are irredeemably evil, and I certainly can’t recall the last one that has such a jolly mood about it. This movie, if […]

On 10 April, 1966, Embassy Pictures released one of the most amazingly ludicrous double features in the history of crappy movies: not one but two horror/Western hybrids directed by William Beaudine, among the most prolific directors in the history of the medium. Alphabetically (I don’t know which was the A-picture and which the B-picture – […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: the failed theme park of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park finally opens for business in Jurassic World, with […]

A review requested by Scott D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I say this as someone born 12 years later, but it’s probably not possible for anyone who wasn’t around in 1969 to genuinely grasp the enormity of The Wild Bunch upon its initial release. We can […]