Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

If the 2014 taught us all just one lesson, I’d like it to be that Eva Green is an international treasure. It’s one thing to be, allegedly, the one spot of pure bright light in the TV show Penny Dreadful (of which I have not seen a single episode), but quite another to survive two […]

I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in watching a real movie-movie. The kind that’s totally drunk on the expressive potential of cinema and does not give a shit about what it’s saying, as long as it says it with visual fervor. That’s the spirit that animated the French New […]

The Homesman is a film with an unimaginably specific and small ideal audience. It is, to begin with, a Western; a Western lover’s Western, drunk on the iconography of the genre and steeped in an awareness of the kind of myths told in Western cinema and more than that, the particular language and tenor of […]

The classic version of the story goes that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas ruined everything, just absolutely every god-damned thing, when they released their big ol’ popcorn movies Jaws and Star Wars in 1975 and ’77, and made all the studios go “Whoa! We don’t want to keep making little movies about the lives of […]

The one thing that can never be claimed of the 1961 Western One-Eyed Jacks is that it’s like other movies. Lumbering and bloated, often compelling, always gorgeous, and at times astonishingly bizarre in its attempt to force the psychological impulses of mid-century naturalist theater acting into the framework of a bog-standard Western revenge thriller, I […]

Motion pictures had been taking their cues from stage plays since the earliest days of narrative filmmaking, but something specific shifted in the 1950s. Part of that shift happened in theater itself: the evolution of the musical play in the years following Oklahoma! in 1943 introduced new psychological acuity and narrative complexity to what had […]