Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A review requested by Julian D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The career of director Michelangelo Antonioni is not the kind that can be neatly summed up in blunt descriptions like “culmination”, so I can’t use that word to describe his 1975 triumph The Passenger. It does, […]

If there’s anything that could imaginably help The Pyramid to stand out in the cramped world of low-budget horror (spoiler alert: there is not), it would be the surprising way that the film confounds the expectations of first-person camera filmmaking. The film equips itself with a grand total of three POV machines – one documentary […]

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: in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we find a world in which humans have become the endangered […]

Some titles are just destined to be used ironically, and Paradise: Love is their king. Particularly being from Austria, a country with a fetish for cinematic misery. And particularly, I understand, from the mind of director Ulrich Seidl, who I gather (I have not previously seen his work) is kind of like a version of […]

Thank the movie gods for Miguel Gomes and his Berlinale prize-winner Tabu for coming along at the eleventh hour to save the 2012 film year. The best prestige release season in years was fine and all, but one does start to get to putting together the ol’ Top 10 list and relalise with disappointment how […]

Every Sunday 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: X-Men: First Class may or may not be the most ill-advised of the summer’s superhero movies, but it’s hard […]

Every Sunday 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: X-Men: First Class may or may not be the most ill-advised of the summer’s superhero movies, but it’s hard […]

White Material opens with a scene that, we’ll eventually learn, comes at the very end of the story. The second scene takes place much earlier, not all the way at the beginning, but comfortably before the middle. Nothing about the transition between these scenes implies in any way that they aren’t related in the usual […]

As a general rule for life, I’ve found that if a movie stars Patricia Clarkson (especially since the turn of the millennium), it is almost certainly worth seeing. Not, maybe, a masterpiece; not even, necessarily, particularly good. But Clarkson herself is invariably worth watching, and she’s of that rarefied company of actors who seems to […]

1999 was a rather special year for English-language cinema, an annus mirabilis in which every new weekend seemed to bring a new film that threatened to redefine the language of the art form or simply to perfect the language that already existed. Of course it wasn’t really that packed with revolution film masterpieces, but even […]

The second-highest grossing film of 1994, and at the time the record-holder for most successful animated feature ever released, The Lion King occupies a very special place in my development into the angry contrarian that I am today, for it was the first time that the twelve-year-old me had ever felt something that I’ve come […]

I’ve been as loud as anyone in my distaste for the recent subgenre, “hideous African tragedies viewed primarily in terms of how they affect white people,” and yet here we have Shooting Dogs (bizarrely renamed Beyond the Gates for the US, a worse title by every measure that isn’t marketing), a story about two white […]