Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There’s a pronounced difference between the knowledge “I shall be very busy at grad school” and the lived experience of holy shit, I’m busy all the damn time, and I’ll spare you the whole story, but that’s how September managed to be the first month in Antagony & Ecstasy history (I believe) without a movie preview. Let us not permit that to ever happen again, and even though this post […]

See enough movies – and more to the point, discuss enough movies – and you start to come up with shortcuts, boxes that you can file things in to help make it easier to come to grips with what they are and how to approach them. But every now and then something comes along and blindsides you by refusing to fit into any of those boxes at all, and these […]

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: if we’re being classy about it, overt Twilight knock-off The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones could be more generously thought of as a new entry in that most modern of fantasy subgenres, in which […]

Everything that is good about Pacific Rim is good largely on the level of “that was cool”. Whereas everything that is bad about it is bad on the levels of character psychology, narrative structure and logic, interest in the world beyond white adolescent North American males, or the general feeling that no serious consideration of the story needs to go further than cataloging the other properties that Pacific Rim is […]

Summer has hit that magical point where I no longer have any expectations. The confluence of Man of Steel (which I honestly, really expected to be good) and Monsters University (which I expected to be just as bland as it was, though I hoped it would be better) wiped me out, and whatever happens, happens going forward. It doesn’t help anything that July’s slate of wide releases, broadly speaking, looks […]

Hey everyone, let’s play a fun game I invented, called “Being Jessica Chastain”. Pretend it’s late 2011, and you are a 34-year-old actress who has gone from complete anonymity to ubiquity in the blink of an eye. You’ve already been in the year’s best-reviewed art film, and you’re one of the most-praised members of the ensemble cast of one of the year’s biggest surprise box-office smashes. You’re scheduled, in a […]

The very best thing I can think to say about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is this: it has left me with absolutely no reason to assume that 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is going to be half as much of a slog. If nothing else, that sequel’s title, in relation to the content of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, promises that the film shall have a great deal […]

It’s precisely three shots into The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 that Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off, and in all honesty I don’t suppose that there can possibly be a more legitimate justification for seeing the movie. Actually, the shocking thing about Breaking Dawn 1 is that, after three years and four directors, the Twilight franchise has finally ended up in the hands of a filmmaker who’s […]

There was a TV movie made in 1973, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, that is frequently cited by those who’ve seen it, as one of the best made-for-TV movies of that era, one of the two Golden Ages of made-for-TV movies (the other is the early ’50s). I haven’t seen nearly enough of the things to weigh in on that matter, but certainly, for a horror movie that aired […]

If Amores perros had not premiered in the summer of 2000, it would be necessary to lie and say that it had done so; offhand I cannot name another movie which has ever thus stood at the forefront of what would turn out to be a number of different trends in the decade to follow, while providing such a clear picture of the evolution from the trends of the decade […]

I’m currently putting together a list of the 100 best movies from 2000-2009, like everybody else has already done; but dammit, the Aughts aren’t even cold in their grave, let’s wait a teeny bit before starting the lists already. Anyway, you can consider this the first salvo in my Decade-In-Review extravaganza: see, I’ve been doing this proper-like, and trying to re-watch every single picture I put on my list (and […]

It is a truth undeniable that Hellboy II: The Golden Army does not enjoy a particularly robust and tight story; it might not be that much of a mistake, in fact, to claim that its story is a confusing mess. If that’s the sort of thing that’s going to bother you no matter what, then I respect your position, and I’ll do nothing to convince you that you should like […]