Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

So, Kong: Skull Island isn’t “bad”, exactly. I don’t know, is it bad? It’s kind of bad. But the thing is, it wants to do one thing, and it does it, the thing promised right there in the title. Not “Kong” – this is closer to the dullest screen depiction of the giant ape Kong […]

An older review of this film can be found here When Peter Jackson, somewhat shockingly, used his brand-new Best Director Oscar and all the accumulated clout from having forced the three massive hit films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy into existence to get Universal to sign off on a new iteration of the […]

Popular history records the 1976 remake of King Kong as a terrible failure, but this is not in fact the case. The film cost a shocking amount of money, much of it wasted on a terrible-looking and dysfunctional live-sized robot Kong, but it also brought in a pretty healthy box office return, emerging as one […]

The 1976 King Kong really is quite magnificent in its badness. It’s not that it’s a unjustified remake of an all-time classic film, those are are all over the damn place, that’s not worthy of attention. Even if this one is especially unjustified (after Psycho and Seven Samurai, I’d be inclined to call the 1933 […]

Between 7 March, 1933, and 22 December, 1933, there elapsed a total of 290 days. That is how long it took after the world premiere of the magnificent King Kong to commission, write, produce, edit, market, and release that film’s extraordinarily deflating sequel, Son of Kong. And really, that kind of says it all, doesn’t […]

I can think of not one single reason to hold back: the first King Kong, from 1933, is probably the most perfect movie ever made by a Hollywood studio in what we would call, I guess, the “popcorn movie tradition” – that is to say, big-budget adventure movies with rip-roaring special effects, or some other […]

A third review requested by Brian Malbon, with thanks for his multiple contributions to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The 2005 motion picture version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is, as they say, neither fish nor fowl. It skips over enough of the details of the plot with little or […]

It’s not that Monster Trucks is “bad”, which would be comprehensible. It’s that it is enormously dispiriting. The kind of dispiriting that causes a film shot in the spring and early summer of 2014 to receive four different release dates before it’s finally quietly dumped into the hostile snows of January, almost two years after […]

Disney’s current wave of live-action remakes of its old animated films (or “live-action” in the case of 2016’s The Jungle Book) will have reached its fifth title by the end of the first quarter of 2017. And of those five films, Pete’s Dragon is the clear outlier in all sorts of ways. It is, for […]

It’s not just that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is my favorite Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back; it’s how damned easy it was for me to come that conclusion. Like, not a fraction of a second of hesitation. For those of you who just wanted the opinion & would prefer to […]

“The Empire Strikes Back is the darkest Star Wars film”, they say; “the Rebellion loses everything, Luke has an existential crisis, Han is gone”. Or, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is the darkest Star Wars“, the say; “the whole galaxy is overrun by evil, the very flesh is burned off of […]

What we all know – and like most things we all know, it’s a simplification, but in this case not such an extreme nor indefensible one – is that George Lucas stuck the Ewoks into Return of the Jedi to sell toys. “Warrior teddy bears” isn’t the most all-time slam-dunk moneymaking idea, to be sure, […]