Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The list of movies that owe a huge debt to Blade Runner is damn near inexhaustible, but even so, it’s been a real long time since the last film that drew upon that film’s iconic production design so blatantly and desperately as the 2017 version of Ghost in the Shell. More, indeed, than the film […]

I too donated to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser, and it would be unseemly to thank myself, but anyway, this is what I picked. Like all great satires, the 1998 film The Truman Show has started to look dated and quaint as a direct result of having been proven 100% correct (the […]

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 makers of Atomic Blonde have decided, correctly I think, that Charlize Theron is due for a hand-to-hand combat […]

Before I go on and on about how Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is such aΒ  good example of the transporting cinematic power of unbridled spectacle, so profoundly, importantly great at creating a brand new world for our eyeballs to soak up and our brains to play in, that it almost completely […]

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 are being strict with words, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is closer to the […]

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for the Planet of the Apes franchise, that happened sometime in between 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I wouldn’t say that Battle… is “all” bad, nor even predominately bad, not necessarily. But it’s […]

Let no-one accuse Conquest of the Planet of the Apes of playing it safe to avoid any accusation of tastelessness: the 1973 film about apes overthrowing their human rules draws very explicitly from the rhetoric and imagery of the Black Power movement, as well as the protests against the Vietnam War. And this in service […]

There aren’t all that many endings that would seem to automatically forestall any possibility of a sequel, but surely “destroying the whole world in a massive nuclear explosion” would make that short, elite list. Nevertheless, after Beneath the Planet of the Apes played precisely that card, it fell to that film’s screenwriter, Paul Dehn, to […]

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a tough one to deal with. Soldier all the way on through to the ending, and your reward is one of the most impressively demented (in my opinion) and most influential (somewhat more objective) conceits in all of 1970s movie sci-fi – and with the ’70s just five […]

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: War for the Planet of the Apes is likely to be the last film in that franchise for a […]

A second review requested by John Grimes, with thanks for donating twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. So as I sit here preparing to confront Giant Robo: The Animation – The Day the Earth Stood Still (and that’s the last time we’ll be typing that all out, thank you very much), […]

It’s all right there in the title: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Not “homecoming”, the early-fall tradition in U.S. and Canadian high schools, which puts in only a very mild and plot-inessential cameo in the film. But “homecoming” as in “coming home” as in “welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man, this is where you belong”. I don’t […]