Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

When I started on this increasingly stretched-out marathon of Disney sequels, one of the few things I was genuinely looking forward to – one of the things that felt like might make the whole damn thing worthwhile – was arriving at the first DisneyToon release of 2004, The Lion King 1½. I’ll admit that my reasoning was immensely broken: the logic went that, since The Lion King was more or […]

In reviewing the direct-to-video Disney sequel, the critic would be well-advised not to spend too much time wallowing about in the question of, “how does this sit alongside the original film?” for that is a question with no happy answer. Better to do one’s best to consider the sequel on its on terms, and if it holds together as an animated narrative by itself, the more humiliating fact that it […]

I know that I have that whole thing where I promised see and review every movie that went to #1 at the US box office, and part of me feels like I really had ought to see the first wide re-release of a Disney animated feature in years and years and years. But I also don’t want to pay $15 for The Lion King 3D just so I can write […]

Some of you may recall that in writing my fairly dismissive review of Disney’s beloved The Lion King, I indulged in a lengthy anecdote about this one time that I got two custom-made, animation-quality drawings from the great Disney animator Andreas Deja. It had been my intention at that time to post photos of those drawings in short order, as part of my post-Disneython wrap-up, but lacking as I do […]

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 to expect at least once a year: the palpable awareness that everyone – everyone – […]

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 King Kong just about the finest movie ever besmirched with a remake). Rather, it’s the […]

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 form of over-the-top indulgent spectacle. Since this is, maybe, the single thing that Hollywood is […]

It’s genuinely shocking to me that Lion is as good as it is, for as long as it is. It’s Harvey Weinstein’s duly-anointed champion for the Oscar season, which has only rarely been a good sign in the 21st Century and is frequently the biggest red flag I can think of. And that becomes an even more dire sign in light of the kind of Oscarbait this is: the Inspiring […]

A review requested by Dave F, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The 2010 film Four Lions could only ever have been made in Britain, for two reasons. One of these reasons is that Britain’s Pakistani population occupies a relatively uncommon sweet spot between assimilation and xenophobia, and that status fuels everything about the story in a way that wouldn’t really work exactly […]

A review requested by Geoffrey Moses, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I have mentioned before, and I shall mention in the future, that one of my most vulnerable weaknesses as a moviegoer is for anything that foregrounds hyper-literate insulting dialogue delivered with sufficient vigor and acidity by top-notch actors, and we have before us one of the giants of the form. While […]

A review series requested by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for multiple contributions to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. In October, 2013, just a smidgen more than one year after the two-part recap movie hit Japanese theaters, along came the first new material in the movie trilogy: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Movie – Rebellion, which apparently began when writer Urobuchi Gen wanted […]

A review requested by Chris D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I seem to have done this slightly out of order, non? So you’ll have to forgive me if I simply borrow what I said the last time I visited the most famous, infamous, and contentious of Japanese anime franchises: “It is not enough to begin at the beginning. We have to […]