Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

For our last episode of 2019, we’re celebrating the career of an Australian superstar Nicole Kidman on the occasion of the release of Bombshell, a media biopic in which she co-stars as former Fox News talking head Gretchen Carlson. Kidman costars alongside Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil, Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Alice Eve as Ainsley Earhardt, and John Lithgow as Roger Ailes in a narrative examination of the taking […]

This week’s column: on the occasion of Nicole Kidman’s 46th birthday, a list of my favorite performances from her estimable career.

It’s almost certainly just random noise and not real evidence of a greater trend, but as I spend these weeks diving into the thrillers and horror films of the Australian film industry, I’m finding a lot more dead children than I’d expect to see in a similarly arbitrary sampling of Hollywood horror films. And with 1989’s Dead Calm, we get a real doozy. The film opens with Royal Australian Navy […]

If you’re into dark alternate origin stories, you might be pretty psyched to see Todd Phillips’ Joker with the most 2020 Oscar nominations at 11 nods including best picture, best director, and best actor. You’ll also see some love for a few of my favorites, Little Women and Jojo Rabbit, along with Marriage Story, The Irishman, Parasite, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and more. Scarlett Johansson in particular had […]

The Oscar nominations are upon us, and I would hate myself if I didn’t register my official predictions for what I expect to be nominated on the morning of Monday, 13 January. PICTURE 1917 The Irishman Jojo Rabbit Joker Little Women Marriage Story Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood Parasite I am formally predicting only the above eight films. If there is a ninth nominee, I expect it to be: […]

That Bombshell wants to be The Big Short would be embarrassingly obvious anyway, but the fact that Charles Randolph wrote both films seals the deal. No question about it, this The Big Short of #MeToo biopics; the Vice of #MeToo biopics might even actually be more accurate, but I don’t want to be too hard on Bombshell. It’s boring and bad, but at least it’s better than fucking Vice. It […]

The mid-budget serious prestige drama has become an endangered species in 2010s cinema, we all know this. It’s a shame, but it has at least one positive benefit, which is that classic Oscarbait has become less common over the past few years. Oh, there are still the usual cradle-to-grave biopics and literary adaptations and Commentaries On The Issues, like there have been since the 1930s – and they even still […]

One of the most mournful summer movie seasons of the modern era is now behind us, and we’re zooming towards prestige movie season. Ah, but there is a trick: we still have to survive September, the month where all of the Oscarbait that the studios know is going to suck gets burned off. Given how underpopulated this particular September is – only seven wide releases are on the calendar for […]

The Upside premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and didn’t receive commercial release in the United States until January 2019 (the demise of The Weinstein Company factored into this). That’s not “commercial release following an Oscar-qualifying run in one Los Angeles theater.” That’s commercial release. There’s such a thing as a distributor knowing that it has a dog that won’t possibly get the awards attention that was the […]

Years ago, a cop was assigned to infiltrate a criminal organisation in Los Angeles. Things went horribly wrong, people died who oughtn’t have, and the cop fell into a self-loathing spiral that neatly dovetailed with how much everyone in her department stopped trusting her. Now, the leader of that gang has – possibly – restarted his criminal activities, and only the disgraced, broken-down cop can see it. Thus she throws […]

Aquaman is the dorkiest fucking movie. I think I slightly loved it. This is a film that luxuriates in all of the absolute dumbest bullshit of superhero comics: the overwrought dialogue in which words like Cylinder and Trench are repeatedly declaimed with unmistakable Capital Letters; unbelievably squirrelly concept like sharks with laser cannons on their heads treated with absolute awestruck wonder by the solemn low angle; a plot that starts […]

Another year ends, deep in the depths of one of the most banal seasons for Oscarbait in recent memory. It is a bit strange, even upsetting to me, that I’m kind of to substantially excited for some of the popcorn movies coming out this months – ones I should know more than to be excited for, even – and the awards movies, with one bright shining exception, look pretty whiffy. […]