Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It wouldn’t really be accurate to accuse X-Men: Apocalypse of being the worst of the four major superhero movies released in the first five months of 2016 (with three more to come! A record!), but it is surely the least interesting. Deadpool had its fiery, filthy sense of postmodern humor; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had its balls-out crazy ambition and mythological grandiosity; Captain America: Civil War had neither […]

New rule: Bryan Singer should only direct X-Men movies, and X-Men movies should only be directed by Bryan Singer. For here we are with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is almost indisputably, I’d say, both Singer’s and the franchise’s best picture since X2 back in the long-ago of 2003 (from which early perch it remains, I would insistently claim, one of the five best superhero comic book movies of […]

With X-Men: Days of Future Past breathing down our necks as the third superhero movie in a two-month span, Hit Me with Your Best Shot does a bit of time traveling all its own. Nathaniel R’s selection for tonight is the first X-Men, the movie that kicked off the present superhero fad 14 years ago, and the subject of the very first episode of HMWYBS, so long ago that The […]

Author’s note, June 2016: I was pissed as hell at this film when I saw it, but time has mellowed my opinion. I’d still stick it on the “rotten” side of the register, but 2/5 was needlessly harsh. I don’t know if something is wrong with me or with society, but when something I find so gruelingly antiseptic as X-Men: First Class can be met with more-or-less positive reviews from […]

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. There’s something threatening in that overdetermined title, don’t you think? Just Wolverine would be a perfectly competent title, especially matched with a poster of Hugh Jackman’s be-sideburned face. Or if we must have something that lines up with the other films on the shelf, X-Men: Wolverine would surely have sufficed. But this is to be a special case of an X-Men film, for it is an X-Men […]

May, and the official start of Blockbuster Movie Season, is still a week away, but I hope you’ll forgive me for jumping the gun a bit. Incidentally, there are fewer summer movies this year that I’m even vaguely interested than in any other year of my adult life. A sign of worse films, or my growing cynicism? Read on! 5.1.2009The earliest tentpole release ever (it appears that next year will […]

Author’s note, June 2016: I was much too kind on this one. Few reviews from the first year of this site’s lifespan have caused me more subsequent problems than the 2.5/5 I gave this movie – 2/5 would be much closer to the mark, maybe even 1.5/5 if I was feeling especially feisty. When last we saw the X-Men, they had just starred in one of the best superhero movies […]

Gavin Hood is an extremely inconsistent director (and calling the man who signed his name to X-Men Origins: Wolverine “inconsistent” is paying him a very nice big compliment, I think), but his last feature is one that left me inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Eye in the Sky, from 2015, is one of the decade’s most airtight thrillers, somehow managing to fill 102 minutes with sweaty […]

The “what went wrong?” behind the scenes exposés of Dark Phoenix, tenth and final film in the X-Men series, appeared with absolutely shocking speed after the film’s franchise-worst opening weekend. In these testimonials, we find the nugget of information that the film exists in its current form largely because, after the drowsy respone critical and audience reception to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the studio’s biggest and only note was “do not-that, […]

From where I stand, the summer movie season of 2019 has just tipped off of a cliff. Godzilla: King of the Monsters was the last popcorn movie I was looking forward to for over two months – and look at how well that turned out for me – and while June isn’t quite the wasteland that July is shaping up to be, it’s been a good long while since the […]

If you’ve seen Stranger Things or the recently released zeitgeist-embracing adventure The Kid Who Would Be King, you know there’s no shortage of nostalgia for the decades in which most of the folks reading this grew up. The 1980s and ’90s are en vogue and ready to transport you back to your Topanga poster-covered walls of your bedroom. Or whomever you were into at the time. Maybe it was just […]

The general tenor of reviews of Glass suggest that, after a two-film renaissance consisting of 2015’s The Visit and 2017’s Split, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan is up to his bad old tricks again. But I don’t know, I think that this actually is a return to form: sharp-looking movies with with an elegantly classical visual sensibility that falters against clumsy dialogue that overarticulates themes, meandering pacing, dopey climaxes, and a […]