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 […]

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 […]

The title of Life Itself comes from one of its most particularly florid, sophomoric lines, “The most unreliable narrator is life itself.” This sentence, or a close variation, is spoken enough times during the length of the film that, if you were to take a shot every single time, you would likely die. Given that you would therefore be spared watching the entirety of Life Itself, this might very well […]

You know how certain actors become synonymous with certain decades? How when you think of the fifties you might think of James Dean’s red leather jacket? Or when you think of the seventies and an image of John Travolta dancing at the disco flashes through your mind? Lately I’ve been wondering what made us link these actors to their respective decades. Sometimes it’s a matter of box office success, like […]

So we come to the end of one of the more satisfying summer movie seasons of the 2010s. Augusts are always special to me; they get all the weird little misfits that feel almost like popcorn movies, but with something horribly wrong about them. This particular August also includes the film that has, very weirdly, become the biggest “yes I want to see that” title among my real-world friends, which […]