Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

As inevitably and irresistibly as the sun rising and the tide coming in, any actor who has enormous muscles and an even marginally acceptable sense of comic timing will eventually make a children’s comedy that has him pratfall in the face of a preternaturally self-assured tween. And doom has now come to wrestler-turned-character actor Dave […]

Not everyone will agree with me, I know, but to my mind, 2017’s Wonder Woman sets up a pretty high bar to clear, as one of the few superhero movies of the 2010s to successfully thread the needle between “superhero comics are modern mythology, with all the gravity that entails” and “popcorn movies need to […]

I cannot think of many questions less burning than “what if Santa Claus was a resentful, embittered survivalist who had been almost completely ruined by the weak economy of the 2010s, and the only thing that reignited his desire to live at all was being hunted by an extraordinarily proficient assassin; and also Mel Gibson […]

The for Gerard Butler vehicles is about as low as low gets, so if I first say that Greenland is, like, obviously the best Gerard Butler movie I’ve ever seen, I have given you very little information. It could still be a bad movie, and indeed, if we were to talk strictly in terms of […]

The Old Guard is the the most perfectly Netflix-ey film you could hope for out of Netflix’s attempt to kick-start a superhero franchise. It is, for starters, deeply unpleasant to look at, filmed through a muddy digital veil that pushes all of the colors hard towards grey, unless the entire purpose of the scene is […]

There’s a moment that typifies everything about Extraction so perfectly that I’m almost ashamed to mention it. In the film, a burly action throwback to the early ’90s or late ’80s, spiced up with contemporary digital post-production wizardry, the hero is an Australian mercenary named Tyler Rake. At one point in an early action scenes, […]

“What if we did a horror movie version of Fantasy Island?” is an idea that makes a certain kind of cock-eyed sense. The TV series in question, which ran from 1977-1984, is about an island in the Pacific where a mysterious man named Mr. Roarke allows visitors to experience their deepest fantasies come to life. […]

I have one thing about Disney’s new live-action Mulan that makes me extremely happy: it’s not a mindless shot-for-shot remake of the 1998 animated film, and in this respect is considerably less irksome than the 2017 Beauty and the Beast and the 2019 Aladdin and The Lion King, the other remakes of films from the […]

Forgive me if start talking about Tenet, the eleventh feature directed by Christopher Nolan (and, I am tempted to say, the most Nolan-ish of them all), by simply quoting what I had to say ten years ago about Inception, the seventh Nolan feature: “What some critics have praise/assailed as ‘confusing’ in [Tenet] is really just […]

So help me, I really do feel sorry for The New Mutants and the poor saps who made it. If all had gone according to plan, it would have slunk into theaters in April 2018, gotten bored reviews comparing it unfavorably to Logan as an example of trying to do a different genre than action-thriller […]

I do not like to start reviews with the most obvious possible statement that hundreds of people before me have already pointed out, but sometimes it doesn’t pay to be clever. And so: the 2000 ancient world epic Gladiator is quite clearly what you get when 1995’s Braveheart and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan have a […]

It is difficult to avoid overvaluing 1994’s Street Fighter is. Okay, it’s actually very easy to avoid that, since Street Fighter is a massive failure, the grotesque mutant child of a calamitous shoot. You know all the stories about movies like Casablanca or Jaws, where the production history is just one catastrophe after another, they […]