Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Nothing about Abominable is even mildly surprising (unless it’s that an English-language movie made by American creators and mostly at an American animation studio should be set in China and have a female protagonist, and neither of these facts are even briefly commented upon), which is kind of a great thing. It doesn’t feel like […]

I have said before and will, I am entirely sure, have reason to say it again: nothing in the whole world of filmmaking in the 2010s interests me as much as the Chinese film industry’s concerted efforts to establish itself as an internationally competitive alternative to Hollywood, concurrent with the swift rise of that country’s […]

It’s been a good decade for contemplative sci-fi movies using terrific visual effects to create visually rich, touchably real depictions of space. My sense is that the earliest of these was 2009’s Moon, though of course the cycle was kicked into overdrive four years later with Gravity, and we’ve since had a nice range of […]

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a misnomer twice over. First, the onscreen title treatment and all of the advertising material state, clear as day, The Angry 2 Birds Movie. Second, the birds in this one are not angry. But I imagine that The Birds with Depression Movie would sell fewer tickets. As you undoubtedly […]

There is simply no reason for a live-action adaptation of the interactive children’s cartoon Dora the Explorer to be good. And when we add in the ugly wrinkled that the beaming seven-year-old of the show has been aged up to an improbably innocent teenager forced to go to public school for the first time, I […]

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Dora and the Lost City of Gold makes a tiny form of history as the first live-action feature based on […]

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Dwayne Johnson plays a character who was introduced as a villain in […]

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: the finest scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood finds Sharon Tate raptly watching herself in the […]

A cursory perusal of the reviews for Disney’s new remake of The Lion King reveals that even some of the pointedly negative ones will concede that it is, at least, a very visually amazing, even beautiful film. This is wrong. It looks like a dead dog’s asshole on a hot day. I have never been […]

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Disney’s new version of The Lion King presents painstakingly animated photorealistic CGI lions milling about doing lion shit. This might […]

This thing where various Hemsworth brothers show up in profoundly unsatisfying years-later sequels to major Will Smith vehicles is likely nothing more than a coincidence, but I think it leads to a useful analogy: Liam Hemsworth as to Chris Hemsworth as Independence Day: Resurgence is to Men in Black: International. That is to say, MIB:I […]

Toy Story 4 isn’t bad. This is, already, a huge achievement, for there was every reason in the world for it to be bad: Pixar Animation Studios has a fairly unimpressive track record with sequels and is nowhere near the regular level of absolute brilliance they were when the last film in this series, Toy […]