Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is, I am deeply unhappy to report, a bit better than you should expect of the fourth movie in a franchise of animated comedies for children that double as toy commercials. I am unhappy to report this, because 2015’s The Lego Movie wasn’t “better than you should expect”; […]

First published, with slight alterations, at the Film Experience. Presented now during the film’s limited release in the U.S. First things first: the Brazilian animated feature Tito and the Birds is a preposterously beautiful motion picture. The film’s style is perhaps best described as looking like a digital oil painting, with swirling smears of color […]

Previously reviewed at the Film Experience Many directors have had great years, in which they’ve released two (or more!) tremendously good films that demonstrate the breadth of their skills. But very, very few directors have ever had a years like Yuasa Masaaki had in 2017. This was the year that the animation genius, whose work […]

By the standards of things that have absolutely no intrinsic reason to exist, Mary Poppins Returns sure is functional. It depicts 24 discrete still images per second and everything. The film is the long-awaited victory dance by the Walt Disney Company on the grave of P.L. Travers, who hated the studio’s 1964 Mary Poppins, and […]

It’s certainly more common knowledge 25 years later than it was at the time of the film’s premiere in October 1993 (when Disney did everything in its power to hide the information), but it still bears mentioning that the film which has been marketed since Day 1 as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is […]

Previously reviewed at the Film Experience Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a joyful, celebratory movie. I cannot name another superhero movie in the 40 years since Superman invented the modern version of the genre that has so perfectly captured the free-floating, whiz-bang, everything-is-possible delight of comic books. This is the movie version of a child […]

The most surprising thing about the new animated adaptation of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s 1957 picture book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – which, in keeping the the 21st Century’s refusal to even pretend like any of us still has an attention span, has shortened the title to just The Grinch – is that it’s […]

The 1966 television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a masterpiece at least three times over. First, it’s one of the greatest of all Christmas stories told in an audio-visual medium, filling its 26 minutes with exactly the correct amount of warm and fuzzy sentiment, wry cynicism to keep said sentiment in check, and […]

In the bloodthirsty world of corporate animation, a very strange symbiotic relationship has sprung up between Sony Pictures Imageworks and Warner Animation Group. As part of its ongoing attempt to get back to its noble history of comic cartooning, Warner has twice now contracted with SPI to produce a feature to be released under the […]

Every week 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 Walt Disney Company has acted for years like A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh is theirs and theirs alone, as is […]

The thing that most surprises me about the Japanese animated feature Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms* is that it is not based on a manga series. Which of course should be no surprise at all, given that the vast majority of films in history have also not been based on a manga series, but […]

By all means, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is a goofy and dumb kids’ movie. But there’s goofy and dumb, and then there’s Goofy and Dumb, and there’s something positively dazzling about how much inspiration screenwriters Aaron Horvath (who co-directs with Peter Rida Michail) & Michael Jelenic – also the creators of Teen Titans […]