Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

First, the petty, niggling point: by the strictest definition, Belle’s Magical World and Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World are two different features. Initially, the second sequel – if that’s even the right word – to the luminous Disney classic Beauty and the Beast was released under the shorter of its two titles on […]

The last time Woody Allen made more than one genuinely great movies right in a row was in 1994 (if we want to press a point and allow the intermittently brilliant, sometimes strident Deconstructing Harry as great, it jumps to 1997), and thus it must follow, as night the day, that his next project after […]

As I mentioned, the third of the AIP/Roger Corman Poe movies, Premature Burial, was something of a failure – not a flop, for it’s hard for a movie produced as cheaply as even the costliest AIP picture to “flop” – and for the fourth movie in the cycle, the second released in 1962, a course-correction […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/9 World Premiere: 23-26 August, 2010, Japanese TV The feature being marketed on the festival circuit as Kaidan – Horror Classics began life as a television sereis that aired in Japan in August, 2010. The premise is straightforward enough: four works of paranormal fiction by the masters of the genre, each adapted […]

The official line is that the Disney Renaissance ended with Tarzan in the summer of 1999, for that film was the last outstanding financial success in string of hits; it was also the last $100 million Disney picture for a while; and it is implied often though not always stated outright that Tarzan was also […]

It is readily observed that there were six package films produced by the Disney Studios from 1942 to 1949, a desperate cost-saving measure in the years during and immediately following World War II. Not so obvious is the fact that these six films can be easily broken into three pairs: two Latin American goodwill efforts, […]

I think it might be really fun to bring one of these Disney reviews in under 2000 words again, so I’m going to skip the history lesson this time, except to reiterate what happened to the Disney Studios in the post-war ’40s: Walt Disney was inattentive, they were running out of money, and the package […]

It’s all on display right there in the title: Fun and Fancy Free. I do not know but that I catch a slight whisper of defiant desperation in those words, but then, Make Mine Music is still fresh in my memory, and that is enough to make it clear that things at Disney were not […]

It is a known thing that Walt Disney took the failure of Fantasia badly, and on a rather personal level. The film that was to have been the culmination of his artistic ambitions become a well-reviewed box-office meltdown, and if the studio never again came even close to making such a self-consciously artsy movie again, […]

Saludos Amigos was a big enough success that Walt Disney was encouraged to put into production a second Latin American project, again theoretically meant to foster goodwill during the hard days of World War II. This quasi-sequel from 1944, The Three Caballeros (treating upon Brazil once again, along with Mexico in the place of Peru, […]

Author’s note, July 2016: I cannot begin to say what bug I had up my ass when I reviewed this film seven years ago, but I completely reject this review. The film is a charming trifle with enormous historical interest and more stylistic value than I came close to giving it; perhaps lingering anger that […]

That Pinocchio was a significant commercial failure is something I can sort of get my head around, but it ultimately seems pretty hard to believe that something so beautiful and heartfelt could be so soundly ignored. I have no such difficulty believe the same thing of the other Disney feature released in 1940, of unquestionably […]