Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It only takes a short while for Widows to prove to us that we’re in good hands. In point of fact, it takes until the very first cut, and the first cut comes rather sooner than we expect it to. Which is, in fact, part of how it shows us we’re in good hands – […]

You really do have to salute Bad Times at the El Royale for its bravery: not every film would run the risk of just up and putting “bad times” right there in the title. So impressed am I, in fact, that I’m going to dignify the film by not making any of the obvious jokes, […]

Ocean’s Eight finds itself in the heinously awkward position of being a rather middling Ocean’s _____ movie, but a very good generic heist movie, thanks mostly to the things it takes from the franchise in terms of style and structure. So most of its strengths are exactly those things that, by calling attention to themselves, are […]

It’s one thing to say “this is a dark comedy”. It’s quite another to come face-to-face with a comedy that has the word “death” right there in the title. So if I were to say, for example, that The Death of Stalin is a dark comedy, I’m not telling you the half of it. It’s […]

God’s Not Dead has become the stand-in in popular consciousness for a whole genre: the hectoring message movie designed exclusively for U.S. conservative evangelical audiences. And this makes a great deal of sense: it was a huge, shocking box-office success, making $61 million in North America from a $2 million dollar budget, which makes it […]

The winner of the 2018 Best Picture Review Poll There are two very different stereotypes of what kind of film wins the Best Picture Oscar, and neither of them is actually true. The kind of people whose movie-watching habits never extends to anything that isn’t a heavily-marketed wide-release blockbuster tends to suppose that Oscar-winning films […]

It is quite impossible for Mudbound to be a mere 134 minutes long, and I’m not sure if it is the film’s great strength that it manages to cram such an unrelenting quantity of stuff into that running time, or if perhaps there is some other world where it clocked in at three hours and […]

I suspect, with absolutely nothing to back it up besides anecdotal data and hunches, that Murder on the Orient Express, from 1934, is Agatha Christie’s best-known mystery novel; or at least the best-known title to one of her mystery novels, which is the same thing as far as film producers go. And yet here we […]

For his inevitable return to feature filmmaking after the busiest retirement in the history of the entertainment industry, Steven Soderbergh has looked backwards, kind of. He’s never made a film exactly like Logan Lucky (a failed attempt at creating a new commercial opening for creator-driven mid-budget films, but otherwise one of the most effortless triumphs […]

Mike Mills made his first feature as a writer-director, Thumbsucker, in 2005. By some curious coincidence, that appears to have been the exact same year that his third feature, 20th Century Women, was packed in foam peanuts and left to age until it could be sprung on an unsuspecting world as a surprising, not completely […]

There’s almost nothing that the 2003 sci-fi horror film Dreamcatcher has in common with the 2016 Oscarbait melodrama Collateral Beauty, and yet they’re the only movies I can ever remember having seen that are both bad in almost exactly the same way. To wit, we have here a movie that has been made by very […]

A second review requested by Chris D, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. First, shame on me. I’ve known for years that seeing Battle Royale was a thing I certainly ought to do, and I’ve had access to it for a number of those years, even during […]