Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

A review requested by Will T, with thanks for contributing to the ACS Fundraiser. In celebration of the late Irwin Allen on the occasion of his centennial There are very few movies that you can point to that single-handedly killed off a thriving career. The Swarm is one of these. Prior to making this film, […]

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: Money Monster is a very sober crime thriller about fiscal malfeasance starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. I would […]

In retrospect, “the worst of the Captain Americas” and “the best of the Avengerses” is exactly what somebody with my tastes in Marvel movies should have expected from Captain America: Civil War, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what it is. The first film in the much-ballyhooed Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is […]

Many years from now, when they are making the list of the great War on Terror thrillers, they will of course start with Zero Dark Thirty, and until recently, that’s where they could have ended, too. Now we have a second, sneaking into the world with virtually no fanfare other than a 2015 Toronto International […]

My instinct to say of Hail, Caesar! that you will love it if you fall into the enormously specific niche of people who adore Studio Era Hollywood but are still totally okay with making fun of it, and also consider themselves somewhere firmly entrenched in the Leftist-Socialist-Marxist end of the spectrum but are still totally […]

Joy is weird as all hell. The film makes many false steps, both in its screenplay and its direction (both by David O. Russell, though it is fairly well-attested that the back half – the much better half, as it happens – has been changed far less from Annie Mumolo’s original draft), with a terrifically […]

The Hateful Eight, sure enough, is about hate. I can’t recall the last movie so explicitly about how all of its characters, and by extension the society that they are a part of, are irredeemably evil, and I certainly can’t recall the last one that has such a jolly mood about it. This movie, if […]

There are more good things than bad about Spotlight – in fact, there are very few bad things about it at all – but I frankly think the best thing about it is the way it has redeemed the career of writer-director Tom McCarthy. You will maybe recall, how McCarthy started making movies with 2003’s […]

A review requested by John Taylor, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Reducing any film to the sum of its Oscar trivia is a filthy habit, but it’s also fun and I’m good at it, and Grand Hotel has a real whopper of a piece of trivia associated […]

During the press tour for Avengers: Age of Ultron – a press tour marked by an uncommon number of wrong turns by the participants – writer-director Joss Whedon admitted almost in so many words that making the film was exhausting and no fun and he wasn’t happy with the final product. It helps to know […]