Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Pondering what makes for the nadir of the showbiz biopic screenplay is a yawning chasm that we had best not peer into, lest we fall in and plunge into a rich madness that can barely be described in words. I mean, it’s only been fifteen years since Beyond the Sea, and I’m still not sure […]

I will happily concede that Downton Abbey, the motion picture, does not present itself as a fans-only experience. It does not assume you have seen any or all of Downton Abbey, the 2010-2015 television series (as I have not: the unanimous opinion of every person in my life who has seen it – Series 1 […]

Gavin Hood is an extremely inconsistent director (and calling the man who signed his name to X-Men Origins: Wolverine “inconsistent” is paying him a very nice big compliment, I think), but his last feature is one that left me inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Eye in the Sky, from 2015, is […]

Blinded by the Light is an extraordinarily nice movie. There’s a lot about it that could do with a substantial bit of tweaking, but all of its flaws come directly as a result of its niceness. And who could feel too very bad about that? Plenty of movies have flaws because they’re cynically commercial, or […]

Sequels that are really more like unrelated entries in an anthology series are nothing new at all, especially in the horror & thriller genres, so the fact that 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has absolutely not one blessed thing to do with 47 Meters Down, the banal shark film from 2017, is not surprising. That it […]

In space, maybe, nobody can hear you scream, but in High Life, space is marked out primarily by the thick omnipresence of sounds. The lucky 13th feature film by director Claire Denis – and her first in English, a leap she navigates with a force and confidence that equals any other great director’s forays into […]

Part of me, and it is a very large part, feels extremely uncomfortable giving Yesterday a star rating implying that it’s a good film, because in point of fact it is not. It is an adorable film, almost entirely on the backs of stars Himesh Patel and Lily James; it is one of the most […]

I would call Rocketman the best pop star biopic of the 21st Century and I would mean it with all my heart and soul, but for one caveat: I don’t think “biopic” is the right word. Oh, it’s got the structure: we see how little Reginald Dwight (Matthew Illesley as a boy, Kit Connor as […]

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: Disney revives the evergreen “Arabian Nights adventure” genre with their new remake of Aladdin. The studio’s original 1992 version […]

Peterloo is, in essence, what happens when Mike Leigh makes a Ken Loach film, and it’s also a costume drama. If you are anything like me, you have already perhaps decided that it is clearly the best movie of the 2010. In which case, I am sorry to have to splash some cold water on […]

I take it as self-evident that to love cinema is to love Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the comedy duo paired under the guidance of producer Hal Roach in the silent era and who made several wonderful short films before transitioning to sound and making several even more wonderful shorts and features in the 1930s. […]