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 – […]

American Animals is a very good movie that frankly doesn’t seem to understand why it’s very good. This is apparent right from the very start – or rather, it becomes retroactively apparent that the very start is all mixed up. First, there’s a quote from Darwin, talking about “American animals” colonising cave systems in Kentucky […]

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: after an eleven-year break, Ocean’s Eight revives the finest heist movie franchise in all of cinema. The perfect opportunity […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A review requested by Grace C, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Bad comedies, as I’ve had cause to mention before, are the very worst, because you can laugh at bad action or melodrama or horror. But the definition of a bad comedy is that it’s not funny, […]

The development of film noir, the not-quite-a-genre that wouldn’t be named until after the fact, but which dominated American genre filmmaking in the 15 years after World War II, snakes this way and that, constantly churning and turning out new variations on a theme. But it’s still possible to pin it down on a map […]

A review requested by Josep, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There are plenty of things that could be one’s immediate response to Big Deal on Madonna Street, a 1958 Italian caper movie that is one of the small handful of films directed by Mario Monicelli to have […]

Having thought about it for a couple of days now, I still haven’t decided if Focus is particularly enjoyable and solidly-crafted for a bad movie, or if it’s extremely inconsistent and frustrating for a good movie. I think I ultimately tend towards the latter, if only because no project that depends so successfully on movie […]

If, for whatever reason, you wanted to make the most ice-cold, vagina-drying, boner-killing movie about sex in all of cinema history, you would first have to confront the fact that Exit to Eden already exists, and it has set that bar inordinately high. It’s no surprise, really, that nothing good could should come of a […]

With The Killing, we arrive at a very exciting moment in the career of Stanley Kubrick, just shy of his 28th birthday when the film premiered in June, 1956: his third feature and sixth project overall is the very first work of the director’s career that he’d acknowledge existed in later years. That’s not entirely […]