Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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: while it’s probably the case that no movie has ever matched The Expendables in assembling such a uniformly all-star […]

Be sure to check out the Christopher Nolan Blog-A-Thon over at Bryce Wilson’s Things That Don’t Suck. It’s pretty rare for a movie that fails to live up to its hype as uniformly as Inception does (though Jesus, is it any surprise, with that kind of hype?) to still function as an enormously entertaining summer […]

With memories of How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 still lingering heavily in the air – to say nothing of the aftertaste of the feature animation annus mirabilis that was 2009 – it’s not hard to want Despicable Me to be better than it is. Yet at the same time, with things […]

Early in the breathtakingly unnecessary The A-Team, remade from the iconic & not especially good ’80s television series, Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) hears the name of a hated rival with CIA ties, and derides the man’s lack of subtlety when it comes to matters of espionage: “He’s a caricature.” At this moment, a […]

No sane person goes into a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film looking for quietude, but even so, Micmacs – his first feature in half a decade – is a hell of a lot of movie. Compared to his earlier work (and despite a plethora of references to classic Hollywood cinema, the only reference point for Jeunet is […]

In the late 1960s, manga artist Katō Kazuhiko, working under the nom de plume Monkey Puch, began writing a series titled (in English), Lupin III. This series told of the adventures of a gentleman thief named Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the hero of a series of French novels written by Maurice […]

With Fantastic Mr. Fox, the notoriously fussy Wes Anderson has I think found the ideal medium for his stylistic preoccupations, not just for his sake but for his audience’s. I know that I’m not the only person to love both Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, only to find The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and […]

It would be quite inaccurate to say that I loved the new Taking of Pelham 1 2 3; it’s a bit of a stretch to even say that I liked it. But I did find it to be frequently entertaining and enjoyable in the way that sound and fury can be entertaining of a summer’s […]

Michael Mann’s first theatrical feature (in the United States, anyhow), Thief, has something of a reputation for being the Mann film that Mann fanciers haven’t quite gotten around to seeing even though they know that they ought to, because it’s supposed to be really good. Which, if it isn’t true that it’s really good, that’s […]

Writer-director Rian Johnson’s 2005 debut feature Brick was a marvelous genre experiment, inserting the language, plot and mentality of hard-boiled detective fiction almost unchanged into a high school setting. The film was a wholly successful mash-up, with both sides of the equation seeming all the fresher for the wild new context, and the film, it’s […]

Early in 2007’s Oscar season, Tony Gilroy – then best known as the writer of all three Jason Bourne movies – made his directorial debut with Michael Clayton, a sober-minded, unexceptional and very well-crafted thriller with pretensions to social commentary about the evils done by corporations in the name of profit; its reward for this […]

I typically try to avoid doing multi-film posts, but given that I’ve just seen two movies that I liked for almost exactly the same reasons, it seemed like it might be okay just this once. Both are entirely unimaginative but extremely well-built, and immensely entertaining not because of their innovation, but because of how solidly […]