Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Free Guy is a film that lives and dies on one consideration: how much do you like Ryan Reynolds’s “thing”? I have grown to dislike it very much. But by all available evidence the movie has turned out to be one of 2021’s most successful crowdpleasers, as one of the few releases in the post- […]

The Suicide Squad is one of the most pleasantly “that was exactly the movie I assumed it would be” movies in ages. That is to say: it has always been very clear that it would be better than 2016’s Suicide Squad, to which it is a very vaguely-related sequel. It has also always been very […]

We’ve got to start somewhere, so why not with the question that I’ve been kicking around in my head since I finished Space Jam: A New Legacy: how can anyone worship a God vindictive and hateful enough to allow this movie to exist? No wait, that’s the other question I’ve been kicking around. The one […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: after 25 years, Space Jam: A New Legacy returns the classic animated figures of the Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies series […]

More than any American animation studio that exists, one gets the feeling that Pixar Animation Studios would love it very much for us to compare all of their movies to the work of Japan’s Studio Ghibli, and especially that studio’s co-founder and most prolific director, Miyazaki Hayao. So first things first: congratulations to Luca, the […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: Disney’s latest live-action branding deposit, Cruella, finds everyone’s favorite puppy-killing fashionista showing up in the flesh for the second time. The […]

I genuinely cannot think of any way in which humanity is advanced by taking an all-time magnificent psychopathic comic villain like Cruella De Vil, raving madwoman of the 1961 Walt Disney animated feature One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and giving her a sympathetic origin story. But then, I cannot think of any reason to have […]

Three stars gets absolutely nowhere close to my actual feelings about The Mitchells vs. the Machines, the new film by Sony Pictures Animation that has, after pandemic-related delays, settled into a home on Netflix. There are, in fact, three entirely different films happening here, and I would give three stars to none of them; but […]

Probably the simplest way to start explaining what the living hell we have in front of us with The Twentieth Century, the first feature-length film by avant-garde director Matthew Rankin (who had some fairly substantial attention, by the standards of such things, with the shorts Mynarski Death Plummet in 2014 and The Tesla World Light […]

A short while ago, a friend of mine suggested that we all have something like a quota of major contemporary world cinema directors that we can love, and once we’ve hit capacity, we’re not going to be able to get really excited anybody else. He was of course being facetious, but I take comfort in the […]

In fairness to Thunder Force, a high-concept science-fiction comedy vehicle for Melissa McCarthy written and directed by her husband Ben Falcone that was released as a direct-to-streaming exclusive in the first third of 2021: it is better than Superintelligence, a  high-concept science-fiction comedy vehicle for McCarthy directed (but not written) by Falcone that was released […]

At this point, in the third decade of the 21st Century, “terrible late-career comedies starring the formerly great actor Robert De Niro” has become its own genre, and I don’t think there’s a person among us who would claim that it’s a good one. Even so, The War with Grandpa is impressively terrible. The warning […]