Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I have nothing but scorn for the full title Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which I will only henceforth refer to as Birds of Prey in the interest of bringing this review in under 3000 words,* but credit where credit’s due, it’s unquestionably right for the movie it’s attached […]

Certain beloved directors – Wes Anderson is an obvious example, but I’m sure we can all think of others – often get slagged for making the same movie over and over again. And while I’m sure we would in general prefer for directors to experiment and prod and try out new things, it’s worth pointing […]

Indie filmmaking brothers Josh and Benny Safdie came up with the story for Uncut Gems many years before they finally made, when they were still just a pair of New York microbudget directors, long before they first broke through with very hip critics with 2014’s Heaven Knows What and then broke through with the other […]

Clint Eastwood, a director I have admired and enjoyed far more often than not, has always had two pronounced weaknesses. One is that he directs like an actor, famously remaining hands-off and letting his cast find their characters, while using few takes to avoid draining their freshness. And this only works with a certain kind […]

I’m not going to go so far as to say that Queen & Slim has the best opening sequence of any 2019 movie, though it’s good enough that that thought flickered across my mind briefly. I am going to say that it has the best opening credits sequence of any 2019 movie, perfectly timed after a […]

Not, by any means, the most important fact about Martin Scorsese’s exhaustive new biographical epic The Irishman, but to me easily the most distracting: it is not titled The Irishman. The film has been adapted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s 2004 nonfiction novel I Heard You Paint Houses, and that is the only title […]

When Marvel blew the world apart back in 2012 with The Avengers and the creation of the most financial dominant shared universe in cinema history, two things leapt to my mind. The first thing was that DC and Warner Bros. weren’t going to be able to compete with that financially, and it would maybe be […]

Of all the characters who could get the “let’s check in on our old friends from years ago and see what they’re up to” sequel treatment, I would not have supposed that people who we last see dying in a stand-off with the cops would be good candidates. But underappreciated horror auteur Rob Zombie doesn’t […]

Hustlers is Goodfellas. It is, in fact, so very similar to Goodfellas down to some very specific points of overlap that I don’t see how it can possibly be an accident: both involve a lot of voice-over explaining how a character went from rags to riches and only had to pay their humanity in order […]

Categories: comedies, crime pictures

For some years now, director Quentin Tarantino has been maintaining that his tenth feature will also be his last. While I don’t actually believe that (artists retire when they die, no earlier), I suddenly find myself deeply hoping that he doesn’t believe it either. Or maybe that when he says that it will be “his” […]

Taking a piece of pop culture as profoundly yoked to a specific moment in cultural and social history as 1971’s Shaft and updating it for modern tastes is a fool’s game, one that has fooled people twice now. Which, I mean, if a talent as undeniable as John Singleton couldn’t crack the problem with 2000’s […]

2015’s Embrace of the Serpent, director Ciro Guerra’s third film, was a story of indigenous traditions in Colombia being corrupted and overwritten by an encounter with Westerners. It’s also one of the most remarkable sui generis films of the 2010s, a film that takes place in history but also feels outside of it; draws upon […]